Category: Mission

Christmas nativity

Life after impeachment: Time to focus on the Christmas story

Christmas nativity
Nativity scene

The last week hasn’t exactly been full of Christmas cheer in American Christianity. President Donald Trump was impeached by the US House of Representatives on Wednesday sparking reaction among evangelical Christians across the country. Perhaps the largest and most vehement reaction of the week was by the editor of Christianity Today, Mark Galli, who published an article stating that President Trump should be removed from office following his impeachment by the House.

The ensuing reaction to Galli’s piece was swift and severe. Preachers, pastors, and laypeople alike quickly dismissed it as a liberal-Christian hit job on the president. President Trump himself even lashed out on Twitter calling Christianity Today “a far-left magazine.”

Since the piece was published, numerous op-ed’s have been written in response. Some of those stories have been written by prominent pastors essentially reiterating the idea that Christianity Today has fallen by the wayside, a once proud conservative stalwart gone leftist. There was even a letter signed by nearly 200 evangelical leaders sent to Christianity Today defending themselves from Galli’s assertion that their support for Trump has harmed their Christian witness.

The argument redrew old battlelines that formed between “Never Trump” evangelicals and the evangelicals who either begrugingly or enthusiastically jumped on the Trump bandwagon when he became the apparent Republican nominee for president in early 2016. 

What a fun week leading up to the commemoration of our Lord and Saviour’s birth, huh?

Make no mistake about it, there are some real issues with this president. There is a conversation that needs to be had about enthusiastic support among evangelicals for a man who has been divisive and downright mean whether in tweets or at his infamous campaign rally’s. 

Whether you agreed or disagreed with Christianity Today’s article, at least a discussion was attempted. Was it misguided considering there’s very little chance of Trump actually being removed from office? Probably. Should Galli’s tone have been crafted more carefully? Absolutely. Has the evangelical reaction been just as ugly as the initial piece? No doubt. 

I have four boys ages 16 and under. When my boys get into a fight, there’s usually some name calling and idle threats involved. They even duke it out sometimes. Quite honestly, it’s often good for them to get it out of their systems before they make nice and go back to being brothers again. 

To the evangelical leaders, publishers, and fellow Christians involved in or even entertained by the fracas of the last few days, I’m glad we got that out of our systems. Now, let’s go back to being brothers and sisters–especially this week, one of the holiest on our calendar.

You have made your points. You’ve defended your honor. You have fought long enough. You’re still on the same team. You still have a real world mission. It’s much easier to perform that mission when we get along despite our differences. 

Whether you voted for President Trump or not, if you love Jesus and you love people, nothing as temporary as an American president’s term in office should divide you from your fellow brothers and sisters for very long.

It’s Christmas week. For the good of the body of Christ (and our own family gatherings) let’s celebrate the Savior’s birth. Together.

The Mission is being the Hands and Feet, not the Sunday Seat

Sunday morning church service has come and gone for now. Don’t worry, though. You’ll get another opportunity next week. Chances are that seat is really comfortable. It’s likely right in the middle of your comfort zone. No pressure. No work. No hassle. No mission. Just come and enjoy the show for a little while.

No doubt that is the definition of Christianity for some.
While I’m thankful that those of you who hold to that view are at least hearing the Word preached, I want to challenge you to broaden that perspective.

I’m churchy, man. I’m more churchy than Noah was Arky. But if Sunday morning is the central focus, what happens in my church Monday thru Saturday? Does it cease to exist as a force? If the Church is a living, breathing organism, what happens when the lights are out and the alarm is armed?

From a Kingdom perspective, the church building is just the rallying point. It’s the hub where you get energized to be the Church, not the destination where you merely have church. The church has the mission.

In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul said: “Ye are the body of Christ and members in particular.” Surely that was only for the leadership though, right? The pastor should be doing all that stuff while the rest of us spare parts count down the days from Sunday to Sunday.

Think about what Christ did in His earthly ministry. He ministered to the poor. He mended the brokenhearted. He set captive people free. He healed. He saved. He delivered. He preached the good news. And nowhere in the Gospels does Jesus tell His followers that all that stuff should stop as soon as He leaves.

Greater Works

As a matter of fact, John records Jesus saying, “He who believes in me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do (John 14:12 NKJV).”

The only qualifying statement Jesus made about who would do these works was “whoever believes in me.” He didn’t say, “Only those who go through seminary” or “those who lead churches”. That covers everyone who believes, from the pew-warmer to the pastor, and from the church-goer to the choir leader. Jesus was talking about the Church.

The Church has the hands that serve the community. It has the feet that carry the Gospel and the eyes that burn with passion for souls. That is the Church–the body of Christ.
I know it’s easier to sit in the Sunday seat inside the building we call “church”. And it’s certainly more comfortable.

Being the hands and feet of Jesus is what we are called to. Let’s get busy being what we’re supposed to be–the Church.

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