Everyone is looking for something to believe in. Something to give substance to life. Something to clarify the reason why we're all here.
In recent headline news we have watched cemeteries being desecrated, innocent people being brutally tortured and killed, unsuspecting victims loosing limbs and life due to bombings; men, women and children falling prey to human trafficking, protesters vandalizing property and people simply because their candidate didn't win the presidency and other such travesties. What has this world come to? Why the insanity? By taking a look at the lopsided church, I believe we can find the answer.
A friend, who was a long-time school counselor in our small southwest Kansas town, once told me that "gang members aren't looking for something to live for, they are looking for something to die for." Gang members want to be so sold out to something that they would die for it if need be. This thought has plagued my mind many, many times since our conversation several years ago. Teenage boys (and girls) look for meaning, purpose, comradery, and family in groups that promise it, even though this promise comes with a very high price. In a nutshell, they look for a place of belonging.
Isn't this what we all want? A place to call our own; a place with purpose, appreciation, acceptance and love. Don't we all fit quite comfortably into our own little gangs? As I live out this life, I watch people struggle with their identity. These are people who are simply trying to find out who they really are, and why they are really here. I, like you, have witnessed everything from the bi-sexual revolution, to divorce without cause, to job hopping, partner hopping and church hopping. I've watched the family and the church take on a whole new (and not so appealing) look. What is the problem!?
I dare to say that lazy, misinformed, carnal and religious Christians have created what I call the "lopsided church" and the lopsided church has played a major role in creating confusion and causing a lack of interest in the things of God, especially for the GenXers. Let me explain this statement:
1) divorce, child abuse, gossip, bankruptcy, adultery, addiction, drunkenness, obesity, profanity, and other issues look no different in the lopsided church than they do in the world,
2) prayer, Bible study and talking about God, are reserved for Sunday mornings in the lopsided church rather than as a daily lifestyle,
3) church is a social gathering that takes place in a facility that looks more like a bar than a house of worship in the lopsided church, and
4) although discipleship is trying to make a comeback through small groups, in many instances in the lopsided church it is dictated by how many rules and regulations are interjected and whether or not they meet the attendee's personal whims. For example, does it accommodate one's behavior; does it justify one's choices; does it approve of one's lifestyle; does it appeal to one's senses?
Everyday we read blogs, watch videos and listen to podcasts that tell us it is okay to live life the way we want because we are all human and "it is what it is." This beloved, could not be further from the truth. This claim is in direct contradiction to the Word of God, the Bible. The Truth is that we have all been created for relationship and for purpose. We all have something inside of us that makes us want to push on in this difficult walk of life. The key to understanding that something is found in knowing God intimately and wholly.
John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but will have everlasting life." God sent His Son to die for you in order that you could become part of His family. Do you know of any greater love?
Matthew 6:33 says, "Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you." You have needs, God is so aware of this; these needs include everything from relational connectedness to financial breakthrough. If you will seek Him first, above everything else, He will meet those needs.
Jeremiah 29:11 says, "I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to help you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." By slowing down briefly, waiting on God, and seeking Him and His will for your life, you will know those plans; plans that are custom designed for you and nobody else.
And, 2 Chronicles 7:14 says, "And My people, who are called by My name, humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn form their wicked (self-centered & sinful) ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sins and will heal their land." Beloved, your land is your purpose. It is the reason why God put you here in the earth. If you are not living life abundantly, then your land needs healing.
Going through life bouncing from partner to partner, job to job, church to church, while striving to find something that is real and fulfilling can only be found in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. He has loved you with an everlasting love, He gave His life for you, He is sitting at the right hand of the Father always speaking to God about you, for you. You have great purpose, you have a clear and chosen identity -- God has designed you to make a difference in the world. This purpose is to impact individual lives with such an impact that will last through eternity.
Let me apologize for the confusion and frustration that has been needlessly inflicted upon a couple of generations of people. Taking the lopsidedness out of church is not going to happen over night, but it will happen. We as believers in Christ have been called to look differently than those who do not know or believe in Jesus. We are to be accepting, forgiving, pure in speech and lifestyle; we should be careful of what we say, what we watch and what we listen to, and we should be careful not to condemn. We should live lifestyles that are consistent with the character of Christ. There is a way to speak truth without being ugly. There is a way to live wholesomely without being holier-than-thou, and there is a way to let the hurting know that we have been down similar painful paths without revisiting them. Knowing God's purpose for your life is a process. It is a journey that is not easy. It is a path that is narrow and one that few people walk. In fact, at times it will feel as if you are walking it alone. And, it is a family relationship, a belonging, that is worth dying for if need be. You are fearfully and wonderfully made to make a difference for such a time as this.
We at Woman Beautiful delight in the opportunity to pray for you and to encourage you. Go to the website, http://www.womanbeautiful.org and share your thoughts and needs with us. We can help you find real answers for real help that lead to real abundant and purposeful living.
Father, thank you for the people you have loved so well by your Son, Jesus Christ. Open their eyes that they will see you clearly; open their ears that they will learn your voice; open their hearts that they will be transformed by you and open their minds that they will desire the things of God. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen, amen!