Facing our fears or dying on the church pew – What will you choose?
We have reached the point of stories becoming tales.
The dust keeps forming on the eyes of our souls as we go through the verses we read 100 times before. We hear the story of Pentecost for the 100th time, read about the miracle of Christmas and fight through the sermon on the mount.
The passion fades with years of grinding. We found the treasure chest a long time ago but it seems that we can’t find the key to crack it open. Promises of abundance and satisfaction dissolve as the week hits us strong on Monday.
We get trapped in the mundane, the saving grace we once felt is but a glimpse we catch once in awhile. We die inside just a little bit with each passing week that builds up the molasses on our eyes. But over time, many small deaths start to add up.
And our faith begins to slip.
Many church experiences on Sunday mornings are similar to our school years.
Most of the time, we just listen, take notes and pass a test if all goes well. Our head is stuffed with knowledge but for how long?
Studies have shown that we forget around 50% of what someone taught us within one hour. After 24 hours, it’s 70%. Within a week, about 90% vanishes from the average person’s mind. Without application, ideas and concepts have no opportunity to become real and grounded in experience.
Education is a preparation for real life. We go to school to be able to offer a skill to someone who needs to get a job done. We don’t go to school for school’s sake but to be prepared for real life.
So what are we getting ready for in church if all we do is to wait for the next sermon? The church is a sleeping giant that will change the world if it wakes up. And in order to wake up, we need to act upon the words we hear on Sundays.
Going forward with the teachings of Christ seems scary at first. Insane, maybe. Especially in a world that thinks very little of Christians. Leaning into feeling stupid and the experiencing the discomfort of mockery is difficult.
But we all do it anyway. Maybe not in our faith, but for sure at our workplace. Didn’t it seem scary in the beginning? Especially on our first job or even when we switch jobs, showing up the first few times is difficult.
We meet new people and experience a new way of doing things. We’re not sure of what to do and how to act. We get an intense course in real life application sprinkled with a good portion of company culture.We get to swim without floaties, testing theory against reality and fighting fears of failure.
But we do it, don’t we? We battle through it, find some ground on the open sea and start to expand. We start to feel comfortable and things are humming along smoothly. Our stress level goes back to normal and we’re able to handle new challenges. After a few years, a crisis is nothing but a problem in a different color.
Our concepts became realities because we lived through them. They get anchored in our minds through context and walking the talk.
Mix in life
The Bible unfolds on a new level once we mix in experience. Only Jesus has the word of life and his voice convicted all of us at one point to step into a life of faith.
We know the stories but we don’t have the experiences. We are afraid of praying for healing. We are afraid of the supernatural. Heaven and hell became concepts and sin a theory.
Is it a surprise the churches are empty?
It is time to be obedient to what the Lord told us. Go out into the world and make disciples of all the nations. Heal the sick, cast out demons.
Who is the king
We have the authority in Christ. Remember, he’s the one who laughs at the foolishness of men, the one who spoke the universe into existence. He declared that his followers would do the things he did “and even greater things than these”.
And what do we do? We like Jesus on Facebook and put a fish on our car.
There is so much more. I’m sick and tired of our lethargy. I want my stories. And I want them fresh.
I want to walk on the water like Peter. He tried it out, he put himself on the line… and sank.
Failing is part of the package. But who was there to save Peter? Jesus reached out for him and Peter had a story.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
As God told Joshua about 3400 years ago, he is telling us today. As the disciples stepped out and failed, so shall we. It’s not about the mistakes we make today but about the stories we can tell tomorrow.
Remember Peter’s shadow?
I want that.