Because we are broken individuals, the church today is broken as well. That’s why I call my blog the Broken Church. It’s not a put down; it’s a signpost of hope. The more we realize our brokeness and our sin, the more God’s grace can be at work in our midst. God likes to take that which is broken and fix it.
I love the church. It has been used in extremely powerful ways in my life over the years. At the same time, I have seen very sad things in the church. Scripture makes clear it is God’s main way to carry out his purposes on earth. Are we as the church up to the task? How can we be more effective? I write to remind and to challenge us to be all we can be.
So, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31
“All glory to God,” MVP Quarterback Nick Foles said after being handed the Lombardi trophy for the Eagles Super Bowl win. “I felt calm. We have such a great group of guys, such a great coaching staff,” Foles said. “We’re very blessed.”* That was the climax of the trophy time. Most of the key people before him; head coach Doug Peterson, wide receiver Zach Ertz, and injured starting quarterback Carson Wentz, echoed similar sentiments.
I heard them all, and I was amazed. Right when everyone was watching, right after they had won the World Championship. What a clear testimony! And Folz was their backup quarterback. I remembered one-time mid-season, Wentz had indicated his faith in the Lord, so I looked it up more recently and there was an article on CBNnews.com.
The whole team is amazing! Quite a few others of them are believers and are not shy about it either. They give their testimonies in videos. Some of them have gotten together and released a Bible Study through a Bible app called YouVersion. In another they proclaimed that their unity as a team was due to their faith.
“On every Monday night, we have a couple’s Bible study. We have a Thursday night team Bible study,” Wentz explained in the video. “And then Saturday nights, we actually get together the night before the game and just kind of pray; talk through the Word; what guys have been reading, what they’re struggling with, and just kind of keep it real with each other.”*
Wow, they are doing more than many people in their own churches! Who would have thought faith and football could go together in such a powerful way? What does that say about faith and other places where there are believers? Maybe having neighborhood Bible studies. What about prayer meetings at the local gym?
The biggest thing I think about is places of employment, probably because of my job as a chaplain at a local company. Somebody had the foresight to hire a chaplain to be available i.e. share the faith, at the company I work at. But think about all a company could do itself. Like the Eagles they could do Bible Studies, prayer times or small groups. They could share thoughts with each other via social media. Especially if the company is owned and operated by strong believers, think of the influence they could have.
The company where I work, DAS, has had a big impact on its employees through their giving. In addition to chaplains and counseling, they will supply money to its people who are in unusual need. With its own money it has started up a number of nonprofits to provide for international adoption, chastity promotion and Christian education. And they give to many other non-profits. Each Fall they encourage their employees to do volunteer work for struggling people they know, and then they pay the employees’ favorite charities for their time. It’s pretty amazing!
Faith is certainly not just a Sunday thing or even only at church, but wherever believers gather, Christ can be there with them as they seek to glorify Him.
* Taken from ‘All the Glory Belongs to God’: The Faith of the Super Bowl Winning Philadelphia Eagles, CBNNews.com, Mark Martin and Benjamin Gill, 2-4-18
Years ago, I came across a very helpful idea regarding marriage, but I think it is equally applicable to church conflicts between different people. Here it is adapted to a conflict in the church:
When two people in a church are upset with each other, usually there is plenty to point to on both sides. But pointing at another hardly solves any problems. To solve problems the two should begin by pointing at themselves. Scripture says the one must take the log out of his own eye before he is able to see clearly enough to remove the splinter from another (Matthew 7:3-5). That is exactly where so many go wrong, like in this husband and wife picture:There’s no communication when two people are squared off against one another. How do they get communication started? Two people communicate when they walk and work unitedly in the same direction, but how do they get moving in the same direction. They start by turning the attack from persons to a problem. When they focus on something outside of themselves, they take away the blame, and thus diffuse the animosity.But how can quarreling individuals begin to expend their energy on solving problems God’s way instead of continuing along the destructive course of tearing each other and their Church apart? That is the question! It’s very hard to agree to looking at the problem when there is so little agreement to begin with. It seems like evading to one or the other.
The answer is: through the right kind of communication. That is the only answer. They must begin by focusing in the same direction even if it’s not on the problem yet. Either one may do this by focusing on himself first.The other’s already focusing on you, so all you have to do is get lined up alongside the person as they focus on you. Then look at your own log first. Then for the first time in a long while the two will be focusing in the same direction. It is truly amazing how much instant agreement you can get from a person who previously may have disagreed with you concerning nearly everything under the sun, when you begin to say, “I have wronged you”. Then specifically and sincerely ask forgiveness. Or if you don’t know what you have done, humbly and without defensiveness say, “How have I wronged you?” And ask open questions to try and understand. That is where reconciliation often must begin. You never ought to begin by taking the lid off the other fellow’s trash can until you have cleaned out the garbage in your own can first. That is where communication begins. *
I have used this in a number of different church conflicts I have been in. Often when I confess to them and sincerely ask for forgiveness, they do the same. And the reconciliation happens. Or after I ask, “Help me to see where I have wronged you?” and I come to understand it from their perspective, they often will ask me the same thing. Then we are not only reconciled, but we are solving the real underlying problems.
* Adapted from Christian Living in the Home by Jay Adams, Presbyterian and Reformed, Nutley, NJ, copyright 1972, p. 33-35