How Firm A Foundation?

Luke 6:46-49 states:
"Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I tell you? I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, hears my words, and acts on them. That one is like a man building a house, who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock; when a flood arose, the river burst against that house but could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not act is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the river burst against it, immediately it fell, and great was the ruin of that house."
Interesting that we traditionally look at this scripture passage and use it to say, "your faith must be in Jesus." Although this is a true statement, this is not the point Jesus is making here. What he is stating is that our foundation is not firm if we do not do what God says. True belief produces the actions of Jesus in our lives. My friend Dave asked recently, "What are we doing? Christians get together in worship services, bible studies, etc. But we never seem to actually do anything." I resonate with my friend. When we look at the four gospels we see a Messiah who was on the go. He was walking the land of Palestine, eating with Pharisees, drinking with prostitutes and tax collectors, healing the sick, having conversations with his close friends and disciples, and raising people from the dead. If faith is a more of a life than it is a belief, then our lives say that we do not have faith, we don't really believe the gospel. So, we come back to this question, "What are we doing?" Indeed, "what am I doing?"


Should We Be GETTING From Church? Perhaps, Yes!

What are we getting out of church?I have encountered many people who say that this is the wrong question. They say that it is at the heart of the consumerist church. However, I think there is some validity to the question. Why? People have a deep sense of hunger and yearning in their souls. They want something. They need something. They desire something. The problem is that we try, do and give so many things to try and fill this void. This is the consumerism aspect of it. We have given them consumerism. As with anything, we give a little and they want more. They are thinking we have the answers, so they ask for more of this liquid we call programs. The problem all along is that we don’t know how to give people Jesus, community, and relationship. We as leaders know it exists, or do we? We don’t know how to give people these things. Yet, we know that this is exactly what people need. What are people getting out of church? Nothing but programs. What do they ask for? More programs. What do they really need? Oneness, wholeness—with God and with humanity. If we are not providing these, then we are candy stores. If we are candy stores, then we should give people candy. If we choose to be communities, then we need to give people community. Once they have it, then they can begin to learn the difference between a community and a candy store. However, they have to become a part of the community before we can begin this process.

Two Contrasting Stories To Live Out

This past Sunday, my Sr. High students conversed about two conversing narratives using the idea of poverty as a jumping-off point for the discussion. The first narrative is that of society (American for this conversation although it applies to most societies in some way). The second narrative is that of Jesus. One of the amazing twists in the first narrative (that of society) is that the idea of a different narrative actually existed once. Our American culture tends to believe that at one time in ancient history people lived in harmony with God, one another, and with nature. Then people screwed it all up. Now, we have to look out for ourselves. Survival of the fittest is the game of the day. The lie that is present in this story is that harmony with everything is impossible now, so we should pursue the goals of society—the betterment of one’s self (at all costs). Jesus came into the world proclaiming that this lie is false. He came into the world proclaiming that society can be redeemed, humanity can be healed, harmony with God and unity with one another is possible. And the amazing part of the second narrative is that Jesus said that this story can be lived out in the midst and among people who believe and follow the first (society’s) story. In fact, that is the only place where it can be lived out. Some have taken Jesus’ words and found an isolated place and tried to form a "Christian" community. All attempts at that have failed. Jesus lived among the people in the midst of society. He proclaimed that God’s kingdom had come in the midst of the kingdom of the world.
As we move into the weeks ahead, we are going to explore and converse together about how this is possible. Admittedly, I have more questions than answers. What I do know is that most of living is a shift in perspective, vision, and values. It’s about seeing life, the world, and God differently. It’s about being forgiven and bringing forgiveness. It’s about being healed and bringing healing. Jesus went around bring good news into the lives of the down and out, the poor, the desolate, the sinners, the outcasts, and even the Pharisees and rich. He told them that life isn’t about possessions or morality or whole bodies or any other such thing. Then, he called people to follow him in bringing this message to the world.