As many who have followed my “long ride”
journey over the past year-and-a-half know, I began blogging shortly
after my wife and I left the church we had been a part of after
twenty-two years. That decision and what has followed would fill many
books if I had the where with all to take our adventure into that
arena. Suffice it to say, there have been ups and downs and periods of
great clarity along with that foggy feeling that sometimes surrounds us
in our day to day life.
Lately, the journey has taken on new dimensions—almost like the Dylan Thomas verse that says:
The force that through the green fuse drives the flower—we have been driven into many deep places that have brought peace and subsequent reconciliation.
with God is definitely a process that seemingly flows like a river to
the sea which then gets swallowed up by the ocean. Yet even as we
become a part of the great big ocean, we still maintain a very distinct
fingerprint of uniqueness that sets us apart from the rest of the
molecules that make up that great body of water.
Many of my most
revelatory moments come at odd times. Like yesterday, in the shower, I
had the thought about who is in charge of the church. Are the pastors
in charge, or the elders or deacons? Is it the committees that are
appointed for this task or that one?
In our classical
understanding, most of us would say that Christ is in charge of the
church—and in practical theory we would be right in that assumption.
However, in reality we know that what the church looks like today is a
far cry from what we see in the book of Acts. Yet what we see as the
early church in much of Acts is only a spiritual blueprint and not the
actual physical blueprint or manifestation of the Glory of God that was
intended to fill the earth.
I will have to admit, at this point,
that throughout my entire Christian life (since about 1979) I have felt
that what I read about in Acts and what I experienced in my own life
were very much different—and I have never really been able to put my
finger on what it is I felt.
It sometimes takes years for us to
assimilate the information we need in order to put together a picture
of what it is we are missing. This is what has been going on in my life
the past several months—seemingly at an accelerated pace.
In 1 John 2:27 we read: As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you,
and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing
teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as
it has taught you, you abide in Him.
also tells us that it is the traditions of men that have voided the
power of God in our lives and in our respective churches.
having thought about this for a while, I got up in the middle of the
night and read the book of Acts looking specifically for information
about the early church and how it was formed. One striking fact is that
when Paul, etc. wrote letters to the church, it was to “one” church in
“each” city that the letters were addressed. If there were copies made
and sent to the Baptists, Methodists, Charismatics, etc. I saw no
mention of it. So I guess I can surmise that even though the early
Christians met from house to house to study and break bread in small
groups, that each group identified itself with the whole “body” of
believers in that particular area or town/city, etc.
I am not
going to say at this point that I am a bible scholar or even pretend to
understand all of this “church” stuff. What I will be bold enough to
say is this: when Christians are unified in substance and purpose, the
power of God can manifest. I have seen it time and time again in many
of the small groups I have been a part of the past few months. Whether
we call these groups “church” or not, when two or three are gathered in
His name, He is present.
When a group of people trust God and
one another enough to be transparent and real, healing will take place,
love will happen and change will not be something we avoid but rather
Jesus is in charge of the “church” and we need Him to
help us find our way into wholeness and into the lives of those who are
ready for the message that we carry.
As John Piper said: “God is most glorified in me when I am most satisfied in Him.”
are no more days of lack of purpose or perspective—rather days to enjoy
our Father, our Friend and the family that we find ourselves a part of.
That’s a ride worth taking anyday!