Drinking Deeply

Sunday, March 26, 2006 at 11:51 AM

Why I stay at CCMC

The question was posed yesterday: "Why do you stay at CCMC? Why don't you join that Bible believing church down the street?"

That was the question on the table, and I think that's a question that people wanted answered. I had an answer for myself, but I wanted to hear what other people were going to say and missed my opportunity. Before I forget, here is my answer.

I stay at CCMC because:

1) I made a committment to the local church when I accepted Christ as my savior and lord. Now, I may not have realized that at the time I did so, but looking back at the time, and looking now at Scripture, I know what I am called to, what I am called out of. This picture includes the local church, and that body is embodied by CCMC for me now. In short, I'm here because that is where God called me out, and that is where I've been called to.

2) I have a picture of the last days in Revelation 7, that one day people from every nation, tribe, and tongue will bow down at the feet of Jesus and worship Him. Together.
9After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10and crying out with a loud voice, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!" 11And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12saying, "Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen."
And I see this, and I think: We can start this process here. On Earth. With CCMC. We can start this process even though it's long and difficult because we know of the the "already but not yet" concept. We can start it because we've already been promised it, and even though we may fail here on earth repeatedly, we know that we will one day achieve it. That though we may never get every nation tribe and tongue under CCMC, we can branch out and start reaching out to different nations, different tribes, different tongues, different generations.

3) I see the hope in the future generation. From the few kids that are willing to sit down and discuss theology, to those that just long for true preaching, to those who are still so excited about everything that they just can't help but share who Christ is and what He means to them to everyone around them. I see this hope and I long for them to be nutured and nurished, and I see them getting that (in part, as with any church) at CCMC. I see myself being a part of that, praise to God, and I see myself called and led to have a burden for them, to pray for them, to love them and to serve them, though it is one I have not properly shouldered.

4) I see the hope in the older generation. I see the few willing parents who have faithfully served me, loved me, and encouraged me. I see the many willing parents still encouraging one another and serving one another. I see the parents who are willing to be that bridge across generations, across tongues, because they share the same calling as we all do, to partner in the Gospel, in the suffering of our Lord Jesus Christ, for His glory alone.

5) I do not see willingly breaking the body of Christ as a biblical alternative. I will not say "since I do not speak Chinese, I do not belong, I need to worship somewhere else" I will not say "Since you don't speak English, you don't belong, you need to worship somewhere, sometime else." I do not see that as a viable alternative.

Now, those are the reasons I stay. Here are the reasons that would cause me to leave:

1) Poor preaching. I'm not talking about style. I'm not talking about dryness, about songs we sing. I'm talking about content. Is the sermon Biblical? Or is a passage read and used as a launching point for something completely unrelated? Are passages taken out of context? Can the congregation, at the end of the message, say "Amen" if the pastor closes with "Thus saith the Lord" ? Is God's glory being proclaimed faithfully and biblically? Is His Word treated with reverance? Or do we come to it playfully, joking, mocking, flippantly, as if it weren't the source of our salvation and entire livelihood?

2) Losing the Gospel. Are we compromising for the sake of numbers? Are we maintaining our identity as followers of Jesus Christ and the Words He has spoken through the Book He wrote? Or do we partner with Baal? Watering down our services, watering down our Gospel for the sake of numbers? Are we ashamed of the Gospel? Or do we believe it is the power of God for all who are being saved, to the Jew and then the Greek?

3) Being asked to. I realize that I do not see eye to eye with a lot of people on a lot of issues. I fear many of them have been enough to split churches in the past, and I am fully convinced by Scripture that I am right, but am open to correction from Scripture. I do hope that a mutual devotion to the Gospel is enough to maintain the unity of the body, but it is entirely possible we can disagree on what the Gospel is, and what that means, what devotion means and how that's lived out. If that happens, and I pray it doesn't, then being asked to leave will probably be the result if reconciliation cannot happen.

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Blogger ts said...

those sound like great reasons to remain committed to a church. i believe people who are always seeking the perfect church should just give up, because we won't see such a congregation until we reach heaven. that said, each of us can do our part to encourage, build up, and spur one another on in the fellowship we are called to.

i preached in church today, btw. while the deilivery may be flippant, the content is certainly true. you can listen at newhic.org, under the "weekly sermon" link. please skip the first 12 minutes, because it's boring. at 13 minutes, i start using analogies from "the matrix." ;-P  

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Blogger no_average_girl said...

you seem to have evaluated the reasons of where you are very well - and valid reasons for leaving. those are some great things to have on paper!  

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Blogger Jessica said...

i have a question. would you stay at CCMC if it were your primary church? (and not something that you go home to every three months?)  

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Blogger Puritan Belief said...

I like the idea of the people being the church and the church being a general assembly of those gathered together having fellowship in the Saviors name.

Not necessarily a building. We are the church we don't attend it.  

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