Thursday, December 15, 2011

Contagious Holiness

So pastor posted this article this morning on Facebook and it was really good, I see why he wanted to share. So I am doing the same. However this article is inspired by this so maybe you should view both. Some great quotes of Len Sweet in his review was: "the devil’s got a mission" talking about churches being missional.

There isn't definition in the word missional for churches if we aren't spreading the mission and truth of Jesus. Too many times in this day and culture we are being humanitarians instead of disciples of christ. We need to make sure that we are staying true to what is at the central of the reason we are being missional... not only because the Lord tells us to ... but because we have a heart like Christ and He had a heart for the lost.
Sweet: The question for the church to ask is, "How is Christ perceived, made real, and lifted up in the various cultures in which we find ourselves?" ... "Our Christianity does not reside in one thing—it adjusts to culture. This is the incarnational principal Jesus gave us: While I don’t want you to be of the world, I want you to be in the world—it is not our option to flee the world."

I love this statement Sweet made: "We’ve made the church about a lot of different things other than Christ. The Scriptures say clearly that if Jesus be lifted up, he will draw all people (John 12:32)." And it's true. We have made Church many things... most often than not, not about Christ. He goes on to say, "This is one of my things about the church: We develop boards, draw up this and that strategy, start programs, but the church has got to understand that all this is to lift Jesus up. He’s the draw, and we ought to be focused on how we can lift Jesus up so people can hear him, see him, smell him, taste him and touch him in our communities."  

 Okay... wait a minute... let me go back to the word: "boards". Um, the church does create these said boards... and it needs to do a better job of following and expecting the qualifications that are laid out in Acts 6:1-7, Acts 20:17-31, 1 Tim 3:3-13 for the leadership of our Churches. Check out Elders, DeaconsRedefinition of the Church Part 1 or Part 2 for some better understanding on these matters.We need to make sure we are placing Spirit-filled Christ seeking leaders into these positions instead of the high school popularity contests that they seem to currently be.  Okay enough of me ranting, back to Sweet.

Sweet: "I think it is. The church of the future is going to be many sizes with many different expressions. Some churches will get bigger than we’ve ever imagined. We are now seeing the organic church, house church, and simple church movement. There is going to be a move away from what I call “parking lot churches” to “pedestrian churches.” By this, I mean churches that are anchored in the neighborhood that you can literally walk to. We are moving toward a pedestrian culture, where people want to walk to work, walk to the store, and walk to church, so I think there is an opportunity for small churches, especially neighborhood churches. But they got to get the connection part right. They have to understand what it means to really connect with God, with each other, and with strangers. That’s a big deal."

Ah... nicely put. This isn't saying every church is going to be like this... but this is what i want for our churches... communities of faith families coming together to do life. Pastor and I have been trying to achieve this for 5 years now... and still counting. And yet many "church-goers" are afriad of this???

Which leads me back to Wentworth. "I remained in my "holiness bubble" and used the rules as my reason to never involve myself in the culture that so desperately needed to be introduced to the One who changed my life. If anyone wanted to experience or witness that change, they needed to come into the church and see how I worshiped the Lord and how many times I attended services each week." It is crazy to think of how the culture has shaped us and taken us so far away from what Christ has told us to do: live lives of holiness and make disciples. "...To this current day, that lifestyle-a holiness lifestyle-infected her and is affecting those around her."

The Cross was true holiness in it purest form, but it didn't look very holy on the surface. In order to engage our world, Jesus showed us how to be holy people in a dirty world and to live a life of holiness without the world endangering our holiness label.

I learned that for years my life was defined by labels-holiness church and holiness people-instead of a holiness lifestyle that connects with my culture to show them who Christ is through me. I didn't have to be disconnected from the culture, but God was calling me into the culture to truly live out His change in me. People in our communities are not likely to come into my holiness church to see my holiness life. But I now know they will see me every day giving them a tangible indication that there is something different in my life.

If we don't engage each other within the walls of the building then we will never be effective in engaging our community and culture. If we don't live that life with each other we will not have any effect in the world we are trying to reach.This is what we need.

This is what we need.
*Words in orange are from a post made by Keven Wentworth, Pastor of Dayton, Ohio's Beavercreek Church of the Nazarene for Holiness Today magazine.
*Words in blue are from an interview conducted and written by Grace & Peace magazine on Len Sweet's book: So Beautiful: Divine Design for Life and Church.

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Thanks for sharing!

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