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My Daily Life and Thoughts while in San Diego | List of Best Posts
This blog is where I express myself to the world or at least to those who might stop by to read what I post . Maybe God will use what I post (I am a Christian and this blog will have a most decidedly Christian bent to it) to good effect in the lives of my readers.

I may turn some of my posts into a book. I may cease blogging here altogether. Who knows. But for now..I am content to post away in this, my own little corner of the world.

Rather than reading through my now lengthy list of posts you may wish to read what I consider to be my very best posts or you can just read the posts that deal with a single subject category that might interest you.

Please know that I am open to any input on any topic I write about. If you have something to say about anything you see written here please....feel free to speak up in the form of leaving a comment or sending me a PM (private message).

And if you are in San Diego and wish to meet the one and only Carlos (that's me )...drop me a private message. I always enjoy meeting one of my readers!



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What I have been thinking about before the Lord these last few days...

Posted 10-08-2009 at 02:39 PM by carlos123

In this last week or so I have come to an impasse in my Christian life.

The small home group that I have been involved with in recent months is just not working out. I don't mean to say that the people there are not great folks. They are. They are some of the few Christians I have ever met who have been willing to put their faith where their mouth is and do something to help one another with needs that each might have in their lives. It's been wonderful to behold that and I am thankful for the fellowship that I have had with them and hope to continue to have from time to time.

But as wonderful as some of that fellowship has been at times...it's not all that God wants. It falls short of being all that He wants the Church to be.

I know that we all fall short. Every church does. But I am talking about falling short in something that should not be.

Something we can as Christians do something about but generally don't.

This small group is yet one more Christian group where relationships take a back seat to ministry activities. Where the focus is on building ministry opportunities for members not building relationships among those members.

What I mean is that from a relationship building perspective it is sometimes best to not read the Bible together and instead to go have a burger with someone at a nearby burger joint. It is sometimes better to not even attend a Sunday gathering and instead go hiking.

Spiritual activities are things that the Lord calls us to do together but the glue that holds us together is, or should be, relationship with Him expressed in our relationship with one another.

Relationship! Not ministry. Not witnessing. Not even what we believe about various Christian topics. It's relationship!

If I have a relationship with someone the Lord can use me at an appropriate time to do all the above and more into a person's life. If I have no relationship these things will not be enough to keep a person growing in their relationship with God.

Jesus Christ had relationship with his twelve disciples. He taught them through the ongoing relationship He had with them. They in turn had relationship with each other and with still others who in turn continued to express God's love to each other.

That is what built the New Testament Church. God's love expressing itself through the Body to it's members. To love someone takes commitment and sacrifice and time. It takes a willingness to get involved in and with their lives. To make their pains our own. Their joys ours. It takes a willingness to consider the needs of others our own and to act accordingly.

God's kind of love attracts people to Him through those willing to express it. A lack of it causes one's to continue to look elsewhere for the kind of love that only God can produce in the Body.

The kind of love that God wants to inspire in the Body is an all encompassing love. An all consuming love for Him expressed in our willingness to lay down our lives for each other as He laid down His life for us.

It is a rare thing these days.

But it is ultimately what I want to see happen in the Body.

The problem is I just don't see it. I see the Church programs and ministries and meetings and bible studies and all manner of other Christian activity and while much of it may perhaps be done in love...I personally do not see the love of God operating through it to reach me in a personal way.

People in the Church are just not willing to get involved in my life. I mean really involved. And when I try to get involved in theirs...they are too busy or otherwise occupied.

With the result that I am left with programs and spiritual activities and other Christian things devoid of the personal kind of love that God wants me to experience in the Body and to give to others.

When I try to express that kind of love to others, to get involved in real relationship with them as individuals I constantly bump up against the notion, perhaps unspoken but nevertheless there, that we should rather be focused on being involved in programs and ministries and this or that. That relationship is too time consuming. That it is too messy. That it does not fit in with our way of doing Church. And that this is just the way it is.

This should not be.

When I say that I am at an impasse I mean that I honestly don't know what to do about it. I see what God wants of the Church. It is not there. And I remain as always a round hole trying to fit in to a square Church practice where the all embracing nature of God's love is missing. Where the Church settles for superficiality and calls that love.

So if what I perceive is accurate with respect to the state of things what is the problem?

In a word...discipleship. Of a kind that makes people true disciples of Jesus Christ. Jesus said to go and make disciples. Not go and build church buildings, create ministry programs, and all manner of other things the Church of today is focused on. He said go and make disciples.

Disciples being people who are sold out for God and who are willing to do whatever the Lord wills as they follow in His footsteps. To do what He did.

Who will settle for nothing less than what will glorify and bring honor to God the very best. Not for second best. Not for just something good. But for the fullest expression of God's Presence in the Body.

True discipleship starts with a need to realize that if one is not a disciple they are not a Christian. Biblically speaking.

It starts with a willingness to lay aside our lives to follow the Lord. No matter what.

Where our lives are no longer our own but His to do with as He might wish to do with them.

The problem in the Church is that it is full of persons who think that discipleship is an afterthought. An addendum to what it means to be a Christian. That it is possible to gain entrance to the pearly gates of heaven without it.

That we can profess to believe certain things about Jesus and what He came to do for us and that in that profession alone is our salvation.

To be sure to be a Christian involves profession. Of things that we say we believe. But if profession was enough to be a Christian by itself this world would have been turned upside down long ago by the power of His presence among us.

We would be living as a Church beyond anything we have experienced. Ascending into the heavenlies on a daily basis while basking in His love being expressed among the members of His Body. As close to heaven on earth as we might be able to get.

But that isn't happening. Why not?

Because we as professing Christians are not living by our profession. Our profession has become in general a thing of the intellect and not a thing of the heart.

We have lost what it means to follow Christ in the real world and replaced it with something that happens on Sunday mornings in a building.

We have ceased to understand what it means to carry our cross, to deny self, to sell our possessions to feed the poor and follow Him.

These things have become for us nice sounding spiritual sound bites that mean little of anything with respect to affecting us in our daily lives.

It was not that way in New Testament times. Jesus did not say the things He did so that those who heard might walk away encouraged and uplifted by nice sounding spiritual sound bites. He said what He said that those who heard might DO what He taught .

What He said and taught was hard on the flesh. On the natural inclination of human beings to be self-centered. More than hard...it was brutal.

It is not an accident that Jesus Christ used the analogy of crucifixion to explain what following Him meant.

He pointed out the sin in us and how we needed to die that God might live in and through us.

A message that is sorely needed today but seems all but forgotten.

What Jesus taught is what we need to get back to.

We need less nice sounding sermons that make us feel good and more rallying cries to die to ourselves. To stop playing Church and become the Church He meant for us to be.

Where are the prophets of old who spoke the Word of the Lord to those who were resistant to what was being said?

Where are the pastors today who will speak what needs to be said, even if it means wounding their congregations with the truth, no matter what? Who will willingly lose it all to speak what God would have them speak?

Such men are in short supply.

I still don't know what do about all this. I have more questions than answers but I for sure don't want to go the way of Church tradition and practice in our modern society.

I want the real God. I want to be a part of men and women who are tired of playing Church and who will settle for nothing less than all that God wants us to be.

If you are that kind of person and you have that same yearning in your heart..whatever it costs you...contact me and let's talk.

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