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"Doing" Church or Being Church?


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#1 Thinker

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Posted 04 June 2016 - 04:53 AM

For far too long, what we speak of as "going to church" has become "a mindset," without Scriptural warrant! If we are born again, we don't go to church; we are the church! This "mindset" has consequences. One result is that we settle for being observers, instead of functioning as the church. We may even think that participating in the routine is fulfilling our responsibility. That isn't necessarily so! Are we engaged in a habit that requires or prompts little thought? Could it be that we think being excited and/or entertained is worship? Could it even be that listening carefully to the message is actually all that is expected of us? When we sing the hymns, is it only good music that moves us and that's enough? If we are being church, it may well demand some serious changes. As we begin a service, let us prayerfully seek God's Presence in our gathering. As we continue, let's exalt Jesus in our hearts and in the service. Let's make giving an act of gratitude and worship, praying that it will enable more to hear the gospel. Let's identify with the messages in the hymns. Let's prayerfully worship God. When we listen, really listen, to the message, may we not settle for it to be interesting and true; may we let it change us to be more like Him. When we set ourselves to do these things we will be "being" church! In other words: "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord" (Colossians 3:16). If we can internalize the words of this hymn by Kenneth Lorne Cober entitled, "Renew thy Church, Her Ministries Restore," we will have moved much closer to "being" church. Be challenged: "Renew Your church, our ministries restore: both to serve and adore. Make us again as salt throughout the land, and as light from a stand. 'Mid somber shadows of the night, where greed and hatreds spread their blight, O send us forth with power endued, help us, Lord, be renewed. Teach us Your Word, reveal its Truth divine, on our path let it shine; tell of Your works, Your mighty acts of grace, from each page show Your face. As You have loved us, sent Your Son, and our salvation now is won, O let our hearts with love be stirred, help us, Lord, know Your Word. Teach us to pray, for You are ever near, Your still voice let us hear. Our souls are restless till they rest in You, this the goal we pursue. Before Your presence keep us still that we may find for us Your will, and seek Your guidance every day, teach us, Lord, how to pray. Teach us to love, with strength of heart and mind, each and all, humankind; break down old walls of prejudice and hate, leave us not to our fate. As You have loved and given Your life to end hostility and strife, O share Your grace from Heaven above, teach us, Lord, how to love." Selah! When Jesus built the church, He intended that it be the church, a living, breathing, vital expression of Himself! Thinker (Ron)
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#2 Candice

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Posted 04 June 2016 - 10:40 AM

What is the church? Who is the church?  I believe that has to be answered first.


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#3 Thinker

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Posted 05 June 2016 - 02:38 AM

The Church is Jesus' Spiritual body, a Spiritual connection with, and extension of, Himself. However, that body is comprised only of those who have experienced genuine conversion. Thinker (Ron)
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#4 ADVRider

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Posted 06 June 2016 - 03:20 PM

Ron,

 

Interesting points you have raised. Since you mention the "service," I think a good follow-up question would be, Is the weekly service, church? Restated, if the Christians are the church, would it be a dis-service (pun intended) to reduce the Christian expression only or even mainly to the weekly service? Personally, I see the church as a 24/7 thing while the weekly gathering, though important, is only a slice of what the church is, another expression, if you will. For many, the building and what takes place for an hour and half per week is considered as being church. I think we are saying much the same thing, but I am just adding the nuance that even a great and powerful service still is not the full expression of the life of the believer. It's what happens Monday-Saturday as well. 


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#5 Thinker

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Posted 10 June 2016 - 04:29 AM

The "service" is just one facet of Christ's body expressing itself in corporate worship. His Word, studied and applied, is another function of His body. Likewise, serious prayer, as contrasted with "doing our duty." Giving cheerfully, loving, worshiping, ministering to each other, meeting needs, growing, witnessing, serving, etc. are some more of these functions. His body should be Spiritually doing what our human bodies should be doing physically. This would be exercise, healthy diet, cleanliness, responsible behavior, studying, learning, growing, working, resting, etc. to mention a few things. Thinker (Ron)
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#6 Pilgrim1939

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Posted 10 June 2016 - 06:23 AM

