Man, I was dragging this morning! Not enough though to keep me from the morning session.
Francis Chan was the speaker for this session. Hardcore. That’s about all I can say to describe this guy. He gets it in a way that so many others don’t. I’m not sure that I’m even at a point where I can relate to what he had to say. It by far gave me a lot to think about.
Here’s what I know about him. He’s a pastor of a church in California. At some point he was getting ready to build a new building and became disgusted with how much they were about to spend on a new building. He couldn’t get his mind around spending that much money on a building when there were people around the world who don’t even have any food. Yeah… we’ve all heard this before. What kind of difference could we really make? Well, I heard that they trashed their building plan and decided to build an outdoor amphitheater so they could give all the extra money to the poor. Hmmm.
He said something very startling. Actually, he said one thing that probably offended many people.
He said “If Jesus was in my town and started a church, I have no doubt that I’d have more people in my church.” WOW! Did he just say that? (I’ll explain in a second) He then went on to say that giving the right team, he could grow a Mormon church… or even a Jehovah Witness hall. Francis went on to explain that something was wrong when we are using our gifts and abilities to build our ministry instead of relying on the Holy Spirit.
He explained how what it says in the Bible and what we do in the church are pretty far removed. He talked about how our church today doesn’t look that much like it did in the New Testament. He told a story about a guy who came to his church, got baptized and started growing in Christ. However, several weeks later he dropped out and fell back into his previous gang life. When questioned he said that the church wasn’t what he thought it was supposed to be. He thought it would be a family, people who unconditionally loved him and had his back, day in and day out. He didn’t get that from the church, so he went back to the gang. How messed up is that when a gang is providing for people what the church is supposed to.
Francis explained what is happening at his church. As a church they’ve committed to give away half of the money they bring in. GIVE IT AWAY! Come on… no one does that! There are people in his church that want to help the poor so much, they are living in their car so they don’t have to pay rent and can give that money to the poor instead. Yeah, I’m not sure exactly how I feel about that level of extreme. However, it does look more New Testament like than the comfortable life I’ve made for myself.
Here’s the last thing that got me.
In the Old Testament, if you wanted to see God, you went to the Temple. It is where God would manifest. Several passages describe what it was like when God dwelled in the temple. There was a pillar of smoke and fire. That’s the presence of God. In the New Testament, God stopped dwelling in the temple in Jerusalem. Instead, he began dwelling in us as we are the temple of God. It says in John 17 that the world will know Jesus by our love for each other. Collectively, we are the temple of God. However, how visible is God to the world through our unity and love for each other. Honestly, I don’t think we’re very good at this.
Yeah, I’m mulling this stuff over.
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