What’s Most Important?

5 Mar

What Is Most Important?

God has placed in me a desire to be used by God to reach the marginalized and forgotten in our society. I believe the church has dropped the ball in a big way as far as reaching the lost in our own immediate neighborhoods. I feel that the church has become a largely ineffective body of immature Christ followers that choose where and when they feel like following Christ and when and where the are the most “comfortable.” Before you get too upset at me, let me say that I put myself in that category too.

I believe in the organized church body. I believe that the church has many appearances though. If you are looking for a church that you have no differences in theology, or practices, or anything else you deem important, then give up now because you will never find one. You will always have differences with wherever you fellowship at. I’m sure you understand that the church is made up of people who are on a lifelong journey to become more like Christ. We are all dysfunctional to some degree. We are all incorrect on some issues, we are all out of balance in some areas, we are all disobedient to some degree. But we serve a God who is our heavenly daddy and He just wants His kids to work and play well together. I have a much greater appreciation of this after being blessed with our son in our family and seeing how a father that loves you unconditionally has patience and mercy with his child. God’s love “covers a multitude of sins.”

The American church as a whole is way too ineffective. We are known more for what we are against than what we are for. I see Facebook posts all the time that are telling everyone “what is wrong with …..” I myself have tried a few “tests” to see if people will even take the time to respond to uplifting messages on Facebook and have been sadly disappointed. People are too busy, to used to sensational gossip, etc. to spend much energy promoting what we stand for. I know there are a lot of “repost this if you love Jesus…” types of posts but frankly I dislike them very much. People can post that and feel like they have “evangelized” their facebook friends.  The desire to touch people with the love of Christ in a real way is refreshing. I haven’t seen that much for the last few years.  I had a much greater passion for it when I first got on staff at my last church, and honestly I let myself be transformed into a person that was totally engaged in feeding people who were able to get food on their own, or should have been, instead of fulfilling my passion f or reaching the marginalized in our society.  In case you aren’t sure what “marginalized” means let me explain. There are vast segments of our society that are in effect “pushed to the sides” of our culture. They have been put in the “margins” because of many different things. Perhaps its a drug addict, a convicted felon, someone with a lot of tattoos, people who struggle with sexual sins, pornography, perhaps it’s those of a lower economic strata. Whatever it may be, a large part, if not the majority of our culture, has deemed them unworthy of spending much effort on because they “don’t have much to offer”, or are just “too lost” to bother with. The American church needs to do a better job of not falling into the trap of marginalizing people.

Regarding that, the Lord spoke to me very strongly about the parable of the lost sheep in Luke:

Luke 15:1-7 “Now the tax collectors and “sinners” were all gathering round to hear him. 2But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners, and eats with them.” 3 Then Jesus told them this parable: 4* “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbours together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 7* I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”

What makes God the happiest? I believe it is described here rather well. What is the most important thing to God? Lost people not being lost anymore. What does HE say is the greatest commandment?

Mark 12:28-34 says this:

“One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, ‘Of all the commandments, which is the most important?’ ‘The most important one,’ answered Jesus, ‘is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.‘Well said, teacher,’ the man replied. ‘You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbour as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.’ When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, ‘You are not far from the kingdom of God.‘”

That’s pretty self-explanatory isn’t it? What does God desire most from us? 1) accept Christ. 2) Love God with everything we are, and love our neighbors as we want to be loved. I recently was asked a very important question by a very dear sister in the Lord. She was leading a group for recovering addicts that was not a part of her home church. The host church is in fact the church I am a member of. She had some great questions regarding some issues she was wondering about that came up in a leadership meeting for this small group. She was wondering about the propriety of leading a small group where she was told to be conservative in her expression of Spiritual gifts and more Charismatic expression in prayer and worship.  She has a strong passion for doing everything she can to help the lost and the struggling. With these limitations that were expressed to her, her concern was if she was being faithful to God’s call on her to help these people and be a blessing.

My answer is this… Does God want us to use all the gifts He has for us? Of course, or He wouldn’t give them to us. However, as I said, it doesn’t matter which church you fellowship at, you are going to disagree on some things. My question is where can I be best used. She mentioned that the church where this group was is  “a good foundational church to mostly new believers.” If that is so, what a great place for a mature believer to go to be used of God to help mature people and to mentor. In her question she mentioned that she heard the Pastor say on the radio that he doesn’t believe in healings and other gifts for today. I have found this to absolutely be not true. I have heard many mentions of the opposite from him personally for he and his family and my experience has been supportive of that. Are the church and I exactly on the same page as far as gifts etc. go, nope. But I look at the ministry that takes place out of there, sending hundreds to mexico, multiple trips to Africa, that they immediately started helping employees of our local huge mall with financial support etc, after an arsonist started a fire there. The ministry to Youth that is amazing. It just goes on and on.  I agree with some limitations as to what is deemed “appropriate” at meetings especially when the general public, and new attendees is coming to. But again, what is most important to God. Luke says a lost sheep returning, and loving God with all our heart, and loving others as ourselves.

I like what Philippians says: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” Philippians 2:3-4.

She expressed concern about having to “hold back your love for God”,  by not being able to worship with free expression and operation of gifts. I think you show your love for God much better by denying yourself the desire to worship in the Spirit, ( which is between you and God only, nobody else understand what is being said), and showing your love for God by loving people that at that moment  may be less mature, or enlightened perhaps, but need the love of a mature Christian to lead them through something. You spend what, 2 hours or so at this women’s meeting a week? That leaves at least a hundred or so left over for you to pray, worship, dance as you see fit. But you may have only those few moments to reach others with the Love of Christ,  which as we have read,  seems rather important to God to do. I have so much more that God has spoken to me about regarding this issue, I unfortunately can’t cover it all here. I am seriously beginning the effort to write a book. Suffice it to say,  if you have a great heart for God, serve Him wherever and whenever you can. If the times are where they appear possibly to be, it is critical that we, the church, be about our ministry of doing this. Screw minor differences… I’ve seen too many people let differences totally take away their opportunity to serve while they are looking for a place that does everything the way “scripture tells it.” I firmly believe it is much more important to take advantage of every opportunity to love people. I regret that I find myself coming out of a valley where I have dropped the ball and not been about the right business. But my Father in heaven says, “If at first you don’t succeed, try try again.” Focus on what is most important.

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