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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
- Marc Heinrich

His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
- Rose Cole

[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
- C-Train

This post contains nothing that is of any use to me. What were you thinking? Anyway, it's probably the best I've read all day.
- David Kjos

Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
- Jonathan Moorhead

There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
- Carla Rolfe
 
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Friday, July 29, 2011
We come here to minister...
I have another ministry besides blogging, and that ministry is of a teacher and as a leader in my local congregation. I don't get paid for that ministry either, nor would I want to. I bring it up, not to sound self important, but to use my own experience as an introduction into a topic that is near to my heart. Christian Ministry.

I think it is fair to say that the kind of ministry I am engaged in is one of the most personally demanding ministries (on many levels) but also one of the most richly rewarding ones. If I did not minister thus, I don't know how I could contain myself. I ache to see Christ's little ones grow (and I am not talking about children, but rather immature faith, blossom into mature faith). In fact, my blogging is just an outflow of the same desire - a desire to see people come to be whom Christ has called them to be.

Children make childish mistakes. I state the obvious here to introduce you to the notion that Christians who are spiritually immature, make a lot of immature mistakes.

I will use myself as an example again. I recall one of my old pastors getting excited about the idea of having an all night prayer time - a time of fasting and calling on the Lord. I recall his joy-filled face as he spoke to me, full of the expectation that I would encourage the notion, but instead, with an all too effective dead-pan expression, and with the full weight of judgment, I replied that the thing was a sensational folly. If you really want to pray, why not meet with me every day at 5:30 a.m., and we will pray together for an hour every day, every week, and every month. If you're going to be serious, let's not play games - let's do it, and if not, well, go ahead and play around.

We did meet, and to his credit, the pastor held on longer than the other few who joined us, but within a couple of months it was just me, alone, every morning, and eventually I gave up on it too.

But I tell you, I resented the people in our church who cared more about their own belly than the bellies of others. That is, I resented every soul that came to that church to eat, rather than to serve up food. Okay, metaphors aside, I resented every member who shows up on Sunday expecting to be "served up" a pleasing sermon, and led in singing those songs they liked most. Oh how I grit my teeth against these fair-weather fakers. Were they even saved? I felt as self righteous as Elijah, crying out that they have slain all the other prophets, and I alone am left. But even as the Lord showed Elijah that He Himself had reserved 7000 who had not bent the knee to Baal, so also I came to realize that my resentment sprang from the core of my own corruption, and not from God's righteousness. I didn't really resent anyone - I didn't care about them so much as I cared that I wasn't being recognized as a very spiritual person.

Of course, however I saw myself, I am sure everyone else saw me as a pompous ass (er, ...as in a donkey, and not, as the French say, as in "un derrière"). I wasn't wrong in noting that there were people in the congregation who were just showing up, and who were otherwise nominal - I was wrong in thinking that I was any better than they were. Christ disrobed, donned a towel, and scrubbed the feet of His disciples to show them that no one is above anyone else when it comes to ministry. We serve one another, and the heart that thinks it is superior to another, is a wayward, corrupt heart. Perhaps the biggest offenders are people with a more public ministry.

Well, to make a long post less long, let me tell you that my heart for my own congregation is that they would grow in the knowledge of Christ. Not simply that they would know more facts about Jesus - that isn't what I mean by "grow in knowledge"; I mean what Christ meant in John 17:3 - knowing God and Christ is eternal life. It doesn't say, knowing about God and Christ, but knowing them. The ache in my soul is an ache for people to know Christ. But though the Lord may use each of us as tools in His work, the truth is that this is His work - even the ache in my own breast is the work of His hands in me, and not something to boast about, but something to rejoice over. God could easily have given the gift to another, and supplied me with some other.

How is your heart Christian? Do you resent those who are less mature than you imagine yourself to be? Do you hunger for recognition when you have ministered faithfully? Christ would (and did) say that you have only done your duty - no more than what was expected of you, and having done it, you have done nothing worthy of praise. Or are you one of those who is so focused on what you are "getting out of church" that you forget that you are supposed to be there "putting into church"?

Don't think that because you are immature, you don't have to serve in the body. That's bunk. Church isn't a place where mature people work, and immature people are "worked on" - so that some people feel they have fullfilled their religious obligation by merely attending church (what more do "you people" want!??) Listen, church is not something you attend, it is something you are a part of, or supposed to be a part of.

Do you want to know why so many people leave this church or that church? It is because they don't know what church is, or how to be a part of one, and this they don't know because no one is telling them what church is.

So the point of this post is to touch on the concept of what it means to be in a church. If I can, I will sum it up in a brief paragraph, and end on that note.

Being a member of a church means committing yourself to the local body even as a husband commits himself to his wife. You gather together to serve one another, and to strengthen one another in the fight against sin, and in the pursuit of holiness, without which no one will see God. Church is the congregation, that group of imperfect people who are so uninclined to submit their daily lives to God, that our Lord has put YOU in their life to aid them in whatever way you can; and has put everyone in that congregation in your life for the same purpose. Church isn't about Sunday morning sermons, prayer time, announcements, and a few hymns, choruses, and perhaps some hand-shaking afterwards, followed by a meal at the local restaurant, after which we get on with life again. Being a member of a church is being a critical link the chain that holds a family together.

Listen, you know that family who lost their boy fourteen years ago, and still sets a place for him at the table each night in rememberance? A member of a church who isn't there is like that empty seat - a position in that family that no one else can fill. God isn't wasteful, each member has a ministry, so a church member is a person who commits to serving the body in love. Anything less isn't church, it's just play time, and your soul knows this.
posted by Daniel @ 7:36 AM  
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