He’s Baaaaack!

I apologize to all of my blog fans, or should I say fan, for not posting since last fall.  I have no excuse.  Apparently I had absolutely nothing to contribute to your world of over-communication.  Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, it all can be overwhelming at times.  So, I did my part and took a hiatus for a time, so….you’re welcome.  But now I’m back and I have something to say. 

I’ve been digesting a thought for the past few months.  Kinda like acid reflux, it just keeps coming back up.  So maybe if I blog about it, I’ll get some closure and a good night’s sleep.

I heard a quote a few years back that goes something like this:  “The church should be a hospital for the sick, not a stage for the performing arts.”  I have been in music ministry for almost 30 years, so when I first heard it, I applied it to my ministry.  So often I get so involved in music rehearsals and performances, that I forget about ministry.  This quote reminded me that I need to be a minister first and a musician/performer last. 

But I don’t think that was the primary intent of that quote.  I believe the main intent of that quote is to confront those of us who come to church, dressed in our best, smile on our face and mask firmly secured.  We love to come to church and try and blend in with all the beautiful people.  Some of us even go so far as to find a church filled with people who dress a certan way or act a certan way.  We spend Sunday mornings trying to put on our best self, acting as if everything is great.  But it’s not.  Most of us are living in denial.

We are trying our best to deny the fact that we struggle with sin.  Either we are stuck in some sinful habit or addiction.  Or we are realing from the effects of someone else’s sin, causing us hurt and pain.  Either way, sin has invaded our lives and we need encouragement and support.  But Sunday morning has become more about keeping our game faces on instead of encouraging and supporting one another.

How many of us have felt alone sitting in the middle of our own churches?  We are hurting but don’t feel like anyone cares.  Or, we are ashamed of ourselves but don’t feel it’s safe to confess to anyone, for fear we will be judged harshly.  So we just put on a show.  We keep ourselves together for the duration of a worship service and maybe a Bible study hour, but then head home, take off our Sunday clothes and get back into our routine of living.

I pray for the day when people will see church as a safe place to be transparent and authentic.  A place where we can confess our sins and repent, in order to find healing and encouragement from fellow strugglers.  I’m seeing glimpses of that at our Thursday night Celebrate Recovery meetings.  CR is a Christ-focused 12 step program, helping us deal with life’s hurts, habits and hangups.  I encourage you to find a CR meeting in your area church.  www.celebraterecovery.com

Jon Foreman, lead singer of Switchfoot, wrote a song entitled “Instead of a Show.”  Listen to it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHFao2gnZ-U  I believe you will begin to see what God wants from us as His followers and His church.  It speaks directly from Isaiah 1:10-20.  Amos 4:4-5 is also a great passage that convicts the church to start focusing on the main thing: redemption and justice, instead of posturing and performance.