"When Jesus said, "You are the light of the world," this you in the Greek language is plural — meaning "all of you." Light-bearing is not an individual project. Following Christ in our urban generation is done together. Just as the first-century church met in the temple and from house to house (Acts 5:42), Christians in our cities must gather regularly (Acts 2:46; 20:20; Heb. 10:24-25). Elsewhere the Scriptures refer to the Lord's people as "one body" (Rom. 12:4-5; 1 Cor. 12:12; Eph. 4:4)... It's very easy in the press and busyness of urban living or isolation of city culture to succumb to "urban drift" —a movement away from relationship, away from the burden-bearing, supportive, illuminating community of Christ. But it's among God's people, as we gather around his light-giving Word, that the flames of our faith are renewed."
—Jon Dennis, Christ and City (page 150-151).
Purchase the book here:
About six months ago I was told about a new little book by Christopher Ash titled Zeal Without Burnout. The book was helpful, practical, and easy to read. Reading the book was like sitting down with a wise counselor applying the truths of God's Word to your own heart. You can purchase the book by clicking here.
Christopher Ash spoke on this topic at the Basics Pastors Conference in 2014 at Parkside Church. Watch it here:
Perhaps you've heard the old adage, "The grass isn't greener on the other side." The point is that things aren't always better somewhere else compared to where you are currently at. I have found that this is true in regards to church.
Many in the church today seem to point a finger at all that is 'wrong' but fail to recognize their own contribution to that wrong (we are all guilty). In fact, I think church members (me included) need to be reminded on a daily basis that the reason their church isn't perfect is because of two reasons:
1. You Go There.
How easy it is to functionally forget this! I say 'functionally' because I think every Christian theologically believes they are a sinner (or at least they should!). Yet, in the moments when we see shortcomings in the church and in the lives of other people, we become theological amnesiacs. We forget what we believe! Self-righteous people have their Ph.D in this. They are quick to point their fingers at others while forgetting what they themselves contribute to the problem! See, self-righteousness begins when we think that the sin outside of us is greater than the sin inside of us. We are all guilty of this and we need to constantly be reminded that our churches are not perfect because we attend!
Self-righteousness begins when we think that the sin outside of us is greater than the sin inside of us.
2. People Like You Go There.
Your church isn't perfect because people just like you attend there: sinners in need of grace. But yet, how easy it is to view others as problems instead of as sinners in need of grace. That problem woman in the church who always gossips can be viewed as a mere problem instead of as a fellow image bearer in desperate need of grace just like you and me. The hyper-critical man who always critiques everything can be viewed as a cancer of the church when in reality he is just a fallen man in need of the rescuing grace of God. Friends, we would do well to remind ourselves that we are not much different from those we look down upon. We are sinners in need of grace who make up an imperfect church. But praise be to God that He readily offers grace to undeserving sinners like you and me.
We would do well to remind ourselves that we are not much different from those we look down upon.
I am a Husband to Clarissa, Lead Pastor Resident at College Park Church in Indianapolis, 'Tweeter' at @brad_merchant, and avid reader of books.