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<< iPod Devotionals, with Dave Burchett

Waiting on the Church to Change...

  • 2010 Jan 04
"Waiting on the World to Change" was written as an explanation of sorts for the apathy displayed by many of John Mayer's generation toward political and social activism. The song is powerful and, to me, a bit depressing.

Me and all my friends
We're all misunderstood
They say we stand for nothing and
There's no way we ever could

Now we see everything that's going wrong
With the world and those who lead it
We just feel like we don't have the means
To rise above and beat it

So we keep waiting
Waiting on the world to change
We keep on waiting
Waiting on the world to change

I couldn't help but think that this could easily be reworked to describe the state of mind for many churchgoers in America. Sadly, that song could be multi-generational in our churches as well. It is so easy to see everything that is going wrong with the church and those who lead it. But we decide that we don't have the energy or the means or power to beat it. So we just keep waiting. Waiting for the church to change. Waiting for the leadership to change. Waiting. Mayer describes the futility of disengagement in the next lyric.

It's hard to beat the system
When we're standing at a distance
So we keep waiting
Waiting on the world to change

Rather than step in it is so much easier to step back and it is really easy to just step away. Researcher George Barna notes that millions of self-described born-again Christians have left the church. Many are standing at a distance and waiting on the church to change. And they can rationalize like a champ. Mayer's song nails that too.

It's not that we don't care,
We just know that the fight ain't fair
So we keep on waiting
Waiting on the world to change

The average Christian would no doubt tell you they support the church in theory. But they are just sick of the church because it is….              
(check as many as apply from the list below)

 ___ Full of hypocrites (as if we couldn't squeeze you in)

___ Too much about politics

___ Constantly fund raising

___ Not friendly

___ Teaching that is too boring and deep

___ Teaching that is too shallow and seeker sensitive

___ Too legalistic

___ Too liberal

___ Playing music that is too modern and too many praise songs

___ Playing music that is too old fashioned and not enough praise songs

You get the point. It is not a problem to find a problem. And we keep waiting. Waiting for the church to change.

But Jesus has a different plan that could help my dilemma and also the apathy that Mayer sings about. Jesus asks us to accomplish the goal with a radical plan. He went to the Cross to change me. He went to the Cross to change you. When we believe in Jesus as Savior He tells us that at that point of salvation we are already changed. He tells us to trust that truth that we have been changed and have a new identity. He asks us to live out of that new identity.

Do you think things would change if we could implement the instructions written to the church at Colossae?

So if you're serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don't shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that's where the action is. See things from his perspective.

I wish I had known sooner that understanding what happened when I became a believer actually allows me to do that. But I fought that ability for three decades. Later in the third chapter Paul describes what that would look like…

So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It's your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it. Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way. (Colossians 3, The Message)

Can you imagine what the church would look like by simply implementing those few verses alone? Allowing the love and light of the grace of God room in my life will change me. Reflecting the love and light of the grace of God will attract others to the One who can change them.  If enough of us follow that plan then the church will change. No waiting. And if enough churches reflect that change then the world will change. So that is the plan. No waiting required. We can stop waiting for the church to change and simply trust God that we have been changed and start living out of that truth. It is a start. If you have left the church I urge you to come back. Be part of the change and quit waiting for someone else to do it. We need you.




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