Beyond The 4 Walls Of Church

BLIND CHRISTIANThere’s a serious epidemic in Christianity that is spreading quickly today, especially in civilized countries.

You may have heard of it, you may have seen it, or just like me, you may be the one who has it.

What is it? Spiritual blindness.

The ability to become blind to those around us.

How does a person become spiritually blind, you might ask?

It’s quite simple.

You have eyes, but you do not see.

Not because you physically can’t, but because you spiritually prefer not to.

I see the homeless person holding a sign on the street but I choose to be blind to him because I’d rather not have to stop and help him out.

I watch the stories on tv of the hungry people in third world countries and I feel sorry for them for a few minutes but I forget them the second I turn off the tv screen.

I read books of hurting people around the world.

Addicted to substances.

Being sexually abused.

Having no one to take care of them.

Living in absolute loneliness, neglect, and fear.

And I’ll put those books down and keep on living my life without a second thought.

I never stop to think “what if that was me?

Living under a dirty bridge in Seattle with no food to fill my empty stomach with.

Being used as an object of pleasure for men selling my body on the streets to make ends meet.

Being transferred from one foster care house to another with no place to call my home and no one to call my own.

Facing each day with hopelessness and despair.

Never knowing about the Almighty Father who loves me so much because no one stops to care.

Sometimes when I read the Bible I am ashamed of the “Christian” that I really am.

I am ashamed of how little my every day life reflects Jesus’s.

I am ashamed of how blind I am and how little of myself I give away to help those that are need.

I am ashamed that although I have served faithfully in church from my early teen years I rarely step foot outside the four walls of my church building to make a difference in a hurting person’s life.

Yes I’ve went on a few mission trips, fed homeless people in Seattle a few times, and visited rehab centers and nursery homes to encourage people there and although I’m so glad I did all of those things I know it’s not enough.

It’s not enough to just show up to an event that my church organizes once a month and then call it a day.

It’s not enough to go on a mission trip once every summer.

It’s not enough to serve when it’s convenient for me.

It’s not enough because God calls me to serve every day.

Just like He did.

You didn’t find Jesus sitting in the temple every day teaching.

No, you found Him out on the streets.

You found Him in the homes of the hurt, the sinful, and the needy.

You found Him in places people may have not wanted to be seen.

With people that were neglected and cast away by society.

And yet… how often do we find ourselves helping those people today?

How often are we willing to get a little dirty in God’s work field?

To take off our nicely put together church outfits that we wear to that comfortable building on Sunday morning and replace it with a work suit to wear the rest of the week?

To surround ourselves not with people who know about God, people who look nice and dress nice, people who have their life together… but with people who are lost in this world?

People who are dirty, who are hungry, who are poor?

Whose lives are falling apart?

I’m not going to lie.

My life is filled with amazing people.

People who love and know God.

People who (for the most part) have not known what true hunger felt like.

Who have never been abused or on the streets.

Who have it better in life than most people around the world.

But that was not the case for Christ.

I make myself feel better by saying “I am doing enough for Christ in the church” and maybe that’s partially true… but that’s only half of what Jesus did when He was on this earth.

Discipleship is important.

Spiritual growth with the faith family is important.

Jesus spent three in a half years teaching His disciples.

And we should invest our time into teaching and raising up disciples in our church as well.

But Jesus didn’t stop there.

Because He knew that spreading the truth of the gospel and the hope of salvation didn’t start and end inside the four walls of a church building.

Instead, it started on the outside.

On the streets.

In the homes of broken people.

So that’s where He went.

If Jesus was alive on earth today I know where I’d find Him in the middle of the work week.

I’d find Him on the streets downtown buying food for the homeless person He sees and listening to his story then sharing the hope of salvation with Him.

I’d find Him in a jail building talking to the broken people behind those bars. Giving them faith to trust Him to turn their story around.

I’d find Him by the bedside of sick people in the hospitals and nursery homes who are rarely visited by family members and are suffering in pain.

I’d find Him volunteering in schools where children come from broken homes – encouraging them, loving them, and helping set their path the right way.

That’s where I would find Jesus.

Is there where He would find you and I?

Or will He find us in the comfort of our homes?

In the comfort of the four walls of our church?

Never stepping out to make a difference to the lost people around us?

Never opening our eyes to see the hurting and helpless people in the world that we could help?

Never opening our ears to hear the cries of the brokenhearted who have no place to turn and no one to lean on?

In Matthew 25:35-40 Jesus said that by feeding the hungry, we are feeding Him.

By welcoming strangers into our lives, we are welcoming Him in.

By clothing the poor, we are clothing Him.

By visiting those in prisons or hospitals, we are visiting Him.

So my question is this: how recently have you fed Him? Welcomed Him in? Clothed Him? Visited Him?

Last night? Last month? Or last year?

