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Monday, January 1, 2018

What We Should Really Talk About in Church Today

Image from Optimal.
There was a time I tired of going to church. Really. I was excited about God but not anymore the church---I mean "church" as religious people have made it---the programs and activities and everything they do there "for God" which had all become meaningless to me. What they called "ministry." Since then, I've always looked for churches that look like Jesus' ministry and the Acts church.

Especially preaching---I really tired of hearing about church growth and strategies and how to reach people out there and bring them in church---and inspirational preaching about them. These are important but NOT as important as the one thing that Mary chose and which Martha didn't see. This story has been there in the bible but the church has never really learned from it. They still prioritize what makes them worry and upset about many things and neglect the one thing that's really needed.

I heard this preaching in church year in and out---church growth and all that---and it bored me to death. Was that what church was all about? Was that why Jesus left heaven's comfort and died on the cross? Really? Evangelism and church growth are important, but one day I realized that those were mere offshoots of the one thing that's really needed---a mere positive "side effect."

But what church does is major on the side effect at once and neglect the main thing that's needed. And that's all they talk about and care about. They grow old (and often rotten) and get sick and die devoting their whole lives to that. But the wonder is why I never heard them talk intimately about Jesus in their messages?

You only talk about what you really listen to. So what Mary did was to buy this extra expensive perfume oil in a jar, break it and pour all of it on Jesus. I mean, all that costliness (probably cost her all her savings) for Jesus alone. She understood that only Jesus mattered. Only Jesus was important. Your valuables, like your time (each second of it) and life, have no other good use but to be poured out for Jesus. And I don't mean poured out to do ministry for him. I mean poured out FOR HIM.

If church ever talks about Jesus, it is often doctrinal---to show clearly what they do and do not believe about Jesus. Doctrines in the bible are important, but a real, working love relationship with him is equally important, if not more. Doctrines should be more a description of how lovely our Lord is and that he is beyond compare in the universe, rather than an effort to differentiate our beliefs from those of other church denominations.

Here was how Jesus intimately talked of the Father:

The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” [John 10]
He said very important things about God but it didn't sound like doctrine or human theology. It was fresh insight from personal experience. It had life.

In a sense, Mary "talked about Jesus" so intimately when she poured that oil on him. I want that kind of "preaching." I want to hear intimate experiences with Jesus (knowing him really up close) and profound insights on his spoken Word in the bible revealed directly through the Holy Spirit, the kind you don't find in the world. Immediately you know it comes straight from God's own mouth---the type you know comes from heaven. Sadly, so few among ministers and preachers do it. They often just talk about ministry and prod their members to do more in church.

I get so frustrated when I attend a church and find that all they talk about is their ministry and how to add more people to their church or how many attended or how they sang in their choir or how they did worship or how much was in the offering. No wonder you don't see God anymore in church; all you see is man and his church programs and activities and the achievements he brags about and how great he thinks he is.

It seems too few really know Jesus personally. It's like this guy who loves talking about how grand their wedding was but you seldom hear him fondly talking about his wife. In fact, you very seldom see them together, often going separately in the company of their friends, although the wife carries his surname. I don't care how successful a church ministry seems to be if Jesus is not always talked about in it fondly.

And church should have nothing better to talk of but Jesus. The promise is, all these things shall be added unto us---evangelism, church planting, discipleship, unity, spiritual maturity, church income, etc. We should be doing nothing in church but talk lovingly and excitedly about Jesus. If we gather like this in his Name, he will be in our midst.

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