A few years ago as I was walking and praying in our church, my thoughts went to the people who labored to build it. I imagined that the thing that kept them going was a vision of the lives that would be transformed as a result of their tireless efforts. They would have thought about the souls that would encounter God in that building, the bodies that would be healed, the marriages restored, the life-giving sermons preached, the prayers prayed, the ministries birthed, the friendships formed and the incredible worship to God that would take place. I'm sure their purpose was never about the building of the church, but about the people who would be impacted and changed.
In Ephesians 1:22-23 the apostle Paul actually described the church as the body of Christ: He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
As I continued walking my prayer changed to, "Lord Jesus, help us to keep your passion and full vision alive the way you intended the church to be, a constant source of the life-giving hope of Jesus Christ. Help us to become aware of ourselves when we keep going through our well rehearsed motions of existence, checking off all our lists and tasks for the day and going to bed, arising the next day only to do it all over again. As Christians we know that such a mundane existence falls short of the abundant life you came to give us. You never intended for Your church to be filled with empty rituals, boring and irrelevant teaching, uninspiring music, or to lack creativity. You intended the church of Jesus Christ to be dynamic, passionate, life-giving - a place of hope, healing and destiny. I pray that we would be that kind of church!"
Isaiah 61:1-3 Is the body of Christ in action - The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes , the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.
What a privilege it is to be a part of the body of Christ, activating HIS LOVE, which is not based on emotions or feelings, but on a decision to be committed to the well being of others without any conditions or circumstances!
Let's not just go to church - LET'S BE THE CHURCH!