Wow. I was going to put a ton about my day and whatnot…but I was listening to a sermon before bed, and have been knocked off my chair. literally. Ok, maybe not literally, but so hypothetically that it felt literal. So, this means that I can only give a brief explanation of my day and then I have to share some of the amazingness that I heard from God through this sermon.
My day: I woke up. Talked with Mom. Did a lesson plan. Went to Hikoshima and had udon for lunch again. It was yummy. Came back to the Center. Taught two classes. Played my violin. Got my first paycheck. Sat and listened to Francis Chan. Started typing my update for the day.
Francis Chan is one of my top five favorite pastors. Those top five are not in any order, but they are, my pastor Tim White back home, Pastor Tony Haug here, Taka Asada here, Francis Chan, and Steve Miller of Timberhill Bapt Church. I first heard Francis at Passion in Atlanta January 2007. Lanna and I really loved his talk and have been trying to hear more from him ever since. I discovered his sermons published on his church’s website and then found out he has a book that was just released May 1st! I preordered it about 4 months ago. 🙂 It’s on it’s way to me via Japanese shipment. I’m jazzed. The church’s website is: www.cornerstonesimi.com. When you get there, click on Media, and then Sermons, and it has all the recent sermons listed for you. You click on the title and then on the right side of the screen, click on Listen, and a little box will come up and play the sermon. They are all fabulous…but the one I listened to tonight has the same title as the title of this blog.
He speaks on the Purpose of the Church. He and the other church leaders are currently taking Cornerstone Simi-Valley Church through a reorientation period…they are examining the Church, and what it is meant to be and then doing their best to put it back into practice in their congregation. He starts off by saying that there is something about anonymity. How many of us go into the church and are only interested in what we ourselves can get out of the service? I’m guilty…most of my previous blogs will show you how guilty I am. We listen to the pastor speak and think, “What does this mean for me?” We thank God for our salvation, which is good…but then we leave it at that.
He used an illustration: You come home and on your front porch is a box. You find out it’s a gift to you, so you open the box and find a pair of ice skates. You are so excited…you put on the skates and go skate around the frozen pond in your backyard…you’re so happy. Such a great gift! you think. You even take your new skates and go to the local skating rink and skate out with the rest of the folks, skating together, and then you push away and do your own spins and turns and whatnot…enjoying your skates amidst the other skaters. But then, the one who gave you the skates comes up and says, “I’m really glad you’re enjoying those skates, but I didn’t give them to you just as a gift. I want you to join my hockey team. In fact, we’re going to join the NHL and go up against all the biggest teams in the nation and kick their butts.” And you suddenly realized that your gift means so much more than just your own amusement and satisfaction. Your salvation is so much greater than your own salvation. You are crucified on the cross and no longer yourself, but now, you have on the jersey for Christ’s team. You are immersed in the body of Christ.
The Bible says, “You, be a light to the world.” But the you is not singular…it’s plural. It’s “you all”, the body of Christ, the peculiar nation that God has created…YOU ALL are to be a light to the world. Same thing in 1 Peter 2:9-12…YOU (plural) are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of the darkness into his marvelous light.” We have been saved for something so much greater. When the world looks at the Body of Christ, it should not see individuals…it should see the Body of Christ. When an act of charity is done…it shouldn’t be from one person…or even from one church group…but from the Body of Christ, so that when the recipients go to thank who gave it to them, they can only thank GOD the Father.
The money that was given for my trip was not given to me, but to the Body of Christ, for the edification of the Body of Christ, for the people in Japan who are and who might become a part of the Body of Christ. It’s not for me…and I pray that I will lose my selfishness and become lost in the Body of Christ…that I would become nothing and Christ would become everything. I pray that for you all as well. And I would also encourage you to go and listen to Francis’ sermons. There are so many great things in this particular sermon that I don’t even have the time to touch on…so you definitely should listen to it! Thanks for your time…I’m praying for you. 🙂