Letters to a Future Church

So, I just stumbled upon a contest, where members of the U.S. American church are challenged to write a letter to the church answering the question, "If I could say anything to the church, what would it be?"  The contest ends tonight at midnight (oops - I guess it ended at noon - I missed it).  Here is the website that details the contest: http://promoshq.wildfireapp.com/website/6/contests/211410

Since I just stumbled upon the contest, here is my impromptu response (hopefully this counts as submitting it in the contest?):



Dear church,

            Don’t be so concerned with fitting in with culture.  I remember how hard you tried as pre-teens to gain approval from your peers, how in middle school you were taunted for the way your faith made you stand out, that is okay.  It is okay to not fit in.  The early disciples didn’t fit in, “and more were added to their number each day.” (Acts 2:47)

            Be not afraid.  Don’t forget the power of God is real!  We so easily dismiss miracles and even the most insignificant coincidences without acknowledging how God has answered prayers.  Take a risk and ask publically for a miraculous healing.  Don’t be ashamed if nothing happens at that moment.  But don’t be so blind as to miss God’s healing.

            Don’t let Satan get a foothold on issues like homosexuality, abortion, and the like.  You think that I mean don’t let Satan win on these topics, that isn’t what I mean.  Don’t let it divide you!   We don’t need more divisions in the church. When we divide we allow Satan to take grasp over at least one part of the church and the other part is just setting itself up for another division. Stay together--work it out.  If we want marriage divorce rates to decrease, we need to model working it out in the church.  Jesus’ final lengthy prayer recorded in John 17 asks that we be One.  Church, stay together and work it out.  Once topics like homosexuality and abortion are worked out, there will be other topics that emerge.  Satan wants us to turn against ourselves.  Stop and fight to be one united church.

            Respect one another.  Just because I am a woman preacher and I believe that God called me to be a professional minister and that my being a minister does not go against Scripture, does not mean that I can’t respect someone who believes women can’t be pastors.  I may question you to make sure your theology is consistent (and I ask you to do the same for me), but I will respect your interpretation and expect you to act in alignment with what you believe, even if I don’t agree.  I don’t expect you to accept me as a minister if you believe that God doesn’t call women to be ministers.  One of our faiths is weaker (Romans 14), and that is okay.  It may be mine, it may be yours, but we are on this journey together.

            Don’t hate on Muslims.  The Qur’an teaches that Jesus is the Messiah, but doesn't explain what the word “Messiah” means.  Read and study the Qur’an with your Muslim neighbor.  When the Qur’an points to a story in the Bible, share the rest of the story; fill in the gaps that the Qur’an leaves. Share Christ and live out the kingdom of God.  Our God is a big God.  God wants to have a relationship with our Muslim neighbors as much as God wants to have a relationship with you.  Help your Muslim neighbor to understand what it means for Jesus to be Messiah.  Be a friend.

            Don’t segregate by age.  We have so much to teach each other.  I may be 30, but I need to be around 90-year-olds who have lived the faith much longer than I have and have learned to keep the faith in a changing world.  While 20 and 30-something churches are great for outreach, we can’t forget to care for the elderly members of our church!  My 90-year-old siblings in Christ need me just as much as I need them.  The same stands true for our children and teenagers. They need me in their lives as much as I need them.
           
            And please, most importantly, don’t lie about yourself.  Be real with God and be real with your neighbors and Christian siblings.  God created us to be and live in community.  Part of being in community is about being real with ourselves.  And part of being real about ourselves is a willingness to get our hands dirty in the lives of others.  Let’s stop putting on a show and lets be real with each other and with God.

            Finally, pray.  Start each morning talking to God and don’t stop, even when the day is through.  There were times in history when people didn’t have access to the written or repeated stories of God.  Although they didn’t have the Bible, they still had God’s word, because they could talk to God through prayer.  No matter your circumstances in life or what is happening at the moment, remember God is there.  Pray, Church, Pray!

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