Sentinels For Christ :: Playing The Game of Church

Playing The Game of Church

Posted by jimgrier on January 29, 2016

Pledge Principal V

"Whenever possible I will give of my time and resources to help those in need."

The other day I sat down with one of my friends whom I spent some time with while we we’re residents of the Weld County Colorado Work Release Program.  For those of you who don’t know what work release is very similar to a minimum security jail.  We had gotten very close during our time together and because of my background with Sentinel-For-Christ we ended up doing a modified version of our “Legacies” workshop together.  I know of course few of you know what the Legacies workshop is so in short the workshop helps men break free from the past and take charge of the present with Jesus at the center.  You can find more about here:

http://sentinelforchrist.com/uncommon-men/uncommon-divorce/legacies

I didn’t write this blog though to pitch Legacies. I wrote the blog to share an interaction that took place that really coincided with the 5th principle of the Sentinel Pledge.  For me in my faith I sam constantly overwhelmed with the needs of the broken as a pragmatic reality that sits uncomfortably in my spirit pretty much 24/7.  To be frank I’m not sure how much of this is the Spirit compelling me to action or just good old morality based guilt, (which by the way isn’t good at all and only leads to frustration).  The Pledge is here:

http://sentinelforchrist.com/take-pledge/sentinel-pledge/

My friend’s needs were real, he was recently released and had nowhere to go and while he had family in the area the all too familiar life of addiction had done it's damage with those who could help and they didn’t want to bring drama and disorder into their homes. We never see this part of our sin, whatever path it might be, the fallout, the consequences and pain brought on others.  Bad choices have repercussions and sometimes you cannot get out from underneath the avalanche you brought on yourself.

All of us, if we have any sensitivity to the reality around us experience the sense of hopelessness that comes with the needs of the world.  In fact the demands on our own time just to be effective in our jobs pull tightly and the idea of making an impact on our circle of life seems all but impossible.  But it’s this very fact that the demands of life are impossible that Jesus empowers us to change and have effect.  (Luke 1:37; 18: 27) The problem is most of us I’m afraid fall short at the impossible and settle for a relationship with Christ were we truly don’t believe God can change circumstances.  This point is is a broad spiritual principle that underscores whether we have an actual relationship with the risen Christ or not  (this is not a comment on whether your saved or not),  that’s between you and Jesus and I happen to think the needs of each and every person are dealt with in a unique way as he repairs the damage done by ourselves and by others upon us.  That’s another Sentinel premise by the way.

I’m of the belief and I’m sensitive to the subject when I say this that one of the reasons the quarterly foreign missions trip is so popular in American Evangelical circles is it gives us a challenge out of our element where we can make a significant tangible impact that's concrete. We can see it and feel the results.  After all when you dig a well or build an orphanage you making a difference!  But if the trip to Bangladesh only releases pent up frustration with your faith and you return back to the same marginal life style I would challenge you to check your faith and motivation.  Listen, I did short term foreign missions to Baja California for years.  I’m sure what our missions teams did made a huge difference in the lives of people we touched.  I also remember for years coming back feeling “out of balance” which I believe now years later was the Spirit trying to reach mine and change my direction in everything, not just once every three months!  We need foreign missions desperately, but I believe more than that we need courage in the church back at home to counter what is a lost generation and culture.  When I was in jail I was surprised to discover the amount of spiritual ignorance regarding who Jesus was and the truth of his person.  There’s plenty of mission work to do here as well.

What I’m talking about is a fluid relationship with Christ where you come to the realization you and I are nothing separate from Christ.  Our value and our faith and our position in the world only takes value when it aligns with God’s purpose.  This is a truth the believer has to wrestle with; God does good things through the world through non-believers.  I’m referring to the spiritual discipline of being effective for the Kingdom of God vs. playing church because we never did the hard work of stepping out of the status quos. Living for Christ is a risky, challenging business that pulls us out of the comfort zone regularly and confronts us continually with our authenticity.  You see its all too easy (I’ve found anyway) to rest on the principles of my faith and salvation and hide behind them as opposed to dealing with the difficult process of responding to the Spirit’s continual call to confront my conscience to see if I am “truly in the faith.”  (2nd Corinthians 13: 5) and ask the question “am I aligned with God’s intent?” I’m not talking about maintaining salvation Jesus (thank God) already did that, I’m talking about maintaining my spiritual integrity and friendship with Jesus himself.  I’ve historically had a habit of assuming my struggle with my own conscience in regards to just processing the messages on Sunday and after devotional Bible reading constituted the Christian life of faith.  I played the Christian game of church until God made life so uncomfortable he communicated he was powerful and faithful enough to use me in the here and now to make a difference on the world he died for but it took me believing he would do it and that his demonstration of who he is and how he works is done on his terms.  I just need to be willing to move, (that’s faith) and unequivocally move out of Casual Christian Comfort.

I don’t know what I’m going to be able to do, (with God’s help) to assist my friend  But I would cherish your prayers as God does what he does and moves in this man’s life.  What I won’t do though is cap the attitude it appears impossible and therefore go back to church this weekend untouched and go back to wrestling with the same old spiritual truths believing this is the best God has for this life.

That’s simply not a life worth living.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me  Matthew 25: 34-40

See the rest of the Sentinel Pledge at:

http://sentinelforchrist.com/take-pledge/sentinel-pledge/

J.P. Grier
M.S. Counseling

J.P Grier is the founder and writer at SentinelforChrist com – Sentinel-For-Christ is a network of Christian men helping each other to press deeper in Christ.

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