Monday, April 2, 2012

Be the Church

"....... there was not a needy person among them"
Acts chapter 4

In the first church, every one sold all that they had and they supported each other. If someone needed food, they were given food. If they needed shelter, they were given shelter. If they needed a doctor, they were prayed over and healed. Everyone freely gave and freely received. If you are familiar with Shane Claiborne, he has done an awesome job of recreating this type of community in what he calls "The Simple Way." These communities have popped up all over the country over the past 5 years and are built around the idea of biblical community. Its a beautiful picture and model for us to learn from and hopefully apply to our lives in some form or fashion.

I have been convicted lately of my own lack of giving and my self centeredness. I continually find myself looking at my self or mine and Kendall's life with the attitude of improvement. Now progress and improvement is not a bad thing, I believe we are supposed to work towards building something with our lives and becoming successful to an extent. But as we do that I believe we are to continually challenge ourselves to sacrifice more and to give more, to extend our blessing. Our goal should never be to become comfortable, because even if you become comfortable, you will never be satisfied and the striving will never end. I have come to realize with the help of my wife that there is so much more fulfillment and satisfaction in simplicity. God never meant for us to be comfortable or for us to get everything we want. Following His path is supposed to be a challenge and if there is no challenge clearly laid before us then we need to seek it out. I continually ask myself this question:

What is your faith costing you?

Usually the answer is "not enough, or nothing at all." I believe it is the same for most of the church, the body of Christ. It should cost you something. That can be your time, your lifestyle, your material desires, your plans, the American Dream, or money. These are easy expenses for the gift of salvation and a relationship with our creator. Others around the world and even in America occasionally pay a much higher price. 171,000 people are killed every year for their faith and hundreds of thousands more face persecution daily for the same gift. We go to church for an hour on Sunday and consider that our sacrifice while others are literally laying down their lives in obedience and pure devotion to the one and only true God. I have had to continually fight against the lies I am told by this world. Like, I need a new car, I need to buy a house, I need new clothes to look the part, I need the best phone, I need Netflix, I need, I need, I need. The world, especially America has conditioned us to believe that we need all these things when in reality what I need is to get rid of some of these things.

This has gotten very long winded and I didn't mean to write this much. My original reason for writing tonight was to express my desire for us to be like the early church. I believe we should be supporting each other, especially those who are on the front lines of the mission field. The majority of missionaries come off of the field for financial reasons and their investment into the lives of the people they serve comes to a stop. I am convicted of this because I do not give enough. I don't make much money but I have enough to go out to eat occasionally, to buy coffee, to buy wine, and to purchase other unnecessary things. We need to support our brothers and sisters in the mission field. Make a sacrifice and support someone you know who is serving God and spreading His word of life.

"If a brother of sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them 'go in peace , be warmed and be filled,' and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?"
James 2: 15-16

You can support my good friend Mark Hutto as he serves as a missionary in India by clicking on the link below and donating to this account: SAsia-Htt.MBH