God has taught me some things over the last few months. I wanted to write them down to help me see how God is changing me:
- The issue is the heart, not the model: I used to think that the problems with modern Christianity were all because of that evil Institutional Church, but God has really changed my heart and showed me that when we are far from Him it is because our hearts aren’t right: we may lack love, be selfish, be power hungry, seek human approval, fear conflict, so on and so on … The bottom line is that the problems Christians struggle with have much more to do with our hearts then they have anything to do with some evil monster. The one I have tended to blame everything on was The Institutional Church.
- The goal is Christ-centered community, not a gathering: I know it seems crazy to say that I used to believe that starting a gathering was the ultimate goal of this whole “church” thing, and if you had asked me I would have never admitted it (I really didn’t think that was what I believed) but I know now that was what I was driving toward. I felt like everything I was doing: the blog, the get-togethers, the conversations, the cups of coffee, the lunches, the dinners; I thought of all of this as building toward what was really important: having a regular gathering. What I would have said was that I wanted to be part of the church, but what I thought that meant was being part of a body that had a regular gathering. Now I see that God is building me into a community of believers and the lunches, the coffees, the dinners and so on have all been places where God has used people to encourage, teach, edify, and change me. Are these not the real marks of being part of the Church?
- My family CAN be part of my church family: I know this sounds ridiculous, but I had this idea in the back of my mind that it would be a cop-out to seek Christ-centered community with my (extended) physical family. For some reason it just didn’t seem difficult enough to build on present relationships as opposed to starting new ones with strangers. I know, I already said this was ridiculous. Since God has showed me that this makes no sense He has used many family members to work in my life, and I feel like we are all growing much closer as our relationships become more and more centered in Christ.
- The Resurrection of Jesus is very important. I knew it was a big deal, but it is far more important than I ever realized. I’m fairly confident that Christ’s resurrection is the power and central message of the Gospel, and as I think about it more and more I realize how it is the hope that can strengthen us through all of our trials and struggles in life.