10 Misconceptions in 10 Years

As shared with Living Word Church on August 26-27.

In the past 10 years of serving God in various capacities, I’ve had to overcome some initial misconceptions about my personal relationship with God and how a church family works.  Usually, it’s in a retreat setting such as the one at Living Word’s Summer Conference where a reality gets knocked into me.  Over the span of two mornings, I shared with the Living Word family what I have learned.

Friday Morning: 5 Personal Misconceptions

  1. I need to be older/need more experience/need more education to serve God.  That person is too young/only a new believer/has not finished a degree and therefore is not capable of leading. Jesus does not have time for us to play these mind games.  Anyone can serve God.  Genesis’ Joseph would not have been qualified to lead Egypt under these restrictions.  Joseph and Mary were teenagers when Jesus was born.  I’ve seen seventh graders lead kids program they had only graduated from a few months before.  I’ve even seen a six year old shouting for joy because his friend came to watch him play Upward Soccer – he had been praying for his friend to come to get to know Jesus.  Jesus won’t wait until we gained whatever it is we feel like we must have.  1 Timothy 4:11-12
  2. I can only be satisfied at my church when I feel like I’ve gotten enough knowledge and care.  The church is not providing me enough spiritual food.If we all entered our church expecting to receive but not willing to give, everyone will leave disappointed.  The question to ponder after experiencing God at our church is not “What did I learn today?”, but rather, “How did God want to impact my heart today?”  In most situations, God always works to draw you closer to Him by serving others.  Faith and knowledge without works is dead.  When you don’t feel like you’ve been fed enough, have you pondered whether you’ve put His Words into practice?  Philippians 2:3, James 1:22-27.
  3. In order to serve God at my church, I need a title beside my name.  That person only comes once in a while.  Therefore, he/she is not qualified to serve.When we care about titles, we always end up aiming for a higher status, feel disappointed when we don’t get it, and lose focus on where God has us.  We often forget that God is King, and the rest of us are equal.  The Lord led me to choose the name The Common Place for the new church plants because Solomon’s wisdom in Proverbs 22:2 says that we are all equal – we are all made by our Father in Heaven.  If we chase after a title, or look down upon those whose earthly title is less than ours, we’ll never be obedient.
  4. My offerings speak enough for my love for God.  My response to God’s call is giving 10% of my earnings to His church.Giving money was never mandated in the Commandment or the Commission.  Therefore, our personal response to God’s call is not to make sure we meet the so-called 10% tithe – Jesus asked for all of us.  Notice how the rich was probably talking about how much they had just gave, and Jesus chose to point out the poor old lady who gave all she had – two coins.  She gave herself away.  That’s Jesus’ expectations of us.  Our personal weekly offering is only a start – it’s not the only way Jesus wants us to show love.  Luke 21:1-4.
  5. I must not show any signs of weaknesses (i.e. apologies, emotions), or people may speak negatively of me.  I won’t have any respect for that person until I get the apology I deserve.That’s the way the world teaches us to think – to fend for ourselves, survival of the fittest.  The world says we always need to have the upper hand.  The world says to find ways to blame others before taking responsibility of our own actions.  The world says to protect ourselves from being hurt and to get even. Paul was wise.  His wisdom to the Romans is not to conform to the patterns of the world, but let God transform you.God’s will is good, pleasing, and perfect.  Our will of getting the upper hand, especially with our brothers and sisters, is far from it.  Romans 12:2.

Saturday Morning: 5 Misconceptions on Church

  1. Ethnic churches need to treasure their ethnic traditions and culture over all else.  We should try to do things we used to in the old country back in the day.We must respect the elder and the wise.  However, our God is a moving God.  He’s already thinking ahead of us.  His Son was harsh on the Pharisees for their love for traditions.  The Pharisees couldn’t stand how Jesus was not adhering to their traditions, and called Jesus out on it.  Jesus was blunt – they were holding onto their traditions more than following the Commandments.  We’re in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada in 2011 – not our native country decades ago.  We must see how God is working around us and join Him, not expect God to work in the confines of our traditions and culture.  Matthew 15:1-14.
  2. We should schedule evangelism Sundays/events as opportunities to reach our friends and neighbours.In the Greek Bible, the “Go” in the Great Commission can better be translated as “As you’re going.”  We don’t wait until specified times for evangelism.  Every day is evangelism.  Every time we gather is an opportunity to share the Gospel.  We don’t invite people to come listen to God – we go and bring the Gospel to our neighbours, to the ends of the world, and all points in between.  Matthew 28:19-20, Acts 1:8
  3. Being good stewards of money means only spending within our financial means for God’s Kingdom.  We should not risk what we have to go after something new.Jesus made it clear: those who choose to invest what they have will receive the Kingdom “Well done, good and faithful servant.”  Those who don’t and choose to treasure what they have on earth will be useless and face painful consequences that feels like our teeth being gnashed.  God will always provide – when we are obedient, He’ll provide with what we need.  When we are not and choose to sit idle, we render ourselves useless in His Kingdom and the needs we wait for will never come.  Matthew 25:14-30
  4. Pointing out faults of our church is the best way to encourage change.  Speaking positively tells someone that they are good enough and they won’t try anymore.Paul described Jesus’ love for His church as one that would do anything to ensure that His church is holy, radiant, and blameless.  When we choose to nick pick on the shortcomings of our church, we are highlighting them to not only ourselves, but unfortunately to those who are seeking Jesus.  We turn people away from Christ when we choose to say that His church is not holy, radiant, and blameless.  In turn, should we see any shortcomings, we must do whatever it takes to turn that around through prayer and action.  Ephesians 5:25-27
  5. Sunday is the most important day of our church.  Our church building is the most important place for the life of our church. Scripture says when two or more are gathered, He’s there with us.  In fact, Sunday in an established church should run itself.  It’s the work to connect with our lost friends, family, and neighbours that is vital.  In a city where new land for churches are not being zoned, we must realize that the work is out on the streets.  Just because a church has been so blessed to have its own building, it doesn’t mean we focus on up-keeping the building.  He’s there with us when two or more of us are there because He wants us moving out of our churches and connect with people.  Matthew 18:20

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