The "service" is just one facet of Christ's body expressing itself in corporate worship. His Word, studied and applied, is another function of His body. Likewise, serious prayer, as contrasted with "doing our duty." Giving cheerfully, loving, worshiping, ministering to each other, meeting needs, growing, witnessing, serving, etc. are some more of these functions. His body should be Spiritually doing what our human bodies should be doing physically. This would be exercise, healthy diet, cleanliness, responsible behavior, studying, learning, growing, working, resting, etc. to mention a few things. Thinker (Ron)



#7 Pilgrim1939

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Posted 10 June 2016 - 06:24 AM


Well said Thinker!
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#8 radar

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Posted 11 June 2016 - 10:57 AM

Casting Crowns wrote a song a few years ago, "If We Are The Body".....
Lyrics

It's crowded in worship today
As she slips in trying to fade into the faces
The girls teasing laughter is carrying farther than they know
Farther than they know

But if we are the body
Why aren't His arms reaching?
Why aren't His hands healing?
Why aren't His words teaching?
And if we are the body
Why aren't His feet going?
Why is His love not showing them there is a way?
There is a way, there is a way

A traveler is far away from home
He sheds his coat and quietly sinks into the back row
The weight of their judgmental glances
Tells him that his chances are better out on the road

But if we are the body
Why aren't His arms reaching?
Why aren't His hands healing?
Why aren't His words teaching?
And if we are the body
Why aren't His feet going?
Why is His love not showing them there is a way?

Jesus paid much too high a price
For us to pick and choose who should come

And we are the body of Christ
But if we are the body
Why aren't His arms reaching?
Why aren't His hands healing?
Why aren't His words teaching?
And if we are the body
Why aren't His feet going?
Why is His love not showing them there is a way?
Jesus is the way
Jesus is the way
we are His hands
We are His feet
We are His body
Jesus is the way

I came to saving faith in a fellowship of believers that has forgotten their first
love. I had been with them for twenty years and learned much about Jesus. After
a terrible tragedy two years ago, I was asked at the last minute to preach when a
lady who was running the fellowship after our preacher became incapacitated
due to an accident which gave him amnesia. She could not get in touch with a
former lesbian who had now repented and come to Christ to come and give her
testimony the fourth time in two months, flogging dead works instead of what was
the meat and taters night. I agreed, being instant in season, and went straight for
Revelation 2, the Church of Ephesus, having only five minutes to prepare, which
was actually a prayer to the Holy Spirit as to what HE wanted to have said, the
preparation having been done the years and month's previous to this open door of
opportunity. I had heard God's call when our preacher was struck down. I came
off the bench (pew siting) and became active in the church. God had me come
into a sustainable source of income, and the people who had been supporting one
of the two ministries we had were driven away or removed by God, and this allowed me to support and become the director of the homeless mission which is still bearing much fruit as it was kept by God's power, with ugly church politics and power struggle out of that place, till now that mission has more attendance than our Sunday morning meeting.

Back to the preaching, I closed that particular meeting
with the prayer of repentance of Daniel 9. I was not asked to preach no more.
God had me leave that fellowship for a while after I preached the only message I
have preached in a "formal" setting and it was a hard, salted word, really out of
character for the person I had been, but after some time passed visiting another
fellowship that I liked a lot, God wanted me to go back to my old fellowship, not to
judge, not to preach, not to teach, but to be a right example of the body. I was
not real happy with that and argued in vain to God that I was not being fed there.
He made it clear, it was my assignment, and knowing the fear of the Lord, I
obeyed and went back. But God did allow to me to visit other "church"
fellowships during that time, not being into the bondage of "where were you the
past few Sundays?" My reply would be "Thanks for asking, but if you were really
interested, you had my number all this time and didn't call to ask, and I would
have told you." I was never questioned that way again.

