Meanderings of a Minister


One Another
August 11, 2010, 7:56 pm
Filed under: Articles

 

As you read this, I am away at a conference in Lake Forest, CA, at a little and little-known church.  During the course of the conference, Dr. John Townsend, a Christian psychologist, has been presenting information about how to help people find God when things in their lives are out of control.  He made a statement during his presentation that struck a chord with me.  He stated that there are 57 commands in the New Testament involving the words, “One Another”.  This, in itself, did not come as a surprise to me as I have preached series of sermons on the concept and have even used all 57 commands throughout the course of my ministry thus far. 

What Dr. Townsend said next is what hit me.  He said, “there are 57 commands in the New Testament that you cannot carry out, if you are not connected to and living with others.”  While this may not be an exact quotation, it is pretty close.  My first thought was that this sounded pretty strong.  In our time of individual, private, personal Christianity, how could this be?  And then it struck me.  Perhaps this is the problem.  Many of us think we can “do Christianity” without anyone else.  We don’t need nobody!  How wrong!  Perhaps this is a serious reason that the Christianity we think we are living privately is so anemic.  Perhaps this is a serious reason that we see so little real-life change in ourselves and those we attend church with.  Perhaps this contributes to how we can have more information about the Christian life than at any other time in history, but so little of its power.  Perhaps this just might be part of the equation of why so many hungry people turn to other things for their connection and completion, even though we spend billions of dollars on buildings, books and butts in the seats.

So, what needs to happen for this to turn around?  Simple.  We need people that love Christ and love people more than they love themselves.  We need to become people that truly embrace the concept that this life is not just about making me “happy”.  We need to become people that are more concerned about holiness than Happy Hour.  We need to be a people that are more concerned about meeting with the saints than with keeping up with the Saints.  We need to be a people that reach down and reach out to draw people up and in.  We need to be a people that sees others as Christ does.  We need to become a people that get more excited about seeing people sanctified than we do about who is dancing with the stars, who has talent or whose baby it might be on the latest soap.

How do we begin, you might ask.  Simple answer.  Connect with God.  Pray for His heart for people.  Begin your own journey of growing closer to and more like Him and then invest your life in the life of one other that just might be struggling with the same stuff you have, are and continue to be.  When will we take that first step?

P.S.  The church is Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church in Orange County, CA.

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