I am reminded of something called a Rube Goldberg machine. Ever heard of it? If you have ever played the board game Mouse Trap than you have used a Rube Goldberg machine. According to Wikipedia, a Rube Goldberg machine is a “… contraption, invention, device, or apparatus is a deliberately over-engineered or overdone machine that performs a very simple task in a very complex fashion, usually including a chain reaction. The expression is named after American cartoonist and inventor Rube Goldberg (1883-1970).” The following video is an incredible example of a Rube Goldberg Machine with over 300 steps. The Purdue Society of Professional Engineers poured well over 5,000 hours into building this incredible masterpiece:
The truth is, “we” can’t bridge the gap, but God can. It is good news for the Church that He has given clues as to the path He desires we follow by laying in our hands some marching orders, which we affectionately call the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20). Here, from Jesus’ own lips, He centers our missional task squarely on making disciples. Period. Thus, every ministry effort, every church event, every worship service, every mission opportunity, everything we do should focus on connecting people to Jesus and growing them in their faith. Following Jesus is all about discipleship. Let us get back to the basics of God’s discipleship call to the Church by leading people through His Word and the Spirit’s power into the very presence of a God who desires to make them into one of His dearly loved children. Events are great but they can never substitute for the real thing.
All this said, I have huge hope for the Church! I dream of a church where people matter more, where the study of God’s Word is changing families in a transformational way, where serving others with the love of Christ is second nature, like breathing air.
I dream of a church that is impacting its community in a meaningful way, meeting needs and speaking an overflowing abundance of God’s love and grace.
I dream of a church filled with the zeal and urgency of an apostle Paul, willing to lay it all on the line in connecting people to Jesus.
I dream of a church not satisfied with the status-quo but are pioneers for a missional movement so enticing, so loving, and so incarnational that a watching world is drawn into God’s vision at work in its place.
As a pastor, I am always hopeful as I cling to God’s numerous promises scattered throughout His Word. It is my heartfelt prayer that He continues to invest in me as I am but a speck of clay in His mighty hands. I also pray I continue to grow more effective at shepherding the flock He places in my care. I do not take this calling lightly. In fact, there has been an increasing amount of gray hair showing up on my head. I count them as a badge of honor in the spiritual battle I continue to fight every day of my life. I have been blessed with many incredible faith travelers along the way who have been both rock solid sources of encouragement and a listening ear (you know who you are, and I thank you). I feel tremendously blessed!
At the end of the day my dreams are just that … dreams. I trust and look to God’s sure reality as found in His Word with hopeful anticipation to the turning of history’s page. The only place I find peace in this life is in my faith and trust in God as revealed through the cross and empty tomb. His life given “for me” has made and continues to make all the difference in the world! He is my strength and my Savior; the author and perfector of all things visible and invisible. Being a disciple of Jesus Christ is all about loving God, loving others. At the heart of it, Church should focus on living the simple mission of transforming lives through the power of the Holy Spirit by meeting people where they are at to connect them to Jesus through His Word and Sacraments. In other words, making disciples flows out of following Jesus.
I love the Church! She is, after all, the Bride of Christ. I firmly believe God is at work, even now, to adorn His Bride for the wedding day when Jesus Christ Himself will once again return to take us to our eternal home. God is not at work to create some big pointless machine, or a house of cards, but He is lovingly at work to adorn us, His beautiful Bride for the wedding day that is to come. He is coming back soon. No one knows the time or the hour, but the moment is at hand. In the meantime, we are urged to get ready for the wedding through living at the intersection of an ever-deepening life with Jesus Christ — God in the flesh — through worship, group life, and serving others. Simply put, God daily lavishes us with His grace, freely given to us through the death of His only Son, Jesus Christ, on a cross. That, my friend, is no dream but an ugly, beautiful reality! One worth following — one worth dying for.
Loving God, Loving others,