Sunday, April 18, 2010

how to kill a church

Riverview's latest series, "How to Kill a Church", has been kicking my butt. Week two (4/11/2010) was about how to kill a church with your life, and it focused on the hypocrisy all Christians struggle with.

Noel talked about how being raised with Christ (Colossians 3) should PROFOUNDLY affect our lives; how you can TELL what a person believes by what they DO.

Right away, a giant, glaringly obvious question sprang at me:

Do I believe Jesus is enough?

Does my life make it apparent that I believe my Heavenly Father will provide ALL that I need? If someone observed my life, watching my reactions, trying to understand my motives...would they see someone who is dependent on God for strength, sustenance, completion, and provision? Even more-- would they see someone who depends on Him joyfully?

Because yes, my knowledge of God assures me, Jesus is enough. I know this. I accept it as truth. I'd preach this to you all day long. It's BEAUTIFUL.

But I don't know that my life proclaims Him to be a wonderful provider. Complaints, moping, and incessant planning are the most obvious products of this broken area of my life.

[My own hypocrisy. Or struggle, to say the least.]

So I was thinking about this about a week ago, after hearing the teaching on Sunday. And maybe God agrees with me that I need to depend on Him more, because over the next seven days I watched little pieces of my life fall apart.

First-- you know when people describe themselves by saying, "I'm a dreamer" and they sound kinda like a hippie and no one really knows what that means anyway because everyone's a bit of a dreamer? Well, I think I realized I'm a dreamer. And, more accurately, an overly enthusiastic planner. I loooove to try and work out my future. I'm always telling people about the fantastic new plans I have for my major, an internship, a job, a career, etc. I create intricate, perfectly-timed plans in my head on grand schedules; and at the slightest altercation, I re-adjust immediately and make a new perfect plan.

But as of last week, most of the things I like to plan about have been knocked down to become non-issues. The first is school. Under the assumption that a magic federal loan fairy existed, I didn't bother to investigate my options. In my mind, it was all going to work out perfectly. Come to find out, the magic federal loan fairy doesn't cover my agenda, and I have no way to pay for school. So fall will be a season of work for me, and possibly spring as well. I'll go back to school when I can. Going along with this, I have no car or place to live, and zero means to pay for either of those things. My job is shaky, and since I'm going on a required study abroad for the entire summer, I'll be doing nothing but spending until mid-August.

Talk about dependence on His provision. My soul has always needed God, but my bank account has not. Never have I so tangibly been in wait for Him to provide.

And by provide, I don't mean give me what I want to live the ways my selfish heart desires. [Car. Cushy place to live. Great roommates. Tuition. Social life. Savings. Location.]

I am seriously just curious to see what fall has in store for me, because it looks sorta bleak right now. Every human bit of me is singing a death march: you have nothing, you have nothing, you have nothing.

But the little dependence on God I do have says, and KNOWS: that I have EVERYTHING, that I am indeed RICH because I have Christ. That all of the things in this world, including myself, are fading away. That His kingdom is all that will remain. That His power is made perfect in weakness, that when I am weak, then I am strong.

I long for this to be true in what I do, in the way I think, in the way I move through life.

Here are examples of the kind of trust and assurance I want to be a model of :]

James 4:13-15 -- Now listen, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.' Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, 'If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that.'

Philippians 4:11-14 -- I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well-fed or hungry, whether living in hungry or in want. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

1 Peter 4:12-13 -- Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.

Romans 5:2-5 -- We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings,because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character, and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.