A Pastor's Musing

Pastor's Musings

There are 3 things that keep us from becoming "stale" as Christians.  You know what I mean. Those who only deal with Jesus when it is convenient or when trouble comes and then it is to see what Jesus can give them not what they can give Jesus.  Relationship has become nothing more than responsibility or a means to an end.  Joy does not follow them and they seem to have energy for anything but God and the people of God.  The 3 things are summed up in 6 words;  Love God, Encourage Other, and Share Jesus!
     To love God is not just a state of being or a feeling.  It is an activity that affects all of our relationships.  My love for God causes me to apply that love to all other relationships; my family, my friends, my co-workers, my neighbors, the strangers I meet, and even those who choose to be my enemies.  It is not a feeling but it effects my feelings.  It is not just a way of thinking but that which motivates my choices.  It is sacrificial not ego building.  It gives for the purpose of giving not getting.  It seeks the glory of God and no one else.
     To encourage others is not about making others feel good for sometimes honest criticism is the best encouragement.  For encouragement seeks the best for others.  Not necessarily what I or they think is best but what God knows is best.  Encouragement lifts others up to God.  It points to the future not to a failed past.  It comes along side and helps another lift up their load.  
     To share Jesus is to be a reflection of who Jesus is in your life.  It is a testimony of His presence and power.  It is not pointing out peoples sins but His righteousness.  It is not threatening hell but proclaiming heaven.  It is not about preaching but about loving for Jesus is the source of all love.  It is His touch in, on, and through our lives.
     But more than a personal purpose for living Loving God, Encouraging others, and Sharing Jesus is the purpose of any gathering of followers of Jesus Christ that we often call the church.  Together we are called to Love God, Encourage Others, and Share Jesus.  This should be reflected in our worship, fellowship, teaching, serving, sharing, and even the names that we give to those places we call our church.  We call ourselves West Allis Wesleyan Church.  West Allis speaks to place you will find our facilities and if we had a bigger footprint (influence) in West Allis this would be a good part of any churches name but we do not have a great influence.  Wesleyan speaks to our history and where we came from way back in history (John Wesley and the Church Of England).  It is identified by those who know with anti-slavery of any kind, but few know that history or have any personal history with the Wesleyan denomination or even our personal church history.  Unlike names that include Catholic or Lutheran in the Milwaukee area we are the only Anglo-Wesleyan church around so Wesleyan tells those who do not know that history nothing.  Even the word church no longer speaks just of Christianity for there are many other religions that are now identifying themselves as church.
     Perhaps we need to upgrade what we call ourselves to remind ourselves and tell others in their language the purpose behind why we exist.  In the Old Testament parents named their children after what God had done or was doing in their lives.       
     Now if Jesus is the bridge to God, a bridge that He built on the cross, and if we are to reflect how Jesus lived His life here on earth, then we are called to be bridges as well.  Bridges to Jesus.  We have stated this generally in our Mission statement which is "Bringing God and people together in Jesus Christ".  Perhaps we would be much clearer if we called ourselves "The Bridge (Following Jesus In The Wesleyan Tradition)".  
     What's in a name?  Names remind us who we are, where we come from, and others where we are going.  We upgrade our facilities to reflect our culture.  We upgrade our programming to empower our purpose.  We upgrade our connection to the community to build bridges to Jesus.  Perhaps a name change would be an upgrade to our calling to Love God, Encourage others, and Share Jesus.