Today, we get to hear from my younger brother, Willis. He’s southern prepster meets California cool. He’s also the future of fabulous reality TV, so get your TiVos ready!
“The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
Now the body is not made up of one part but of many…But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.”
1 Corinthians 12: 12-20
I can be a self-centered Christian sometimes. I often walk into church expecting the pastor and worship leader to minister directly to me – not the other 500 people in the sanctuary, just me. I don’t care what’s going on in everyone else’s lives, the sermon needs to hit home with me. There is clearly a lot of fault in my thinking.
One of my favorite parts of driving thru traffic in LA is that the majority of the time people’s windows are down blasting their music. I return the favor by blasting my tunes as well: from worship to Lady Gaga to whatever my flavor of the month may be. I’ll pass a guy jamming to the newest Jay-Z album, followed by a Porsche driver air orchestrating the symphony he’s listening to. LA is truly a diverse city with unbelievably eclectic music taste – and it makes driving around LA fun (at times).
Beyond the eclectic taste around us – think about how eclectic your own taste can be. Scroll through your iTunes Library right now – here are 5 random bands just from the A’s : Al Green, Aha, Alberta Cross, Andrea Bocelli, Audio Adrenaline. My music taste is random, and I go through phases of what I want to listen to and am in the mood for.
Now, think about your faith over the past 2 years. Some people describe their relationship with God as a wave – where there are mountains and valleys, but the mountains stay the same height and the valleys are the same depth.
Recently, a friend told me how he thinks the graph of our Christian life is more cyclical, where the circles move higher and higher – and eventually your valleys are higher than your old mountains.
How awesome is that?! As we move closer to the Lord, our valleys and hard times are still better than what our former “best times” were. I agree with this depiction – that as I get closer to the Lord both my good times and my bad times get better and better.
Next, think of the change you personally go through in that time, both in the midst of a circle – or from circle to circle. Many things may change–our beliefs, preferences, and even how we spend our time. Now compound this with everyone else in your church or community, and now with Christians worldwide.
The church is diverse and changing all the time. In LA alone there’s the ‘church the musicians go to’ the ‘church for the beach people.’ But the heart of the church is the same: Love the Lord and preach the word. If the gospel is being preached, and the word is being spread – how can I be upset that a particular sermon didn’t hit home. It’s the Gospel! It should always hit home.
Just this past week I was listening to a sermon that I didn’t like. As a result I was critical throughout and just had a hard heart the whole time. Having recently gotten involved in my church, I’m now on the prayer team. So after the sermon I went up for the prayer team (since I was in the right mind and my heart was in the right place). The first person that I prayed for came up to me saying “you know I’ve been in a hard place recently, and this sermon really hit home with me, and I need to get my life on track.”
The Lord used this to lovingly slap me in the face (which he does often). Who am I to judge a sermon? The Lord can always use them in miraculous ways. Yes it is good to go to a church where you get fed, but don’t expect every sermon to preach directly to you every week. The church is diverse, and people need to hear different things at different times. Rather than harden your heart to a “bad” sermon, pray for the pastor, pray for the church, pray that the Lord uses their words to speak to the church. Pray.