"So, who made God?" That was one of the questions I got in children's church yesterday. I wonder how long I stood there looking at that kiddy trying to figure out how to answer that one in a way they all could understand. Then when I figured out my answer, how long did I stand there thinking this was so stinkin' cool? That was just the beginning of a series of questions that ranged from "Was Jesus God in human form?" to "Do animals have souls, too?"
I think I opened it up, though. I talked about creation ex nihilo, that is creation "out of nothing" yesterday. I asked the kids to try to think of nothing. I turned the lights out and it was pitch black inside the room, then I began the creation story. I've never seen these kids ever ask such profound questions as they did yesterday in the times I have helped with children's church. Why the change, I wonder?
As I thought about this, I think I arrived an answer, rather right or wrong. They were challenged to think. Most of the time we do not challenge the children (and youth and adults) in church. We think they cannot handle anything really deep when in reality they can handle much more then we think. When they are not challenged, they don't think any further than they have to and then begin to cause trouble. Trust me on this...coming as an A.D.D. kid, I know.
I wonder how different things would be if we challenged people to think? I think that there are many churches that ask their congregation to shut their brain off at the door and just to listen to what is being taught, believe it, and maybe even live it. What would it look like if we were taught to encounter the Text where It is, listen to the preacher and teachers, and study the Word for themselves? How different would it be if leaders sought to help the congregation engage their brain in worship and in the teaching, to think about God--his glory, beauty, majesty and all He has done for us, and to think about the text in a way that leads them to search out the answer?
Folks, we need to engage our minds! We need to help others engage their minds in our teaching! An email from my friend, Casey, brought to mind a Scripture in 1 Peter. Therefore prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:13, NASB) Prepare you minds? How? Through prayer, of course. Conversing with God is vital. Strength, energy...life comes from Him and Him alone. Of equal importance is the Word. We as a body need to be in God's Word more than we ever have before.
It is so easy to just crack the Bible open on Sundays and Wednesdays and leave it on the shelf. I confess--it's real easy for me to do that. It's happened on more than one occasion this semester. It must stop, though. For me to prepare my mind, to engage my mind I have to be feeding myself and not just being fed by my Pastor (who is the greatest preacher in the U.S.!) or another Bible Study teacher. We must engage our minds...we must pray...we must be in the Word.
I think another point of action would be for us to realize Christianity and even the church is not about Sunday mornings. Church (that is the body of believers) should happen throughout the week--emails, phone calls, dinners, etc. Sunday is not church, it is just the time when the church gathers together for worship. Secondly, Christ is not just a compartment in our lives...He is our lives! Like Paul said at Mars Hill in Act, He is the one in whom "we live, breathe and have our being". God is not someone we worship and converse with only on Sundays. God is our Creator, Savior and Sustainer whom we must worship every day. We are privileged enough to have a relationship with Him through Christ and we need to exercise that relationship on a regular basis. We are not only saved to an eternal hope, but also a present hope; abundant life in addition to eternal life.
In the words of Captain Picard from Star Trek: The Next Generation I say this to us today: ENGAGE!
until Christ is formed in us...