This weekend was spent in the Word, staying at home, asking some questions. This morning, Monday, God used a book to answer one of them. I have had this book for quite a while. JD mentioned it a long time ago when it first came out to really make college students think about plugging into a local church during their college years. I had it this book for a while, but never read it; until today. Even before I got out of the first chapter - I was convicted. God used it to answer a question I've had for 8 months now.
"Through the local church, we take part in His eternal plan to rescue men and women from their sin, and totally transform their lives. This is the mission of the church. Its our duty, our calling, and our privilege." (p 21) There must be a way for churches to be doctrinal and missional. This is what I like about Mark Driscoll - although I may not go as far as he does - he doesn't let up on core doctrine when trying to reach the people of his community (who look very different than other communities).
"The strongest argument I know for why you and I should love and care about the Church is that Jesus does. The greatest motivation we could ever find for being passionately committed to the Church is that Jesus is passionately committed to the Church." (p 31) If you want to read some other blogs of "church" - go to my friend's blog here - she has some interesting views on the church and how we can be a part of it, or go to 9 Marks. As a paraphrase of Ed Stetzer (SBC guru) - you can't love Jesus and hate his bride.
"We really do need the ministry of others, especially pastors, to encourage us, to help us apply God's word to our lives and to help us see our sins." (p 51) I am so thankful for the pastors in my life who have invested in me from Wayne Gibbs, Tommy Warnock, Bobby Crum, David Sims, Danny-Chris-Brad-JD, James and Jeremy, and am looking forward to serving with new ones now here in L-ville. These men love Jesus, showed me the gospel, and instilled leadership qualities in me, pointed me to Jesus in everything, and showed me what it means to be godly men who love their wives, families, and ministries. I hope you have a relationship with your pastor. Not that you have to be best friends with the pastors - but always be thankful for them (not just in pastor appreciation month which is in October).
"Consumer to communer" (p 59) I always thought I wasn't a "consumer" when it came to churches - but I think it is such a part of our society that if we don't guard against it - we will become consumers - as I did.
"The clear message of gospel should never be altered to make it more marketable." (p 89) See quote one up there...
My heart in ministry is to strengthen the church - discipleship, missions, strengthening the inner workings of a church. Seeing the local body of believers go throughout the world. Church and missions ought to go hand in hand. So, now I finally get to pour into one here. And am very excited about that. So, here goes...