No, I am not talking about the White House. Easter is here when people celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, not just from the dead, but to His long awaited place in Heaven and in hope of his return. Who cares really? For many years I have heard the joke, C & E Christians (Christmas & Easter). I wonder why that is funny and true? I don't believe that it is a special sin not to attend on these two holidays.
Although I believe that Christians should be better taught about what they believe, I would much rather see them doing 1/10th of what they already know!
Topics such as "what goes on in Heaven?", the "End Times" and the biblical meaning of Easter aren't as relevant to the troops on the ground. Once we understand the hope of Heaven, can't we move on to walking in our destiny until the end of our days?
The Easter message is central to the Christian faith. If Jesus was not resurrected after being crucified, then there is no Christianity - next topic please.
When the world sins, I think: "Well they don't know Jesus. Should I be surprised? No." When a Christian sins, I think: "Who are they accountable to? Who is mentoring them, loving them, and correcting them?" Then I think: "The church, for the most part, doesn't really care."
I don't know about you, but Christian parents that continue on in destructive behaviors are old enough to ask for help-- real help. But kids, they don't often know where to turn. Kid's parents tell them Jesus will never leave them or forsake them, and they hurt them. I am not talking about a raised voice once in awhile, nor do I expect Christians to be perfect. I am talking about sin that is unchecked, apparently unpopular in the pulpit, and down right destructive to others-- kids in particular. I just want to know what the hell leaders are teaching that continues to allow this behavior to continue in their church, and why?
As I see it, the church has the following responsibilities once people get saved and the Gospel has been preached.
-1 Love/Covenant - We are to love people. This is outlined in 1 Corinthians chapter 13. It involves being kind, not making a list of wrongs etc. But to love like Jesus did, we need to understand people, marriages, parenting and their biblical application. Who is teaching you that?
-2 Power/Gifting - This is a touchy subject. Some people think that power is only in faith (faith is a vehicle for power, not the power), and others think that if the presence of God can't be felt, that the power is not there. Both are wrong. The power of God is subject to many biblical principals and conditions, including: Faith, love, anointing, holiness, character, timing, the circumstances of the age, and of course God's sovereignty. There is not one specific element that causes God's power to erupt. Because we love, or we are of good character, doesn't guarantee that God's power will flow, nor does the fact that we have sinned stop it either. God's power is a little bit of a mystery, but when the church structure is in order (Ephesians 4:11), I have noticed that it is more present.
-3 Teaching - Good biblical teaching is essential. The problem with that is there are too many opinions, to many overly logical thinkers, and not enough anointing. We have burdened too many pastors that are not good teachers, with the responsibility of teaching. Why? We have also held down good teachers because they were not the pastor, banishing them to an occasional home-group or Sunday school class It's time to raise up teachers, regardless of their position in the church.
-4 Mentoring - I don't like this term, but it is really a better term than discipleship because the church doesn't really seem to know what a disciple of Christ really is. The bottom line is that we need men and woman to take on others for the purpose of modeling the Christan life, or at least some aspects of it. I believe more is a caught then taught in the body of Christ. To quote a line from a John Ruben rap tune, "everybody's sayin' it, and nobody's doin' it." Everbody's doin' it and no body's sayin' it." Let me translate, every one's talking about loving and discipling, and no one is really doing it-- everyone is being a hypocrite, and no one is saying anything about it.
Why is it that our teenagers come to church, and sit in the back during worship without engaging? Why are they in trouble, acting out, and getting pregnant? Are we going to blame that on their friends? And if we blame the parents, what is the church doing to oversee the process of sanctification in the parent's lives?
-5 Accountability - This is also a touchy subject. People want, and need to be held accountable. But the policeman mentality of many leaders is pathetic. Without relationship, yanking folks aside for biblical infractions is stupid. Sure, there is the occasional visitor, or new member that doesn't get it. But for the most part I see people that want to exercise their authority without love. If things go wrong, they are the first one to call someone on it. That couldn't be more like the world.
Just because you use the word, love, that doesn't make what we do, loving. When someone is really out of line, what are the same leaders that have a person "step down" doing to restore them? Setting up an arbitrary time-line for going back to do the very same thing? How committed or involved are your leaders in seeing you through your sin, and depravity?
In the final analysis, I just plain think we can do better-- much better. It is essential that we get in touch with the power of the resurrection in a way that changes us, and empowers us to change the world around us. We can't be religious robots, or so conformed to the world that we are no good to the kingdom. We must be born again of the Spirit, filled by the the Spirit, led by the Spirit, and able to hear the voice of God. If we are unsure of those things then we have been short-changed.
It the cross of Christ had been empty between two thieves, then the Easter Bunny would probably a more productive character of faith.
Won't it be a great day in church, when the only thing that is visible in the church is the Kingdom of God!