10 July, 2014

One of My Pet Peeves

Something that has bothered me for years within the Body of Christ is that when a person is first saved and all excited about what God has done and is doing in their life, the "established" folks in the church want to temper their zeal and excitement for Christ by telling them that they need to wait until they know more about God and His Word before they get involved in the work of the church. To that notion, I say, "Bull hockey!" I'm convinced that most of these "well meaning" (I use that term, tongue firmly planted in cheek) people actually are afraid that these newcomers to Christ and the church will show them up or take over their position in the church.  

Many years ago we had a family get saved that were literally a part of the Chicago mafia. When they got saved, God did some phenomenal things in their lives and they were radically transformed. Yes... they were rough around the edges. Yes, they were far from perfect in their walk. But they were also so excited about all that God was doing in their lives that they were telling everyone they could about Jesus and our church. On most Sunday's they would make 5 or more trips in their car picking up people and bringing them to church. They were literally bringing 25-30 people per Sunday. Rather than be excited about what was happening some of the older, established church folks went to them and told them that they needed to stop this, that they were not strong enough in their faith yet and they were not ready to do this. They succeeded in putting out the fire in these folks and eventually chased them from even attending the church. I'm convinced that the real issue was that the church was only running about 70 at the time and half of them were coming with this family, and they saw their control over the church being threatened. That church eventually closed and was sold.  Gotta wonder what might have been if these folks who "had all the knowledge and understanding would have gotten excited themselves and started inviting others, or at bare minimum encouraging this family. We'll never know what might have been. The sad truth is, those folks who had been at that church for 30 or more years did not have a clue what they were talking about when they told these people they needed to wait. What that family needed was some guidance and discipleship training, but what they got was the wet blanket treatment.  If only those "old timers" really understood what the Word of God has to say. Paul wrote in Philippians 1:6, "Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ." What that verse tells us is that the very moment we receive the Lord Jesus Christ into our hearts, we all become saved and set apart for God's use. Not use for some juncture down the road... but use RIGHT NOW! At this point of salvation, God immediately began to do a good work in us. This good work was initiated by the Holy Spirit and will continue throughout our lives, advancing as we meditate on the word of God, as we walk in love with people and as we walk by faith every day of our lives. This good work in us equips and prepares us for the good work that God intends to do through us. The Holy Spirit is endeavoring to train us to be "Christ-like."  And what did Christ do? He was constantly seeking for those which are lost! You see, God has established certain virtues in our hearts and minds,  and he will empowered to do His works exactly as He wants it done.
The problem is... man has their own agenda, and they want to quench that fire of enthusiasm in that newly born again person. 

It is my sincere prayer and goal as a pastor to help release these newbies in Christ to do the work of Christ, and to equip and train them to do it. Yes, they will make mistakes along the way... but I'd rather see them make a mistake than to sit in a chair or pew and grow cold and lifeless as a Christian like so many others in the church. They are babes in Christ. Babies make messes in the natural, but we don't smother the life out of them. We clean them up and teach them how to do better. This is where the church is missing it. Someone new comes in and is dying to do something for God and we tell them, "not yet... you have to grow up first." If a child grows up sitting and doing nothing... they become disinterested and/or lazy. Same thing in the church.  It is time to release these new converts and allowing them to soar. Hopefully their zeal and enthusiasm will rub off on some of us.  It is my prayer that in my church (yours as well)  that we embrace the same prayer that Paul prayed for the Jewish believers in the book of Hebrews 13:20-21 – "Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen."

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