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July 27, 2007

What's Different? Church vs. Bar

I was catching up on reading a few blogs today at lunch and I came accros this one comparing the church to a bar. Here is the link. Please read it for yourself. http://tatumweb.com/blog/2007/07/22/church-bar/

OK, I understand where this guy is coming from. I would rather go somewhere where everyone knows my name, have fellowship with people, and eat good food as well rather than attend a dead, duty oriented church. The problem is that we are the church. If we go to a lifeless church, then we are helping to make it so. If we criticize the church for not caring about others and not providing a welcoming atmosphere, then we are again condemning ourself. All the things he mentions that make the bar fun were observations about the people. So really he is saying the people who claim to be believers are boring and don't care that much about other people, but the people at the bar do.

You know there is really only one person we need to compare ourself to. Fun or not, dry and boring or not, know my name or not, I don't really care to be like anyone except Jesus. People are all flawed and we all make mistakes. Obviously the people in the bar have problems. They are seeking the something to fill the emptiness in their life, and good food, good people, and a pool table are not going to satisfy them. Obviously the people who attend this guys church have a problem. They are living out of duty and not real life in Christ and they are tired of playing the game so they walk around frustrated all the time and no one wants to be around them. Sometimes we make this harder than we need to . Why did Jesus send us the Holy Spirit and give us all the riches of glory through Him if we are going to try to do it in our own strength and compare what we have and who we are to other people? Even if we are the best, most friendly, most serving person on the planet, does that in anyway replace who we need to be through Christ? All that is as filthy rags in God's sight. So if my church is utterly dry and lifeless or if it is fun, friendly place to be, it doesn't matter one bit if the people there are not full of Jesus and living in the power of the Holy Spirit as we were intended to do.

Our own senses will betray us and we can not trust our own thought about how to live our life. I may want to be with people and God wants me to be alone. I may want to be somber and serious, but God wants me to show the joy and happiness he has given me. If we base everything on where we are having a good time or not, then we are really in trouble. No one said the life of a real disciple of Christ was easy. Jesus mentioned something about a cross, a narrow way, and lots of stuff to leave behind. I can't do that if I want to feel good all the time and make sure I'm connecting the right way with people around me.

I can make this very simple for people. Are you ready? Don't worry about anything but following Jesus. There you go. The answer to life. I just solved the whole church problem debate. We can close down 90% of the ministries and blogs out there and we can all go home now. It just makes sense and the enemy is the one who makes it complicated and focuses our attention on everything else. All I need to do is follow Jesus. The entire Word of God all points to Christ. When I follow Him, I will learn of Him, love Him, and become like Him. Then I will love others, and connect with people, and be happy when I need to and somber when I need to. People will not have to compare me (the church) to a bar and rather be there than with me. People cannot resist Jesus. When they see Him truly for who he is, they will run in amazement and wonder every time, because He is unlike anything else in the whole universe.

Besides...I can think of a dozen other non-bar places with good food and fellowship.