Friday, August 26, 2005
THE WAITING ROOM
I wrote this article about a year or so ago. I thought I'd post it here since my wife and I are going through a series of changes these days and we find ourselves once again before God in the "Waiting Room" of discovering His will for our lives.
THE WAITING ROOM by Keith Giles
I’ve been part of a new church-plant in my home community now for just over a year now. To be honest, I’ve now become fully convinced that the last thing the world needs is another church.
In fact, I’m convinced that the last thing the world needs is another sermon, or another worship song, or another column about Christian living, for that matter.
Pick up the phone book and you’ll no doubt see a plethora of Christian Churches in your own area code alone. We do not need another Church on the street corner.
We have more than enough Churches and we have more than enough sermons on tape and on mp3 and the Internet to keep us all busy listening for eons to come.
What the world needs now is not another sermon.
If you attend church in any semi-regular fashion, you’ve no doubt noticed a very real, and very visible, mystique surrounding the modern church today.
You know what I’m talking about. I call it, “The Drive-Thru Church” mentality.
You show up on Sunday, drop off your kids to someone else for a few hours, get your coffee and your donut and sing some songs, listen to a speech, maybe even get some prayer, and then go home and live your life any old way you please.
That Drive-Thru Christianity is certainly not the sort of thing that we need any more of.
Be honest, if you wanted a church like that, you could walk out your front door and find one in less than fifteen minutes.
But, I still have a sense that God is birthing a new thing in our culture. It feels to me that a hunger is building in our world for something that is real and true and life-changing. At least, that’s what I feel that God is doing in my own community.
Still, sometimes I get the feeling that we’re all still waiting to see what it is that God is going to do?
Do you find yourself asking God, “What are you waiting for?” “Why is this taking so long?” “What is it you’re going to do?”
As I’ve been contemplating this, I’m reminded how Jesus was followed by large crowds of curiosity-seekers that he frequently attempted to thin out and even get away from whenever possible.
I think a large portion of those who participate in Drive-Thru Christianity today are these sorts of Christians. They come to church for various reasons, but they’re not serious about following Christ.
There’s the tendency, in America especially, to think that all that’s necessary to be a Christian is to accept, in their minds, that Christ died for their sins, pray a prayer and then, BOOM, they’re saved and the rest of their life is theirs to do with as they wish.
But, if you look at 1 Corinthians 6:19 you’ll find that the opposite is true. “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price.” (NIV)
You and I, if we’re truly SURRENDERED to Christ, no longer live, but it is Christ who lives in us.
I mean, think about that word, “surrendered”. Do you feel like you’re living a “surrendered life”? Do you feel like Christ lives vicariously through you?
Let’s think about this for a minute.
Why would Jesus, leave the splendor of Heaven, be born in a smelly barn, grow up in comparative poverty, live a perfect life, allow himself to be beaten, mocked, whipped, crucified on a Roman Cross, rise from the dead three days later, ascend into Heaven and then come to LIVE IN YOU just so you could sit on the couch and watch T.V.?
Do you die to yourself so that Christ can live in you and just come to Church once a week and get entertained?
Does that make any kind of sense to you? To anyone?
No, if Christ did all these things, with the aim of COMING TO LIVE WITHIN YOUR LIFE, then it was for a specific reason.
And, yes, it does involve WORK.
We’ve got it into our heads somehow that works are something bad.
Now, I’m not saying we’re saved by our works. A good analogy that I’ve always used to illustrate the difference between doing works because you’re a follower of Christ and doing works to be accepted by Christ is this. “SWIMMING WON’T MAKE YOU A FISH, BUT IF YOU’RE A FISH, YOU WILL SWIM!”
This isn’t about Salvation, it’s about the Christian Life.
The Christian Life involves action.
If there’s anything that this world needs to see today, it’s Christians who are Spirit-Filled, Spirit-Lead, Spirit-Empowered and who are in action!
People who put their money where their mouth is.
No more sermons. No more talk. But, real, honest, service.
BUT…WHAT ABOUT GRACE?
According to Ephesians 2:4-10, we’re “saved by Grace, not by works”, but we’re also “created to do good works prepared in advance by God.” The same verse that tells us we’re saved by doing nothing also says that we were created for doing good works as a natural response to that salvation.
So, my point is. Many of us who feel that God is about to do something awesome in our midst need to take a step back and think about all of this.
I believe that God is the one who is sitting and waiting for you and I. He’s the one who is asking, “I wonder what they’re going to do?”
I want to encourage all of us, even if you have what you believe to be a small talent, do not let it go to waste. Use your gifts and your talents for the Kingdom of God. This is where you grow, where you learn to take part in the Body Of Christ.
You are necessary. You count.
The rest of the Body of Christ needs you.
God’s entire plan for His Church is to give each of us different gifts so that we need each other, help each other and love each other.
I sincerely believe that God will do an awesome thing in this day, but it will only be when we totally surrender to Him, put our gifts and our talents at His disposal and totally abandon ourselves to serving Him and encourage one another on to do good works in the name of Christ Jesus.
And I believe that’s what God is waiting to see us do.
What are you waiting for?
by Keith Giles.
Keith Giles is one of the pastors of a new church plant in Tustin, California called The River. He is currently writing a book about his time in the wilderness, as well as putting together several subversive projects designed to impact the culture for Christ. You can check out one of these at: WWW.PARABOLICJOURNAL.COM