I love the church. Period. Full stop.
Has the church frustrated me? yes
Has the church hurt me? yes
Has the church made me want to never darken the door again? yes
Does the church get it wrong? yes
Is she sometimes blind, deaf and dumb? yes
I love the church with all my heart and I won’t stop seeking her out and spending time with her. The church is the bride of Christ and if I love Jesus I had better love his bride.
If I don’t love the church I don’t love me, I don’t love you, that is if you and I claim to be part of the body of Christ. We are the church. We are the bride. We are the frustrating, hurtful, wrong, blind, dear and dumb church. We ARE that. We are a disaster.
Jesus is coming back for his bride and he is getting her ready, and when he comes for her she will be spotless, glorious and dressed in white with all eyes on her and the love of the bridegroom reflected in her eyes. We are destined for glory.
I want to be that bride. I am that bride. You are that bride. But we’re a long way from glorious, how do we get the bride ready?
How, when you’ve been hurt, broken, cast aside, rejected and wounded by that bride do we go be part of her?
We must be friends of the bridegroom. We must love the church! We don’t want her looking bad when the groom shows up and we certainly don’t want to be the one flinging mud on the bride on her wedding day.
The friends of the bridegroom prepare the bride for her day. WE make her glorious, we bring the scented perfumes and oils, we do her hair and ensure her dress is the brightest white. We serve her needs. We are the church.
A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of being at Break Forth One. One God. One Church. One Weekend. I was part of the One team, serving in registration, Kelly was on the prayer team. All those volunteers were called the One team (we were friends of the bridegroom). We came from all over, different churches, different backgrounds, different colors, genders, ages and we were one. We were there with one purpose, to serve the body, the bride. It was glorious!
The speakers were different colors, different genders, different countries. Yet they all spoke a message that went to the heart of the church.
Here is a jumble of points that those servants spoke over us. It is how we link arms, be one and be the bride.
- Remember that you may have been delayed, but you haven’t been denied – what are you called to? Go do it, the church needs you to be who you were meant to be!
- Fight back with joy! Rejoice when it makes no sense (Hab 3:17-18) one square inch at a time.
- Remain suspicious that God is up to something good – ALL things WILL work together for good for those who are called…You are called.
- The relationship is more important than rules.
- Worship is more important than the music used.
- Theology is more important than tradition.
- #1 place where women should be flourishing is IN the church
- The first sent one after the resurrection was a woman! Jesus spoke to Mary and told her, “Go tell EVERYONE what you have seen.” – He was a holy subversive and we need to follow his example!
- If you do today what others won’t, you can do tomorrow what others can’t.
- You are destined for impact.
- Your pain makes you powerful.
- Your desires can keep you from your destiny. (1Pet 2: 9-11) – I BEG you to stay away from worldly lusts which war for your soul…
- Don’t fit in! Be peculiar! If you’re fitting in you may be doing it wrong!!
- You’ll see more of what you stare at.
- If you want to make something look small, look at something bigger! Lift your eyes!!
- All the pain, all the work, all the expense, all of it will be worth it when our crown gets here!!!
- We in the church are called to be farmers, athletes, and soldiers – we need to get up early, work hard, be diligent and remember that we’re in a war!!
- Isaiah 61:1 – our what, why and how!!
If one of those hit your heart, let’s talk about it.
If you’re thinking of walking away from the church, please don’t, we know we’re not perfect and get it wrong, often, but won’t you please stay, the bride needs to get ready.