Do you even wonder what God is actually in the business of? What does He really want? In the past few weeks I have had a number of conversations with long time Christians. Oh yes, and not to mentioned that I have stirred up a few religious spirits with my recent postings on this blog. It seems that no matter what perspective I try to point out, someone not only opposes it, but they offer some standard denominational argument. Every sentence starts with "we need more of ______!" Or worse, "we need less of _______!"
First, I am not against denominations. I am against theology that keeps us from an awesome and supernatural God. The problem is that most of us have been taught "somewhere." That somewhere is usually the place where we came to faith, while giving us the foundational teachings that support that faith. And, that is how it works. We are taught, we believe it and hopefully go and "do" it. The problem with teaching is that it really has no value unless it is applied. Then we experience it. Did you ever wonder how a cult gets started? It is because the teaching is never challenged. The amazing thing about truth is that it always works... and lines up with the word of God. Thank God my own prayers snatched me from a cult in my early years of Christianity. I was looking for both milk and meat in the wrong places. My heart was begging for the truth. God honored that. Actually it was the transition from my own understanding to that of actually hearing God's voice.
So, what is God after? Converts? Character? Sacrifice? Obedience? Tongue talking believers? Radical believers that "sold it all" for Jesus? And while we are at it, what is the purpose for the church anyway? Social change? Miracles? Healing? To make disciples? Blessing? Preach the gospel? Love? Oh yeah, and what makes a "true" believer anyway, faith, belief or fruit? Let me answer those questions, YES! God wants it all. You may have heard you can't put God in a box. Well, you can't. The Bible says "His ways, are not our ways." Then in Ephesians He says, he "chose the church" for this task. What task? The great commission? Yes! And all the other tasks of loving, serving, sacrificing and being obedient.
That is the broad view, or apostolic view. The detailed (prophetic) view can be very focused right down to one person obeying one command from God. Whether it is written in the Bible, for example; "love one another", or directly from God; "go pray for that person over there." The Bible does not command us to pray for every one we see. But God certainly sets up encounters that bring about His will and destiny. You may remember Phillip and the Ethiopian in Acts 8.
You may be thinking, how do we do it all? I am glad that you asked. We are to be a body. Paul uses this analogy over and over in His letters. We can't do it all, and we shouldn't do it all. Our church can't do it all, our pastor can't do it all. Each one of us has a destiny that God has appointed for us. I once met a young man that was going to be a tattoo artist and do only Christian tattoos. The problem with this "natural" talent, is that the Bible forbids tattoos. (Lev 19:28) He ended up choosing missions, and last I heard he was bearing fruit in the mission field. God's destiny for us could be a part-time ministry or a full-time one. It could be as simple as greeting someone new or offering to help a neighbor. Who cares, don't you want to be doing what God wants you to do?
For so many Christians, they have a particular gift and they always want to see more of it. Evangelists want to see more souls saved, intercessors want to see more prayer, teachers want to see more teaching, prophetic folks want to see more prophecy, helps folks want to see more service and discerning people think, "why don't they get it?," and pastors want to see more folks loved on. It is natural to have these inclinations because of our gifting. The problem is that we are a body working together. And yes, we do need more souls saved, more prayer, more prophecy, more teaching, more service and more people loved on. That is why we have a diversity of gifts available in the first place.
In conclusion, beyond all that we do, we need to see that the big picture is comprised of individual actions. The church is comprised of all believers and their actions. The sum total of which, has gotten the global church to where it is today. That said, the greatest tool in the church is the personal witness.
Acts 22:15 "For you will be a witness for Him to all men of what you have seen and heard. "
Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,"
Matthew 5:16 "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven."
I love this last verse because it says men; all men, not just Christians. I think that is what God is after.