What comes to your mind when you hear the word “Church”?
If you are like most people, you think of buildings, clergy (professional ministers) rituals and programs. This is the working definition that is deeply embedded not only in our country, but in most places of the world. It has been the way people have thought of church for ages.
How inspiring are those words to you? Do they feel life-giving and transformational? Does this description sound or look like what Jesus said or did?
Chapter 4, of the Book of Ephesians, gives us a much richer understanding. It mentions 5 “Ascension Gifts” or spiritual enablements that Jesus wired into the identity, calling and resources of the church when He ascended to heaven.
“Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the...
Sometimes the things that seem like they will make our lives easier and more efficient are the very things that can steal our purpose and passion right out from under us.
God’s desire has always been to draw people from all nations into His eternal household. But, “doing church” (or, in this case, "doing temple") got in the way of that purpose in the lives and practice of the people of God. Addressing the people in Jerusalem, Jesus quoted from the book of Isaiah and said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.’” (Mark 11:17) When the people came to make sacrifices at the temple they had to bring animals, or grain or whatever was needed. This proved to be quite an inconvenience for those who had a long way to travel, so they developed a system of exchange right at the temple. People could simply bring money and “buy” what they needed for...