Daily Thoughts – Define ‘Church’

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Good Morning!

I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. Psalm 4:8

Worry often gives a small thing a great shadow. –Swedish proverb

Lord, I am far from perfect in my worship of You. Yet what I render unto You, I render with all my heart.

nebraska-city

This Sunday, April 15, is a B.I.G. day in our church family.  165 years!  Not a building, that has changed remarkably over the years.  We are ‘church’ in the definition the Bible gives to us.

What is ‘church?’ The answer is not as simple as you may think!

If you look up the word in the dictionary it is a building, in our case ‘the building at the corner of 11th Street and 1st Avenue in Nebraska City.

Some might think that the church is the place where you go to meet other nice people.  So the church meets a social need.  Others might go to church in the hope that if they attend church, God will help their lives go better.  He will help their businesses.  He will bless their families.  Some people go to church because it makes their wives/husbands happier.

Among those who claim to be born again, the prevailing American view is that you attend church to worship God and get spiritual nourishment.  It’s a lot like going to the theater, but with a spiritual focus.  When you go to the theater, you sit and watch the show that the film makers and actors have put together for your enjoyment.  You may see a few of your friends in the lobby before or after the show and stop to chat.  But that’s about the extent of your involvement.  You’re a religious consumer and the church provides religious goods.  So you attend the church that provides what best meets your and your family’s needs.  The goal of this ‘church is to put on the best show in town every Sunday in the hopes of attracting more and more people so that the offerings increase and continue the cycle of ‘best show.’ The church with the most people wins.  The result of this approach is mega-churches with parking lot attendants, a coffee bar that rivals Starbucks, professional ‘worship’ teams that perform with concert level quality, short sermons that speak to the felt needs of the ‘customers,’ and facilities offering midweek exercise programs, along with free babysitting. (I’m not saying that’s all bad, mind you).

But even with all these amenities, many millennial Christians would rather just stay home in their pajamas, sip gourmet coffee, and maybe catch their favorite preacher online.  They think, “Why do I need the church?  The church is out of touch with where I’m at.  It’s full of judgmental old people who are obviously uncomfortable with my tattoos and body piercings.  I’d rather just stay home and surf the web for spiritual input or meet with my friends and talk about subjects that concern us.”  They don’t see any point in being committed to a local church.

You see, most people think that ‘the church’ is supposed to be perfect.  The building should look perfect, the programs and worship services should be perfect, people inside the church should act perfectly.  The sad reality is that we are not ever perfect.  Mack Stiles writes in his “Nine Marks of a Healthy Parachurch Ministry, “The church is the God-ordained local assembly of believers who have committed themselves to each other.  They gather regularly, they teach the Word, celebrate communion and baptism, discipline their members, establish a biblical structure of leadership, they pray and give together.  Certainly the church may do more, but it is not less than this.”

We are perfectly imperfect, under the perfect direction of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  (Sometimes we forget that last part).  We do not make up our own ideas about what the church should be.  We submit to the teaching that he has given us in His word.

First United Methodist Church of Nebraska City is not a place you attend for spiritual input two or three times a month if you don’t have anything better to do.  We’re not here to provide the best show in town for your spiritual enjoyment.  If you’ve trusted in Christ, we are organically joined to other members, so that we are one body.  We’re a member of the family of God, related to other family members, with a God-given ministry to fulfill.

This is why we have withstood the test of time for 165 years and why we will be here 165 years from now.

Join us on Sunday as we celebrate what Christ has done through this church and will do in the years to come!  Worship begins at 10:00 am.

 celebrate with us

Just a little funny…

A Scientist Talks with God
God is sitting in heaven when a scientist says to Him… “God, we don’t need you anymore. Science has finally figured out a way to create life out of nothing – in other words, we can now do what you did in the beginning.”
“Oh, is that so? Tell Me,” replies God.
“Well,” says the scientist, “we can take plain dirt and form it into the likeness of you, and breathe life into it, thus creating man.”
“Well, that’s very interesting… show me,” says God.
So the scientist bends down to the earth and starts to mold the soil into the shape of a man.
“No, no, no…” interrupts God, “Get your own dirt.”

Make it a GREAT day!

 

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