I've been contemplating writing this post for quite sometime. In some ways, this is an easy post to write. In others, it's very complicated. I know that this post is hard. I prefer to be uplifting. This post might offend some people, but just know I wouldn't write it if I didn't absolutely believe what I'm sharing.
When I look at the state of this world and at our country I have never been more convinced that we are on the road of destruction.
I don't have to tell you. You know it too.
You see the lost hope in people's eyes.
You're experiencing the pinch in the purse.
You face fear walking down the street.
You're scared that your children will be taken advantage of with nothing you can do.
You listen to the political rhetoric of both sides and know that's not the answer.
You walk down the same streets I do.
The solution is Christ.
Yes, the country is in a bad place...
Yes, things are tight...
Yes, there is violence in the world...
Yes, all hope seems to be lost...
But not in Christ.
All hope is not lost in Christ.
We as individuals and as a nation have to turn back to Christ. We have to remember His love for us. We have to respond to others with the same compassion that He has for us. We have to be moved, as individuals, to do the right thing to see justice restored.
The truth is to do that is a messy undertaking.
Journey with me there for a moment...
A world where we help out our neighbor who just lost their job...
A world where we start a fundraiser to raise money for the teacher who just found out she has
A world where we plant the garden and weed it and water it...
A world where we take personal responsibility for our mistakes...
A world where we do the work...
We help others
We reach out
We do something about it.
Even if we did all these things there is still this element of lostness in our world. It can't be fixed by any movement by humanity of it's own. It can only be fixed by returning to a foundation of the Word of God and the pursuit of God's presence.
Recently, I was contemplating this truth when I realized that Christian culture has isolated these two principles when in reality they go hand in hand. As a whole, we've isolated discipleship or the pursuit of the knowledge of God's Word, but neglected the power of God's presence. But at the same time, we drop everything running to the feel-good, bless-me-Jesus, emotional overload of fast, loud, and long music but often neglect the study of God's Word.
Please understand me. In real life I'm a worship pastor. This is what I do for a living and love it, I might add. What I hate about music and this kind of 'worship' is that it only lasts for those 20-25 minutes on Sunday morning. You get your four to five songs that are perfectly performed, but they lack the power of God in them.
We've forgotten that worship is a lifestyle. Worship is the marriage of our emotions, our thoughts, and our actions into one intently--a life, sold out for Christ, sacrificing all for the advancement of the kingdom of God.
I am entirely aware that this is long. Bare with me just a bit longer.
One of my favorite books of the Bible is James. I think I love James so much because he had a unique understand of Christ and He's teachings. James is rumored to be written by James the Just, a half-brother of Christ. Growing up with Jesus would have brought a different understand to the nature of Christ Himself. He would have walked with Jesus through many of life hard times like the death of James' father and Jesus' step father. They would have together worked in the family business. They would have learned in the synagogue together.
Early in James's life we know that he wasn't so keen of Jesus's deity. In fact, he didn't believe at all. But somewhere in his life, he had an encounter with the presence of God revealing the truth of Christ's identity. Maybe it was after the resurrection, but whenever it was, James believed. So when we read the book of James, we are getting this an incredible perspective into who Christ is and what He's about.
In James 1:27 he writes this, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this; to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." Through the book, James continues to urge the church to not just stay in the four walls of the church building, but to live a life of worship everywhere they went.
We have that same mandiate too. Is it hard? Well, it's not easy. Living for Christ is not easy. Here's why...
It's so worth it.
It's worth it.
It's possible to change the world.
It's possible to make the world a brighter place.
It's possible that our world can be healed,
that the economic devastating can be reversed,
that our world can be better
But, it's only when we get to it...
When we choose to change it.
Start a revolution. Be the Change.