I still have Joshua on my mind…”Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid; do be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:1-9) Today, though, I am thinking of it directly in the context of this amazing statistic in America…75% of Americans claim to be Christians. [Barna State of the Church 2016] If so many Americans REALLY believe they are Christians, then why can’t we begin to turn some of this mess around beginning in our own little corner of the world?
So….I thought about a passage where Jesus was talking about when 2 or more of his followers gathered in his name that he would be present….Matthew 18:19-20. Now I know that Jesus was primarily talking about prayer, but this is a passage that many Christians like to quote…so I wanted to pursue it….a little bit. We know that when 2 or more gather in the name of Jesus…he promises to be with us.
We also know that when 2 or more gather…even though we call ourselves Christians, there can be complaining….division…tension…disappointment. Rivalry and jealousy can pop up unexpectedly. Try as we might…the light will shine on our less than desirable qualities. It’s hard not to want your own way because change is really only something I think that is desired in babies…changing their diapers that is.
When this happens…what is it we are to do. It is here where we need to be reminded…Like God reminded Joshua…that we need to trust and hope in the real leader of the church…because, the real leader of the Church has not changed. The real leader of this church…any church…Is Jesus Christ.
So……Church – whether it be First Pres or any other church that claims to follow Jesus Christ, what is it going to be? If the national statistic of 75% applies to us, the real question is this…how are we making a difference beginning in our own community around our church…in Joliet, Plainfield, Crest Hill, Shorewood…you get the point. I offer this quote from Bob Goff…”Don’t listen to the loudest voice, find the truest one.” Friends, the voice of Truth is calling each of us to listen…when we gather – to listen…and then to act in his name…in Jesus’ name. It’s a choice that we are faced with every day… If we claim to gather in Jesus’ name…are we making a difference…or, is there some other motivation to our gathering?