Tag Archives: Church

I’m Sorry

I'm sorry“I like your Christ; I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Gandhi wasn’t the first to express it and he certainly won’t be the last. And to be honest, I understand his sentiments.

“Christians aren’t perfect, we’re just saved.” It’s a popular bumper sticker and while it is true it is far too often used as an excuse for behaving badly.

Sometimes Christians can be rude and selfish and greedy… I’m sorry.

Sometimes Christians can walk right past others and not even give them the time of day, as if they don’t even exist… I’m sorry.

Sometimes Christians can look down their nose at others and judge them for their sins while ignoring their own sins… I’m sorry.

Sometimes Christians can be so opinionated about a subject that they won’t even listen to someone with a differing opinion… I’m sorry.

Sometimes Christians gossip about others… I’m sorry.

Sometimes Christians act one way at Church and a different way at work or at school… I’m sorry.

Sometimes Christians act like they have life all figured out and that their life is perfect even when they don’t and it isn’t… I’m sorry.

I’ve lived half of a century (now I feel old!) and in that time I’ve served four different churches and been involved with many, many others. This lack of consistent living is widespread and common.

I’m sure you can add to this list but you get the idea. And since I’m being honest I will admit that I’m sometimes guilty of these same things.

Being a Christian is more than wearing a title, professing certain beliefs, sitting in a church service for one hour a week and following a formula to have a ticket stamped for life beyond this life. It means actively following Jesus to become like Him. It means learning to think and believe and feel and act like Jesus more and more. It means loving God and others every moment of every day.

We won’t get it right all the time; but that’s no excuse for not giving ourselves to the journey of doing life with God and learning to love like Jesus. And when we get it wrong we need to own it and apologize for it.

Note to my Christian friends: If you’re reading this and thinking, “Yeah, but they…” Stop right there! Every person will one day stand before God to give an account of their life and their actions. NO ONE will be able to excuse their behavior by saying, “Yeah, but they…” We will be responsible for ourselves then so we might as well start being responsible for ourselves now.

One last confession: If my hope were in other Christians I would have given up on the Church and Christianity a long time ago. Some of my greatest blessings have come from other believers but so have some of my greatest hurts.

My hope rests in Christ Jesus alone! He is the only one who makes this messy, imperfect journey worthwhile.

Who is your hope in?

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Accountability, Christ, Christianity, Church, Confession, God, Hope, involvement with the church, Jesus, Religion and Spirituality, Repentance, Sin

Oh Church, where art thou?

“The church is Christ’s body, in which he speaks and acts, by which he fills everything with his presence.”
~ Ephesians 1:23 (The Message)

practicing-the-presence-of-god

God longs to fill every nook and cranny  of this earth with His presence. Every home in every neighborhood. Every classroom in every school. Every office in every building. Every store in every city.

Everywhere!

And the way that God intends to accomplish such an enormous task is by sending you and me out into our little part of the world to take His presence with us wherever we go.

Suppose someone asks you about the location of the church you’re a part of; how would you reply?

Would you simply give them a street address or would you tell them that it depends on the day and time.

On Monday morning the church is:

  • Teaching in a classroom…
  • Driving a supply truck…
  • Answering phones in an office…
  • Nurturing children in the home…
  • Carrying books to class…
  • Tending to the needs of patients…
  • Drawing up house plans…
  • Filling a prescription…

Wherever it is that you and I are going today; whatever it is that we are doing; God wants us to be His presence – His hands and feet of grace and truth and love to those we encounter along the way.

Will we be the church today?

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Christianity, Church, Divine presence, God, influence with the world, Religion and Spirituality

His Divine Rhythm

The word perichoresis comes from two Greek words, peri, which means “around” and chorea, which means “dance.” It is a term that the early church used to describe the relational intimacy between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It’s what some have referred to as The Dance of the Trinity.

I believe God wired us in such a way that our deepest longings can only be truly satisfied when we are in a relationship with Him; learning to dance in His divine rhythm.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” ~ Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message)

I long to do life more and more in step with God’s unforced rhythms of grace. And I long to see the church – the body of Christ – do the same!

I’m reminded of Jesus’ invitation here in Matthew 11 when I hear songs like the one below: One Direction – What Makes You Beautiful. You may not care for the song but you can’t help but be amazed at how these five guys do their part to contribute to one rhythm.

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Christianity, Church, Dance, Discipleship, God, God the Father, Grace, Holy Spirit, intimacy with the Lord, involvement with the church, Jesus, Music Video, Perichoresis, Relationship with God, Religion and Spirituality, Spiritual formation, Spiritual growth, Teamwork, Trinity

A shared rhythm in Christ Jesus

“Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other?  They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow.”
~ The Pursuit of God,  A. W. Tozer

One of the most profound things that can happen when we gather together as the body of Christ is the coming together in a shared rhythm within a common journey because we are re-centering our lives on the One around Whom life revolves – Christ Jesus.

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.

 

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Filed under Christianity, Church, Discipleship, God, intimacy with the Lord, involvement with the church, Jesus, Quote, Relationship with God, Religion and Spirituality, Surrender, Trusting God

A real church…

“A real church never values participating in programs above relating in community.  And it faces the disturbing truth that involvement in small groups too often amounts to little more than participation in a relational program.  A real church aims toward spiritual community, where souls connect, where shame weakens, where sin surfaces, where failure meets grace, where irritations soften, where holy desire grows.”

~ Larry Crabb, Real Church, Page 152

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Filed under Authenticity, Christianity, Church, Discipleship, Grace, involvement with the church, Religion and Spirituality, Sin, Spiritual formation, Spiritual growth

Real Church

“I want to go to a church that reaches my heart with truth.  Of course, truth must reach my head–I need to know what the Bible says–but if it stops there, the truth I hear and perhaps believe will lack power.  It will not be living and active.  It will not set me free.  It will not provide what I need to shift my addiction from less than God to God.”     ~ Real Church, Page 82

Question for Reflection:

  • What do you think a church might look like that reaches your heart with truth?

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Filed under Bible, Christianity, Church, God, Heart, involvement with the church, Religion and Spirituality, Truth

Don’t go to church…

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Christianity, Church, influence with the world, involvement with the church, Religion and Spirituality