If you only pray to God He will open your eyes and help you see.

See the people who are in need.

See the ways you can reach out and help.

He has been opening my eyes.

To the people in the hospitals, in the schools, and on the streets.

And I want to walk outside those four walls of my church and make a difference.

Even if it’s in one person’s life.

The harvest is plentiful…. of broken and hurting people all around us, but the workers are few. (Luke 10:2)

Will you be one out of the few?

Who steps out of your comfort zone and be Jesus’s hands and feet to the world around you?

Bring His hope with you everywhere you go?

Invite people into your life that have no place to belong?

I plan to be one of the few.

To be Jesus to the world around me.

How about you?

God doesn’t want to hear how much you love Him because you say it with your words.

He wants to see how much you really love Him by how you treat the people around you.

So clothe Him.

Feed Him.

Welcome Him in.

Not with your words, but with the life you live.

Be blessed and walk strong in Christ!  -Anna… ♥

“Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”- Luke 12:33-34

Being Jesus' hands and feet to the world, real christianityRelated Posts:

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23 thoughts on “Beyond The 4 Walls Of Church

  1. I just found myself saying “Amen! Amen! and Amen!” while reading this post. Thank you for allowing God to use you so mightily! I’m a newbie with blogging… barely have one post and have yet to share the blog with anyone. However, I am encouraged by what God is doing through people who know Him. My prayer is that as His church, we may represent Jesus more accurately so that everyone may know our Creator. Thanks again and God bless!

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    • Thanks Helene! Welcome to the blogging world! It’s overwhelming at first but you’ll get the hang of it 😉 It’s such a great place to share everything that is on your heart and mind and what God is teaching you as well as connecting with others going through the same things as you. May you write for His glory and encourage + bless others while you’re at it!

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  2. The issue of church outside the walls has been very much on my mind recently as the Lord has provoked me again to pray and stand prophetically for things yet to be accomplished within His Body. New depths. I am aware that within this generation these things will be necessary. Leadership again as seen as a laying down of ourselves to the cause. Increasingly we are being called to be repairers of the breaches in the walls like Nehemiah. I find the image of the church as a Body is a better illustration in some ways and it speaks more of the new covenant. Walls make us think of the institution. Like there is somehow a better way to “do church”. More meetings, more conferences etc. Its more fluid than that perhaps. The church is a group of people. In a geographical area like a city or a nation the church, the Body, will be spread out. It is called to be the salt and light. Dominion theories about bringing heaven to earth abound these days. I am personally not in favour of this view. We are simply salt and light in the earthly realms. We do not take dominion. The Body is unhealthy and not unified at the moment. A true and genuine love among us is one of the key works of the Spirit that has not yet come to fullness. Also, a love for the lost, the poor, marginalised and dispossessed. It’s those things which are preventing life and fullness to the Body that need to be prayed for and sought from the Lord. I have no doubt that deep repentance on our part is needed in respect of our cold love, our independence and our succumbing to the distractions of this world. Let us move deeper into this. There are those within our cities and nations who need to see this deeper love manifested. It will speak more than signs and wonders. 1 Cor 13 shows us this. It magnifies the supremacy of the love amongst the brethren above all else.

    I would now note a revelation from the Lord that highlighted to me the attitudes of the heart that we humans can hold that grieve His heart. The Lord used to turn my heart and change it. My heart was being taken on a particular path already and I knew it. I only convey it to bring out the lessons we can learn and take forward as we seek His heart to be built in us. The Lord builds generationally it seems so in each new generation He seeks to find those that will be willing to explore places of His heart and manifest this to the dying world. Right now I think of David going to seek out Mephibosheth and bring him into the palace. He was in Lo Debar. A godless place. He is a picture of the poor, the lost and the dying. A crippled man. Spiritually, a picture of those around us that Jesus seeks to bring into the palace, to receive salvation and eat at the Kings table. At the church I was attending at the time they used to every Sunday ask those who were in the meeting for the first time to stand. In front of all the folks in the hall. Maybe 200. During the week I would spend time on the streets of the city. Connecting with the life of the city. Speaking with the homeless. Feeding them. Then I had a revelation one day. In the revelation I was in the Sunday church meeting and sitting next to me were 4 or 5 of the guys I had connected with living on the streets. Of course, they are who they are. Their clothes were dirty and ripped, they smelled of booze and pot and other stuff. They were unshaven. When the request for new visitors to stand went out, we all stood up together. Jesus identified Himself with those that others would not. Sadly, there was distain and revulsion on the faces of folks in the church meeting. Even the “leaders”. Perhaps church is not the meeting of well educated nice folks. We have the inclination to form an environment in churches that suits us. We have to take care that we do not repeat the same errors present in the Lords days on earth. He became the thorn in the flesh of the establishment. The Pharisees, Sadducees, Couldn’t-sees and Wouldn’t-sees had formed their own exclusive religious clubs. Jesus was the radical who upset the status quo. The Lord challenged me in what leadership is. True leadership. I have come to conclude that there is a laying down of life. There is no manual or textbook for leadership. It begins in the laying down of ourselves. It is allowing His heart to overtake our own “self”. We truly are a species, after the Fall, who are born with the disease of being “self” centred, self focused. I thought that these friends I had made were never going to fit in with these folks in the meeting hall. Something changed in me that day.

