Is The Universal Church Being Made Visible Today?

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. (Colossians 1:18-20, New International Version)

RT @BethMooreLPM I believe, if you watch closely, you will see that those who keep or quickly recover their joy are those who by constant practice bring it all back to Jesus again and again. When they’re appalled by this world, they refocus on Jesus. When they’re devastated by people, they steady themselves in Jesus. When they’ve lost faith in institutions, churches, leaders and, inevitably, themselves. They fix their eyes on Jesus and thank God that He’s not like us.

RT @jimcha Thank you, Beth. As a pastor of more than 30 years who recently walked away, this spoke to my heart deeply. Happened across a Rich Mullins song while driving home tonight–it was all I could do to not burst into tears. I love Jesus, though I am finding His church unrecognizable.

RT @BethMooreLPM Oh Jim, I am heartbroken. I’m so so sorry. There is going to be life on the other side of this. Meaning. Ministry. And church. Don’t give up on it. There is community for you. May Christ be so evident to you as you heal. And, brother, let those tears fall.

From reading the May 30, 2021 above referenced Twitter thread exchanged between Bible teacher and author, Beth Moore and a pastor named Jim Chamberlin, I can say that in this past year I’ve felt a similar sadness as Pastor Chamberlin in finding the Church ‘unrecognizable.’ My heart goes out to Pastor Chamberlin. I feel the weight of his words. After being in sorrow about the state of our world, the Church and some of its people, and the institutions, and the character I thought they should have had, I have also encouraged myself by fixing my eyes on Jesus, gratefully knowing that He is my and our Greatest Hope. The joy of the Lord is and has remained my strength, as noted in Nehemiah 8:10. In all of the turmoil and division in what looks like intractable chaos and disintegration, Jesus is reconciling all things to Himself. In Paul’s letter to God’s people in Colossae, to the “faithful brothers and sisters in Christ” as he writes in Colossians 1, it is a message to God’s people. And so it is, as Mrs. Moore tweeted in encouraging follow up and heartfelt empathy to Pastor Chamberlin, there will be life on the other side of this. We will see God at work in the messiness. There will be meaning. God is reconciling it all. Will we, will I be then patient in the travailing, in the reconciling? It seems a long time getting there but I know it is coming.

The issues of the universal Church are myriad. I won’t list the issues here as you’re likely acutely aware what are those growing pains. The maturity of the Church and whether the Church is being made visible to the world, is if Jesus–not the ‘Jesus’ we’ve created to fit our agenda–if Jesus is being made manifest in these fleshly temples. If we are truly living out the nine fruits of the Spirit (faithfulness, gentleness, goodness, joy, kindness, love, patience, peace, and self-control) as outlined in Galatians 5:22-23, we will reflect Christ to the world and to each other. By yielding to the Holy Spirit, Jesus is recognizable in you and me. If we are appealing in our character, then Jesus will be recognizable in you and me. If we decrease self so Christ can increase, then Jesus will be recognizable in you and me. Thereby, I believe we’ll come through like pure gold. It’s all about Jesus. It’s all about Jesus.

Keep your hope,

Nicole

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