Church? Help Jesus instead.

The other day,  I met many Jesuses.   They were hungry and lonely. I helped to feed them.  They were mentally ill, physically sick, confused, wheelchair bound, and desperate.  They were all in great need.  I drove one on them to his deteriorating house.  I listened to another one who complained of stomach pain. I could have been at home enjoying a relaxing day with my family.  But I was blessed to have the opportunity to serve these Jesuses instead.  I felt the presence of God, and did not set foot on a church.  I am sharing this to give God the glory, not myself. Please do not congratulate me or praise me for this, I just want to get this message across: Church should be on the streets.

This is why I strongly believe that attending church should involve the following:

Instead of raising hands in praise….take the hands and reach out to feed the hungry.

Instead of going to a temple or synagogue… go to prisons and nursing homes to visit the forgotten.

Instead of kneeling to pray… kneel to talk to orphans and homeless people who sleep on the cold floor.

Instead of singing hymns…. sing to a crying baby whose mother just died of AIDS or is waiting to be adopted.

Instead of listening to a preacher’s sermon…..listen to the cries of a beaten man or a raped woman.

Instead of listening to what a particular church has to say about how to handle your money…..  listen to your heart when a smelly, unkempt  person asks for a quarter.

Instead of worrying about how to have people “saved”…. worry about how to forgive and ask for forgiveness.

Instead of reading and memorizing Bible verses…practice what the Bible says.

Before you shake hands with your “brothers and sisters in Christ”…remember the Jesuses that are waiting outside the church.

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About Noel

I am a person who has realized that the teachings of Jesus are centralized in the genuine care and service of others. I have evolved from fundamentalism to a moderate spiritual approach. I am a reflecting person who has grown to not fear doubt but to embrace it as a means to growth and increasing closeness to God. View all posts by Noel

15 responses to “Church? Help Jesus instead.

  • theWomanAtTheWell

    God is doing much with your thoughts, this post was outstanding. may God pour out to you what you have poured out for others.-watw

  • hopeful_watcher

    If that blog post doesn’t punch you in the gut and wake you up, then you’re dead inside.

    To respect your wishes and give glory to God for your thoughtful insight, I’ll respond with fitting scripture. God bless you Noel on this Thanksgiving weekend as you bless those around you with your presence and gifts of service.

    James 2:17
    In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

    Matthew 25
    44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ 45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

  • Mark Ketchum

    Mark 14:7 ESV: For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. But you will not always have me.

    Luke 10:38-42 ESV: Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

    The only problem I have with your sentiments is that you believe we should replace the gathering of believers together in one accord to worship God with praise, singing, and lesson… to go out and serve the needy and afflicted. You consistently say, “Instead of… do this.” When you should be saying, “Instead of just doing this… also do this.” If God did not want us to worship in the presence of others with singing and praising… He would not have made it so important in the Bible.

    I belong to a Church that is all about service… in fact our decree is “To serve other people toward and anchor people to Jesus”. But without our ability to come together and praise the one who gives us the ability to go out and serve, many people including myself would lose the ability to discern what it is all about.

    We can serve the poor and afflicted as often as we can… should we not dedicate some time to raising our hands, falling on our knees, singing, shouting… etc… to our King in praise of the ability to serve Him at all in any fashion?

    • hopeful_watcher

      You make a solid point here. It must be faith (and the praise that comes with that) coupled equally together with works. So often it is one without the other and it must be both. Our works is only made COMPLETE when it is done through the glory of Jesus Christ for the Lord’s will. Like some of my previous comments on earlier blog posts, we should have a selfish agenda of spreading the gospel of Jesus as we perform good works, because otherwise we are just slapping a worldly bandage on a lost soul.

      Still a great post, because there are many Luke warm Christians not putting their money (i.e., works) where their faithful mouths are.

    • Noel

      Mark, my understanding of the two stories you quoted is that Jesus was already preparing himself to be executed in a few days, he was increasingly anxious, so the act of this woman helped him to soothe him further, which is why he was so grateful, but emphasized to his followers to continue serving the poor in spite of him rebuking them for criticizing this woman. (“yes, serving the poor is primary, but let this woman be for she is consoling me for I will be dead in a few days and will no longer be here to teach you about serving the poor”). In the other story, Martha was anxious about doing chores which women were accustomed to do, but Mary was not. Jesus has been teaching about the Good Samaritan before this, which he was probably teaching to Mary as well, but Martha, blinded by the tradition of women doing all the chores, was worrying about life (Mattehw 6:25) and Jesus reminded her not to do, but to listen instead about what the Kingdom was really about. In Romans 12, Paul teaches about the true and proper worship, which includes exercising our individual gifts as parts of the body of Christ, either by serving, leading, encouraging, showing mercy, etc. I like your church’s decree. I hope we all practice this. God bless.

