Sunday, April 17, 2011

CHURCH, Part 1

In the “have it your way,” “super size,” overindulged, fast paced, hectic culture we live in there are 2 common misconceptions about Church.  The first is that Church is all about me.  I’m going to let you in on a little secret.  Church isn’t about me (or you)—no, seriously, it isn’t!  Now, I know this isn’t a new concept to many people, but it seems like we continually forget.  It’s something we perpetually need to be reminded of.  The second misconception springs off the first.  Too many people think Church is something that happens every Sunday. 

Misconception 1:  Church is about Me!

We come to church on most Sunday’s thinking it’s about me.  It doesn’t help that in any given church, to at least some degree, Sunday really is about me.  I am provided the option to attend the Traditional, Contemporary, Modern, Postmodern or Blended service.  French Vanilla, Colombian Roast, Chocolate Truffle, Hazelnut and Decaf are just the beginning of my drink options.  If I don’t like any of those I can probably grab a Mt. Dew, Dr. Pepper, or even various flavored waters.  I can choose donuts, donut holes, bear claws, Danishes or bagels.  I can send each of my kids, varying in ages from newborn to college aged, to an assortment of classes.  Of course during the service, I have the opportunity to fellowship and connect with other believers.  I am presented with a challenging message straight out of Scripture.  I can connect my innermost being with my God through the music and the words of a vast assortment of songs.  Then, of course, there’s always the topics of “personal salvation,” “personal savior” and “personal commitment.”  All of which lead to my “personal response” to which I raise my hand to any number of commitments without anyone else looking around—so as not to single me out or make me feel embarrassed (these are another discussion entirely).  Understand that I am not condemning these things nor am I saying that there is inherently anything wrong with any of this, it just makes it that much easier to feed my selfish ego.  With the plethora of options, no wonder it gets so easy to think Church really is about me!  We ultimately go wrong when we begin to pervert each of these aspects of worship and buy into the consumerist mentality that church is ALL about me.  From here it is easy for us to jump off the deep end.  Instead of embracing the opportunity to fellowship with others, we form our cliques and exclude all others because that is what’s comfortable.  In some cases we withdraw ourselves and leave unhappy because nobody said hello (maybe with the exception of the greeters and/or ushers).  Instead of listening to the Word of God with an open heart and mind, we look critically at everything said and try to point out the preacher’s theological errors.  Instead of embracing the sound of God’s children lifting their voices in adoration, we complain the music is too loud, discuss how shallow the lyrics are or talk about how the worship didn’t really “do anything for me!”  We go into church with a critical and complaining heart instead of a broken and contrite one.  We begin to ask questions like: Did it connect ME with God?  Did the message compel and challenge ME (but not too much)?  What did it do for ME?  Did the service inspire ME?  While there may be some valid arguments in each of these questions, for the most part they are irrelevant.  They say a lot more about ME, than they do about the church.  We begin to twist and pervert what God intended for good and revert back to our selfish ways.  But that has always been the challenge for the church hasn’t it?  We can trace it back to the beginning—all the way back to Adam and Eve.

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