Dancing in the Light

I John 1:7 "If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin."

Name:
Location: North Platte, Nebraska, United States

I am a christian wife, mother and grandmother. I am a licensed Social worker and a licensed Christian counselor. I am most proud of the relationships I have with God, my family and friends all over the world. I have been blessed beyond my dreams.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Simulated Church

Last week, I took residents from our local nursing home to the city for a doctor's appointment. For two days in a row, I spent several hours sitting in a waiting room, watching television, visiting with other patients, and reading magazines. I looked at the magazine ads and found it interesting that if one has the money, they can simulate anything. We can have enamel veneers over our teeth to make them look straighter and whiter. We can get that sun-kissed glow, not by sitting out or working out in the sun, but by paying money to have a special tint sprayed on us. We can purchase plumper lips by allowing a physician to inject botox (from the same root word as botulism) and this same injection can be injected in our frown lines to make us look younger. We can go under the knife and have liposuction and augmentations to give us the figure we never had but always wanted. We have hair plugs implanted so that baldness is no longer an issue, and if we have hair, we can have it colored, frosted, tinted or even have other hair woven in with it, giving us the kind of hair we want. We can buy colored contacts and have acrylic nails put on at a salon. The "fully simulated package" would show a couple with neon white teeth, an orange tan, hair colored to resemble a burbur carpet, plastic looking faces, and Barbie and Ken bodies---and instead of looking real, they would look like cartoons, out of place in the real world.
I began to think about how we, as Christians, seem to be becoming a simulated church. We have big beautiful buildings with stained glass windows and perfectly manicured yards. The upkeep on such a facility often necessitates a reduction in our missions and evangelism budget. We call it community reputation. In an effort to appeal to the world, we begin offering coffee and then donuts then breakfast. We call it Sunday school class. In order to keep our worship from being "boring", we inject much worldliness into our services. We call it praise worship. We offer social activities that include church league volleyball, church golf tournaments, etc. We call it fellowship. Most of our conversations with others is done via internet, email, facebook, blog, my space, etc. We call it evangelism. We come together with the saints, all dressed up, smiles on our faces, appearing to have it all together. We call ourselves the church.
I am afraid we are becoming less and less real. The real church is a group of people, sinners who were lost and are now redeemed by the Blood. The real church has struggles, they don't live perfect lives. The real church gives no thought to whether worship bores them, they realize it is suppose to be pleasing to God. The real church longs to be together, needing each other, making time to spend with each other, and for them, three times a week is not enough. The real church doesn't need food to entice them to Bible class. They are up early and have already eaten breakfast, they are anxious to come to be fed spiritually. The real church looks for real live human beings to talk to about God. They are concerned about the lost, they are encouraged by the saved and inspired by the Word.
I believe we are sincere in our efforts to be pleasing to God. But, sometimes we go so far that we become a simulated church. We become cartoonish in character. The world does not recognize us as the bride of Christ. All of the trappings that have become important to us have masked the radiance, purity and glow of the Bride. Perhaps we could even go so far that even our Groom would not recognize us. We need to refocus our spiritual lives on that which is important. We need to strive to be real, ridding ourselves of all that is fake or phony. We need to shine with the realness that comes from belonging to Christ. Let's be the real church rather than the simulated one. After all it was a real church He died for and it is the real bride He is coming back to get, taking her home with Him for all eternity.

Peace
Neva

23 Comments:

Blogger Kathy said...

Preach it, dear sister-in-Him, Preach it!!

When I see a church budget graphic in which the largest piece of the 'pie' is for building maintenance and staff salaries; when a plea for a few thousand dollars is made for a poor orphanage in a third world country is juxtaposed against the millions requested to retire the building mortgage I want to cry out, is the this, as the theme of ACU lectureship was this year from Micah, doing justice, loving mercy and walking humbly with our God?

I'm no different than others when I am in the hot,humid east coast, enjoying an air conditioned building and when in the far northern climes, one that has a working central heating system. But in those settings I'm constantly reminded of Jesus' words to "GO" - He did not say, build it and they'll come to it. He didn't say entertain 'em, He said teach them.

I wonder if a simple, short time in corporate worship were the substitute for the long, finely tuned one, and with the rest of the time the congregation were to spend time together visiting the poor and feeding them, visiting the prisons, taking Jesus to the homes of the sick where problems run amok lacking any staying hand of the Master in their lives, would not that shorter service be completely satisfying? I wonder?

