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CHRIST IS THE WIND, CHRISTIANITY IS THE SAIL
Does the practice of our religion reflect the God we serve?
In Shane Hipps' book, "Selling Water by the River: A Book about the Life Jesus Promised and the Religion that Gets in the Way," he uses an analogy from sailing to express what has happened in the church over the past generations. He says (I quote loosely),
One thing that might ease our anxiety is to remember that Christ and Christianity are not the same thing; If Christ is the wind, then Christianity is the sail. Some sails are better than others at catching the wind, some sailors are better at using the sail, but there is always and only one wind. A sail without the wind is a limp flag; wind without a sail is still the wind. The relationship is only one way.
The wind (Christ) is the pre-existent creative power of the universe with no birthday or death date. The sail (Christianity) on the other hand is an institution built with the intention of harnessing that power. If the institution goes away, the power remains. Put simply, Christ is much, much bigger than our religion.
Listen to me, just because my religion bears his name doesn't always mean it bears His likeness. Such misconception is a dangerous, even an arrogant illusion. If we buy into this assumption, we become like the sail who believes it controls the wind.
There’s another beautiful picture of baptism given here: “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” Did you catch it? Baptism clothes us with Christ. We’re wrapped up in Jesus and all of his goodness in baptism. We’re clothed with his work and his righteousness. Armani, Gucci, Abercrombie and Fitch – none of those designer labels can compare with the garments we have in Jesus’ name. God “clothes” us with forgiveness and salvation. In other words, he says that these things are ours. They’re real, just like a change of clothes. All who believe that these garments are theirs have what’s needed to be part of God’s family.
The Lord offers a wonderful wardrobe for his people. It’s his Son’s life, death, and resurrection. These are ours to “wear” spiritually. God does have a dress code for his family. This is what identifies the Christian as such. Let’s face it. People often wear the clothes they do because the want to be noticed. Quite often it’s the label or the name brand that supposedly makes a person a “somebody.” Well, you want to be labeled as a “somebody”, then be labeled as one who is wrapped up with Jesus. Be labeled with Christ. Be proud that you are a Christian. Don’t be ashamed of all the Christ has done for you! God has made you part of his family.
Some one has said, there are three kinds of givers -- the flint, the sponge and the honeycomb. To get anything out of a flint you must hammer it. And then you get only chips and sparks. To get water out of a sponge you must squeeze it, and the more you use pressure, the more you will get. But the honeycomb just overflows with its own sweetness. Which kind of giver are you?
“Worship does not satisfy our hunger for God—it whets our appetite. Our need for God is not taken care of by engaging in worship—it deepens. It overflows th...
A church that has passion is a church where "Discouraged folks cheer up, dishonest folks fees up, sour folks sweeten up, closed folk, open up, gossipers shut up, conflicted folks make up, sleeping folks wake up, lukewarm folk, fire up, dry bones shake up, and pew potatoes stand up! But most of all, Christ the Savior of the entire world is lifted up."
R. Darrel Davis
Richard Roney is Chief of Chaplain Services at the VA Medical Center in Marion, Illinois. He reminds pastors they aren’t the only ones who hear excuses about not attending church; as a hospital chaplain, he’s heard more than his share:
"It’s snowing outside. I never attend church in bad weather." (The chapel was on another floor in the same building!)
One lady commented, quite seriously, "I’m usually always sick on Sunday morning."
"The nurse doesn’t want me out of bed," one patient told a volunteer. But as the volunteer began to leave, the same patient asked, "If you’re going near the smoking room, could you give me a push?"
A favorite was the patient who said, "When I sing, I get nauseated.”
The pastor stood before the congregation and said "I have bad news, I have good
news, and I have more bad news." The congregation got quiet. "The bad news
is: the church needs a new roof!" the pastor said. The congregation groaned.
"The good news is: we have enough money for the new roof." A sigh of relief
was heard rippling through the gathered group.
"The bad new is: it’s still in your pockets"
Flip Wilson was a popular comedian several years ago, and one of his characters was a Preacher at the “What’s Happening Now Church.” Flip did a Skit where he told about this preacher. He’d shout out:
"IF THIS CHURCH IS GOING TO SERVE GOD IT’S GOT TO GET DOWN ON ITS KNEES AND CRAWL!!!"
And the audience yelled back "Make it crawl preacher, make it crawl!
"AND ONCE THIS CHURCH HAS LEARNED TO CRAWL, IT’S GOT TO GET UP
ON ITS FEET AND WALK!!!"
"Make it walk preacher, make it walk" the audience moaned.
AND ONCE THIS CHURCH HAS LEARNED TO WALK ITS GOT BEGIN TO LEARN TO RUN!!!"
"Make it run, preacher, make it run!"
HE KEPT CALLING
In 1975, my aunt Marsha McCarthy divorced Ralph McCarthy. Marsha left Southern California and followed her parents to Joplin, Missouri.
She was employed as the Secretary at College Heights Christian Church and raised three children on her own. The stress was overwhelming at times. Marsha was in and out of the hospital regularly for stress related problems. But Ralph kept calling. Marsha wasn’t interested.
Well, he continued to call…for twenty-nine years. In the summer of 1999, Ralph flew out to see Marsha…face to face to close the deal. Would you believe, that when Ralph proposed to Marsha, she said yes.
October 9, 1999 Ralph and Marsha Lynn McCarthy were remarried. Ralph just kept calling.
Ralph just retired from his law practice in Carmel, CA. He built a retirement home in Palm Springs with a guest house and pool. The guest house is larger that Marsha’s home on North Jackson in Joplin. Ralph just kept calling.
Jesus said, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” (Rev. 3:20)
Can you hear him calling?
Source: Scott Mathews, Adventure Christian Church, Rocklin, CA.
Someone has estimated that the average member of the church has heard 6,000 sermons, 8,000 congregational songs and led zero people to Jesus Christ!
Here is the way the problem stacks up in a Church with 200 members:
20 are too old to work, that leaves 180 left to work,
but of the rest, 18 are too timid to accept much responsibility
that leaves 162 left to work,
but 12 are out of town or away for school,
so that leaves 150 left to work,
but 25 of those work long hours six or seven days a week,
so that leaves 125 left to work,
but 20 of those are tied down with children
that leaves 105 left to work,
but 20 of those are unable to work because of poor health,
that leaves 85 left to work,
but 55 are unfaithful, do not attend regularly, or don’t care...
that leaves 30 left to work,
but 20 of those will attend church...but they refuse to work...
that leaves 10 left to work,
8 of those are very tired of doing all the work and have asked to be relieved
That leaves 2 people, you and me...
But I’m too busy with other things, so you do the work.