Here Is The Church, Here Is The Steeple…

Here Church Steeple

I am the Lord All-Powerful, and I challenge you to put me to the test. Bring the entire ten percent into the storehouse, so there will be food in my house. Then I will open the windows of heaven and flood you with blessing after blessing. (Malachi 3:10 CEV)

You know the childhood saying as you intertwine your fingers… “Here is the church, here is the steeple… Open it up and see all the stains from the PBJ sandwich your mom made you for lunch.” Well… it goes something like that anyway.

Well you guessed it… you’re right. It’s about the people (not the stains… though some are quick to point out the coffee stains on the carpet). Church… is about the people. Not the decor (because that changes). Not the style of service (for that will change too). But church is about… the people. The people inside of the church… AND the people outside of the church that have yet to hear about the love and grace of a Saviour who died and rose again to give us life (ok… now I’m moving into “next week’s” thoughts).

So when we give to the ‘church’, we’re really giving to God in order to reach the ‘people’; the resources, the ministries, and all of the things that are necessary to make sure that the ‘people’ (whether here… or not here yet) are being ministered to.

So conversely when we “don’t” give, we therefore are really “not” giving to God in order to “not” reach the people. When we choose not to give it’s kind of like we’re saying to God, “Thanks for taking care of me and all that people sacrificed in order for You to reach me. But I’m good with being the end of the road. You don’t have to keep reaching people now.”

Maybe that seems a little harsh. Maybe it seems a little extreme. But maybe the fact that God calls us to support the work of the Kingdom IS extreme. Maybe, just maybe, the same God who created everything in the universe from simply His limitless wonder gave us the opportunity to partner with Him in doing something new again… that because of what ‘we’ give Him, He then can change ‘other’ people’s lives… just like He changed ours.

At least that’s how I see it,

Craig

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“I Did It My Way” Wasn’t A Worship Song

frank sinatra

A time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. (John 4:23 NIV)

I don’t think “Ol’ Blue Eyes” would have gotten very far with that song had it been written for the church. Not sure that Hillsongs would have picked it up for their album or if you’d see many of the Southern Gospel quartets belting it out on any of the recent Gaither videos. Seems to almost be the antithesis of what worship is really supposed to be about.

But Jesus was addressing an issue with the woman in this passage. The Samaritans were trying to worship God the way that ‘they’ felt comfortable doing. They wanted to place God through the filter of ‘their’ form of religious practice, not actually place ‘themselves’ through the filter of God’s desire.

We can often put limits on how often, how deep, and how sincere we enter into times of worship. We tell God that we’ll give Him ‘this’ and ‘that’… but we won’t worship Him ‘here’ and ‘there’.

And there lies the dilemma of our encounters with God. The moment that we dictate how we plan on expressing our worship to God… then ‘we’ control the worship… which then doesn’t become really effective worship at all. For when we hold back on giving Him His worth, aren’t we therefore calling the shots on what is acceptable or not for Him? Are we no better than a woman at a side of a well saying that ‘their’ way was better… even if it didn’t find support in the Bible?

I pray that all of our worship this week, however it is expressed, is firmly and deeply rooted in the desire to know Him more, pursue His Presence more, and sincerely express to Him just how Great He is… not how it best fits us… but how it best glorifies Him.

At least that’s how I see it,

Craig

A Mind-Blowing Experience

mind blown

For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. (Luke 22:27 NIV)

When our worldview is severely shaken and torn apart we start to actually see things the way that God does. Society, advertising, marketing, and peer pressure do a wonderful job of numbing us to what is actually going on around us. As I heard someone say, we’re not going to hell in a hand basket anymore… now it’s a rocket ship!

After experiencing what a select group of us did recently (we couldn’t record the message due to security issues and personal risks) I can honestly say that we were treated like we were the ones at the table (they actually wouldn’t sit down and eat with us). We were honoured. We were esteemed. We were valued.

But as much as we appreciated the honour, we desperately wanted to be the ones who were serving like them… because when we saw ‘them’ serve… THAT is where we could clearly see the greater honour, the greater value, the greater place to be. Not where we were being blessed… but where we could be the ones doing the blessing.

Maybe there is something in this for each and every one of us to learn from this. Though there were only a few people who witnessed it, all of us are different now. We see the world differently. We see the value in blessing… not being blessed. We see how giving from nothing is much more valuable to receive than giving what seems to be just lying around anyway.

May our lives begin to reflect the Beauty of the One who had it all, yet chose to come to where we were in order to give it all because of His great love for us.

At least that’s how I see it,

Craig