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You and Jesus not You and the Church?

For some reason I hear the statistics a lot. Maybe it is because I am part of a big church concerned with tracking where the thousands of people who attend are each week. For a slew of reasons, we are told, most “modern Christians” only attend church a couple of times a month. It is the new “normal” we are told.

My first response: These aren’t Christians. They don’t love Jesus. But then I am reminded that we have statistics and there are other reasons… and I don’t have the gift of mercy to understand people…

Bob Thune has quoted Ray Ortlund from his commentary on Isaiah 62:1 and it includes a challenge to those of us that make church a couple of times a month endeavor.

Isaiah 62:1 is a neglected biblical emphasis today… So many Christians today are living a conveniently free-floating way of life [that] it doesn’t feel misaligned. It feels normal, and costly involvement feels like a super-spiritual option. But to God, church-hopping, self-protecting, me-first Christianity isn’t even recognizable. “For Zion’s sake” defines a way of life that works and prays and tithes and gets involved. Church membership vows could be summarized with these three words: “for Zion’s sake.” But our generation is disinclined to that kind of gusty intentionality…”

…Maybe you need to embrace Christ by re-embracing his church. If your relationship with your church is ambiguous and sporadic and subject to convenience, the problem is not your relationship with your church. The problem is your relationship with Christ. He has made his loyalty clear. He even delights in his church. He is committed to the revival of the world through the revival of the church. To God, the most important thing in all of created reality is his church, a crown of beauty in his hand. Your own greatest happiness is the revival of your church. Are you praying for your church? Are you praying for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit? Or will God have to wait to find people who will share the burden of his heart?”

“…If God were to pour out his power upon us, would we use it for Zion’s sake? Or would we use it to reinforce patterns of religious selfishness that know nothing of his cross? Maybe our first step toward revival is recommitment to our own membership vows. God has made a vow, and he’s calling us to join him in his resolve.”

Boom. For Zion’s sake. God and do likewise. Preach Jesus. Watch the Spirit move for Zion’s sake. People will come and fall in love with Jesus…every week.

Read the post here. Thune is preparing for an Isaiah series and to kick it off, Ray Ortlund will be in Omaha to preach. If you are in Omaha you should go to Coram Deo on Februrary 23.

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