Thursday, June 26, 2008

“There was a time when the church was very powerful– in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. . . . But the judgment of God is upon the church [today] as never before. If today's church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the 20th century.”
Martin Luther King Jr. - Letters From A Birmingham Jail (page 17)

Is the church a termometer or a thermostat? Has the church become an irrelevant social club? Relevant questions not only for the 1960sbut for 2008. A battle of decision rages in America today. It is not centered around Obama or McCain. Nor is it centered on Iraq or sub-prime mortgages or gas prices.

The battle is found in hearts and minds of each individual person. A battle for each persons very soul. The church must not look or truth found in consensus. The church must not sell it's soul for the sake of buildings, budgets and buns (people in the seats). The church must be a community of believers that is not holding it's finger in the air to find out which way popular opinion blows but is setting the pace and setting the example when it comes to courageously living out the truth of God.

Jesus didn't die for us to be comfortable. Church isn't about comfort. It is about God's truth. It is about God's mandate to love him with all we got and to love people until we drop.
Local, state and federal government has failed us in New Orleans. The murder rate is climbing and has our city as the murder capital of the nation two years running. However, God has not failed us. He is here working 24/7. God has shown himself once again to be the rock, our ever present help in the time of trouble.

How has God shown this? Through His church. Folks from Nebraska, Maine, Wisconsin and those right here from Central City. Living courageous lives sharing themselves with people. Without the church, New Orleans would be in even more dire straights. It has been the church that has and continues to respond.

Thanks to all who have come. Thanks to those who will come. It is through your sacrifice, your generosity that we have been able to see a change in our neighborhood.