Friday, May 22, 2015

Church Growth devotion: Rebuilding the Church - Psalm 102:16

Psalm 102:16           For the Lord will rebuild Zion and appear in His glory. (NIV)

            There’s a lot of rebuilding that needs to be done in many churches, including our own. The conflicts that we've all been involved in over the last three decades have taken their toll. Worship wars, culture wars, marriage wars, and atonement wars have diminished the life, work, and mission of the Church as Christ’s Bride on Earth. We are meant to be healers in a broken world; sadly, we have become so disjointed, disfigured, and disunited that we are broken, too.

            We need to ask God to rebuild us, one day at a time, and one person at a time. It will not be an easy process because it will require focus, energy, discipline, and commitment. There’s no other way to rebuild congregations or churches. There’s no magic wand, instant success, or easy button to do it. However, it is not insurmountable or unachievable. It can be done and it will be done among those churches who humbly yield to God and sincerely say, “Thy Will be done.”

            Five hundred years ago, the Christian Church faced a similar challenge. The early Reformers like Jan Hus, Martin Luther, and John Calvin knew that the people and priests had to get back to a form of basic New Testament Christianity. It was an uphill struggle – Jan Hus was burned at the stake; Martin Luther was declared an outlaw and hunted down; John Calvin faced death threats on a regular basis. They were successful in growing a new movement and a new church because their message was true to the Gospel. They accomplished much because they remained true to Christ.

            Today, let’s seriously think about reforming our ways and rebuilding the church. Instead of throwing stones at one another, let’s pick up those stones and rebuild our sacred places. Let’s call upon God to give us the grit and determination, as well as the resolve and focus to grow in His goodness, to advance Christ’s Kingdom, and to walk with the Spirit. We can do this. We can embrace this. We can rebuild.

Questions for personal reflection

What must I do to rebuild my commitment to Christ? How can I help others to do the same?

Prayers:         Lord Jesus, we are all a part of Your Church, Your Work, and Your Mission. In recent times, we have wandered away from Your Truth, forgotten Your Way, and have set aside Your Life. Forgive us for tearing down what You have built. Enable us to reform and allow us to rebuild. In Your Holy Name, we humbly pray. Amen.

John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment or ask questions about today’s message, please send him an email to John is always interested in your thoughts. And, if you ever find yourself in Knoxville on a Sunday morning, the people at Erin will make you feel welcome and will be delighted to worship with you.

Today’s image is John’s latest Pentecost drawing. If you would like to view a larger version, please click on this link: Pentecost.

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