Time to Wake Up, Church.

To the western Church,

Our enemy, the devil, is on the move. Like a thief in the night, like a pitpocketer in the midst of a large crowd, he creeps around us. He is killing, stealing and destroying. He is on the move, and our western church is too blind to see it. If in fact she does see it, she is not standing on her solid ground. She is sinking low in the bellows of culture rather than on the rock where Christ built HIS church. She is conforming to what society has molded Truth to be rather than doing what the Word has commanded us to do. She is falling apart and suffering, and if one part of the body suffers, every part suffers. I encourage you to read the book of Revelation, “To the churches…(chapters 2-3).” The Church is fulfilling the prophecies written about ages past. Satan is entering into what has become of the body as we allow our ears to listen to his deception and our eyes to believe his actions. Dear Church, it’s time to wake up.

I have much to say in regards to recent events both on a public note and a personal note. I have much to say which may offend a few (or more than a few), but what I say I proclaim from living active world of God as I feel Holy Spirit revealing truth to me. As I write, I pray my words are not my own. I pray my words are filled with truth. I pray for God’s wisdom and I pray you receive this with an open heart. In love, I wish to share with you some concerns I have for the collective church body and the institutional churches as they find themselves in the midst of a broken world. I, too, am human, prone to wander and prone to make mistakes. Therefore, I myself am included in these struggles; as the early church began as a fellowship of believers I make a call unto all of us to once again return to the Gospel truth of what is means to be the Church of God.

A major concern I have for the Church is our misunderstanding of love. Love does not equal agreement but it does equal acceptance. Love does not equal judgement, but it does equal accountability. Love does not expect to receive anything in return, but it does require sacrifice. It does not expect sacrifice alone, but it expects compassionate sacrifice — the kind that involves vulnerability and empathy. We are all familiar with the popular “Love is patient. Love is kind.” passage of scripture. It is found in 1 Corinthians 13. I encourage you to go back and re-read it because in all those verses about love you will find that the apostle Paul only says what love IS two times. Love is patient. Love is kind. In the rest of his letter to the church in Corinth he describes what love is NOT.

Love does not envy. If we truly love as Paul describes the definition, why then do we constantly fall into the realm of comparison?  Love does not boast, so why do we post the best moments of our lives on social media but not the painful messy moments? It is not proud, yet many of the institutionalized churches are so wrapped up in their own systems and politics they cease to step out of their comfort zones and get their hands dirty. And I’m talking about more than a missions trip or a one-time out reach. I’m talking about getting our hands dirty in the way Jesus did — sitting with the leapers and being bold enough to say “go and sin no more.”  Love is not self-seeking, right? So why are churches causing division within the body? Why are people struggling to forgive where they’ve been hurt? Love is not easily angered. It keeps no records of wrong.

But there is more. We must stop being a people whose desire is to make others feel good. We must not be in agreement with homosexuality or drunkenness or adultery. Love does not delight in evil. Love rejoices with truth and the Gospel truth clearly states those patterns of living are wrong. Love, however, protects and always trusts and always hopes and always perseveres. Love never fails. In 1 Corinthians 13 Paul describes love as the most excellent way to use our spiritual gifts as the body of Christ. Above hope, above faith, love is the greatest. As we rise up and be the Church and exercise the gifts freely given to us, we must exercise in love.

I find it concerning that this world thrives on the struggle for humanity rather than the hope of it. We would almost rather feed our minds with the stories on the news full of tragedy and destruction rather than fill our hearts with the written Word of God. Flipping through channels on TV or scrolling through our Facebook newsfeed is mindless. It takes little effort. Finding quiet time away from the hustle and bustle and reading words rather than statues or Instagram captions takes more reservation. It takes more..discipline. In a world so fast pace and on-the-go we lack spiritual discipline, which leads to a concern that the Church is losing her identity to cultural norms. I fear she is falling into worldly habits and slowly forgetting spiritual truth. Brothers and sisters, we are not of this world. We belong to Christ and Christ alone.

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. |Philippians 3:20-21|

The Church needs to wake up from her slumber. This world is broken and in need of a savior. This world wants to feel good and feel hope and feel peace, but such can only be found in God. It is our job as ambassadors to know our identity and know the Gospel and live from Jesus Christ’s victory on the cross rather than to strive for it. “Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate (Rick Warren).”

Christ laid a strong foundation. We are surrounded with a great cloud of witnesses, those who have run the race before us. The early Church made disciples of nations and embraced signs and wonders. They spoke with confident boldness and without any fear. They faced imprisonment and persecution but they never stopped walking in love. They never backed down. They pressed onward toward the goal of Jesus Christ. Jesus promised troubles in this world, but he also made it known he overcame the world (John 16:33). Let us not be surprised when hate and persecution is thrown our way, but let us, “rejoice inasmuch as [we] participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that [we] may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If [we] are insulted because of the name of Christ, [we] are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you (1 Peter 4:13-14).”

Now is the time for us to rise, for us to reconcile, to humble ourselves and be the holy priesthood Christ calls us to be. It’s time to take back what the enemy has stollen as one body under God. It’s time to love, love tough and love for the sake of making Christ known because HIS love is unaccountable, indescribable, relentless, fire-burning, all consuming, jealous and freely given. Let us not forget what as been given and assigned to us. Let us not forget who we are and what price was paid to be made new again. May we walk worthy of our calling and stand together as an army of God, prepared for battle, with the words of the Bible tattooed on our hearts. Like a surgeons knife which cuts in order the heal, the only way to bring healing onto our nations is to cut in deep with the word of God.

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy,which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ. |Colossians 2:6-8|

Who’s with me, Church?

Your sister,

Ashley

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