The church fellowship I had attended after I was driven off ( yes, I was driven
away, my teaching position pulled at the 2nd ministry, and I was told I was not
allowed on those grounds), that particular church fellowship wanted me to
"Covenant" with the church and sign a legalistic contract with them. I countered,
we are all of the body, and that Jesus told us to let our yes be yes and no be no
and anything further would be sin. I had just heard a series of preaching on compassion and covenants by my old preacher before he was struck down at the old fellowship. His reason for for this series of sermons was to drum up support for the ministries after the two of us who did the mule work had worked ourselves into heat exhaustion and my doctor warned me that I was too old and my health could not sustain that type of work without permanently damaging my body. Our old preacher then wanted to get a list of volunteers and we put down a set of hours we could work. He then wanted us to sign a covenant contract to work. I understood the significance of this and since there were younger believers, who in the cheer leading moment, were ready to enter into a promise with God without knowing the seriousness of the oath they were about to take, I raised the objection that this was sounding like an oath and I was remembering the warning given in Ecclesiastes 5.  It is reminiscent of the topic on this forum about preachers who want to be all inclusive with the communion by inviting non believers or unrepentant sinners to the Lord's table and ignoring the clear warnings of scripture of what the consequences will be for doing this
without circumspect introspection and preparation for the communion. It was
shortly thereafter that our preacher was struck down, and his son took on the
preaching duties, while a power struggle ensued between two woman who wanted
to run the day to day ministry operations. I can't fault the wife of our preacher
(he did not like the term pastor, although he operated with that gift for the
fellowship meetings Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights), the preacher's wife
had a really bad back and was dealing with the day to day struggle of learning to
live with a complete stranger caused by the amnesia, which also took away the
knowledge of God and the bible that my preacher had spent 30 years learning.
I know this is long and thank you for bearing my burden and bearing with me an
hour, but Thinker, you did as you are wont, and that is, it made me think of the
trials, tribulations and victory in Jesus that I have been through in the past year.
Odd sidebar, I like to get on the bible bus with Dr Vernon McGee when I go and
work out to maintain the temple of God. I heard him say that he during his life, he
had two major operations and some deep trials that God brought him through as
Dr McGee relates that God still had more work for him to do, and he was happy
to stay on this earth a little while longer to do it and thanked God. That resonated
with me because last year was a terrible fiery trial. I first got norovirus in March
that turned to Sepsis, and that nearly killed me and left me with permanent
kidney damage. I then lost my mind during the summer and early fall, tormented
like a wild beast that is recounted of King Nebuchadnezzar for seven years, except
mine was 7 months before the doctors came up with a right medication to restore
balance to my mind. I hung onto God with all that I had, and lamented as never
before my sins. God is faithful and has me in a right mind today. The next month
after my mind went, I had to have a double bypass as I had what was called the
classic window maker, a 95% blocker artery in my heart. So, on Halloween, I
went into surgery to correct this, and that was when I was given TWO heart
operations! It was definitely renewal, revival and transformation. I got on board
with Cardiac rehab, eating right and exercising and have found a wholeness and
wellness of body, soul and spirit. I thought about what Dr McGee had said
happened in his life and realized I had all that happen in one year! I check into this forum from time to time here, but lately there has been an uptick in activity, and just like visiting churches, It was good to see old friends here again!

Thank you for your time, and thank you Thinker for the provoking posts that got
me thinking of were I had been and where I am today! Praise God!

Brother Radar


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"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."


#9 Charles Miles

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Posted 11 June 2016 - 05:44 PM

Brother Radar, Sounds as if God is working in your life to do something with you. May God continue to bless and strengthen you. We all often wonder what certain trials are all about, but trusting in Him is always the correct thing to do.
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#10 Ginger

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Posted 23 June 2016 - 05:55 AM

Reading the posts here has been a blessing. 

Many people no longer go to church and people can think and say whatever they will.  I keep my mind thinking "God KNOWS" and try to think of individuals and what is loving and also real about situations, again coming to "God KNOWS" because I know I can get into having an opinion and completely sidestep asking God to help me to focus on Him and His word asking what Scripture may be food for the moment. 

 

Basically I'm very thankful to see some posts by folks who've been posting for a long time and also think of those who've not posted for a long time.  God KNOWS each of our hearts and minds and all I know is I do miss the people who used to post and haven't posted for so long.

 

God bless each person who posted and may we all share as the LORD would have us to share.  I think of a brother who's initials are KB and ask the LORD to Keep Blessing him and that we will each come back and post if only to say hi and be thankful to the Lord for saving us and keeping us day by day come what may.

 

Well, reckon I've rambled on long enough and will ask the Lord have the Holy Spirit help me to pray for all the folks who have been here and shared be it a current share or a long ago share.  May we think of one another and share as we are able. 

 

Thanking all of you for sharing.

 

In HIs grace and tender mercies,

Ginger

 

1Th 5:18  In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.


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