Where Are You?

April 1, 2016
by Nan St. Louis

As I have said too many times, the church is a pale imitation of what it is supposed to be, and our humanity gets in the way of our Christianity. Again today, I talked to several people who believe in God. I know that they do by the way they behave, by the things that they are involved in, and by their own admission. But they have nothing to do with the church. "Oh, I'm not religious," they say. And what does that mean? Well, they are not into rituals and rules and meetings and bickering over fundraising and the colour of paint.

Jesus wasn't into religion either. He gave us two commands: Love God, and love one another. He lived the life and died the death to show us forgiveness, eternity, and grace. He ripped heaven open to give us a glimpse. Then, the Holy Spirit came in power to give birth to a community that was living proof of His resurrection life.

All my life, I have wished for and worked toward a church that was a Spirit-filled community, the kingdom of God here, at work among us — vibrant, alive, and empowering, loving and caring for each other and welcoming others into their midst to do the same. Of course, we are all part of a fallen humankind, needing redemption and forgiveness and grace. Life is never as uncomplicated as we would like it to be, but coming together in sincerity and simplicity to celebrate and worship God as His people is a vision before me and one worth pursuing.

Acts 2:42-47 – And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And fear [awe] came upon every soul; and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common; and they sold their possessions and goods and distributed them to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they partook of food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. (RSV)

Hebrews 10:23-25 – Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (RSV)

Thought: How can I be the church today in my everyday life? Who can I encourage today?

Prayer: Lord, help us to walk in Your Spirit and step out of the humanity that is so flawed in us, so that we can live together in Your kingdom, to Your honour and for Your glory. Amen.

About the author:

Nan St. Louis <nanstlouis1@sympatico.ca>
Durham, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Good Nan,
    It is sad but we need to let our light shine so they see Christ in us and want what we have.
    May Go richly bless you for serving Him.


    Palm Sunday represents a victory ride for God’s grace, a presentation of God’s son as a humble servant willing to die to bring salvation, love and light to all who come to him. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
    This devotional should not have the ‘slant’ from a personal criticism of the Church but should be an uplifting light for all who seek a personal relationship with Jesus. It may not meet the personal criteria prescribed herein — perhaps because they’ve not matured in Christ.
    Each person drawn lovingly to Jesus can make a huge difference in the work of the Church. And, prayer changes things!
    Let us pray.


    As l read about that church and what l, along with you, feel it should be.
    It came to me like thunder that we are all sinners. If it weren’t for Christ our eternal life would never be. That’s why God sent His son to the cross to die for us! God bless.


    My dear sister in Christ,
    How surprised I was and DELIGHTED when I stumbled upon this outstanding devotional for March 20, 2016 on the PCC website! I usually read The Upper Room each morning but I never received my March/April copy for some reason. I found these PresbyCan Daily Devotionals and have been reading them.
    I especially liked your summary of the typical mainline church congregation that spends an inordinate amount of time arguing over “rituals and rules and meetings and bickering over fundraising and the colour of paint.” Boy oh boy did you ever “nail it”.
    I look forward to reading other devotionals by you on PresbyCan.


    Great words Nan. God bless.


    What a great message Nan. Thank you!


    Thanks for your words Nan. Blessings.


    Thanks for the reminder to encourage one another.


    Nan, thank you for sharing this devotional. Blessings.


    Amen Nan.
    Blessings Lynne.


    Dear Nan:
    Well said sister!!!
    Amen and God bless you.


    Good morning Nan,
    Thank-you for your devotional this morning.
    I am in the midst of finalizing the sermon for Sunday and your reflection highlighted the need to continue to live in and toward the model of loving community.
    Blessings.


    Right on Nan,
    It also breaks my heart as I see too much complacency in my area as well.
    Truly we are heading deep into the Laodicean Age when Christ knocks on the door of His own Church desiring someone to allow Him in so He may sup with them.
    Keep sounding the alarm before it is too late for them.
    May God bless you and your ministry in these last days.


    Good Morning Nan,
    A great devotional this morning Nan, putting the church’s future clearly before us and how it must be more with the Spirit.
    I see the future as a non denominational church, meeting in homes full of love and caring. But don’t forget the early Christians had the Jerusalem Temple at least for a few years until the Romans sacked it.
    God bless and keep writing. Your contemplation is good and leads to prayer.
    (B.C.)


    Hello,
    Thanks for your devotional for today. When people give me that response as to why they don’t go to church, I say to them that it is not about the people but about worship. Too many people today pick and choose their church according to what they “get out of it,” much like going to a fast food restaurant, and how it makes them feel, much like entertainment. The whole concept of bringing our worship to God is fading away with the newer forms of worship that are aiming to attract people to church.
    I pray that “not neglecting to meet with one another” and praising God together instead will at some point take hold again in those who are looking for true worship.
    Blessings,
    (BC)


    Dear Nan St. Louis,
    I once received some good advice. “Never look for the perfect church. If you find it, it won’t be perfect after you are in it.”
    Above all, let us find grace and faith in Jesus Christ, along with a goodly portion of the Word of God in church.
    It is in these that Christians have fellowship as CHRISTIANS.
    Thank you for the goodly portion of the WORD in your devotional.


    Hi Nan,
    Thank you for your devotional. It is indeed a problem in our churches there days. I preach in different churches in our area and the attendance is low and those attending are mostly elderly. It seems so hard for younger people to come to church and I don’t know what the solution is. I just keep preaching the Gospel to the best of my ability and trust that those who hear will get comfort from those words
    Blessings.

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