Archive for January, 2012

19
Jan
12

how to use a towel

Oswald Chambers once observed, “The things Jesus did were the most menial of everyday tasks, and this is an indication that it takes all of God’s power in me to accomplish even the most common tasks in His way. Can I use a towel as He did? Towels, dishes, sandals, and all the other ordinary things in our lives reveal what we are made of more quickly than anything else. It takes God Almighty Incarnate in us to do the most menial duty as it ought to be done.”

This is kind of shocking when you truly think about it. Typically, when we think about the ministry of Jesus, we tend to focus on him turning water into wine, walking on water and raising Lazarus from the dead. We can’t get past the really big stuff that makes for great inspirational sermon illustrations. In doing so, we tend to neglect things like washing the disciples feet, speaking words of encouragement to oppressed people, blessing the children who were brought to him, and setting an example of consistency in the way he lived day in and day out.

So what are the implications of Chambers observation? I think they’re huge and the Scriptures have much to say about it. Examples can be found in Ecclesiastes 9:10, which states, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might,” and then, turning to the New Testament, the Apostle Paul gives this direction: “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).

For the Spirit-led believer, everything in, and about, our life should point to the love of God that is being manifested through us. Our life should be lived with the consistency and spiritual maturity that Jesus typified in everything he did. And ultimately, we should serve with the same excellence, even in the most menial task, that marked the ministry of Jesus.

11
Jan
12

doing church

“Are we doing church the way Jesus intended for us to?”

The voice on the other end of the line was that of a young pastor who was experiencing the frustration, as well as the lack of fulfillment, that comes from trying to maintain the hectic schedule of programs that has come to be known as ministry in our contemporary culture. We have become consumed with a ministry mentality that equates busyness with productivity and coddling immature believers (who refuse to grow up and accept responsibility for their lives) with discipleship.

I am fairly confident that this is not what Jesus had in mind for his church. According to the historical account, found in the book of Acts, the church of the first century was marked by transformation. Transformed lives. Transformed communities. Transformed systems. And ultimately, transformed cultures. If Jesus came to give abundant life (John 10:10) it seems to me that his body, the church, should be doing the same. The church of this century should be engaged in the same life-giving activities that our predecessors gave attention to and, when we do, we will once again experience the vibrancy that characterized the believers of that time.

I think Pastor Bill Hybels got it exactly right when he wrote…

“There is nothing like the local church when it’s working right. Its beauty is indescribable. Its power is breathtaking. Its potential is unlimited. It comforts the grieving and heals the broken in the context of community. It builds bridges to the seekers and offers truth to the confused. It provides resources for those in need and opens its arms to the forgotten, the downtrodden, the disillusioned. It breaks the chains of addictions, frees the oppressed, and offers belonging to the marginalized of this world, Whatever the capacity for human suffering, the church has a greater capacity for healing and wholeness. The local church is the hope of the world.”