Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Last Sunday, I Saw The Church, For The Unchurched, And It Rocked

Last Sunday I had the opportunity to preach at an outdoor service called "Church In The Park" in Butler, PA.  I can honestly say that I saw the Church working perfectly this day!  There were leaders of all different ministry areas that came together to do church for people who are definitely not churched.

How do I know they aren't churched you ask?  Because when we asked them to stand for worship they stood for the beginning prayer and then sat down.  Those who had come with us to serve, were standing and worshipping,  it didn't phase our guests who sat in their chairs, never sang a word to any of the songs, and looked at those who were standing like they were weird.  It was awesome!  It was awesome because God brought us to a group of people who were seriously unchurched.  The thing I love about unchurched people is that God loves them.  They have no presuppositions about what church should be, they just know that they have a desperate need in their life.  A need that they can't put their finger on.  When we told them about Jesus they responded!  They responded because Jesus loves them unconditionally and they realized they it was Him that they were designed to know.  Those who had come to serve reached out and loved on the people who came.  These are the kind of people that most Americans wouldn't even look at in the eyes, let alone talk to them.  Many would look down on or even forget about these people but we were there because we love them, because God loves them.   The people's response to us being there could be compared to water gushing in a dry and weary land.

So where did I see the church working perfectly?  In those who came to serve.  We all came with no expectations except that God would do something greater than we could have hoped or imagined!  I know God did this because after the service was over and everyone went home, we all were filled with a joy that I don't think we have been filled with for quite a while.  A joy that passes all understanding.  The joy of the Gospel going out into the world and coming back full of new life (which it will always do!).  The church is found in those who took the time to plan, prepare, and risk.  There was no guarantee that anybody would show up.  But we believed that God would do something bigger than we could plan, prepare or risk for.  And He did.  It was such an awesome day!

Last Sunday, I saw the Church for the unchurched.  I saw people serve people out of love.  All because Jesus served us on the cross.  (By the way, do yo know the cross screams I LOVE YOU!) I saw people reach out, pray, and give food to those who came to "church".  Without Jesus, we are sinful, hopeless, and condemned.  But with Jesus we are forgiven, hope filled and full of new life in Him.  We knew the kind of people we were:  Poor, weak, and depressed losers.  But when we meet Jesus He says to us, that's a lie from the Devil.  You are mine, and I love you.  My father loves you.  I went to the cross for you.  I took your poverty, depression, and condemnation to the cross and crucified them there.  I turned your mourning into joy!  Now I offer new life, full of joy, full of grace, full of Me.  All because I love and value you.

That is what I saw.  People reaching out, loving other people, all because God loved us first.  I saw people serving because Jesus Himself came to serve. (For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many." Mark 10:45 NLT) And it rocked.

For those of you wondering what we did.  It was really simple.  We met under a pavilion in a downtown park, had worship, a brief message, and then provided lunch for everyone.  It was a really great day.  There were many who put in much prep time and to them I say thanks for serving.  I know you saw the fruits of your labor!  God is GREAT!

1 comment:

Samantha said...

It did rock! :) I love being able to serve with you. :)