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Jesus - 4/4 - MNU Blogs

Joey Alligier

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October 8, 2012

“Hey, that was a great service at Building today!”

October 8, 2012 | By | 3 Comments

The congregating of Christ followers most likely started directly after the spread of Christianity in the first century. Over MANY years we have what we call church today. The beautiful buildings, sometimes testy air conditioning, hopefully comfy pews, potluck dinners, and outlandish youth group games are how the typical description of the church is perceived in typical minds and conversation. But, is that all we are? Are we defined by what we have and the look we give off? Have we become that superficial as a society? Now, don’t get me wrong, nice churches are most definitely a blessing from God. But if you dig deeper what really defines the church.

The church is the people, not the building. Now, there are some questions that arise with this statement. For me, thinking about this brought up the fact that in the Old Testament the church WAS the building and not so much the people. But why? In the Old Testament the church/ tabernacle had a Holy of Holies that was not for the common man to enter. This where God was; this is where the church was.

When Christ died, so did that. The Advocate ( Or in Greek, Paraclete <— I learned that in New Testament class) or the Holy Spirit changed the way things work. God is found in us. We have the opportunity to experience the power of Christ in our lives more than before. Now, this does not discredit church. We are still called to come together in Christ’s name! Plus, I mean who doesn’t love the wacky youth group games! Am I right or am I right?

The picture above was my church youth group on Sunday morning. I put it because my topic is church and what defines it, but mainly because it looks so sweet! We met in a building, but to me, many of those people I could experience the power of church outside that cramped room! I see God in those people more and more each day. That’s what it’s like here at MNU. Church could be the picture at the top or the one at the bottom; in a square with a fountain in the middle of downtown Wichita’s party scene blaring Jesus music, playing frisbee, talking to strangers, discussing life, and reading scripture. I could also experience church outside on the grass late at night or on my RA’s couch. To me, it’s beautiful that this whole campus is like a church. After all God shows up in more than a stained glass building! Matthew 18:20 says, “For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” Now don’t get me wrong I believe God absolutely sees a congregation gathering to bring honor to His name on any given day! But as my pastor back home once eloquently stated, ” Sure you could go to church without members, you’d just end up saying ” Yeah, I went to building this morning.”.

In conclusion, I hope that this either opened your eyes to where or through who you could experience God. Never forget the way the church is talked about; the bride of Christ. And plus, why would Paul write letters to churches if they didn’t make a difference in life? As you go on with your busy day, take time to thank God for the gift of freedom, fellowship, and unfailing love he presents to us.

Keep on and keep God my friends,

Joey Alligier

Kelsey Cranford

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October 3, 2012

The hands. The feet.

October 3, 2012 | By | One Comment

This morning we had the privilege of listening to Cris Zimmermann speak about his ministry in Frankfurt, Germany. This young pastor began sharing with us a book he has been reading as of late called God is Not a Christian written by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. In this book the Archbishop shares of a crucifix he found in a church in which Jesus had no arms or legs. The meaning behind it was that, as the church, we are to be the hands and feet of Jesus in the world. That, as his disciples, we are to be the answer to the world’s begging question, “Where is God?”

As he began to speak he commanded my respect. He spoke with no words of eloquence or brilliance. He wasn’t beaming with charisma in which everyone was drawn to him. Nor did he command attention because of his long list of credentials or accomplishments. Rather, he commanded my respect because of his simple perusal of making this man on a cross relevant to our current world.

It all began with a group of 12 college students in Frankfurt. Together with Zimmermann, they began to brainstorm ideas on how they could be the hands and feet of Jesus in their own city. A specific pub was brought to their attention where a consistent community of people gathered regularly, not just to have a drink, but also to simply be together. Zimmermann and the students began to integrate themselves into this community, and after collaborating with the owner, began raising money with them to build a well in Africa. The pub family included, they began reaching out to the homeless community in the area as well and started establishing relationships with them. From there, other pubs began to get involved and the influence of the once small group began to grow and grow, involving people of all kinds.

It’s easy to look at the task ahead and be intimidated. To allow the fear that so easily creeps in to keep us from even taking a step. We become so taken back by our responsibility to be truth to the world that we can’t even be truth to the few people surrounding us. The fathers of the faith, the very apostles who walked on the ground that Jesus did, had to start somewhere. At some point, they had to acknowledge that they didn’t have what it takes to be his heirs to the kingdom. Yet, with the breath of Christ within us, we are given the means to be the truth, the salt, the light, that is so very necessary to this world. There is no better time than now to begin to get ourselves out of the way so that this purpose can be fulfilled in our lives.  May we begin to allow Jesus take root in our daily interactions with people and may we find the courage to take the baby steps that are necessary for any sort of change to occur. As Dorothy Day puts it, “People say, ‘What is the sense of our small effort?’ They cannot see that we must lay one brick at a time, take one step at a time. A pebble cast into a pond causes ripples that spread in all directions. Each one of our thoughts, words, and deeds is like that. No one has a right to sit down and feel hopeless. There’s too much work to do.”