The CHURCH has left the Building

Twice a year, the congregation where I serve does an event called “The Church Has Left The Building.”  This coming Sunday is one of those days.  We will meet for a shortened time of praise and worship, then leave to go tackle various service projects in our area. 

Why do we do it on Sunday morning?  Mainly because we know that most of our regular church attenders do not have scheduling conflicts.  It’s been on their calendar for weeks, or years, to go to church on Sunday.  If the event was scheduled on Saturday, practically speaking, it may interfere with sports or other family events.  It’s also a great opportunity to get out and meet people who do not typically attend a church function on Sunday morning.

It’s funny, isn’t it?  Thinking about “the Church Has Left The Building.”  The first time I heard that phrase it caught me off guard.  Isn’t that a paradox, like “jumbo shrimp” ?  Growing up going to church every Sunday, “church” was a place, a building.  We went to Sunday School and then to the service.  But it was all at a location that was about 20 minutes from our home.  And we said we were “going to church.” 

But then, about 15 years ago, my pastor at the time introduced the congregation to “the building” — the four walls and the floor and the ceiling — and he called us, the people in the chairs, “the Church.”  Me?  “The Church?”  God bless Pastor Barry Tucker at Valleyview Church for speaking into our lives and showing every one of us the way Jesus sees us!  By 2011, in this day of “the emerging church” you have probably heard it repeated often: YOU are “the Church.” 

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Giving, and Receiving, the Perfect Gift

I want to talk about gifts and giving.  Yes, I have seen most stores are already setting up Christmas décor.  It’s early October, for goodness sakes!  So, how many of you are done with your shopping?  Most of us enjoy receiving gifts… and I’m thankful that most of the people I know also thoroughly enjoy giving the right gift too. 

Have you ever given the wrong gift?  You know, like giving your wife the “gift” of a new treadmill or a fancy bathroom scale… Not a good idea, guys.  True story: my dad once gave my mom a newfangled “electric broom.”  I think it was for Christmas in 1969.  A great lesson learned for me, at the young age of 10 years old: never get anything for your wife that has anything to do with making the work she does around the house easier as a, insert air quote marks, “gift.”  Vacuum cleaners.  Water-infused-mops.  Carpet steamers.  Something that makes it easier to do laundry…. Nope.  That’s the wrong kind of “gift.”  It kindof says that they need help doing their job… So if they need it to do a better job, just buckle down and buy it. Don’t wrap it up.  Don’t wait for a special holiday.  God bless my dad for trying, but giving the “gift” of the equivelant of cleaning supplies is just not a “gift.”

At least that’s what I took away from the conversation that followed once the wrapping paper and bows landed on the floor.  So, I have adamantly refused to ever give my wife a vacuum cleaner as  a gift… and I’ve taught my kids the same thing.

Have you ever given the right gift?  The perfect gift?  I’ve heard of many people scoring on that one… a piece of jewelry, a vacation, a handmade quilt…

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Act like Jesus?

What does it mean to “Act” like Jesus?

Do you like to act?  When I was growing up, my middle name was “Ham.”  I have always loved to get in front of a camera or get up on stage and pretend to be someone. 

What child doesn’t like dress up?  We were in a home last week and their 8 year old has this wall of bins in his bedroom that are organized around costumes.

I’ve studied acting and, in fact, for the past several years I teach drama on my day off.   Each semester there are about 15 elementary students and 30 junior and senior high school students that are learning how to act.  We play games like tic-tac-toe stage direction with the younger kids and improv and mime with the older ones.  We put on stage plays and musicals.

At its core, I believe drama is about being creative. And in the drama classes I teach, we celebrate that God is the Creator and creativity is His gift. 

So, when we are encouraged to “act” like Jesus, is it merely a show?  Is it merely pretending? I hope not…

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