The Truth About My Church (and others)

churchCurrently, the church I pastor is seeing more and more new people each week in our worship service. On a personal note, I have been incredibly encouraged concerning the growth I am seeing and the excitement on a weekly basis. Some people have approached me after a short time of attending and have sought to become more involved in the church. This is also great!

As I have reflected on this in the last few days, I have felt the need to tell people what they should expect when joining my church. The following are the 7 things that you should expect when taking the step to become a leader or generally involved in this worship community….these things are universal and can be applied to any other church.

1. Someone will eventually hurt your feelings….Someone is going to say something to you, or step on your toes, or even blurt something out randomly that will offend you.

2. You will encounter hypocrites. Churches are full of them and many are leaving the church for this reason…..grocery stores, civic groups, concerts, political groups, bus stops, restaurants, parking lots, hospitals, call centers, parties, and family reunions are also full of hypocrites….good luck avoiding those too.

3. Someone in my church will annoy you. Fact: everyone has an annoying side.

4. My message will not make sense to you on occasion. That’s okay…perhaps God will use it in your life later.

5. The music may not connect with you this Sunday. That’s okay….perhaps God will use it in your life later.

6. There will be discouraging times in our church. You can bet on this…..we are a church full of people with problems and regular discouragements. It just makes sense that a group of people would reflect this….

7.  Church will be boring at times. ….umm……..I got nothing. Sorry.

Overall, the church is not only a family but it is a redemptive and purpose-oriented community. Due to the fact that it is filled with people, not everything is going to be perfect. When we are interacting with people with wounds, hang ups, and brokenness we have to understand that grace is not just something for people on the outside but we are the prototype before distribution.

Redemptive communities require imperfection to participate.

-Landon DeCrastos

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The Right Lighting

Recently, I have made several trips to the paint store to find a certain color of paint to cover a newly spackled door frame. This project, which is in the process of being complete by someone I work with, is one of many that need to be done at work. My job, like any administrator of my type, is to visit the necessary stores that have the requisite supplies for the assigned tasks.

Last week, the man who does odd jobs for the church told me to go get paint for the door frame. He said that the paint store would have record of this paint color and all I would have to tell them is that it was a yellow shade, and the only bucket of that kind of color we have ever bought from them.

Well, I traveled to the paint store only to realize that we had used the other paint store down the road. When we both visited the correct place, we found out that we have never bought any yellow-type paint that we were describing.

When I went downstairs to look at the color, I thought it looked more beige than yellow (people who know me are laughing right now….because I am color-blind)…and the search process started over again.

After taking a chip off the wall and bringing it into my office, we realized that we were both wrong. The inadequate lighting was the culprit…in combination with the fact that I can’t see color properly.

If the enemy of our souls had his way, he would be the one providing the lens by which we view the world. He wants us to view the world in the dark, and miss the details.

When we talk about things like “being the light of the world”, and “Jesus is the light”, we are describing more than just a solution for darkness. Proper light can allow us to see things as they truly are made to be. God’s perfect light allows us to see the world through the lens of truth. We cannot simply rely on our abilities, discernment, or sight.

Today, ask God to show you the needs of the world around you. Shine God’s light so that His message can be clearer.

-Landon DeCrastos

Illuminate

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.”  Matthew 5:14

This passage has always intrigued me. Not because I find it so hard to understand, but because I don’t often see this principle being played out in the world.  As children ,we are taught this principle. Songs such as “This little light of mine…” echo throughout our children’s departments, yet the implications are not always stressed.  Being the salt of the earth is easily explained. One can imagine their dinner without salt, and see how the “little goes a long way” policy would be true. Light, however, is more abstract. When there is no light…all I know is that I cannot see anything.  How am I supposed to be light?

I remember when my Dad would ask me to help him work on the family car. Obviously, I had no practical knowledge related to being a  mechanic, and would probably be more of a hindrance than a help. I always had the same job when helping him. He wanted me to hold the flashlight.  He would do all the dirty work (because he had specific knowledge of the car, and its parts), and eventually the car would work again. Sometimes it was a simple oil change, or maybe even changing a particular filter, but I didn’t know that. The only things that I saw were bolts, greasy wrenches, and twisted metal.  All I knew is that I played a small part in something that I could not quite understand.

Perhaps God is that way with us. This concept of being the light is simply the idea that we can illuminate the work that God is doing so others can see the results. We are called to be the light, and God will take care of the intricate systems of the world. I am not sure how it all works, but I am happy to help in any way I can. It is my job to point to God with my life.

-Landon DeCrastos

Spoken

3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.- Genesis 1:3

I can remember many times in which I would venture out to my grandpa’s workshop when I was a child. He had barrels full of different types of wood, nails, saws, and everything else that could get a little boy in trouble. Often I would began building something and after about an hour….I would figure out what I was going to make. Usually, I would start nailing and then see what the creation looked like, and start making it look more like what I wanted it to eventually become. I can’t even count how many times I set out to make a pinewood derby car, and ended up with half a box. The fact is….I would often get tired of nailing and cutting so I would leave the creation on the bench and leave. My grandparents didn’t care though…it would keep us kids out of the house for a few hours.

God never gets tired of creating. Many humans are under the impression that creation stopped on the 6th day in the book of Genesis. The Bible indicates that God is constantly refining, rebuilding, recreating, and transforming things all around us….and within us. New babies are knit together in the womb everyday. New land is being formed and built under the surface of the ocean on a regular basis. Even the death of a tree implies life only a couple seasons away.

We often think that our problems are too cumbersome for God to handle. Or, perhaps we believe that God is too busy to hear our cry. Truth be told, God did not sit down in a workshop and fashion all of creation. He simply spoke. All matter that exists as of this moment was spoken into being by God. God’s plan is perfect and timely, yet it is born from the sound of His voice. His desire is to continue creation within us. With just a word….God can create light from the darkness that we are stumbling through.

We can find comfort in the power gentleness that is found in our Creator.

-Landon DeCrastos