a thought for the month for my church family

This is an email I sent to our church family this week. It's the kind of challenge that I know many people would like me not to make... and that's exactly why it needs to be made.

--------

If I have your attention, I'm going to make the most of this time you've given me. So get ready for some bold, audacious, biblical truth from what God has put on my heart to you r heart. I want to give you a word of honest encouragement, and it begins with this thought:

If you are not hearing from God, you are missing the most important ingredient in your day.

Plain and simple, that's the truth... you "can" do your day without God, but that will be like something important missing in your favorite food. You may be able to just swallow what's in front of you, but it will comparatively bland and without that real taste you so appreciate. In fact, the absence of one ingredient can even impact the true effectiveness of other ingredients.

This is why I'm challenging you and your whole household to be a part of every Sunday this month in our Reveal series. In doing so you need to likewise realize that such a goal isn't about "attendance" but about helping you becoming "attendant" to God's presence... something (and Someone) that is active in your life but often overlooked. The challenge isn't to warm a seat - it's to make intentional connections with God and others through the offering of a church community.

So again - the simple challenge is to be a part of a service every Sunday this month... and to bring others with you because of the very practical topic.

I have lots of hope about this. So many of you are tuned into this and have made the commitment to give God room to work in your life. But it's usually about this time in a challenge, though, that a few of you start making excuses. Let's call out a few:
  • "I don't need to come to a service to connect with God." Logistically, this is true. But practically, admit it - we are often slackers and use this as an excuse to avoid real commitment to the journey and the community of God. I seldom find someone who isn't in a church service using that time to connect with God "on their own." And if you are that rare person who does put that effort in, you are still missing out on biblical community - the dominant means God chose to connect with His people all throughout Scripture.

    So if you're using this "I don't need to come to service to connect with God" line when you really mean, "I'm not willing to make a commitment like that," pony up and be honest about it.

  • "Sunday is my only day off and I like to sleep in." Go ahead... sleep in. We have a second service that starts at 11am.

  • "No, I mean... really sleep in." Ah. Go to bed earlier on Saturday, then "sleep in" and come to the 11am service. Then go back home and take a "Sunday afternoon nap." And if you have kids who "won't let you" take such a nap, use one of the connections you make in a Sunday morning service to trade off child care with another family every other week.

  • "Sunday is our family day." Awesome. That's a great priority. You know the #1 task God gives the family? To maximize every opportunity you have to impress the Truths of God upon your kids so that they will walk with Him as they grow up. Not to mince words, but this is God's law - and to ignore that would be like ignoring the law on the road by saying, "My kids aren't in the mood for us to travel the speed limit so I'll travel at whatever speed they dictate." Try telling that one to the cop who pulls you over for not properly handling the steering wheel and gas pedal that has been placed into your care.

  • "______ won't come with me, so I'm not coming." If you were thirsty - literally dehydrating - would someone else not wanting to drink some water keep you from heading over to the fountain? Of course not - your survival instinct would take over. So let your spiritual survival instinct take over and take in some Living Water.

If you are not hearing from God, you are missing the most important ingredient in your day.

Look, if you're not willing to change and you're not willing to grow, then you need to find another church to be a part of that will let you off the hook (which, honestly, there are a lot of... but such a group isn't really a "Church" if they do). A lot of what makes Connection Church unique is that we don't play these games... and if we accidentally start, we call each other out on it. Do you know how amazing it is to open up the Bible every week? That alone - aside from whatever a teacher may say or a worship leader may sing - guarantees you can hear from God if you dare to let Him. In Isaiah 55:11, God reminds us that His words "will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it."

My goal and my heart is to honor the heart of the Lord, and that includes challenging our whole congregation to be engaged on a journey together... the kind where we care about one another and speak bold truth into each other's lives. The kind where we don't play church or treat it like a critic or consumer, but take hold of our faith and become authentic about what is really going on inside of us. The kind where we become fully-alive Christ-followers who reach out and redemptively love all people into a deeper connection with God.

And if we do, this already great congregation will become an amazingly greater church because our hearts will be God's... we will be lit up by Him in a real way and start becoming the change we want to see in our region. There are people you will lock eyes with all day today who are suffering and hurting, and Jesus wants you to think about it... and be inspired to do something about it. You may not know what to do about it, but don't let that stop you from doing something about it.

Speaking of which, if you haven't brought a friend with you to gather with the church in a while, it's time. Otherwise it's like we're eating an incredible buffet and becoming content with the world that is starving outside. Let God wreck you with that... because it's not about your comfort - it's about their eternity. And this is such a perfect series to dig in and expose them to the hope of Jesus.

This is something that is too big - too momentous - for us to ignore. We want to help people live lives that are focused on Christ and are focused on something more than leisure or hobbies... something more true than the fears we worry about... something more lasting and eternal than the legacy we'd leave otherwise.

If you are not hearing from God, you are missing the most important ingredient in your day. We'll be opening up His Bible on Sunday together... but go ahead and open it up today. Once again, this is a theme that will dig into Genesis 1 in many ways, so be reading and rereading and re-re-reading that passage. And then this Sunday we'll let it "read" us.

Or... you can settle for something blander. If so, let me know and I'll help you find another pillow to rest on or cable station to watch. Maybe there's a golf game you can pick up Sunday instead... or an all-you-can-eat breakfast with your name on it. If that's what you want, I ultimately can't stop you... and you know it.

But I will arm wrestle you before you do because I care about you too much to watch you drift away and slip off into a sleepy existence... or something lukewarm that has the appearance of Christianity but denies its power. I thank God for the opportunity to love you boldly... without a mask. Because I am a champion for what God is attempting to do in you... if you let Him.

So I'll see you Sunday... if not before. I fully dare you to show up and hold nothing back from surrendering your life and everything in it over to God and watching Him create "something from nothing" - something that He steps back from and says, "Yeah... that? That is good. Very, very good."

"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching." (Hebrews 10:24-25)
"God saw all that he had made, and it was very good." (Genesis 1:31a)

Together,

Tony

Lead Pastor
Connection Church

www.connectionchurch.org

Don't just go to church... BE the Church!

No comments:

Post a Comment