McLife

Learning, living and loving life with my other Mc's.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Church

Since the closing of the church we were attending a year and a half ago, I have not been enthralled with the idea of going to church on Sunday mornings. It seemed like going to church didn't have much to do with being the church. Each week we rush 3 kids out the door to chase them around. There was little fellowship, little worship and a whole lot of frustration going on. After being out of that church setting, I began to see why church was not appealing to people. I've shared most of this with some of you. What's funny is that most of my friends on some level agree, and have the same frustrations. Not surprising since most of my friends are ministers or are ministering in the church in some way. Church equals work. You can define for yourself what work equals! I was challenged by Sunny in New York and we came to terms with each other's position with mutual respect. I've been challenged again recently by my friend Candice. I suspect we will end up in the same place, but I'm going to post my study. I am soliciting comments and thoughts. Iron sharpens iron. I am currently in Acts, but feel free to throw out Scripture from other books. Try hard to put me in my place. I can take it, trust me.

So I just began listing the characteristics of the first church;

Devoted to the apostles’ teaching (2:42)
Devoted to fellowship (2:42)
Devoted to breaking of bread (2:42,46) – I want to say that this one was also mentioned another time. I feel like it was an important one for them.
Devoted to prayer (2:42)
Had everything in common (2:44) – toughy
Met every day in the temple courts (Solomon’s Colonnade) (2:45) and prayed at 9am, 3pm and sunset (3:1 and study notes)
Praised God
Enjoyed the favor of all the people (2:47) – Luke talks much about how they were all on the same page. He talks about it again in chapter 4.


Some other things I took note of in Chapter 4:

While they met at the temple the Sanhedrin opposed them, imprisoning Peter and John and warning them not to speak to anyone in the name of Jesus (4:2ff)
The Sanhedrin was astonished by Peter and John because they were unschooled, ordinary men. The Message says they were laymen with no training in Scripture or formal education, yet they were confident and so sure of themselves (4:13).
No one was needy because they sold possessions to take care of each other and the disciples distributed it according to each person’s need (4:36). Taking my position on church, I thought it was noteworthy that it is specified that the money was given to people and not for a meeting place. I had a friend go to Israel a few years ago and was told by one of her guides that the church really grew when people loved each other and took care of each and quit growing wildly when hierarchy and buildings became the focus. I’m going to have to do some research on that one to see how true it is, but I do have that statement in the back of my mind.

8 Comments:

Blogger Pressing On . . . Jen said...

Let's see if this works -- here is a link to the sermon that Mark did on this topic -- http://www.centerpointmesquite.org/files/centerpointchurch/audiovideo/am_3908.mp3

If you can't get to it this way- email me and I will try a different way.

I am going to try and look, study, and think about this some more and will email later with some thoughts.

6:29 PM  
Blogger Pressing On . . . Jen said...

A question -- What is the "core" reason why you aren't attending church? -- Because it is work? Going to Wal-mart is work - but you do it to feed your family. ???

8:07 PM  
Anonymous Cody said...

So, according to Acts 2, we need to form a neo-monastic Christian community (ala Bonhoeffer). Many are doing this today. A popular one is Shane Claiborne's The Simple Way in Philly. I think that the possibilities can be amazingly fruitful!

8:36 AM  
Blogger April said...

Hmmm...so you haven't been "going" to a church building in a year and a half? I had no idea. So where is it that you "being" church, and doing the fellowship, breaking bread, and those those other things you were talking about?

Yes, there are some frustrations in the church. But enough for me to give up on it? No way! I personally love my church...I love "going" to the building on Sundays, and I love "being" the church on the other 6 days of the week. For me, it's both. I had a Bible study in my home tonight, none of these girls go to my church, but it was church.

I think it's a blessing to be able to "go" to a church freely. Our church has been under construction, and we were apologizing to some of our small group leaders for the tempoarary cramped quarters, and there are some from India, and they're like "are you kidding me? It's such a blessing to have a place to worship, we don't have that luxury in our country."

My friends work with the underground church in china. They have to change their meeting location every week so that no one finds them. I think they would love to have a safe place to meet every week.

Hmmm, well that's all I've got right now. Don't really want to "debate" this topic as you asked, but if I think of something else, I'll come back.

I also just finished "Blue Like Jazz" by Donald Miller. He was a church-hater too. He has some good thoughts.

11:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I say, if you are rushing...get up earlier! I know, easy for me to say....also, I would say, if Walmart is constantly out of your favorite food, you gotta go somewhere else to "get fed". I love my church. I would be there all day every day if I could. So, you just gotta find one you like. We've all read the e-mail about how "we choose our attitude" throughout the day. That goes for "church" days too.

A good friend of mine helped me think of my church as I do relationships. Just cause you don't like it one day, doesn't mean you give up on it...if it's truly worth it. No church is perfect, but you have to trust your leaders and have faith that God is leading them. Otherwise, we'd be switching church homes all the time!

Good luck with your study! Love ya girl!

Nikki

2:54 PM  
Blogger Padre Reeds said...

I am proud of you for putting your thoughts "out there" like this. Well, saying what you think has never been a hard thing for you but this does bring up tough issues.
You know where I stand, and thank you for broadening my horizons also. I will say that for the last year I have not done any regular serving in my own church and it was a much needed break. When Sunday rolled around I was excited and the chaotic kid thing didn't seem to bug me like it had. During the week I concentrated on praying for and making contact with my neighbors. I didn't have peace about serving again until I had good relations with those God had put right outside my door though. Now I have re-entered the serving/ministry aspect and I have much more to give back after taking a breather.

12:00 AM  
Blogger Mills Family said...

Velvet,

I don't know if you go back and read or not....just thought I would say....good to think...scary to post. People like me like to say what we think.

Once you have been to bible college a side effect is church frustration. I say keep leaning in. I always keep in mind that the disciples recognized Jesus after the resurrection when he broke the bread. So something about coming together in a diverse community and partaking in the bread and fruit of the vine is significant. We see a fuller picture of Jesus in his body ..what that body is I think is the tricky part. I'll be praying for you. I know it is hard.

9:02 PM  
Blogger Hi-d-Ho said...

Wow, what responses. I have to say- although I haven't really sat down to "study" this topic, I am feeling the exact frustrations you feel. As some say- they love their church, love going and getting fed etc., I would love that too, but being in ministry, I'm there early asking for volunteers, running copies, organizing, rushing around making others feel FED. Yes it is work when you are ministering. But I can be fed. I have amazing friends outside church that hold me accountable, that push me, that cause me to think deep.

Being overseas with my sister I saw many different aspects of 'church' For the most part, missionaries abroad do not attend 'church' to be fed. They go to serve. AND it is WORK. I think our culture is "give me give me give me" and we forget to give to others. So the ones that are serving are feeling burned out and frustrated.

Is church weekly important? Yes! I truly do think without that one constant reminder, cultural christians would never hear the word, or get 'convicted'. One day we get to all just go and freely praise, with no kids in tow, no work to be done, just simply praise to our Jesus---WHO IS THE HEAD---we are the body...in a building, a home, or anothre country. I can't wait to have church in Heaven.

Thanks for challenging us! You are an awesome part of the church!--strengthening me, ministering to me, and even financially supporting me! You are a huge blessing.

btw, I too agree today's church emphasizes a little too much on the 'building'. We can't pay our ministers, or feed the hungry, but come to our multi million dollar building and feel the love??? Kinda backwards!

7:00 AM  

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