      • hopeful_watcher

        Giving praise TOO is a gift. Some can open their heart and sing beautiful praises to the Lord and lift the weary spirits of those around them. Even the angels in heaven sing beautiful songs of praise:

        In a loud voice they sang: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!”

        Praising the Lord is easy when we have a full tummy and a warm roof over our head. When the going gets tough, those who are gifted to give glory, honor and praise to the Lord will provide His church body with the sustenance to remain steadfast in the faith.

        Bottomline is God gives each person different gifts that will each play their part into receiving the kingdom of God onto our Earth. We need each other, collectively as a group with Jesus as the head, otherwise we will place our faith in a single man who falsely promises us salvation through deception.

      • Mark Ketchum

        You say that Paul teaches that proper worship “includes” using our gifts and serving. I agree with you whole heartedly… but your original writing indicated that our serving others should replace congregational worship. You used “instead of… do this” as opposed to “as well as… do this.” This was my only point.

        Also,I am sorry, but your “interpretation” of what the “two stories” mean is not consistent with Biblical teaching and understanding. I do not want to get into a debate with you regarding Scriptural interpretation, but I do not believe we can just extrapolate what we want from text to mean what we want it to mean.

        Jesus clearly is letting us know that our communion… our worship… our being in His presence is just as important as serving others… in fact more important. More important because He knows that we need this… and He wants us to worship with others in praise and song.

        We also need a devotional life, a quiet time, a time when we stop hurrying, running, and moving. It’s a time when life is put on hold, when we can we sit as Jesus’ feet, and allow His Word to refresh our souls and rebuild or revitalize our spiritual lives. Noel, we need to take time to be holy! The world rushes on! We need the quiet time, a special retreat, and a place where our souls can catch up with our bodies! This study is about the importance of the devotional life. Every Christian must learn to sit at Jesus’ feet, listen to His Word, and allow Him to communicate His daily message to your soul.

        There are several passages of Scripture where we find certain people sitting at Jesus’ feet. These Bible passages teach us the importance of taking devotional time with the Lord. They remind us to slow down in life, where we can allow God to one again speak to us, and recharge our spiritual batteries. Christ longs for our fellowship and wants to share His life with us.

        Without worship as well as without study/quiet time in the word… we cannot expect to have the ammunition to serve others effectively toward Christ. It then becomes just social servitude and Jesus will eventually fade from the reason of the serving.

      • hopeful_watcher

        This is the age old debate of faith and works. I think we can all agree that being a genuine Christian is a balance of both, but what some Christians fail to recognize is that overly focusing on one does not allow for the deficiency in the other. It needs to be an equal two pronged effort. Jesus himself often retreated to the garden for quiet reflection and prayer. He honored and loved the father, which gave Him the power and strength to do the work of the day.

  • livingvictoriously

    I like how you go out and immerse yourself in the community. I have always wanted to do something like that, but as a woman, I feel afraid for my life and I have to take care of my myself. You do everything I wish I could do… maybe my inspiration is worked through people like you? Marie.

  • Tri

    Noel, I was so touched by this posting and you are right on how we can reach out to those in need. God’s word does tell us when we feed the hungry we fed Him. There are so much we take for granted but if we all join in and do God’s work then pay it forward so to speak. We can’t sit there and complain on how terrible this world is and how things are getting worse if we are not putting God’s mark on it.
    Thanks Noel for that reminder and we heal when we help people heal. Thank you for sharing. Blessings to you always and to your family.

  • Noel

    Mark, the last thing I want to do is engage in debate….it is not my intention if I sounded like debating. I respect your opinion as I hope you respect mine. I actually embrace slowing down and being quiet. My previous posts talk about this. Emptiness must happen first before we genuinely serve others. Empty from self serving tendencies, which we all need to be closer to God. This is the same as being “poor in spirit”, which I believe is the same as the need of being “holy” that you referred to. Serving others is the same as experiencing God, as long as emptiness (holiness) has been experienced first. Thank you for your sharing.

  • Justin Meyer

    Very thought-provoking! Thanks for sharing this with your readers and pressing others to live selflessly and to pursue Christ with everything they have. This is incredibly important!

  • jasonswartz

    Noel……..five words for ya…….THIS POST MADE ME HAPPY….Somebody I know must have kissed your eyes my friend.

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