Every long trip I've ever taken has a reoccurring nightmare of its own. While each trip has been different than any other, they all seem to come preprogrammed with that one inevitable moment when these haunting questions arises: “Where are we?” That is usually followed by, “How did we get here?” Once those two questions have surfaced, been debated, and an acceptable answer has been established, the third, most important and most daunting question springs to light: “Can we just turn around PLEASE?”
I have to believe (for my personal well being and positive mental state) this is a common experience; so, don't destroy my illusion if this has never happened to you. This simple unavoidable experience has a spiritual application that is relevant to the Church today.
Every congregation is facing these three questions. Whether we call our current situation a “transformational process”, “an examination of our core values” or “an evaluation of our mission and scope” the fact is we (the “Body of Christ”) are working our way through these three tough questions: “Where are we?”, “How did we get here?”, and “Can we just turn around PLEASE?”.
“Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent.” Revelation 2:5 (NASB)
The Church has a well defined ultimate destination (Heaven); yet, Pastors & Church Leaders often fail to communicate the “Vision” in a clear concise manner that liberates the congregation and encourages everyone to answer their personal “call to discipleship” in ways that strengthen and build the “Kingdom of God”. Strict adherence to a legalistic code of conduct is not the answer that will carry us through to our ultimate destination.
“For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace.” Galatians 5:4 (NLT)
Transformation, and revitalization are attainable goals, but they are the outward expression of a transformed mind working together with a revitalized heart. The work of the “Kingdom of God” will not be accomplished by human effort devoid of the “Power and Presence” of an “Holy God” actively ministering through “His People” to meet the needs of this world.
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:2 (KJV)
“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.” James 1:22-24 (KJV)
If we (the “Body of Christ”) faithfully attend church, listen to the message of FAITH, HOPE, FORGIVENESS, and LOVE, but do not engage in LIFE-GIVING ministry on an individual level, we cut off the transformation we so desperately seek. Where Are We – How Did We Get Here – Can We Turn Around? Yes! We can turn around. It requires: The Spirit of God, our Personal involvement, and a corporate solidarity in the areas of worship and service. “Are we there yet?”