So, I want to talk about this activity we did at Bible study on Tuesday night. It was very enlightening, and eye-opening. To understand it, you have to know the letters to the seven churches which is in Revelation 1-3. The short of it is, what would Jesus say to each of these churches? They each get a commendation, a complaint, a warning, and a promise. For example, one of the churches is Sardis. They are commended because there are many in the church who are still very strong in their faith. But the complaint is that they have the reputation of being alive, but spiritually they are dead. Their warning is that they need to remember the gospel and start living by it again, because they never know when their life will be over. And the promise to them is that the faithful ones will be rewarded in heaven for what they have done.
So our "assignment" Tuesday night was to write a letter to our church. We were to write this from the perspective of Jesus - what would He say to us? What are our strengths and what are our weaknesses? Well, I went to town on this. It was very easy to list many strengths that we have as a church, but also weaknesses, especially looking in my own life.
So if Jesus was writing to us, this is what I said would be our commendation:
- accepting and loving of each other and new people
- financially support ourselves and others (missionaries) (we don't do fundraisers)
- generous with money
- many are faithful
- when we're high on God, we're really high
- continually striving to do better (new programs, build our faith, etc.)
- generous with time; many servants
- many encouragers
There were many that others saw that I didn't write down. We went around the table and everyone told what they had listed. It was very uplifting and encouraging, and interesting to see what different people would put down.
If Jesus was writing to us, this is what I said would be our complaint:
- we need to continually check our motives (why we do good things)
- there is strife over insignificant things
- many have wrong priorities
- we continually quench the Holy Spirit (we're scared to worship)
- we're scared to evangelise
- we're scared to let go of worldly things and worldly goals
- we're mask-wearers
- we have many members who are not faithful
After I got done, Tony said if I wasn't a woman, he'd let me preach on Sunday! Hah! I'm not ashamed to put our weaknesses here for everyone to see. Every church has weaknesses, and knowing them is the only way we can face them and improve.
If Jesus were writing to us, I believe He would warn us:
Step up to the plate! Better yourselves every single day. Remember - your goal is to be more Christ-like.
If Jesus were writing to us, I believe His promise would be:
Don't be ashamed of me and I promise I will not be ashamed of you. I will be right beside you throughout your journey, to support you when you aren't strong enough to do it on your own.
This exercise was really awesome, especially the fact that we each went around the table telling our points of view. Unfortunately, there were only about 30 of us there. It would be really great to have more (or all!) of the church involved. Then we could really get to work on these issues.
So what would Jesus say to your church? Or to you as an individual? It's something to think about.