Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Church (as it ought to be)

The Church is neither building nor religious organization.  It's designed by Jesus, its founder, to be a training ground for those who know Him to be both the Treasure of the Universe and Master of Life.

Admittedly, I work for one, so what I'm going to say is biased beyond belief.  I love the church.  I love the church where I get to pastor and I love the church worldwide.  Both drive me nuts at times, but that doesn't temper my affection or cause my love to wane.

I know some people who say they love Jesus but not the church.  That's like you saying I'm okay with you but you can't stand my wife, with whom I'm insanely in love.  That just doesn't play with me.  We're a package deal (and besides, she's way cooler than me - just check out her blog and see how I'm trying to play catch-up on the writing front:

Most folks who say that or have other complaints generally do so as a result of getting burned by a religious organization posing as the church somewhere along their road.  I understand that.  I talk to people like that a few times a month.  But that's not who the church is and certainly not who she is designed to be.  She's meant to be a training ground for those who want to do live in Jesus' way.

He's the Master of Life, the one who's not just God but smart.  He knows that living with the busted and broken human heart is not God's best, so He sets about renovating it - sometimes gently, sometimes ruthlessly.  His reclamation project means that we apprentice ourselves to Him and enter His school of life so we can learn from Him how to do life like Him.

But He's not merely a better way to live.  He's the best way to live and that flows out of His unique, personal being.  Remember, He didn't say He's bringing the way - He claimed to BE the way.  That keeps this whole followership thing from being a utility to your best life now and you from becoming the kind of self-righteous weasel that misses His Kingdom by light years.  With Jesus the Treasure in view, discipleship to Him makes sense.  You can't take on the role of apprentice to Jesus without first knowing that He's the Greatest Treasure in the whole Universe.  Otherwise you'll listen to Him and realize He's calling you to way more than peaceful meditation and not yelling at your kids and then decide not to follow Him after all.  He's not an option in the self-help aisle at Barnes and Noble.  He's the most incredible Person you'll ever know.  He is God the Son, the perfect sacrifice, who died in our place to display God's righteousness and demonstrate God's love.  That's the One you follow.  He's the One who becomes your Master.

Both are necessary.  Jesus the Trainer without the Treasure is Anthony Robbins deified.  Jesus the Treasure without the Trainer is a nice religious guy who ends up being put on the shelf like toys from days gone by - once loved, now irrelevant.  It's both, not either.

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