What if Jesus wasn’t kidding?

I have not wanted to go to church lately. The kids had state testing this weekend and I felt relieved that I had an excuse not to go. Chris has been asking me about it. It’s not like me. He is worried.

I have blamed it on the big church we are going to and say I prefer smaller churches. I have blamed it on the fact that I still miss our church family back home everyday and don’t want to find a new church here at all. And while both of those are true, they are not really the reason I don’t want to go.

I don’t like going to church because of the uneasiness I feel every time I go. It is getting worse. I sit in church and I listen to the Word of God being preached and I know it is right. I watch the people around me praising and worshiping and I know they love and adore Jesus just as much as I do. But something is wrong. I don’t know what it is. I can’t put my finger on it. I can’t figure it out.

And then I read things…

Like in Jen Hatmaker’s book ‘7’ – on the very first page she talks about her church … “A poor church plant operating on half its intake means we rent a worship space with dancing frogs painted on the back wall and carpet that saw the Nixon administration. Our parking lot looks like it was hit by an earthquake – and then patched up by drunken monkeys. We have no support staff, no secretaries, no copy machine …. We won’t buy carpet at the expense of orphans. $10,000 for a new parking lot could fund a hundred thousand tree seedlings to reforest Africa’s decimated land and stimulate their local economy. It’s kind of a no brainer.”

Yes it is.

I’m not even sure how I found the blog of Katie Davis, a missionary in Uganda, but I love every one of her words. Especially these …. “Twice in Scripture Jesus is asked what needs to be done in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Twice He answers.

The first time, He says to Nicodemus, “In order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven you must be born again, baptised in water and the Spirit.” We take this quite seriously and celebrate baptism with joy.

The second time, Jesus is asked the same question by an unnamed rich man. This time His answer is this, “In order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, you must sell everything you have and give it to the poor.”

We skip this one because it is a bit more difficult.

But what if Jesus WASN’T KIDDING?”

Yes. What if He wasn’t?

I wish I had better words to explain what is going on in my head and in my heart tonight. I wish this issue was black and white. But it’s not. I recognize the amazing things the church I go to is doing for the orphan, the poor, the destitute. And I don’t want to take away from that by saying, ‘I have a hard time walking into this multi-million dollar building and being taught the word of God.’ But that is the truth. I simply cannot hear the stories about the starving people in the village where John and Mandi live and not feel like we are missing something when we hear the teachings of Jesus in our big, fancy churches. I can’t help but feel that we have all gotten really good at loving Jesus, but we just don’t listen to Him.

These are the things pushing me out of the boat.

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2 Responses to What if Jesus wasn’t kidding?

  1. Misti says:

    My goodness sister, your heart sounds heavy. You know I pray for you and will continue to. Until you start going to the church God has specifically told you to go to….your Spirit will not be at peace. and that’s not the church that makes sense to you or is best fitting for the kids. God wants you to stretch and grow in His house and that takes place out of your comfort zone. (God can take of ours kids so much better than we can) You also can’t go forward w/ the Lord looking back either. Call me, lets get together and talk, share and pray together.

    It isn’t God or His Word that makes us feel guilty about our comfey churches ….it’s the enemy we have to contend with. The luxery we sometimes have or get to worship in can very well be God’s Blessings and who are we to decide “who” or “how” God Blesses His church or His people…..

    Alot of what we see in other countries (like Africa) is generational curses. (the Bible confirms this) Yes, it’s heart breaking and some of us are called to serve in those areas., while others are called to different types of Kingdom Business.

    Then Jesus said, β€œCome to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 (New Living Translation)

    Love In Christ!

  2. Chris & Trish says:

    Thank you for your comment Misti – I was not surprised that my first comment was from you πŸ™‚ I appreciate your prayers and please keep them coming! This was a hard post for me to write. I knew it might offend some people or come across as judgmental but it was what was on my heart and I have decided this is the place I am going to be honest about what I am thinking – even if I am wrong. So I prayed, sat on it for a day and then nervously hit the ‘publish’ button πŸ™‚ First, my heart is not heavy – it is convicted. I think there is a difference. I am actually quite joyful that the God of the universe would even take the time to try and explain something to me – and that is what He is trying to do. Second, I think I would feel this very same way no matter what church I went to. Okay, so maybe not at Jen Hatmaker’s church in Austin πŸ™‚ I am bothered by the excess I am surrounded with everyday. But it is most obvious to me when I am in God’s house. I can’t concentrate on the sermon or on the praise and worship because God is shouting at me, “Look at how much you have! Give it away! Help my starving, sick, dying children that I love as much as I love you instead of getting new carpet that you don’t need, or putting in that new building that you could do without, or repaving a parking lot that is fine the way it is.” I don’t think it is guilt – I think it is conviction. And it is not only at church I feel this way – it is in my own home. I feel God shouting at me, “Look at how much you have! Give it away! Help my starving, sick, dying children that I love as much as I love you instead of renting that 2800 sqft house you love but don’t need, or instead of those clothes that you could do without, or instead of getting your hair done, it is just fine the way it is.” I don’t think it is Satan telling me we should be giving up A LOT more of our comfort in order to help the poor and hungry and dying – no matter where they are or why they are in the state they are in – I think that is from God. And while I agree that only a few are called to serve among these people, I think it is everyone’s mission as a Christian to help love them and help care for them as if they were our own family. Jesus gave us the command, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’ (Matt 22:37-39). And yes I think we should get together to pray and share – it will be so much fun to discuss these things with you! Thanks for always being there to challenge me and ‘sharpen’ me! Love you!

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