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    • Yes, the more I think of it the more I realise that Jesus came to serve and not to be served and to give. He did not dare call Himself a “leader” but simply led by example in humbly laying down His life for all people. Perhaps within the institutionalised church systems there needs to be a redefinition of what leadership is. I pray this change will occur. Folks like titles and places if position in this world and within the church systems (which is not the same as moving and operating our lives within the dynamic of the Kingdom of God) there are many…director, senior leader, worship leader etc. However these are titles within the system, just like in the world . Folks who truly show us with their lives the nature of Christ are worth looking out for. The ones off the platforms of the church world. Most of what they do is without fanfare and without recognition. Titles mean nothing in the Kingdom of God. It is those who die to self who will truly live.

      What really fascinates me is that we are still as human beings fully capable of certain behaviour due to our fallen nature. Things like the “herd instinct” within groups. This comes from a deep fear of ultimately being rejected so the pressure to conform, even in church systems, is often there. Jesus call us to freedom from this. He does not save us only for us to allow ourselves to then conform to what a system will mould us into. He is moulding us by the Spirit. That’s why thinking outside the box is needed. Sometimes the box (the system in this example) is conforming us through its ways of doing things. The system of church as it now is can only therefore take us so far, if our pursuit is Christ Himself. That is part of why mission work becomes so appealing to many. They are aware when they are doing it that there is is something very pure in motive in it. Something outside the church system as it is. Patterns of thinking and behaviour are there and still apply even when we call ourselves a “church”. To perfect the nature of Christ in us there is so much of these ways that the Lord seeks to strip away. He actually calls us to the higher life of the Spirit.

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  3. This post speaks volumes to me. Like you, I’ve been on a couple mission trips and while there I got the spiritual kick in the keester that I thought I needed and I was sure that when I got back home I was going to take the world by storm for the glory of God. Then the mundane tedium of everyday life settled in and it’s really hard to get out of the routine for prolonged periods. In many ways, life is like an old dirt road where we always travel on the ruts because that is where the ride is smoothest and what we’re used to, knowing that following Christ, truly following Him, will take us out of the ruts and to where the road may be bumpy and require sacrifice.

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    • Thanks David. Every day life really can get us in that rut staying in our comfort zone and getting out of it requires a lot of sacrifice, commitment, and self-discipline. The only way we can stay focused on Christ instead of distracted by this world is to center our thoughts and our hearts around Him and then when we do that we’ll always be able to live in light of eternity rather than in light of the temporary things of this world.

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  4. You are so right. It is so easy to become seemingly numb in between these awakenings. I convince myself I’ll never again yield to my own flesh and immerse myself in Him, only to rebound once again. Desensitization has become the norm while remaining sensitive seems the struggle. Thanks for such a warm delivery of a harsh truth!

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    • Thanks Tina. It is hard to be sensitive to the voice and leading of the Holy Spirit especially when the world is so full of noise and providing us with new ways to be distracted from our purpose here on earth. But thankfully even when we rebound God is right there next to us ready to help us get back on our feet and live a life that will truly honor Him.

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  5. Can I just say this is exactly what I have been convicted with these couple of days, especially today, I began reading a book “Revolution in world Missions” and the author became a missionary at 16 years of age! He is from India and when he was about 23 he got to go to Bible collage in America and he just wrote that there are people starving and dying because they are sacrificing their lives to spread the gospel, meanwhile here, we are happy with just going to church and participating in a couple of ministries. Also I listened to a sermon by Francis Chan and he was also talking about spreading the gospel and making disciples! I don’t know it’s just amazing how God speaks the same Convictions and ideas to his called around the world! 🙂 God bless you!

    >

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    • I remember reading that book many years ago! It is truly inspiring and such an incredible story of people sacrificing their lives for the sake of the gospel. I’ve been listening to a lot of Francis Chan sermons lately too (+ I read “Radical” by David Platt- which is an incredible book – you should check it out if you haven’t read it yet). I love how they both talk about the importance of helping the needy around us (and in third world country) and in doing so being a true example of Christ to this world.

      It’s so incredible when God speaks and convicts us of being too comfortable with the life that we are living here one earth and how it compares to the life He told us to live. I just hope it will be enough to not only get us talking about it but actually stepping out of our comfort zone and taking action. 🙂 May God bless you and use you greatly for His kingdom Anya. Be blessed!

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