The Jesus-focused church... duh!

I am currently reading Alan Hirsch's book The Forgotten Ways: Reactivating the Missional Church. I figured that if I was preaching a series on the book of Acts and persistently asking the question "what is the church," then it might be good to hear from someone who thinks today's church would do well to return to a more apostolic (more 1st-century-church) way of doing things.

So in chapter 3, Hirsch starts laying out the elements of how he thinks we should do church. He starts with this chapter called "The Heart of It All: Jesus is Lord." Now I have to admit that I didn't underline very much in this chapter (which  is unusual, because I underline and mark up books like crazy). Hirsch's position is that the church's first loyalty has to be to Jesus. Okay. That's like saying that the first priority for an Olympic marathoner is knowing how to run.

Then again, maybe it's not that obvious. It seems like a lot of churches become distracted somewhere along the way. As Jack Hayford says, over the course of time, we can easily end up serving programs more than Jesus. Churches are meant to be Olympic marathoners, but they sometimes forget how to run.

Still, Hirsch's third chapter didn't strike me as particularly interesting. And yet something occurred to me today as I prepare to preach this weekend on Acts 4. The story is about Peter and John being dragged into court and warned by the Sanhedrin not to preach anymore in the name of Jesus. They basically tell the Sanhedrin to pound sand. But what is more interesting is what they do next. They return to "their own people" -- a gathering of Christians -- and report what happened, and then everyone starts to pray. They are all in one accord as they pray. They are confident as they pray.

This is an example of a church that is centered on Jesus. They would rather be beaten and put to death than disobey him. They go straight to him when they have a problem. I think that's what Hirsch is talking about -- a church that obeys Jesus and is closely connected with him. It is the most obvious thing for a church, but we need to hear it again and again.


Popular Posts

Mother Teresa's turning point

Two signs that someone is humble

Ten essential Dallas Willard quotes

Why I have no hope of going to heaven

A test of your relationship with God