Yesterday at the most beautiful beach in New England, Mariko and I got to talking about sin and Jesus and “You alone can rescue”.
Mariko and Mutsumi are both very very very GOOD PEOPLE. In fact, they’re some of the sweetest girls i know—so sin can be a hard concept to explain when their english isn’t perfect yet (right girls? though it IS getting way better!).
Sometimes as I am talking, I learn new things from God — and yesterday, He showed me about my own sin. The worst things I can remember doing as a kid are:
1.) Stealing Marc Disenger’s Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Bar
2.) Punching a few siblings
3.) Being Selfish..
I think I thought I was somehow a good person and even in my own life, I’ve been self-righteous many times and still see it surface now and then (though I’ve learned a LOT about stuff that is sin that I hadnt recognized and about God’s grace).
But this post is about good vs bad people. I explained to Mariko (without even thinking first) that sin is like poison. If you put LOADS of it in a cup of water and drink it, you die.
But if you put just a drop in the water–you die.
it’s POISON! toxic poison. It doesnt matter if you use a drop of it or loads of it, the result is the same. And Romans 6:23 says it: The wages of sin is death. It’s interesting when explaining it to an English student. “Well, when you work, you get money. And when you sin..you get death.”
I explained that Jesus drank the poison for us. It would be really sad for us to still drink the poison after he already did.
And i learned a lot as I was telling it to Mariko. Thanks be to God for new analogies and reveleations, and thanks be to Mariko for always sparking great conversation! .
Today on the plane from Chicago O’Hare to Detroit, we had landed and were taxi-ing on the runway.
A kid yelled out, “We’re A CAR NOW!! We’re a CAR NOW!” Maybe no one heard him–so he screamed it two more times. “We’RE A CAR! WE ARE A CARRRRR NOWWW!” Every time i taxi to the gate i will think of him.
I got to thinking about Church. Not the building you go to on Sunday mornings, but the family Jesus put in place here in the world and is continually adding to until He comes back someday.
I think sometimes as a local church (my small slice of the worldwide family pie), we get into eras or “seasons” in which we are doing many different things. Maybe during one season we focus on prayer and gearing up for what’s next. Another season we fast and call out to God and in another we do evangelism, service and reaping the fruit of our labors and prayers.
We must be careful to never say “we’re a ___ now!” and STAY THERE only, neglecting other important things or remaining too long with one focus — For example, “We just finished our summer of service projects and there are many new people in the body. We’re in chill and inward contemplation-ness now”. Or, “We’ve been in a season of transition and prayer but now God is saying we need to GET OUT OF OUR COMFORT ZONES” now–or “Billy Graham is coming to town so we need to go into inviting friends mode now”…
None of those things are bad (all good) but we need to not get stuck–that’s the point i guess .
The truth is we are a CHURCH. We’re always a church. As such, we do things in seasons (sure, we have to) and some stick, others don’t. When we’re a house of prayer and worship one week and the next month we’re a house that’s open to ANYBODY to come in and learn/eat/be welcomed…that is NOT a bad thing—but we need to never focus on just 1 thing because that’s the last thing God said to do, or because that’s what we’re good at–but we need to constantly listen to the Spirit to ask what God wants to do.
Simply put: sure we can be a car now, but we still fly and we still take off. We don’t stay a car but it’s a real blessing that God allows churches to be cars and planes at the same time — hope this is making sense to SOMEONE elses brain. Let’s be a house of prayer and also a house of rejoicing, and also a house that’s open to the community and also a sending platform for workers and also a place where Jesus is communicated.
we’re the church! sweet.