I read this book 4 years ago, and again last year: The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. When I read it, I discovered God’s purpose for my life. It’s awesome that the book still teaches me lessons that I had forgotten.
I read an important chapter on belonging to God’s family. As I read that section, a song popped into my head called ‘We Need Each Other’ by Sanctus Real. It was kind of perfect. I encourage you to listen to it.
Back to the book, I believe that there are some really key points in the book that we need to remember:
“Membership in the family of God is neither inconsequential nor something to be casually ignored. The church is God’s agenda for the world . . . The church is indestructible and will exist for eternity. It will outlive this universe, and so will your role in it. The person who says, ‘I don’t need the church,’ is either arrogant or ignorant . . . God commands us to love the church as much as Jesus does.”
“The local church is the classroom for learning how to get along in God’s family. It is a lab for practicing unselfish, sympathetic love . . . Only in regular contact with ordinary, imperfect believers can we learn real fellowship and experience the New Testament truth of being connected and dependent on each other.”
“Your local fellowship is the place God designed for you to discover, develop, and use your gifts. You may also have a wider ministry, but that is in addition to your service in a local body. Jesus has not promised to build your ministry; he has promised to build His church.”
“Satan loves detached believers, unplugged from the life of the Body, isolated from God’s family, and unaccountable to spiritual leaders, because he knows they are defenseless and powerless against his tactics.” – so frightening (emphasis mine.)
“Why is it important to join a local church family? Because it proves that you are committed to your spiritual brothers and sisters in reality, not just in theory. God wants you to love real people, not ideal people. You can spend a lifetime searching for the prefect church, but you will never find it. You are called to love imperfect sinners, just as God does.” – emphasis mine.
Being part of a church helps us to follow the 2 most important Commandments: “love God, and love others.”
A few months ago, I watched a documentary on Netflix called “One Nation Under God.” If you haven’t watched it, I highly recommend it. Four Christian college students go on a road trip to find out what people around the U.S. believe about heaven and hell, who Jesus was, etc. It was interesting to watch, and I highly recommend it.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: the world is watching! Whether you want to believe it or not, it’s true. The documentary was proof. Nonbelievers claim that Christians are judgmental, and the church is full of hypocrites. I wholly agree with the first part of that statement. Many Christians appear to come off as judgmental – sometimes it’s false, but there are many times when Christians spend their evangelism time telling people what they’re doing is wrong . . . when we need to be focused on loving others, whether we think they are right or wrong. God is our judge, so we’re in no place to do it for Him.
The second part of that statement is difficult to handle. I wish it wasn’t an accurate statement. I hope that if we Christians focus on loving God, and loving others, we won’t come off as hypocrites. I’ve also said that we have got to stop pretending like everything is okay, and that we’re perfect. Neither are true. It’s one theme I’ve tried to develop in my blog is that we should strive to be authentic.
The church is filled with some hypocrites; however, if we say that we’re still sinners (even though we believe in Jesus) and we sin, that’s not being a hypocrite. Just because you go to church doesn’t mean that you are never going to sin again. So, if you’re a believer, don’t act like you don’t sin. If you’re a nonbeliever or church-goer, we’re just trying to share Jesus with you. Most of the time, we’re trying to tell you that we don’t have all the answers, we don’t have it all together, and we still sin, but God’s grace is amazing. We know that Jesus is the answer. Without Him, I would have no hope. I’d be depressed and lost. My problems would destroy me if Satan didn’t do it first.
I’m glad that there is no perfect church. I’m glad that my husband and I are sticking with our local church filled with imperfect people, just like us, through the good and bad times, just like we do with our relatives. We need our family, and we need our spiritual family. We’re not to do life on our own. I’ve learned that lesson many times. We need each other.