Monday, 25 February 2013

How would Christ want His Church?

How do you want your tea? The first time I was asked this question my mind went blank. I had no idea how I should respond. After waiting without any answer coming from me, the person doing the tea went you want your tea with/without sugar, with/without milk? All I knew then was add hot water, sugar and milk and there you're with your tea. I now know that while some people want the tea bag in the mug others don't. Also, you need to ask how many spoons of sugar they want in their tea. One mug of tea doesn't fit all.

My son loves his sandwich, but not any sandwich. He's particularly interested in what goes in his sandwich. Currently, his favourite filling is chicken slice on butter or cheese. Knowing he likes butter and cheese doesn't mean I can just go ahead and do any of them. Any time he asks for sandwich I've to ask him how he wants it. I've tried him my best fillings like tomatoes, cucumber and sardine but he always says no.  He insists on getting what he wants and that's what he gets.

Imagine we run the church that way when we have to go to the founder, Jesus Christ, and ask how he wants His church to be run. Many would argue we do that any way but do we really? We might have asked Him few questions in the early stages but how often do we ask His views about how we should run His church?

Church is pretty much run like a government department. When there's an issue we sit down, brainstorm for a while and a few minutes later a decision is made. Christ has been relegated to the role of a chairman. The real show is run by the CEO's- the Pastors, Revds and the church leaders. It's only when things get really bad before we call in the chairman. It's only then that the word prayer is highly recommended.

Democracy is much cherished in church than prayer. So far as people voted at a meeting the decision is carried regardless of whether that's what Christ would want or not. We just make the tea for Him according to our taste. The founder doesn't get a say in how His business is run. Is that fair?  Many think they have the knowledge and power to deal with anything and don't need the help of the founder. How many of us really pray before we take part in very important decisions in church? We were only supposed to act as caretakers but have assumed full responsibility. We don't want to seek the face of the owner any more. No wonder the church is in such a state.

We have tried all we want and don't seem to be working. A time will come when the owner will take his keys from us for not running the business the way He wanted. It's not too late to admit to the owner that we have run out of ideas and seek His wisdom and guidance. It is His church and only He knows how He wants it.

If we're so much concerned about getting a mug of tea right as possible, how much more church decisions. It's about time we found out how He wants His church.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

How did Christ manage to keep His cool?

One wonders what Christ was thinking when he assembled those 12 as his spiritual brethren. They were of course very ordinary people, but out of their ordinary were very strange characters. Among the 12 were aggressors, extremist, zealot, confused, doubtful, rebellious, notorious, unbelievers, fanatic, timid, impatient, traitor, denial etc.

Would you have such characters as friends? Would you invite such people for dinner and wash their feet? I bet you wouldn't invite them even to a breakfast which takes less time and effort to prepare. Yet these were the people Christ had as friends in his 3 years evangelism on earth.

They were mostly chosen by Christ himself. He taught and trained them how to "fish for men". Their training manual included topics such as forgiveness, prayer, miracles, healing, Holy Spirit, service, repentance, fellowship, humility.

Thier performances were mixed. Some were extraordinary good and others very poor though that's not the essence of this blog.

I want to single out one apostle i.e Peter, and imagine having such character as a family, friend or a church leader. You would probably have disowned Peter as a family, dumped him as friend and might have been suspended as a church leader.

 Peter, a man who Christ called him two names interchangeably (Simon, Peter, or Simon Peter), depending on what he had done or said. When he had behaved well Christ called him Peter, and when behaved badly, it was Simon. The apostle Peter was bold, outspoken and a dominant character which is good. But the man was also a double minded person. Peter often "put his foot in his mouth"- saying things without really thinking through the consequences. He was also sceptical and impatient person. Remember he was the first to announce that he was going back to fishing after the crucifixion of Christ (John 21:3). When it matter most Peter would disappoint as he did when he slept at the garden of Gethsemane when he was supposed to be praying with Jesus. He was often in trouble with Jesus over something he had said or done. He was rebuked more than any other disciple. He was the one who courageously confessed Christ as Messiah, yet Peter, was the one disciple Christ called Satan.

The worse of it all was Peter's denial of Christ. He assured his friends that he would never deny Christ, he denied him 3 times and with curses. Who would want a family or a friend who would deny you like that? Christ knew all that was going to happen yet remained with Peter. How would you handle a family or a friend who's sceptical, impatient, promises a lot and delivers little, and is always "putting his foot? Dump him or her you would say. Well, Christ didn't.

Despite Peter's inadequacies, failings and shame, he preached at Pentecost and three thousand people were saved (Acts 2:14-41). He became the Rock and great leader of the early church. Be careful who you dump in your life. It might be frustrating sometimes but people learn from their mistakes. Peter leaned a lot from his mistakes and failings. Have patience and keep praying for the person as Christ did for Peter and all other disciples. You never know.


Sunday, 3 February 2013

I missed church but not God

For the first time in years I found myself sitting on a bus on Sunday morning not going to church but work. I've tried everything I could possible do to avoid working on Sunday and have succeeded in the past but not any more. The economy has been so "stupid" and one has to do with what you get. If I don't want it some one will take it and the consequences would be felt when I pick my pay cheque at the end of the month. Indeed its been hitting my pocket so hard and so this first Sunday in February I took up the chalenge to go to work.

I've been grumbling about it all week and friends have urged me to cheer up since its not every Sunday I have to work. Indeed its not every Sunday; only once or at most twice in a month. I've been thinking about my role, the worship and the friendship that I would miss.

As I stepped out about an hour before my starting time, I was thinking about what I could read or listen to draw me closer to God. Thanks toTuneIn Radio I managed to listened to Faith radio on my phone. Today is the first time I've listened to that radio. The music was so good and soon found myself shaking my heard and tapping my feet as I travelled on the bus. I was amazed the number of people on the bus all going to work. What can we do "anoma enntua ogyina ho" unless a bird flies it has no food.

With 10 minutes to spare I got to work full in "spirit". I've enjoyed the music on faith radio so much that I wanted more. Thank God I could listen to radio while at work. With the computer on I removed the ear piece from my phone and listened to faith radio on the computer. I joined in the singing as I work. In a big building with many stairs prayer was much easier. Each level of stairs had its own prayer topic.

I had planned to go to the shop to get some breakfast. That was skipped as I enjoyed what I was listening and doing and didn't want any distraction. It soon dawned on me what Christ said that we would worhip Him in truth and in spirit. Worship doesn't only have to take place at a church premise. In fact we can worhip any where, any time.

On reflection, although I wouldn't like to make Sunday work a habit I must say I've enjoyed today. In fact my role at church sometimes make me not able to enjoy worship the way I would want. Perhaps once in a while I'll need this break from church where I could worship the way I or God would want it to be.

So what did I miss this Sunday? I can think of 5 Methodist hymns and friends chat, but did I miss God? Absolutely not.