A Tale of Two Real Churches

I’ve heard people talk about how they thought that if they started going to church or became a Christian that life would somehow become miraculously simple. If showing up at church qualifies a person for an easy life, I grew up at the front of the line. If reading your Bible every day and praying regularly was enough to simplify one’s life, I’d qualify. But it doesn’t work that way.

I learned that lesson really early. I was a preacher’s kid and the first church that I’m old enough to remember, kicked our family in the teeth. I was abused by a church member in that church. And even after we left there, life never got simple. I went to other churches and got beaten up or used or neglected. And life away from church wasn’t so pleasant either. I have bucket loads of dysfunctional relationships to show for my three-plus decades on this lovely rock we call “earth.”

I have had to fight for every step I’ve taken in my life. I’ve fought people and ideas and fears and frustration and expectations. And I’ve hated every minute of the fighting because down deep, I’m a peaceful person. I can’t stand discord or controversy or confrontation. More days than not, I’ve wanted to lie down in the middle of the battlefield and play dead. And some days, that’s exactly what I’ve done…

 For twenty-two chapters now, Rich Stearns has been essentially saying this: we must get past our prejudices and our limitations (self-imposed and otherwise) and do whatever is within our power to make a difference in the world we are living in.

Let me boil that down even further: we need to fight for each other.

We need to give each other the food, water, medicines, answers, truth, love, hope, light, and strength that we need to fight. We need to stand beside each other and hold each other up while we’re trudging through this battlefield of life. Because if we don’t, we won’t all make it to the other side.

Stearns says: “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight; it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”

And it’s true. We may feel small or insignificant or ill-equipped. But really, it’s the desire that makes the difference. It’s the burn deep inside of you that makes the difference. We need to look across the battlefield and see who needs help fighting and get that burn inside of us to go stand alongside them and fight for them.

On my way to work today, I heard a song by Addison Road that’s stuck with me all day. It’s called, “Fight Another Day.” (Appropriate, no?) And in part, it says, “Will you step aside when it all falls down and watch it burn away? Will you walk away when it gets too hot or fight another day?”

I’m going to keep fighting for the folks around me. How about you?

This post is part of our regularly scheduled Wednesday discussion about Richard Stearns’ book, The Hole in Our Gospel. This week’s discussion is about Chapter 22 – A Tale of Two Real Churches. If you’ve written a response to the chapter, please visit my co-facilitator Jason Stasyszen’s site Connecting to Impact to link up. I invite you and encourage you to jump into the discussion whether you’ve read the chapter or not. Your thoughts are important to us!

About Sarah Salter

Comments

  1. We have to keep fighting Sarah.. Endure til the end.. Thanks for this post.. Very timely for sure.

  2. Glad to hear you are not giving up Sarah. keep fighting!

  3. Kris Brewer says:

    The Lord did not tell us to just give up and get backed into a wall. He is the One who has given us this strength not only to fight for ourselves, but others, too. Thanks, Sarah!

  4. We definitely need to fight and help each other fight…

    We also need to make sure we are fighting the correct battle, the one with eternal consequences.

  5. Just an addendum in case there was misunderstanding: I was not inferring or suggesting that you were fighting the wrong fight. I only meant we need to always check ourselves against the purpose and task that we have been commissioned by God to carry out.

  6. Sarah Salter says:

    Dusty, I hear ya, man. I didn’t misunderstand. And I’ll admit there have been times that I have chosen my battles unwisely. So, that piece of advice is definitely warranted. :)

  7. We are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but those who believe and are saved… Love that verse (Hebrews 10:39) and you’re so right, it’s not just about us but we fight for each other. We contend for those far and those near. Great call to arms, Sarah. :) Thank you.

  8. Papa Bear (The Preacher) says:

    There really are some fights that are worth the effort. I know that in many churches the people just want to fight for fighting sake. They just want what they want! St. Paul talks about having fought the good fight. Stearns is trying to help the world see there are some good fights we really ought to be in. Why are so many in the world starving and yet most of us are a pound or too heavier than we need to be and we throw out more food than most people even have to eat. Why are the disease epidemics so rampant in parts of the world while most of us have good health and health care. Yes, there are some fights I need to be in so that Christ might be glorified and His Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven. The Good News Paul tells us is that when I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race and have kept the faith, there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day (and that’s not all)–and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. THE CHAMPION IN THE FIGHT IS JESUS!

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