Church Experience #32 – August 21, 2011
Hephzibah Ministries – Chattanooga, TN
Starting with a Sermon
In the midst of attending fifty different churches in 2011, I have also gone through daily and weekly personal reflection in an attempt to evaluate my walk in faith to live for my Savior, Jesus Christ. I have been intentional this year, more so than I ever have before, to focus on the eternal rather than the here and now. That is not to say that my present circumstances and actions are not important, but my hope is that I can think eternally in order to act immediately (wow, I like that…that may be my new catch phrase, “think eternally in order to act immediately”). I want to spend as much of my time, energy, and resources as I can investing in things that will enrich the lives of those around me rather than doing things that we, as Americans, often end up consumed by such as entertaining ourselves, trying to gain wealth, buying new toys, and chasing notoriety. I have faith that I will share in the inheritance of eternal life in the Kingdom of God, so earthly pursuits of luxury and comfort serve only as a distraction to what is to come next. I have recently read two books that have helped me along in my personal reflections and eternal focus – “The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven“, by Kevin and Alex Malarkey, and “Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream“, by David Platt. These books have helped me to pay more attention to the reality of unseen forces at work in the world around us and how the forces of darkness are intertwined with the urges that drive us toward the pursuits of luxury and comfort. I have always had a sense of how American churches have fallen so easily into the snare of these fleshly pursuits and have never felt fully comfortable connecting my spiritual life to one of them for fear that I would also begin feeding into the problem. The truth of the matter is that we are the Church. An amazing and humbling realization is that as the Church, we are the bride of Christ. We are united with Christ as one, and with this blessing comes responsibility. We are called to represent Christ to this world in order to bring glory and honor to Him as Head of the Church and to invite all who will believe in Jesus to come into the same covenant that we have entered into. So the question is…how well are we representing our Lord? Can the world see that we are different? Can they see Christ in us or do we look just like them? Let me get away from this mini-sermon and move on to the church visit I had this week and you might be able to make some connections.