Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Here's the church; Here's the steeple...

Remember when you were a kid and you would play that little game using your fingers to tell the story - “Here’s the church, here’s the steeple, open the doors and see all the people.” I use to love that one. But that’s because as a kid I fell in love with the local church.

To say that my family was at church every time the doors were open is an understatement. My Grandpa was a pastor. And though my dad wasn’t a pastor, he was literally, no exaggeration, on every board and committee in the church and was part of any and every ministry in the church as well. But not only that, he and my mom were also the church janitors. So not only was I at the church every time the doors were open, I was at the church even when the doors were locked. I’m serious. Out of the 7 nights in a week, we would easily be at church at least 5 of those 7 evenings.

Now a lot of kids would have grown tired of being at church that much. Not me. I grew to love being in the church. You didn’t have to twist my arm as a kid to go to church. I would be the first one in the family dressed and ready to walk out the door. And as I went into my teen years, that never changed. I remember when I was in Jr High School, I would come home after school, take my dad’s key to the church, with his permission of course, and go up to the church to do my homework. I loved being in the church, even when it was only me there. I loved to take my trumpet up and practice it in the church sanctuary. And I loved to stand behind that big brown pulpit and pretend that I was preaching. I loved being in church.

And when I went away to college, that passion for the church didn’t diminish. In fact, it expanded. After spending 4 years sitting under the ministry of Dr Jerry Falwell at Liberty University, my passion grew from just loving being in church to wanting to see God use the church to reach as many people as possible for Christ. You see, there’s a difference. A lot of people love to be in church but they lack a passion to see the church grow. That is what I appreciated most about my 4 years at Liberty. God used those years to take my passion from simply loving being in church to deeply desiring to see God use the church to reach people and to be part of that happening.

And to this day that passion that I caught in college continues to grow within me and drive me. I am not just passionate about being in the church. That’s not enough to satisfy my longing. My passion is to see God use the church to do exactly what he called the church to do – meet as many people as possible where they are and help move them to where He wants them to be.

This passion grows within me the more I read my Bible. In fact, go grab your Bible and open it to the Gospel of Luke which is the third book of the New Testament – Matthew, Mark then Luke. If you don’t have your Bible, I will write out this passage below so you can read it. Go to chapter 16…Luke chapter 16. Begin reading in verse 20. Jesus is telling a very real story. We know it’s real because He uses a real name. It’s about a poor beggar named Lazarus who dies and goes to paradise and a wicked rich man who dies and goes to hell. Start reading in verse 20.

“And a poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gate (speaking of the gate of the rich man), covered with sores and longing to be fed with the crumbs which were falling from the rich man’s table; beside, even the dogs were coming and licking his sores. Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried. In Hades (which is another word for hell) he lifted up his eyes, (now would you underline this next phrase either in your Bibles or your programs) being in torment and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in (now underline the rest of the verse, would you?) agony in this flame.’”

Read part two tomorrow!

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