3/14/2011 7:51 PM
This past Sunday, the message was on the vision of the church. I must have put in 20-25 hours in writing that sermon. In some ways, one would think this would be one of the easiest messages for me to write. There is no other message that I am more passionate about. I think constantly about the vision that God has for His church. It's so incredibly beautiful and there is nothing like it in all the earth as far as I am concerned. But it is for this reason that I find it so hard to find adequate words to describe it, especially to do it any justice in just one sermon.
The reason I am so incredibly passionate about the local church is because I truly believe it is the living, breathing Body of Jesus Christ (just as the Bible says) and that makes it indescribable in my opinion!
I suppose it is all part of my calling from God, becoming both my gift and my burden from Him in my ability to have such an intense, crazy, overwhelming love for His church. This burning passion of mine to want to see the local church become all that I know God desires it to be feels like a double-edged sword to me personally.
On one hand, it gives me the strength and desire to keep going through the hardest, most tiring and difficult times in ministry. It keeps me awake at night, sometimes pacing the floors and often crying out to God to for more wisdom to know how to help people and to better lead His church to see even greater fruit. My heart breaks over every person who leaves the church or falls away from their faith.
Very few people know the burdens and burning passion that senior pastors carry. No, I definitely am not looking for sympathy for such things because it is my great honor to serve my Lord in this way. It is an honor when the Lord gives you a burden to serve Him by serving His people. I just wish more people understood that.....
That's where the double-edged sword hits me. To me, the church is so incredibly holy, and precious and beautiful because it is the Living Christ on earth. It is the place where His Kingdom has come. And yet, so many Christians seem to be so far in their ability or desire to see it as being something so valuable and precious.
In his book Crazy Love, Francis Chan talks a lot about what it means to be a luke warm Christian and gives a great biblical description of what one looks like. These thoughts make me afraid for people because I do see so many people who too easily fit his description. God and His church just don't fit at the top of their priorities and I'm concerned about how that will impact their eternities.
And I fear for myself as a pastor to wonder, am I doing all that I can to preach the whole Gospel? Am I preaching it strong enough? Too strong? Am I doing all I can to communicate what God wants me to communicate to His people? I think that's a very good question for all pastors to struggle and pray much about.
I LOVE Bill Hybel's quote about the church that I used during the message this past Sunday. I'll put in here in closing and PRAY that more and more of God's people will grow a greater passion for God's church at Blessed Hope Community Church and around the world.
“There is nothing like the local church when it’s working right. Its beauty is indescribable. Its power is breathtaking. Its potential is unlimited.
It comforts the grieving and heals the broken in the context of community. It builds bridges to seekers and offers truth to the confused. It provides resources for those in need and opens its arms to the forgotten, the downtrodden, the disillusioned.
It breaks the chains of addictions, frees the oppressed, and offers belonging to the marginalized of this world. Whatever the capacity for human suffering, the church has a greater capacity for healing and wholeness.
Still to this day, the potential of the local church is almost more than I can grasp. No other organization on earth is like the church. Nothing even comes close.” ~Bill Hybels~