A reason to get out of bed every day of your life!

Why get up in the mornin’ ?

My friend, Steve Addison, CRM Australia, and church [multiplication] movements expert, blogged today about the population of the world approaching 7 Billion people in the very near future.  He went on to comment on the doubling of the population of Africa by 2050 (2.1B) and Asia to add an additional 1.3B by 2050….

He ends with a poignant question, “Tell me, does the way you make disciples right now have any chance of keeping up?”

Thanks, Steve!  🙂  You’ve now crashed my day and week.  This is a haunting and daunting question that is not easily dismissed if you take the Kingdom, eternity and the implications of that reality, and Jesus seriously.  It gets to core of why we’re left here and not “beamed up” upon conversion… in other words “why the church exists”.

In the west, where being a Christian is not about Kingdom, responsibility as subjects of the King, and living as disciples who actually mimic Jesus, it is no wonder that the church is crashing in the west.  I’m amazed at how much denial there is amongst most church leaders on this regard.  They’ll point to the exceptions (rare) and deny the majority (oh, so common) in decline – serious decline.

Why are we crashing?  Maybe because we took two ugly extremes, both reactionary to the other, focusing on the “opponent in the pew across the church [culture] and not on the real enemy who “prowls like a lion seeking to destroy and devour”.   One side went “turn or burn” [Does anyone need that explained?].  The other went “health and prosperity” [Most who are h&p don’t even realize it.].

Steve’s question is really an indictment of why do you get up in the morning?  While there are the “turn and burn” crowd who offend and alienate everyone they meet, yet going justified because they “preached the word”, they are fewer and fewer.  The exhortation I leave here is that while they “don’t get it” and miss how they communicate values, virtues and priorities that do not reflect Jesus and their message is lost before it’s sent because of the attitude, they are reminding us of a harsh, ugly, non-relenting reality:  judgement will really come and the “great and terrible Day of the Lord” will not sit at a negotiating table.

So, why do you get up in the morning?  The other extreme, health & prosperity, is most often dismissed for the few who promise an investment, often literally financially [given to them of course], where there is an offering to the Lord, and a contractual, guaranteed financial return here and now.  This crowd lives like the Saducees, ruling over [often] the poor [peasants] trying to make it this month.  But the wolves in sheeps clothing, building very similar looking “kingdoms” to the modern day Saducees, are the “seeker” guys.  [I just angered a lot of people here.]  They preach a much more subtle, yet every bit the same h&p gospel.  Their Gospel comes across within the syncretism of our western contemporary church…  consumerism, materialism, security, comfort, happiness and entertainment – which are much deeper driving motivations in how we define what it is to be a Christian amongst MANY, MANY western, and even more so, American, Christians.  If you disagree, consider this and answer these questions for yourself:  Any sermon “series” on living successfully?  What about “raising kids, teens”?  How about “happy marriages”?  Any one success in the work place?  Heard any on “satisfied with your life type”?  It is much more subtle, but is the same:  a contract that if we minimize sin {what I call sin management], God will make all well with you.  This theology is centered on “me” and being happy, secure and comfortable.  When something happens in a fallen world that is painful (cancer, accident, job loss, hurricane, tornado, and so forth) God broke the contract and “how could He do this to me?” and they abandon the God of the Living universe.

I blame us – the “pastors, teachers, evangelists, apostles and prophets” for we define what it is to be a Christian, what it is to be a disciple [& it’s not basic training for new recruits], and why we get out of bed in the mornin’.

Steve’s haunting question [indictment] stares out at us…  The world is going to hell in a hand basket.  We’re losing the % of people that will be saved from a real hell (the harsh side of evangelism), and we’re losing the % of people who are narcissistic in their definition of being a Christian… because a new better deal will come along, just as soon as life happens.  We’ve erred in defining being a Christian to be about us, be about comfort and security, prospering, and entertainment [Six Flags Over Jesus approach to being the church with a Walmart sized variety of “ministries” to join, and be blessed by”].

Why do we get up in the mornin’?  Does God bless us?  Yes, sure.  We know that.  But as CS Lewis reminds us in his seminal work, Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe, that Aslan is good, but… He’s not safe.  God calls us to sacrifice, to actually give until it hurts – out time, money, energy, life, heart, focus, purpose, free time… give until we go without (to sacrifice).  To be imitators of Him.  May we become the least of these to love the least of these. May we incarnate Christ to a world that no longer listens to the words that come from the church.  May our presence be ever more stunning because we taste, smell and look like Jesus.


One response

  1. nick montero

    isn’t this the blog where you play nice? 🙂

    19 August 2010 at 19:57

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