Brokenness and Community

We are all broken. Some are just better at hiding it than others, but deep down inside we know we don’t work right. I believe when God reveals our brokenness within the context of community, we have two choices. I can see your brokenness and choose to walk away and shut you out or I can choose to walk with you and share your burdens, “and thereby fulfill the law of Christ” (Ephesians 6:2). I’m not saying it’s wrong to walk away; some are not ready to handle brokenness in others. But to stay and walk with a brother or sister through brokenness is the better way.

I also think about the image of Jesus breaking bread and blessing it. If we want God to bless us, or better yet to bless others through us, we must first be broken. Only in the context of community where we love each other and share joys and sorrows and bear each other’s burdens can this happen. We shouldn’t just pray for blessings on each other. We should be able to pray for brokenness for each other. We should be authentic and transparent enough to be broken and honest with each other.

I am reminded of Henri Nouwen’s term “wounded healer.” If we aren’t broken, we can never reach beyond the surface in our relationships and serving and ministry, but if we are broken, we can empathize with the weaknesses of others. The more we own our brokenness, the more loving and Christlike we will be toward the brokenness in others.

I want to buck the trend that says that weakness is something you don’t talk about. I want to be like Paul who boasted in his weakness, because that’s where Christ’s strength is perfected. Let people see that you are not a perfect saint, but a weak and broken and transparent vessel through which God’s love can pour unhindered to the world around you.

As always, I believe. Help my unbelief.

Thoughts on Authenticity and the New Testament Church

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I’ve been reading over Acts 2:42-47 lately and I am struck by how radically different the Early Church was from my own experience of Church. For one thing, we in the South (me included) talk about “going to church,” while the early believers talked about “being the church” and being the hands and feet of Jesus. Church for them was not a place or an event, but a shared way of life.

Where is the sense of awe? Where are the signs and wonders? By that I don’t mean crazy gibberish, but the genuine miraculous moving of God among His people. I think part of the answer is that the early believers spent so much time together. They fellowshipped and broke bread together DAILY. We do good if we see each other twice a week. They shared everything. They were willing to sacrifice of themselves to help fellow believers. They were of one mind, one purpose and had one goal– to lift up Jesus in such a way that He would draw all people to Himself.

They faced a level of persecution that we know nothing about. There was no room for casual Christianity, because to proclaim “Jesus is Lord” was to risk torture and death. I have never faced that in my life.

How do we change course? I know for me, that if I am comfortable and satisfied with the way things are, the staus quo, I will never change. Only with a holy discontent can I seek the face of God to bring the change in my life. When we are willing to take off our masks and be real, to stop talking Christianese and Sunday School answers and be brutally honest about ourselves, then we see change. Only God can initiated that in His people, but we have to want it.

Who’s with me? Who’s tired of just going to church? I see the main problem with the American Church everytime I look in the mirror.  I am the main problem. If I want to see change, I have to be the change. I must desperately want God to change me, to transform me, to live through me in the Person of His Son, Jesus, and through His Holy Spirit.

It’s time to break up our shallow ground and seek the Lord. Who’s with me?