When I was a child the sights and sounds of the neighborhood I grew up in were distinct. I clearly remember the almost—weekly Friday night routine of my Mom’s shopping. There was the meat market where she picked up that week’s meat needs as well as the sliced ham for the special treat of ham and cheese sandwiches. Then sometimes there was the fish market not too far away where you could smell the fresh catch, shrimp and other seafood for blocks!
Then there were the regular trips to our local grocery store where you could barely fit between the aisles for everything else that was needed. Every single store was easily identifiable by its product and displays. There was hardly any confusion as to where you were by what you saw and experienced on the ground.
Where do people go to locate the activity of the Lord if not the local church? It should come as no surprise that in our present culture, if there is seeking – most people would not be able to identify the local church as that place! I’m not taking potshots at the efforts of local churches both large and small who are trying their level best at accomplishing the vision they believe God has given them for their house. But what if in all of our efforts and all the passion to reach people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been ineffective in that one most important aspect of “being” for the local church which is to represent the idea that the Lord Himself—resides there? If our theology is right then God’s heart should be easily located in His most ardent representation in the community – the local church.
And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. (Ephesians 1:22-23 NASB)
If we can identify the fish market for the fish then surely, like it or not—people should be able to identify the Church as the place where they can locate the Lord if they desire to do so! And that means that this place should be filled with all that should be associated with the Lord Himself. Identity then, IS everything!
And as He taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.” (Mark 11:17 NIV)
This for Jesus was and still is an issue of identity. He has an expectation in regards to what His House should look like or better said, identify. Cleary most believers would have no argument with the notion that His house would be a house of prayer. Yet, what about other identifying expectations such as power, unity, mercy, and above all truth? Identity is everything and in spite of the current culture’s need to morph all things based on their needs—the Church must be the ideal representative of the Lord Himself. The apostolic as well as prophetic in this day and age must be committed to strengthen the identity of the Church as God sees her. Are we up to the challenge? I believe we are!
(Excerpt of “Preparing for the Inevitable – Transitioning a New Generation into Leadership”)
© 2016 Jimmy Mas/ www.newcityministry.com