I am sorry that I haven't written for a while but... I didn't want to.
Now I do.
I have been thinking about what the church is about and what it hasn't been about. Redemption and worship.
The place that Jesus calls us to is redemption. The place that God, the creator calls us to is worship. And the Spirit leads us in both.
When the worship service is about self gratification and the kind of entertainment it has been about for the past 100 or more years it loses it depth. When what we do is reinforce the position and place of the institution and not the restore 'least of these' to their place in the Kingdom, we lose its heart.
"OK Tony, that is enough of the putting down of the church blogs! Can't you write about anything else?"
No, because that is what I do. You can go to any other blog on Blogger and find some better blogs, smarter blogs, historical blogs, prettier blogs, more porn blogs, etc...
This one is what I have been thinking about all summer. For what are we created? Genesis 2:15 says, "The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it." Place and purpose. That what we are about, place and purpose. In relationship, we are placed in a place to do God's purpose. Worship. Redemption.
That what the garden work is about. Working to keep its God purpose of life and restoring, or redeeming it, to continually bring people back into the place and purpose of the garden. It is more than being green..
Ok, but where does the church entertain? In its format. When the local church look to calls a pastor, they ask for his/her sermon tapes, look at the size of the church, go to the service. If they like the pastor, they call him/her. If they don't, on to the next. We look at the theology, style, haircut, robe, etc. John the Baptist would never make it today. Camel hair clothes? A diet of locust and honey? We are not inviting his wife to the potluck, that is for sure! But yet people came to see him to be redeemed. Is there a RQ (Redemption Quotient)? Not a saved quotient but a move from outside the relationship with God to a walking relationship? I like how Genesis 3 tells of the walks with God in the "cool of the day..." I see so many pictures in my mind of walking with God in conversation. It starts with wonder. We get the heart of the message as well as the message in those walks. More than just theme for the summer, but the focus of the day... of the life. This is greater that just a good theology, or academic understanding of God, but a deep intimacy. Intimacy fulfills the heart much more than entertainment. Entertainment takes up space, intimacy occupies the space. There is worship in intimacy, focus on the love of your life, soul, and heart.
Understanding the correlation between worship and redemption is huge. The Savior becomes a heart name more than just a lyric. When one is brought back into relationship with the Creator through the actions of the Savior, our heart is continually thankful, focused, unified. My dad's friend had an heart operation by a very skilled surgeon and it saved his life. In the conversation that I overheard as a child this man went on and on about this surgeon and how much he owed him everything. Is this how I feel about Jesus? I owe him everything? Or do I put my criteria on how I want to worship Him instead of lavishing my affections, trust, etc on Him.
This was a stream of consciousness and not a teaching...