I was invited by my neighbor, Rev. Jim Colley, to attend a special service at his church, Family Worship Center, today. Okay. One of the hooks was a pulled pork dinner following the service and special worship music by vocalist David Gopee. Rarely do I not take advantage of a day/night out of the kitchen, especially when prefaced by good, Christian worship music.
That being said, I knew I was exactly where the Lord wanted me to be this Sunday, as Gopee so aptly phrased it. The welcoming community warmed me … the music lifted me … Jim’s message hit me … the fellowship and food filled me.
The short and sweet of Pastor Jim’s sermon was highlighting the differences between religion and faith — a message I have preached through the years right here on the blog and from pulpits in the Reformed, Presbyterian and Methodist traditions. Organized denominations are fellowships of believers under a common doctrine. Unfortunately, sometimes that doctrine gets in the way of the mandate of Christianity — to be the salt and light of Christ. That’s not LIKE salt and light but BE salt and light. We’re called to reflect the light of Jesus and season the hearts of others. It’s not I’m right, you’re wrong. It’s not shunning those who disagree with us. It’s all about relationship.
To be sure, although non-denominational, Family Worship Center does have a biblically-based statement of faith featuring the Godhead — Father, Son and Holy Spirit — salvation and eternal life. The bulletin proclaims, “You have chosen to be part of a service that is not ‘religious’ but one that’s filled with love and acceptance of all. Our goal at FWC is not to try to ‘change’ people to believe the way we believe or to behave the way way we behave. It’s simply to say, ‘Hey, there is Jesus! Look to Him! Follow Him!'”
I often wonder what Jesus would do in today’s world. Initially I thought He would reach out across denominational lines and or to the unchurched. But the more I thought about it, my thinking changed. It’s not what would Jesus do in today’s world. It’s what am I doing in Jesus’ Name in today’s world. And when I look in the mirror I must admit, not nearly enough.
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Do what makes you happy but consider how it will affect those you love.