October 26, 2016

DAY TWENTY SIX - Life Happens (Inside the Walls of Church) ...and so we pray!

On Monday, we talked about Pastors and Leaders and I encouraged y'all to be praying for the people who fill that role in your own lives. On Tuesday, we prayed through a Psalm, and today we're going to dive right in and talk about how Life Happens inside the walls of Church and again, our best plan is to turn to prayer.

Life Happens all. the. time. in the Church, right?

We know it does!

I think we have all gone beyond searching for the perfect church, yes?  I wrote Monday about how we are ALL human... so we will all fail. 

And yet... let's try not to! 

Let's try to be the Church that purposes to speak life... to be love... to shine on! Let's be hope bringers and Kingdom releasers... Let's be the first to offer grace and forgiveness, to lift up and love wholeheartedly. Let's represent our good, good Father in how we not only treat the world, but in how we treat each other, too!

Let's remember that if we are believers of and in Jesus, then we are ONE Body, we have ONE Lord, ...we are adopted in and called Sons and Daughters and we are the family of God... the Bride of Christ!

And I don't know about your family, but in my family? Well... in my family, Life Happens!

The same is true in the Family of God inside the walls of the church...
We can talk about all kinds of problems... we can list off all the sins that take place in our churches (hint: all of them. They all take place.) and we can relive the hurts and recite the pain... we can focus in on all that is wrong and twisted and dark.  

We could do that... sometimes, of course, we have to do that! 

But what I want to say today is this:
Let's remember that we are family.  

I'm not saying that in a Jersey mafia, protect the family, sort of way. I'm not saying to continue on with spreading lies, with covering sin, with smoke and mirrors and avoiding Truth.

But here's the thing: 
Life Happens everywhere
   and the Church is no different.  

Life Happens... hard times come, miscommunication and gossip and slander unfold... people will be --well, human... some will leave, and others will stay... They will hurt us but they can also heal us, too.

For all the bad that we may have experienced inside the walls of the Church, there is good there, too! There is.

As I said earlier in this series --for some crazy reason, Jesus left this whole build-My-church gig up to us but He didn't leave us alone.  The Church is His idea... she is His Bride, whom He is coming back for... He is ever for her. 

And even though sometimes we forget,
WE are her.

We're the Church. We're the Bride.

And He sent the Holy Spirit to help us... to comfort us... to lead and guide us!

So yes --the institution is flawed and sometimes failing but the church and the Kingdom is ever growing... ever rising... ever becoming the sons and daughters that He longs to pull close under His wings... to call Home and to have gather around the Table!

Eric Johnson, of Bethel church in Redding, said just the other day,
"Nothing will stop the movement of the church."
He said that if you think you have found the 'perfect church' what you have found is something fake. 

Isn't that just the truth?  If a church is thriving and growing and being the church, not just doing church, then there will be messes and challenges and stretching and Life Happening all around! This is actually a good thing!

What we are tired of is fake... is plastic... is pretend.

To quote Sweet Brown, "Ain't nobody got time for that!"

For real. 

We are tired of all the masks and the rituals of when I ask you how you are, you say fine and we all just keep moving on. 

We're tired of showing up late, sneaking out early, not ever having a Cheers-like experience where everyone knows your name, and calling that church and checkin' it off your bossy list of things to do on a Sunday.

We're tired of it because that kind of church leads to religion, but what we were created for --what we are longing for and thirsty for is relationship!

We are called the children of God and He longs to gather us together... to sit and talk with Him... to allow Him to fill us up and to let Him pour into each of us... He wants to see us live and move and have our being in Him... together.  

He longs to see His kids getting along and thriving. He is praying for our Unity... He loves to see the family all happy and healthy and getting along! (Right? Because He's a good, good Father!)

So are there issues in the church? Of course.
Is there corruption and deceit... sin and shame? And how.
From gossip and hurt feelings, to murder and adultery and all kinds of evil... yes. 
But this is (sadly) nothing new.

You see, that's because the church is made up of people.
That's on us... not on Him!

And yet - praise God for grace!  Praise Him for how He is always for us and always at work within us and for how His hand is not too short... for how He is always redeeming and reviving and resurrecting... for how He breaths life... for how He answers prayers.

Yes. That.

Praise Him for how His Kingdom has come... it is here. 
It is now... so when (not if) Life Happens within the walls of your church, know that prayer works. It transforms us from the inside out and when we learn to turn to prayer first... we grow in our connection to God and we remember that He leans in and listens closely as we pour out our hearts to Him.

For inside the walls of the church, what we should find more often than not is a place set for us at the table... is grace abounding and love in abundance.  What we should find is FAMILY welcoming us Home... feeding and filling us up... and then sending us back out to go find sons and daughters and invite them to come to the party!

We gather on Sunday mornings... but maybe church for you happens on a Friday night or a Wednesday evening.

Church is wherever two or three of you gather together because He is there in your midst but it is a corporate connecting and reconnecting of family. 

