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August 25, 2008

Skipping Church

Churchgoing folks in Wimberley, Texas, made a bold move and skipped church one Sunday last month to devote a full day to volunteer service. The event was called “Big Serve.” More than 500 participants from various evangelical churches in Wimberley mowed lawns, painted walls, washed windows, poured concrete and cleared brush to help renovate their cash-strapped schools. More than 2000 hours of labor were contributed and both the volunteers and school district were very pleased with the results.

This reminded me of what Chuck mentioned in Chapter 10 of his book The Faith:

The church exists not only as a worshipping but also as a missionary community… the Gospel should be radiating out from our churches, the message in the pulpit translated by those in the pew. We often think that evangelism belongs mainly to the clergy, but every church member has a particular ability and calling to extend the Church’s witness into the world.

Big Serve is one good example of becoming a godly witness to the world and bringing the faith outside the church walls. Organizers of Big Serve intend to hold another event in the future, and this is one good idea for other churches (including the one I belong to) to copy. It’s time put faith into action and give "Sunday church service" a whole new meaning.

And this week on BreakPoint Radio -- starting today -- hear Chuck again discuss fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith. Stay tuned!

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Just wondering.....

Was there no other time during which the church body could devote itself en masse to serving their community? Seems to sacrifice the time spent assembling together as a convenience that doesn't require sacrificing some other chunk o of "personal" time.

Absolutely NOT being legalistic in the least, but during my 59 years on this planet (as opposed to other planets?...ahem!) I've been part of plenty of churches that managed to organize "work days" and that challenged folks to sacrifice their own comfort zones, not unlike we're challenged in tithing. We're not to take our tithe monies and redirect themto another cause to avoid the "pain" of giving up some additional part of our monies as our "alms" giving. Alms are over and above the money set aside for the tithe.

David, when freely offered oxen to present to the Lord, firmly stated that he would not offer up to God a sacrifice that did not personally cost him something. That's anecdotal, but still a good example to follow.

On occasion, giving up church time might be OK as long as it's clearly God's specific direction for a specific body, but it could easily become an excuse towards sacrificing other time we might claim "belongs" to us.

Just food for thought, offered in the spirit of love. I heartily applaud those who have God's vision that extends beyond the "four walls" of the sanctuary to "the least of these." Kudos and blessings to them all. Keep on being Jesus' hands and feet to a world in need.

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