What can we do as leaders to follow in the gentle footsteps of Jesus? What do you want to look for when it comes to our church organizations?
1. False reverence replaces Jesus.
As if we think that we can be Christians but not in love with God.
Question: Is loving Jesus the thing that is given the most pulpit time? Are most of the people in love with Jesus or worried who is smoking or swearing or going with girls who do?
2. Knowing about God substitutes for knowing God.
Are your leaders close friends of God? People who actually know and experience this Jesus and help you to know and experience him?
3. Power displays are confused for intimacy with Jesus
Question: Do people chase the next miracle or do they chase Jesus? They are not the same. Remember Jesus said signs and wonders follow Him…seeking Him first…and then signs and wonders follow us!! Big difference.
4. Religious activity is confused with commitment to Christ.
Question: How does this differ from the cults? They go to church.
5. Christian service substitutes for friendship with Jesus.
Question: Who is the hero? Who is praised? Who is held up as a model for serious commitment in your world? “Here is Jeff, he really knows Jesus” or “here is Jeff, he serves the poor in India”
6. The holiness of God is taught by making him unknowable or unapproachable.
Question: Does the effect of it all obscure the humanity of Jesus? Does God sound as near an clear as he came in the incarnation?
7. Holiness is substituted with rule keeping.
Question: Is the freedom you have in Jesus explained and encouraged?
8. The system operates in the fear of man.
Question: Do people act like Jesus, confronting Pharisees or do they act like Pharisees themselves?
9. False humility is honored. (A holier than thou… etc)
Question: What sort of humility is modeled in your circle?
- If you will simply read the Gospels without bias, you cannot come to any other conclusion but that religion is the enemy—or in the hands of the enemy. Every hostile encounter Jesus has is with very “churchy” people. This spirit is the great enemy of our life with God, and it is this spirit that Jesus warned about when they were whispering in the boat about the bread: “Be careful,” Jesus said to them. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees,” and then he says it again, to make sure they are paying attention: “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees” (Matthew 16:6, 11).
- If you would know Jesus, love him, experience him; you must pay very careful attention to this warning. Maybe it is more revealing to ask: Do you share Jesus’ anger at this religious stuff?
- There is Christianity, and then there is Christian culture. They are not the same.
- The Pharisees loved their religious culture—the long prayers, the solemn garments, the honor bestowed upon them for being members of the clergy. But they hated Jesus. Let’s not allow ourselves to be so caught up in our service that we become haughty and judge mental of the beloved bride of Christ friends, thus being deceived that we are spiritually higher than someone else. God forbid.
- Believers all over the world are rethinking what it means to live in the life of Jesus and how the body of Christ expresses itself to the world. They have wearied of religious systems that permeate much of our congregational life and are looking for more effective alternatives. It’s not enough to simply say that Hebrews 10:25 requires all committed Christians to be in attendance on Sunday morning in one of the institutions called ‘church’. They know better. ‘Assembling together’ is not a matter of attendance at a meeting, but the joining of lives in a common journey. It is true community with others of like mind.
- Many are still in systems their heart no longer supports, and they yearn for a deeper reality to their spiritual life and a revival in church life. In these days we have far more to gain by keeping the lines of communication open between us all rather than by dividing up sides and rejecting those who disagree with us with denominational barriers.
Wherever you find believers near you get to know them. Celebrate Jesus together and see where the relationship might lead. Don’t feel you have to convince them about your idea of what church is, rather cause them to be thirsty for more of Jesus.
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