It isn't too difficult to understand why so many of our younger people are looking to house churches for corporate worship, spending the rest of their time and all of their resources on the poor, sick and lost.

Is there a happy medium that would be Jesus-glorifying AND fellow-man serving?

9:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen, it is time to stop playing like church and start being like church. This is a great analogy, Neva!


Pat

10:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"concerned about the lost, encouraged by the saved, and inspired by the word". Sounds like a sermon to me.

good post
mr neva

10:26 AM  
Blogger Monalea said...

Hey sweety,

You inspire me!

I do believe you could quote Paul when he said, "Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.

Monalea

12:04 PM  
Anonymous carol said...

The problem is we think it looks real--we don't know we look phony and cartoonish. Isn't that sad? Thisis a very insightful post. You have caused me to think today.

Carol

12:56 PM  
Blogger Traci said...

This is a great post. I love where it says about the real church realizing that worship is for God and not them. That is so true and something I needed to hear today. Thanks.

4:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! I never thought about it that way. What makes a "fake" church? This is pretty deep when we think about all the things we do to make others think we are the church, things that are spiritually unnatural---things not approved by God. Great thoughts.

Dan

5:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A real church--what a novel idea! I personally would love to worship with a congregation that cared about evangelism, purity and faith, one that cared about worshipping God and pleasing Him.
That would be a great place to be a part of.

Rachel

7:48 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Neva,
I would have to say from reading your posts so far, this post is one of the best you have done. Amen, Sister!

8:21 PM  
Anonymous GJ said...

I agree with preacherman, one of your best. We need to be the "real" church if we are to be really effective in bringing the lost home.
great post.
Glynnis

8:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post, great reminder,

Carlos

10:16 AM  
Blogger TREY MORGAN said...

I'm with Mr. Neva - well done. I think if he's not getting you to write some of his sermons, you're welcome to write some of mine :)

10:53 AM  
Anonymous donna said...

Amen and Amen !!

I am guilty of home church :) Although a portion of my Sunday is spent in Tops grocery store singing Amazing Grace, walking the aisles asking people if they know about Jesus and sunday evening caring for the elderly. And as corny as this all sounds, I have come to love you...yes you, a dear sister in Christ...via the internet

hugs,
donna

1:19 PM  
Anonymous donna said...

P.S. ooops...I forgot to tell you....today is my grandbaby's birthday....stop by my blog and see her sweet strawberry stained face !!

1:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is always difficult to remember that the message speaks for itself and we don't need to "pretty it up" in order for people to realize how much they need it--we only have to share it with them.
I like this one!


Love ya
Kel

5:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

U Go Girl!!!! ;)




jel

9:38 AM  
Anonymous Don said...

neva-
You did really good or is it well?
Any way, I agree.

Noticed a funny thing about some of the "house church" folks. It seems just from those who commented that house church folks are sooooo busy with their own business during the week they want to use the Lord's Day for something more productive than 'just worshiping God'.
I don't understand this. Maybe they choose Sunday for their day of "service" for the same reason the government changes time on Sunday morning....It's really a wasted day any way.

I'm glad I haven't gotten to the point that worshiping God is such a waste of time I've decided to try and find a way to use His day for "better" things. You know important things. Things I think are important.

I'll find their desire to "serve" more "real" and less "simulated" when they start taking Monday off from work or keep their kids home from school to do the same things. Just a thought.

1:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This post really made me think, I have wondered if I was a "real" Christian, bought with blood, transformed by the Holy Spirit, walking in the light, or if I simply go to church, smile alot, sing and pray and go home, carrying my bible in a fancy cover so no one can tell how unused it really is? hmmmmmmmm........
thank you Neva, you have moved my thoughts and touched my spirit.
Corinne

9:13 PM  
Anonymous Christian said...

Good Day :) God is Love, May you experience God's Love this Day, may we really learn to Praise him in all things :) Lets Share God's Love today :) You are Loved!

7:51 AM  
Blogger Liz Moore said...

What a great analogy! Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Blessings!

9:08 AM  
Blogger Godzheart said...

Wowee..thats some powerful words...surely we've forgotten what we ought to do...making our Lord's house a tradepost...

PS: Thank you so much for your prayers....

love
Godzheart(KB)

11:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You okay? Looking for a new post from you, hope all is well.

Jean

10:27 AM  
Blogger Bobby Cohoon said...

Good post sis! I agree with you, I think it is time we stop "playing" church and start being the church.

Bobby

11:26 PM  

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