Archive for May, 2012

listen to music while you read?  OH KING Just click the link, its my friend’s band Bright City Lights.  It will open up another window and you can switch back to the blog page.

What is our mission?

Since January, when we left, Joy and I have had many times of sickness, joblessness, pains, needs, wants, and also times of greatness, happiness, joy, and last but not least we were awestruck by God’s will.  There is no doubt through it all what our mission is and will be.  Our mission is the same mission any believer has within their reach of their own city, state, country, and planet.  Our mission is not to build churches alone but to build churches with a love to reach people, by means of the Gospel.  The mission of building churches missionally with the Gospel means that  everything is built around one sole (or soul) mission.  This mission is to build a group of believers so blessed by the truth of Jesus and what He did through His life, death, resurrection, and His reign that they can’t contain it themselves.  Our sole mission is to deeply know Jesus and to share everything about Him, including what He has done in our own lives.  This involves being messy, by which we don’t feel comfortable.  Putting Jesus at the heart of the church (the way it is supposed to be) means that we love each other and encourage each other.  This means that when there is a need, we are one through Jesus, and we (the church) do our best to help.  How do we help those among us with needs? Let’s take a look at an example:

When Joy and I got to Denver, life was not exactly the way it should be as a newly wed couple.  Joy was sick like crazy, not to mention she had vocal cord paralyzation.  I was very sick myself and remember getting to the end of myself.  I could not walk through our one bedroom apartment without coughing so hard that I would almost vomit.  We both prayed and new God’s plan but it does not mean that it wasn’t incredibly difficult.  I sent an email to our pastor and would eventually tell him that we were desperate.  I was stuck because we are married and I couldn’t take care of my wife, like she needed, because I was so sick myself.  Through this all the church started stepping in.  We had people cooking meals for us and having us over to their house to pray for us and tell us they want to take care of us.  At our worst moment, men came over and laid their hands on us and prayed.  Tears do not flow from our eyes at this point because we are scared, confused, or wondering what we are supposed to do.  Tears flow from our eyes because Jesus is portrayed in the church in the way they served us.  This does not include the many times people have sent us gifts financially, which I wish I could list here in CAPS LOCK.

This is the very picture of inward bound reactions to the gospel in the church.  This is Jesus Himself, through His Spirit, walking among us.  You can’t tell me this isn’t church.  Jesus would lay His life down for the church.  He knew how crazy it would get with our own perceptions of how “church” should be.  We are so used to a certain way of church in America that I often believe our prideful arrogant ways get in the way of God.  Thank God He is the Almighty Powerful Creator that governs all and rules all.  He set the world in place, spoke creation into being, and now He is the one that sustains it all, even in its sinful condition.  Even through our arrogant American ways, where we have to have a great speaker, band, classes, events, and other draw ins, He is still powerful enough to reach.  Does this mean that we should not try to change to be more like the church of old?  Does this mean that we shouldn’t let the Spirit of our Lord take more prominence rather than take our own ideas of ministry to another level?  I can’t imagine going through the past few months as a member of a typical American church.

The greatest experience of my life until this point was the utter destruction of my heart through many terrible events happening in my life (in my mind) such as my Paw Paw dying, having my wreck, and God bringing to an end a relationship that was not right in His eyes.  I had only been a believer for a couple of years before all of this happening. Life was all so hard to understand.  At this point I was held together by scripture, family, God’s whispers to my soul, and a couple other people along the way.  The church as a whole, was not a part of this process.  The people along the way, as talked about previously, were people that individually would reach out.  Those people know who they are because even though I have not seen them in a couple years, they are still a part of my life.  The people “along the way” were the church that I knew.  These people would pray with me and show me scripture as I prepared to officiate my Paw Paw’s funeral.  These people would take me to eat whenever my heart was so much in despair that it was hard to be around anyone.  I wanted to seclude myself and cry.  My heart was so heavy, but I remember being taken to BJ’s Brewhouse for some food and more importantly company.  What about when I got a text saying, “Your Paw is getting worked on by the doctors and may not make it through the day.”, and being reminded during that church service to keep singing to the One who holds life in His hands?   The people “along the way” are the church and God is showing that to me now.  What if the American church were only made of “the people along the way”?  The people along the way aren’t just serving in one way.  They (the church) are serving through their own gifts by which God has given them.  They are serving through messiness because they know they have nothing to do with themselves being saved because we are all too jacked up to do that.

