A friend just passed along this great youtube video of a street preacher in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina on New Years Eve, 2012.
It made me wonder… For all the conferences and coalitions, for all the togetherness around the gospel there is in evangelical and Reformed communities, what would the vitality of the church be like, how much more would God be glorified in the West and around the world, if we grew in simply taking up or purposely creating opportunities to speak the Word of God to friends, neighbors, and communities? What if we simply spoke the truth, each according to our ability, because we loved God so much and really loved our neighbors as ourselves?
What if we stopped spending our energies and wealth primarily on what appears to be a burgeoning internal Christian consumer industry–trying to create trendy venues, diverse and entertaining special music, the best conferences with the most eloquent speakers, endless programs, classes and groups, books and dvds, and youth-fests? What if instead we as churches refocused on the first things to recover and grow in: profound communion with God and His people, simple corporate worship, the preaching and teaching of the Word, the administration of the sacraments, along with faithful, hospitable Christian fellowship, shepherding and discipline?
What if we all returned to focus on using the ordinary means of grace to grow in the knowledge of and communion with God, and then the supernatural result was that we lived through our weeks as those who have been equipped as saints for ministry (Ephesians 4:12), rather than being those so internally busy with secondary things that we lose sight of God, lose sight of what church and worship are, and become personally disconnected from any effort to reach the lost? Of course even a simple, yet substantive, confessional church, with a simple schedule and simple worship paring away distractions from communion with God and thankful service to Him, can fail in a multitude of ways, get sidetracked, and lose spiritual vitality and edge. And when such a church does it is obvious.
So the question stands for all: Are we producing real fruit as churches? Or merely a “tastes great, less filling” faux fruit? Are you? Am I? “I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand… who will deliver me from this body of death?” Who will transform us, renew and sanctify us, and our churches? “Thanks be to God”–He has provided the answer in and through “Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:21-24)