Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Matthew 16:19b "I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it"

Dear Church in America,

We are at war, this world is our battleground and our strategy of building fortified strongholds in safe places without advancing and gaining new ground in uncharted areas is an absolute failure.  

Imagine in your minds eye a soldier running at an opposing army with chain link gate in his arms as his only means of weaponry or take it a step further and imagine the same scenario with a section of one of those nice white vinyl fences like Mr.Wilson from Dennis the Menace had. Ridiculous right? Why? Well the reason is that fences and gates are not made as a means for advancement but rather as a means of defense of a fixed place or immovable object. Jesus said that Hells gates could not prevail against His Church. What does that mean to you? It means that in order for Hell's gates to not stand against you, that you must be on the offensive seeking new unclaimed ground for the glory of JESUS and not stopping until every inch has been claimed for its rightful sovereign owner. But sadly we have settled for finding our niches in this world and settling comfortably into them in hopes that those enslaved by the Enemy will drop in or stop by and surrender to us what we should be out fighting for. 

Why do we do this? That's simple, because it is what's easiest and least intrusive on our Christian fantasy voyage. We create programs, our own genres of music and movies, clubs, etc all to make us feel as if we have already experienced the victory in this world now promised in the future to us by our one and only King. The American Church (me included) has fallen victim to the unrealistic idea of an easy carefree cruise life aboard this sinking battleship we're supposed to be invading and rescuing people from. JESUS said they would hate us, they don't. He said we would be persecuted, we're not (Ask a Christian in N. Korea). And why (you didn't ask but I'll pretend you did anyway) ? Because we have set out to give the world around us this same false sense of comfort that we have. We don't do things that they deem offensive. We stay out of the places we're not welcome and away from the people who we are not welcoming to! We don't take ministry risks, we don't rebuke sin (other than those our friends, family and neighbors aren't struggling with), we don't contextualize, and honestly we don't really wanna try anything that has not been modeled for us and proven to be 100% successful. Whys that? Because doing any of this means we might fail or make a mistake and failing will make us look foolish (And for the message of the cross who wants that?). And when we try again because failure is not an option we may still be a ways away from victory. We don't like challenges, obstacles or any of the other things that GOD normally uses for growth and because of this we are ineffective and nonthreatening in the eyes of our unbelieving neighbors.We are constantly seeking an external comfort we were never promised and trying to place our peace in that. But our peace comes from within and our only comforter is the same SPIRIT who will encourage us to do things that are by the worlds standards, crazy. I mean just consider the early Christians, they follow a man who is called the Prince of Peace and then go out and get themselves persecuted, outlawed and killed because of their devotion to his cause. I mean the world empire of their time had to actively strategize against them because of the profound impact they were having in the areas in which they ministered and why? Because they didn't serve scared of failure or persecution. They invaded and offended their culture not for the simple act of doing so but simply because submitting to their marching orders to go out and give the good news of eternal life was more important than submitting to the etiquette of the world that was dying in front of them. To summarize: they lived like Hell was real, CHRIST was risen and the Gospel mattered. 

Dear Church, isn't it about time we started living the same way? Shouldn't we be desperately, fully, insanely committed to rattling cages and beating on Hell's gates for the sake of the lost?  Can we risk personal failures to the end of finding what works so that we can affect our local cultures? Can we be thought fools for the cause of CHRIST?  Is it worth it? Is HE worth it?     

If this post has ignited a passion in your heart I give glory to GOD for that,  but please don't let that passion be quenched before you can transfer it to application. Ask yourself these tough questions: What am I doing for the cause of the Gospel? Could I do better? and Could I do more?  May all of us be filled, guided and empowered by the HOLY SPIRIT as we go forward in action....  

For further reflection and insight on this topic check out CDZthemessengers  single "Given to War" off the Faith Built EP

by Chris Murray