I met Sheri for lunch last week. We had a nice time; she introduced me to her co-workers. She is employed at ST. Marks Methodist Church. Their Pastor is a nice enough man, Music Minister seems ok. Their associate Pastor and Student Minister were both women. First time for me… having some one other than a man introduce themselves to me that way. Because of that, I am spending time in research and prayer about that. Just when I think I have that figured out, Beth Moore and Ann Graham Lutz smack me with the Word. But that is not the subject of this note.
It is about a 20-30 minute drive, depending on what time of the day you leave home. The area where she works is very busy. Within a mile of her place of employment, in one direction, I counted 6 or 7 church buildings all of different denominations. On one side of Six Forks Road were the following Churches:
- ST. Paul (I think) Lutheran Church
- Church of Christ
- Trinity Baptist Church (representing)
- Six Forks Presbyterian Church
- ST. Marks Methodist Church
- Free Will Baptist Church
And right in the middle of these, just like it has been there for years, right across from the Baptist church, the Mormon Temple.
All are descent-sized churches. Nice buildings, nice signs, some with catchy slogans some not. The Baptist Church is in a building program. So their sign said something about “come see the excitement.”
I used to think that denominations were like preferences to the car they drove. They all look different, but essentially they get you to where you are going… unless you have a 93 Jeep. (The beast as I call her, still tests my faith) Then it is like a gamble each time you get in… She whispers to me, “you feel lucky today?” Anyway, some like Fords, some like Chevy, some Dodge, some SUV’s, others like small. But basically at their core, they work the same way. Some are just more comfortable and run faster than others. Some have air some don’t. Different people like different things.
At Her core all Churches, the True Bride, are the same. She is the vehicle Jesus Christ has chosen to reflect Him and use to express His love and holiness. She stands tall in the midst of a twisted and ugly culture. She does not need to be made to look like or act like a Fortune 500 company with good business sense. She still uses words like “sin” and “faith alone”. She still shocks the world with Her stance on political and moral issues. Her ideals have not changes with the changing of the times. The problem with Her today is not that She is too traditional, but that She is not traditional enough. Remember that “Rock” Jesus told Peter He was going to build His Church on? It was a statement proclaiming that Jesus is the Son of God, the Christ, the Anointed One, and the Messiah. He’s the One who would deliver us from our sinful and destitute state of hopelessness.
So. Who is right? Depends on who you ask. We all seem to be trying to get Jesus to choose us to sit on His right and left. Actually, we have become enslaved to a clock that beeps at noon. After all we have to get to the diner.
We fail to think of Kingdom building. So we are set up like neighborhoods. Certain people live in certain places based on their income and status. We need more color and a true representation of the community involved in our services.
The statement must be proclaimed! Churches are not to line up as in a contest to see who has the best carpet, loudest organ, most in their choir, biggest building! Through every thing that is said and done in the name of the Bride of Christ, The Church must scream from the top of Her lungs and in every act of love and service, “Jesus is Lord! He alone is worthy!”
The Reformation began because the Bride got away from these 5 essentials.
- Sola Scriptura – Scripture alone
- Solus Christus – Christ alone
- Sola Gratia – Grace alone
- Sola Fide – Faith alone
- Soli Deo Gloria – For the Glory of God alone
Jesus knows His true bride. He is not holding auditions to get His favor. He is building His Church. He wants you to be involved. He wants you to scream the Zion Noiz. He wants you to reflect Him.
I pray for you the same zeal and passion that sent Jesus to the cross to lay His life down for the glory of the Father and salvation for His children. “may the Lord be ever before you.”