Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Best Place To Have Church

The man brought me back to the entrance of the temple, and I saw water coming out from under the threshold of the temple toward the east...As the man went eastward with a measuring line in his hand, he measured off a thousand cubits and then led me through water that was ankle-deep. He measured off another thousand cubits and led me through water that was knee-deep. He measured off another thousand and led me through water that was up to the waist. He measured off another thousand, but now it was a river that I could not cross, because the water had risen and was deep enough to swim in—a river that no one could cross. He asked me, "Son of man, do you see this?...When it empties into the Sea, the water there becomes fresh. Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. There will be large numbers of fish, because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh; so where the river flows everything will live." (Ezekiel 47:1-9)

I love coming out of a church service feeling pumped up for God. Many times I'd get into a conversation that would get started by saying, "We had church today!" (Waving my white hanky). I'd get so hungry in a sense for God after that service that I would go to my local Mexican food restaurant and grab a bite to eat. I'd get so full that I'd go home and take my Sunday afternoon nap before the evening service. I've come to wonder now if I'd really had church.

These verses have several implications for those who are True Christians. We could look at the depths of spiritual maturity - from ankle deep to in over our head - mostly the location of the water is what I want to look at.

The shallower the river the closer it is to the temple. The deeper the river the further it is from the temple. Now I believe church, the organization, is important to bring a foundation to its people. Where the people know where they stand in the faith (ankle deep). The church has a great place in teaching and training believers. But they still aren't deep yet. They maybe deep theologically but not necessarily spiritually.

The further we get from the church as an organization to the place where it is an organism we see great depths spiritually.

Now this scripture is telling of how the Dead Sea, which cannot sustain any life because of its salt content, will have fresh life sustaining water.

Our depth in the Spirit depends greatly on how much we impact the "Dead Sea" around us. How Christian am I if I only live my life in Christ at my local church? How much am I like Christ if all I do is hang around saints?

We seriously need to get in over our head in the Spirit of God to where the current takes us where God directs and a long that way give the life giving message to those who are dead spiritually.

Would your community weep if your church suddenly vanished or would it not even notice? A church that impacts it's "Dead Sea" is a spiritually deep community changing organism. The church that has little to no impact in it's community is spiritually dead and is nothing more than an organization.

So maybe the best place to have church is not in a sanctuary but at the local tavern.