Saturday, January 31, 2009

Resurgence by Josh Reid

Complacency: showing lack of interest or even the lack of disinterest in something. Every person breathing has acted this way about something in his or her life. This often happens when we do something over and over again to the point where we could seemingly do it in our sleep. In my opinion, complacency never produces good habits or results in life. Complacency slowly erodes the passion and purpose in one’s life. Yes, this sounds awful and a bit deceptive, for we never realize it when we are doing it. As a follower of Christ, one of the worst things I could do is go through the motions just for the sake of going through the motions.

The Church: The church is simply the body of Christ, those believers in everyday society. Yes, these believers are scattered abroad, but one thing remains: the universal Christian church supported by the heartbeat of Christ alone. Inside of that, you can see many local bodies. The point of this definition is that the church has absolutely nothing to do with a building. Why you ask? There are people in third-world countries who are persecuted everyday for their convictions of Christ in their lives. Honestly, how stupid would it be to have a massive building for all to see inviting people to persecute and sometimes take the lives of these believers. Are these believers not a part of a church? It should be noted I am not knocking church buildings, for I am human and I do like to look at them (I’m a nerd). I am, however, saying that the building (though often beautiful) is not the point when it comes to having true faith and a true church (a body of physical believers). The church is the work (people) of Christ, not the work (church buildings) of man.

Now I’m going to write about the need for a revival or resurgence in the church that is of Christ and Christ alone. I know that it may seem confusing or off topic in relation to my previous statements. However, they are interrelated.

Unfortunately, it is again quite simple, and it should also be stated that I do not remove myself from what I am about to say. Complacency and the church (at least in America) go hand in hand in today’s society. Think of a Baptist church (I choose Baptist because I am one and I figured I would go with what I know). I have no doubt that at the very least, you might have thought of the following: come in, sit down (usually on a pew and even maybe a chair of it’s a younger church or some may say backslidden…totally kidding), a song to open, some extremely animated guy “welcomes” the church, in which he shares his own diatribe about the past week, a few more songs (this requires a ton of sitting and standing), the offering, a message by the pastor (as you notice everyone checking their watch after about ten minutes), an invitation, and then introduction of new members and…everyone scatters to their car ready to eat and watch football. This is what you find at most churches. Though I did throw in humor, I am truly not against these things.

But you should notice how incredibly quickly you thought of some of these things, if not all. What if these things were to suggest a lack of wonder in the Gospel? I pray this is not true, however I have noticed this a bit myself. Many people in our churches today focus more on the last statement I made in my summary of a Baptist church (yes the eating and football part). Of course, I would not offer this opinion if I did not offer some encouragement, keep in mind I have gone through these motions myself, so I am not above reproach.

Revival starts in the individual. Think about yourself. In what way(s) do you see that you could change? What “motions” are you going through? I believe ultimately revival does start with the pastor, then the staff, then the believers around them (that means YOU). I can honestly say that when I realize I am going through these motions (going to church just to go, singing because I like the sound of my voice, or giving money because that’s what I have to do), I begin to feel somewhat awful, as if I have taken God and His Church for granted. I know I have not addressed reading the Bible and personal prayer. Maybe that’s a subtle reminder to myself along with you all. Revival also must begin on our knees. The truth is that with prayer, we are acknowledging that God is not needed.

All this to say, please understand that I must fall on my knees as well. Together, we will cause that resurgence. We can start a revival. We must stop going through the motions, think about the wonderful freedom we do have to be a part of a church (in a building even!) that worships the wonderful God ever so frequently. Take that typical Baptist church image you have (I know you have it still…pause for laughter as that mental image comes about) and forget about it. When you enter your place of worship, be prepared for new and marvelous things to take place, marvelous because God brings revival every day. All we must do is humble ourselves and ask. I hope this encourages you. I also hope that it makes a bit of sense at least. I love you all and I hope to hear wonderful stories of revival in your own life, and in response, in your church.

...Josh Reid, College Student

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