Monday, August 29, 2011

Looking up!

Wow! James MacDonald had a good one this week in his Walk in the Word series. He reminds us that when the church began it was about praise. It was about recognizing the greatness of God and the fame of God's Son. He makes a good point that we spend so much time in our churches trying to understand and cater to its followers that we forget why we have come.

Here is the full article. Check out for more.

Look Up

The Weekly Walk...17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. —Ephesians 3:17-21

The other day I had on my desk 30 recent books written about the church of Jesus Christ. One word describes them all: Horizontal. Pretty covers, catchy titles—one theme. They are filled with practical counsel: How to understand your audience, how to impact the people around you, how to influence them, how to win them, how to assimilate them; what they need, what they want, what we think, what they think. And yet, most of them are based on a fatal flaw: They have reduced the Church of Jesus Christ to a man-centered, human-needs-driven, manipulate-able organization—a horizontal thing.

Here's a word you need to have at the forefront of your thinking: vertical. Somehow we've lost this in the church. We’ve replaced the Biblical idea of the church with the idea that the church is supposed to be about the horizontal—about us.

Before the purpose of the Church was ever soteriological (about salvation), it was doxological (about praise). Ephesians 3:20 says: "To Him be glory in the Church through Jesus Christ now and forever more." Everything we do has to resound with the fame of the name of God's Son. When that happens, everything else falls into place. Evangelism, discipleship, community impact, ministries of compassion, these things are by-products of a church that is passionately consumed with the glory of God. Vertical is a powerful concept that you need to have at the forefront of your thinking about the work of the Church of Jesus Christ.

The best reasons to be fully engaged in your church won’t be found by looking around, but by looking up! We begin obeying Christ by applying the great commandment to love God—the summary of the vertical relationship (see Mark 12:28-31). When we’ve got that clear, we can tackle the loving neighbor, horizontal thing. Let’s keep the two commands clear and in proper sequence! That’s vertical church. Look up!

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