Church on Fire

I gave a message on the church as a whole and how important it is that it is living up to the hype that the Bible says we are to be. That as long as the Bible instructs us to be a real community centered in Christ that loves but in action it is no more than a place that more resembles a Sunday morning social club, those who are seeking the Lord will continue to be hurt. That the church is called by God to be a powerful entity for worship, evangelism, and discipleship but is too often falling short of that calling.

In the preparation of the message, I went back to some of my favorite verses concerning what the early church looked like including….

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” Acts 2: 42-47

“All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.” Acts 4: 32-35

Another thought that jumped out to me is where the Scripture talks about Christ being the groom and that His church is His bride preparing itself and waiting for the day for the groom to come get her when Christ returns someday.

With all of these differing thoughts, I started to journal some thoughts. I thought maybe I’d drop them here as well….

If the church was on fire….

  • it would not be put in the back seat of how we spend our time behind sleeping in, homework, workouts, TV schedules or “me time”
  • it would not be seeing everyone else once a week once we are completely drained and looking for a spiritual quick fix
  • it would not be a place of gossip, complaining, thinking your way is always best, and a forever cycle of victim mentality
  • it would not be where worship is a time when heart and minds are filled with thoughts of what all needs to be done the rest of the day while blindly and mechanically singing through the songs at hand
  • it would not be a place where we hang out with the same click of people week after week defensive of our seating arrangements
  • it would not be a place of lip service prayers that escape our minds once we step away from the person in need nor would it be a place where an invitation to pray would be met with empty stares of people silently hoping they won’t be picked
  • it would not be place where outsiders are repulsed, turned off, and nauseated
  • the bride of Christ would not be a needy, insecure, self-serving, whiny, step sister that no one wants to sit next to when stuck at the reception of a distant cousin’s wedding

If the church was on fire…..

  • It would be a place where spiritually hungry people desire to get together more often to study the Scripture and share what they have blessed with in personal devotional time to the point where they couldn’t wait to share it…. It would probably be so pressing that it becomes an over whelming Facebook status
  • It would be the place that is the catalyst for new relationships that you plug into throughout the week for support, accountability, and fun as you work the mission fields together
  • It would be a place that reminds us that Jesus Christ has already had the victory over sin and death and that, as Christians, we can not only rest assure that it’s going to be ok but that we can charge forward boldly in that situation that Satan is trying to hold over your head. That we can be delivered through the power of the Holy Spirit that resides within us from that thing Satan is trying to use to bound your hands and feet! That we can not only stand but that we can dance on the solid rock of His foundation under our feet! It is a place that is a second family, maybe like one you have never experienced before.
  • It would be a place of radical, heart filled worship in truth that brings laughter, celebration and yes tears as we realize that we are in the throne room of the Living God who has given you every good and pleasant thing in your life including that last breath you just took.
  • It would be a place of investing in the lives of those we know but also investing into new relationships and showing warmth, acceptance and love to those who had the courage to walk into a new environment hoping and praying for someone to care about them like the church claims it would. It would be a second family, maybe like no other family you have experienced before
  • It would be a place where a prayer request not only drives us into instant prayer together as we believe that where two or more are gathered that He is there! A place where speaking to the Living God on behalf of our brothers and sisters in Christ is so humbling yet so exciting that everyone jumps at the chance and prayer would be longer and deeper as each who desires take their turn speaking to Him. And then there would be some humble silence as we marvel that we even have the right to speak to the Alpha and Omega Father of all…..
  • It would be a place where those who are not “part of it” take notice, find refuge, find love, and through that invitation get past the rest of us to have an intimate, radical, life changing experience with Jesus Christ
  • It would be a place that is not a place at all because the heart beat of Jesus Christ lives in each one us no matter where we are and what we are doing as we are brought together in unity through the resurrection power of Jesus Christ (but more on that later =)
  • The bride of Christ would be powerful, humble, passionate, loving, and harmonious and when the groom comes to usher her, he would have a tear in His eye, remove the veil and tell her how beautiful she is. He will sit with her on that day at that wedding day banquet and call her His own.
About Tom Hypes

Tom Hypes is an ordained Pastor who has served in churches and the camping ministry for over 25 years. He currently leads at The Shepherd's Fellowship and volunteers at Leapin' Outreach (clothing ministry), Marion County Citizen Circle (helping clients with transitions from prison to community), Kirkpatrick Food Pantry, and ministers in the local nursing homes. He has also contributed to Group Magazine, CBA Marketplace, and Youth Worker Magazine. He serves in his ministry in the partnership with his family; wife Jenni, son Ryan, and daughter Emily.