There. I said it. It’s boring. Going to church and leaving every week is a real snooze-fest if you ask me. No wonder people in America are going to church less and less every year. I don’t know about you, but I just don’t want to go to church. There are a number of things that you could be doing if you simply ditched the once-weekly 75 minute event that is most church experiences. Go to the beach. Go to the movies. Go watch something else!
So where am I going with this since I’m in the “church business?” Simple. Going to church is simply the most unbiblical form of Christian worship you can invent. It’s never once written in the pages of the New Testament that the “people” went to church. Whenever the book of Acts mentions the “Church,” they are always DOING something, not just going somewhere. They are praying, fasting, encouraging, helping, and serving one another in dynamic ways! Consider the following passages:
Acts 8:1, 4 (ESV) And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles… 4 Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word.
Acts 9:31 (ESV) So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it (the Church) multiplied.
Acts 12:5 (ESV) So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.
Acts 14:23 (ESV) And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.
Acts 15:3 (ESV) So, being sent on their way by the church, they passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, describing in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and brought great joy to all the brothers.
Acts 16:5 (ESV) So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily.
The Church in the New Testament was not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. They had liars in Acts 5 and arguments in Acts 6. They had racial prejudice in Acts 15. Consider the dizzying amount of corrections Paul has to issue to the Christians in Corinth in 1 Corinthians. If you ever feel bad about the state of the Church in our day, just read that book. But as imperfect as they were, the Early Church was ACTIVE. Praying for one another, giving to each other’s needs, building one another up. That’s what being the Church is about. Where else can you get surrounded by people who care about you and build you up? Where else can you have opportunity to approach the throne of God on behalf of one another and lift THEM up? Where else can you participate in the GLOBAL mission of Jesus in a local gathering of like-minded people?
Answer? The Church.
If you go to church, that’s fine. Just know, you’re missing out on what it has to offer. It’s not something you go see, it’s something you experience. It’s not something you spectate, it’s an event in which you participate.
Did you know that over the last twelve months Waters Church has seen over one thousand people come to faith in Christ and hundreds of people share their story and get baptized (including 11 middle schoolers last weekend and 8 adults this coming weekend). THAT is what the Church is about. THAT is exciting.
And the best part is: YOU are invited to be a PART of this.
I’ve just returned from vacation and spent a lot of time on hiatus this past July. This was the least amount of involvement in the church I’ve had in a long time. Can I tell you, I’m dying to get back! If there’s one thing the last month taught me it is this: you have to stay active, you have to involve yourself in other people’s lives. You cannot just sit on your deck by the pool and feel like you’re living (contrary to what the beer advertisers are selling). Life is not a beach, it’s a battlefront and the Church is made up of soldiers who follow the ultimate victor into battle with an outcome already determined. We win, but we get to fight through to victory together. It may be challenging, it may have setbacks. But it’s definitely NOT boring.
One other thing I experienced over this break was the subtle inevitability of experiencing a rut in your spirit. When you are not active in God’s purposes, you just don’t feel alive. And no amount of praying will fix it. There’s only one solution. You have to stop looking at your own problems and emotional hang-ups and get out there and serve someone else. It’s counter intuitive but it’s also represented by almost every story in the Bible. There was only one perfect man who ever served God’s purposes. That was Jesus. The rest of them, from David to Abel, Moses to Paul, Ruth to Mary Magdalene had to push through their own self-intoxicating inadequacies to do something in God’s name for other people. Today we call these people heroes of the faith – SAINTS if you will. They realized the power of the proverb: Proverbs 11:25 (NLT) those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.
This weekend we start a new series of messages on what it means to be active in the Church here at Waters – “NOT YET HERE”. In just over two months we are sending some of our best and most talented people OUT of our Church to start TWO new Churches. This means there will be openings for YOU to be active like never before. We are excited to see who will step up into the gaps this new adventure provides. Will it be you?
I can’t wait to get started this weekend. There’s lots to talk about. I hope you’re coming… so that you can start engaging.