Church - within the walls - is a Family Reunion of sorts where we tell stories and share memories and make plans for the future and we eat, and laugh, and sing... all are welcome and made to feel like family because when you gather at Dad's house --well, He's just really good at making everyone feel like they belong! He's the prodigal father... extravagant in love, seeking and searching and waiting for His sons and daughters to return!

So Life Happens inside the walls of church and as a family, we pray... we work through it... we may not love the circumstances, but we are family and we are in it together, for each other, and we remember that the church and the family is bigger than our small unit -but it is worldwide and, as my pastor keeps saying, we all have a place in the Kingdom!

Tomorrow, we will talk a little about how we are the Church and how we are called to be outside the walls, to be in the world, not of it. We will pray into what that may look like for you, wherever you are... Until then, let's purpose to:

* I wanted to include a few great books on Church life and cultivating Honor and Kingdom communities:
A Culture of Honor by Danny Silk
When Heaven Invades Earth by Bill Johnson
A Mile Wide by Brandon Hatmaker
The Naked Gospel by Andrew Farley
Love Does by Bob Goff  
Out of Sorts by Sarah Bessey
The Unshakable Kingdom and the Unchanging Person by E. Stanley Jones
The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard
Bandersnatch by Erika Morrison
The Apprentice Series by James Bryan Smith (3 book series) :
 The Good and Beautiful God: Falling in Love with the God Jesus Knows
The Good and Beautiful Life: Putting on the Character of Christ
The Good and Beautiful Community: Following the Spirit, Extending Grace, Demonstrating Love
Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker  
You know how hard it is for me to pick favorites! This list is not exhaustive at all... but it's a great start and you can add some of these titles to your holiday wish list.

And speaking of holiday wish lists, there is this:  

DaySpring is amazing and they are offering a GIVEAWAY for a chance to win a $100 DaySpring.com Shopping Spree!

Enter to win here:

I'm also linking up with the lovely writer communities linked below:

Lori Schumaker for #MomentsofHope

Barbie Swihart for #Glimpsesofhisbeauty

Jennifer Dukes Lee for #TellHisStory

Beth Steffaniak for #FromMessestoMessages

 Today is Day Twenty Six of 31 Days of Life Happens...and so We Pray! If you missed the kick-off and official 'Home page' for this series, you can go HERE and catch up! You will find links for each days' postings, added daily throughout the month. If you'd prefer to have them delivered right to you, I invite you to enter your email address to the right ('Subscribe Here') and subscribe to the blog. That way, once a week, each post is delivered to your inbox in a single email over the weekend and you'll be sure not to miss a thing!


  1. Such a great reminder that God is still building HIS church! Praying for continued strength and hope perspective. Great post!

    1. Right? We can get so focused on what is wrong with the church --and that is easy, because there is so much wrong with her... but we forget that even with all of that, God is still in love with her... He is still wanting the best for her and to see her live and love the way He intended!

  2. Anonymous11:51 AM

    Karrilee, your post reminds me of how I want my children to get along and be easily forgiving towards one another, just as our Dad desires the same for us.

    1. Right? When we remember to look at it like that... doesn't it make you realize that He really DOES want us all to get along? So good! #WeareFamily

  3. Thank you for this post. Remembering that we are all family with a Heavenly Father is so important. This post encourages me in a tremendous way today!

    1. I'm so glad, Robin! Thanks so much for coming along on this journey with me!

  4. All the yeses! THiS: "For inside the walls of the church, what we should find more often than not is a place set for us at the table... is grace abounding and love in abundance. What we should find is FAMILY welcoming us Home... feeding and filling us up... and then sending us back out to go find sons and daughters and invite them to come to the party!"

    1. Of course you love that part... because I do, too! Even as I tapped it out I thought, Oh Lord... that's good! That is exactly it! ;)

  5. Such faith stirring, inspiring words, Karrilee! Amen to these ones, especially: "what we were created for --what we are longing for and thirsty for is relationship!" Yes, indeed, the purpose behind Christ establishing His church is for us to be in loving relationship with Him and with one another as we shine His light in a dark world.

    1. Thank you so much, Joy! Amen and Amen... may we gather together and shine bright!

  6. So true, Karrilee! Life happens everywhere. The church is not exempt. We will not find a perfect church. We are messy people and messy people fill the church :-) But we seek to encourage beyond the differences. We seek to love God and others (which includes each other:-) ) BTW- Some of your listed books? Yes yes yes! Love the books by Bethel authors. When Heaven Invades Earth is one of my all time favorites!
    Blessings, my friend, and thank you for sharing hope at #MomentsofHope!
    Blessings and smiles,

    1. It seems you really can't go wrong with those Bethel authors! ;) I love them all! Thanks so much for stopping by... so glad this resonated with you and happy to know that we share some amazing books on our shelves!


Thanks so much for stopping by! I always love to hear your thoughts! Remember to: Speak Life - Be Love - Shine On!

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