Tuesday, April 01, 2008

The Beautiful Sound of a Tuned-Up Church

I recently acquired a 20-year old pickup truck and a friend of mine helped me do a pretty thorough tune-up on it. As I tried to explain the process to my wife, I realized that we basically addressed three systems that make the engine work: fuel, fire and air. We replaced the fuel injectors so the right amount of fuel would be steadily supplied to the piston chambers. We replaced the distributor button & cap, the spark plug wires and the spark plugs so that fire could get to the piston chambers successfully. Finally, we replaced the air filter so that the combustion from the meeting of the fuel and fire has its full effect - fire without air is just a weak flash in the pan! Once all these elements were meeting in the right place, the engine began to run beautifully! The sound of a well-tuned motor is strangely satisfying, especially after doing so much work to make it run the way it is designed.

As I've thought about this process I see a spiritual application (it's amazing how God will speak through vehicles!) We have begun to see a move of God at our church on Sunday mornings over the past few weeks - people are praying, the Spirit is moving and people are aligning their lives with God (between 15-30 people have been meeting the pastor after the service every week in response to his invitation to salvation or prayer!) I see the church reflected in my pickup's motor. The community within the church is the piston chamber - when the right elements converge in this place, a reaction should happen that causes the kingdom of God to move. A life that realizes its need for God is the fuel that causes divine momentum. The Word of God and worship of him is the fire that causes an experience with the Lord and sets a life ablaze. The Holy Spirit is the air that is necessary for the spark to have its full force - without Him the reaction is just a "warm fuzzy" feeling that doesn't translate into changed lives. These are the elements that make the kingdom of God move!

As Christians and members of the body, we must make it our mission to bring these three elements together. Too often we focus on one (usually the fire) but neglect our responsibility to proactively seek out lives in need of Christ (fuel) or the movement of the Holy Spirit (air). When this happens, the church sputters and skips and lurches like a motor in desperate need of a tune-up. However, when all of these elements regularly meet, we listen to the roar of the Church's motor as it becomes beautifully mobile, advancing the kingdom of our God and seeing lives changed. It is a wonderful sound!

Jesus, help me do my part to bring fuel, fire and air together in all that I do as a Christian, father, husband and minister. Mobilize your church to make a difference!