We all came together because God has made us righteous in His eyes through His Son Jesus dying on a cross and rising.  There is nothing else to church.  If that is left out of our actions, our planning, or our living together “in community” then we are just poking people along to appease their emotions into believing everything is ok.  I hate that.  If I had to pick between the messiness of being a true believer going through alot of crap with other true believers going through crap or being a true believer living in society where everything is a facade…. I pick pain and true relationships through Jesus every time.  Our mission remains the same and we have to change the way we live for ourselves.  Our mission is to glorify God in life where we are through recognizing our service to Jesus displays through serving people in truth, His words, His Spirit, and through getting messy (living life together, praying for one another, struggling with each other, joining in Joy with each other, and last but not least holding each other accountable to a Holy God).  Our mission to glorify God is led by the Holy Spirit to worship Him in our daily actions.  Our mission is to listen to Him because He is over everything and through His power He gives us strength to walk together to reach out.

Living missionally will always mean that Jesus death, burial, resurrection, and reign are the at the core and it is not about us.  My secret is that I have always sucked at serving.  Its not easy to live missionally.  We will always struggle to do so because God designed us to live this way in His perfection before we screwed it up with sin.  Adam and Eve walked in perfect community with God and each other before sin arrived.  Now community has become an area that lacks because of selfishness, pride, arrogance, hurt, unwillingness to be vulnerable, trust issues, wrong motives, and just pure sin.  The only way for true community to happen is through Jesus.  The only ways to live the way that I have written about is through the cross. So pray to love the Lord in ways that it changes our walk with the Lord.  If we do not sacrifice our own pride, arrogance, motives, trust, vulnerabilities, and being hurt to the Lord then we just get a crusty shell of a church with good music, preaching, and shallow people to go along with it.  Sorry for the shock part of what I am about to say but I can’t see a true believer walking by themselves, or even in their own groups, to the truth of the gospel without giving up on themselves.  Not a thing happens when we are only about ourselves, struggling in  seclusion with our sin.  I don’t want to be a part of a “church” that is about a building, seeing each other only on Sundays, and not giving a crap when we walk out of the doors.  I want to be a part of a church where people walk in accordance to scripture that weeps over the lost, the sins keeping us all from a clearer picture of God, and wanting more of Him.

Building churches around anything less than Jesus death, burial, resurrection, and reign is plaguing our society in America and pastors in their suit and ties or their metrosexual, hip dress, don’t give a crap.  It doesn’t matter who we are, our mission remains the same.  Quit building church buildings, places to be shallow and emotional, places where true community is left out, but are cool to go to because culturally they are relevant but missing the power of Jesus.  Quit building churches that are full of only tradition where we have to wear certain clothes to get in.  Stop making people feel like there is an admission to be a part of church because of the way we handle the worship act of tithing.  Pastors quit deriving your message from how you can get shock an awe from people and let the word of God change people.  Pastors stop being someone that is held up on a pedestal as if you are unable to be unreached because last time I checked scripture tells us you are held to a higher level of accountability.  This higher accountability means that sin in your life needs to be gotten out.  Stop looking at porn and then preaching your Sunday message the next day.  Let Jesus actions and His reigning be a part of everything.

People of the church, quit living for yourself but give freely to those around you.  Be the “people along the way.”  Have a heart for the needy, the people on the streets, and those that are confused about what scripture really says.  Pray for a heart that is so changed by scripture and God’s word that you cannot stay the same.  Pray for the ability to pray more.  Lift each other up in prayer.  Lets stop buying so much crap for ourselves and help other people that have kids and not enough money to keep food on their table.  Let’s take people into our house and pray with them.  Let’s just live among people and be people that actually look as if Jesus saved us.  There are alot of people in the world that know nothing of Jesus and the change He has done for us (believers).  There are people doing great things for others that do not know Jesus at all, yet the ones that know truth and have been “changed” have nothing to do with other people.  Lets give a crap because Jesus died for us and will always be there to help us.  Have hope in the Jesus that died, was buried, rose, and now rules over EVERYTHING.  Live on those truths and only those truths. Let the gospel soak in to everything you do just like red Kool-aid on a white T-shirt.

This is a call out to everyone that is a true believer.  This is a call out to those that read scripture and see what church really is.  This is for the “people along the way.”  This won’t be easy, nor will you ever quit being attacked.  People won’t like you for what you are doing.  Truth hurts sometimes.  Band up with the other people serving in the same mission and be the “people along the way” together.  Don’t derive your power from them, or yourself, but from a Creator that loves you.  Encourage each other through His power and truths that are found in His word.  Be willing to be messy and get rid of idols together.  Lift only the Lord up and serve Him always.  This is a message for everyone, including me.  Preach the gospel to yourselves and then to other people.  Jesus is the only hope, so there is no other missions beyond serving through Him.

Love you and hope grammatical errors don’t get in the way of the message behind this blog.
Brad

This is me praying over people walking into a “church” which has nothing to do with Christ but rather tradition, power, and no community.

Leeland with Brandon Heath

Posted: May 31, 2012 in Uncategorized