I promised to talk to you about another word that started out really awesome but has also lost its meaning over the years. That word is church! I want you to know that I love the church!
On the other hand, I hate what Satan has done to deceive us into believing is Church ..... I want you to know that what we see around us today - this thing called Church - has absolutely nothing to do with what God called His church to be and do.......you know.... His church, the one He died for......the one that Jesus Himself was going to build and the gates of hell could not stand against it? We really need to see that one......
Way back when I was studying Homiletics (how to preach) I remember I was supposed to start with what some thing is not and and then proceed to what it is!..... So....let me start with a little list of what the church is not!
It is not capital "C" C hurch.....it is church..... I am going to cheat and tell you that all the church is.... is people....like you and me......no capital C's here
With that in mind, let's go on......
It is not a building
It is not a place you go to
It is not a tax exempt organization
It is not any kind of organization for that matter
Nor is it a 501c3 coorporation
It has no Pastor (except some of His church have a pastoral gift and a whole bunch of other kinds of gifts to help equip the rest of His church to learn how to serve and love all them folks out there that need serving and loving - it may even have a few lawyers and Indian Chief's too) :)
It has no staff ...... it has no check book, no programs, no pews, no youth ministers, no services you are required to attend..... no anything...... because it is individual people, who..... by the way.........ought to get together once in a while :) ......actually we should work at getting together a lot......in each others homes, taking meals together, praying together, worshiping together, encouraging each other...."building each other up in love"........you know....that kind of stuff. :)
Paul the apostle wrote letters to the church (to the believers, the little christs, the people) in a whole bunch of different places....like.... Rome, Corinth, Galatia, Ephesus, Colossae, Thessalonica.....wrote some to some individuals too....but he never wrote any letter to some organization, corporation or building! :)
I'm really not making this up...... the word in the Greek which has been translated as church...... is ......ekklesia (ek-klay-see'-ah) literally a calling out..... (my favorite way to say it is that we, the church that he has called out , are simply His called out ones. It is a calling out of individuals to gather together for something....anything actually...a gathering that can be for any old thing, any old time, one time or many times (anywhere 2 or 3 gather in His name)......and ......how about this one? Does this remind you of any church meetings you've been to? Egads......maybe it does!
Ac 19:32* So then, some were shouting one thing and some another, for the assembly (ekklesia) was in confusion, and the majority did not know for what cause they had come together.
Read the story! They practically had a riot on their hands. It was even referred to by the town clerk as an unlawful assembly (ekklesia)....
Frankly, I think we have a whole lot of unlawful assemblies out there.....the kinds of assemblies with the old capital C Church or maybe we should say capital E Ekklesia...... doing and being and having all that stuff in philip's list of what the church is not.
I really hope you are starting to think about all this stuff. It would be good to ask Him what He thinks about all this. I think it's time to stop for now. I would be happy to try to answer any questions. ....... Just send me an email.
Leadership is another issue too......a whole other bag of worms. I was going to do a posting tomorrow and try to open up that can....but I'm not sure the Lord wants me to go there at this point. I'll ask Him......and let you know.