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November 18, 2013, 1:26 PM

at the Rock-Bottom Cafe


Good Day Reader.  

I like to celebrate winning.  Some people may call it "Trash-Talking", but I prefer to call it "Pointed Celebration!"  What is really happening is that I like to win, be on top, prove myself smarter or better than everyone else.  Its all about ego, pride, and domination.  Churches like to be on top too.  To be the biggest, most progressive, most inclusive, most attended, most beautiful and modern facilities...  The list goes on.  It has become a part of our culture as the Body of Christ to compete with each other, whether its spoken directly or not.  We like to be top dog.  

Lets go further with this and look inside our own heads:   "I'm glad I'm not like her...."; or "My kids are so much more behaved than theirs.";  or even "At least I dont struggle with sin like he does."  There is a hierarchy in place, spoken or not, in churches.  Those that are best dressed, and have it all together are placed on pedestals.  We dont intend to marginalize, but its in our nature to do as such.  

As we continue our thoughts from Sunday's sermon (11/17), when we fall to the default, or very basic character of Christ in our lives this becomes a non-issue.  Looking through the interactions between Jesus and pretty much everyone, we see him existing in the margins, connecting with people no matter their place or social standing. As we build our lives, marriages, families, and ministries we must reach into those margins and model our rock-bottom foundation on the character of Christ.  The storms will come, and are most likely already here.  We will go toe-to-toe with cancer, divorce, failure, rejection, financial ruin, bullying, disappointment, and a slew of other storms that threaten our foundations.  If we are built on sand, or the foundations of culture, popularity, acceptance, or even doctrine (not theology) we will fall (like the foolish man's house going SMASH).  

However, being at the very rock bottom, foundationally speaking, provides us the strength we need to not only survive the storms, but thrive.  Important SIDE NOTE:  we are never promised happiness in the storms, prosperity despite the storms, instant healing in the storms... we are simply promised the "get to the other side" through the storms.  That may mean a life of deformity, oppression, sacrifice, and unfulfilled dreams.  It may not be a pleasant journey, but it will be a successful one when the destination is reached (in our case, Heaven!!!!!).  

Which takes us forward to next week.  Finding ourselves at rock bottom, and being thankful for it.  Turn to Luke 18: 9 - 14.  I confess that while I have not prayed like the Pharisee here, I have had thoughts and intents like the Pharisee.  Forgive me please, I'm still in recovery.  I dont want to be at rock bottom because, well, it isnt popular enough or sensitive enough to my fragile ego!!  Its too easy to look around and wish I were a mega-church pastor, with a twitter feed that resembled your most beloved celebrities.  Its easy to look up from rock bottom and assume I'm being punished or oppressed, or missing opportunities.  And in that I take the character of Christ and brush it aside for pride.  

Church... I fear for us if we cannot become self-aware, knowing the devastation we have wrought in our plights to avoid rock bottom.  We have created idols of success and fertility in other institutions.  We have secularized our financial beings.  Leadership has become about reputation or financial savvy more than about shepherding and pastoring.  Rock bottom has become what happens to churches who get it 'wrong' and close their doors.  Rock bottom is to be avoided, not celebrated like in the parable of Christ in Luke 18.  

I am a recovering Pharisee.  Please join in me in my quest to check my ego at the door and thrive in the character of Christ... at rock bottom.  

 

 

 


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