Challenge or Entertainment?

This was originally written for LRBC on April 2 2017.

I am reading a book at the moment with Rachael called God’s Call. It’s about a man known as Brother Andrew, a former Bible smuggler and the founder of Open Doors. In it he mentions a quote: “Either a man must be challenged or he must be entertained.” This has stuck with us both since we read it. We’ve wondered how this should influence the way we raise our children, the way youth group is run, and our expectations of church.

Image result for Open Doors NZ Logo serving the persecuted church

Let’s consider Sunday mornings. Do we keep our expectations ‘easy’ for the ninety minutes between 10am and 11:30? (a deadline not to be trespassed!) It’s an important question – what are our expectations for this time? I don’t mean in terms of the singing, communion, sermon etc, but rather in terms of what we think this time should do for us.

Image result for God's Call book brother andrew

Let’s not come to church with the expectation of sitting through a service. Let’s find ways to challenge ourselves and each other to renew faithfulness, to love one another, to stretch our minds, confess our failings, unite in prayer, and step out in faith to new and challenging things. It is easy to get used to being comfortable here, to being ‘entertained’ in a mild sense of that word, and although we might feel a little sheepish about it, it is not something we’d hurry to change. It’s a bit like a warm bed on a cold Saturday morning – Why move yet? The tasks for the day can wait a bit longer.

Jesus purchased us with his blood (Acts 20:28) – but to what end? No one buys something without a purpose for the purchase. Jesus purchased his people with the purpose of us to bring praise and honour and glory to him by the deeds he has ready for us to do! What remains for us is to scorn comfortable faith and to step up to the challenge.