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100 Ogden Lane
Oak Ridge, TN 37830
USA

865.483.0320

Blog: Tom Job

August 16th, 2013

CCC Oak Ridge

Hey, everyone!
 
Hope you're having an awesome week! Especially because today is gonna be…hang on one sec…Let's see…w…b…i…r…dot…com…(scrolling…scrolling…) Bam!
 
"More clouds today with a chance of a few pop up showers in the afternoon. Winds will still be light from the north around 5 - 10 mph. Highs will only reach near 81 degrees…"
 
Won't be too hot today! With just a few chances of showers! Not bad at all!
 
I love how you can just look stuff up on the computer now! Got a question? Google the answer! 
 
"Who was the eleventh President of America?"
James K Polk!
 
"Who invented bubble gum?"
"…In 1928, Walter Diemer invented the successful pink colored Double Bubble, bubble gum…"
 
"Why does the moon look bigger at the horizon than up in the sky?"
"Actually the image of the moon in our eyes are identical regardless of whether it is high up or low down but because the moon at the horizon seems to be closer to Earth our brains interpret the moon as looking bigger.

Apparently if you turn with your back to the moon, bend forward and look at it through your legs, because you see everything upside down, your distance clues are all gone and the moon looks its normal size. …"

Amazing! It's like you don't even need a brain anymore! You just need google, when you used to use your noodle!

Yesterday I had to know how many ounces in a cup. 

Eight! 

(Unless you're talking about a British imperial cup, which is ten. But I never talk about those!)

I did have a question someone asked me this week that I had to think about. The internet didn't help…at all! 

A guy I knew from Young Life work in Germany is moving to California. Because he is gonna be looking for one, he wanted to know what makes a church a good church.

"Wow!" I thought. I don't really know! I'm always in one, so strangely, I never think about it! It's like asking a large-mouth bass, "How's the water?" He's always in it so he doesn't really know. But I thought about it…

Here's what I wrote…

"Hey, Scott!

Wow! It was so cool to hear from you! It's awesome that you're going to school! I knew you had a heart to learn and study that was unstoppable! 

Man! That was a humongous question you asked me! What makes a good church? I don't know much about churches and what they do because i'm always at one and don't get to see others! (I hear stuff tho'…)
 
Let's say that you're looking at churches and you've already made sure that the ones you're checking out are theologically sound and healthy...
 
I think if I were looking for a church, I would ask, "What if this church were a person? Would I like this person? Would I consider this person a healthy, helpful brother or sister in Christ? Would this person be a good friend?"
 
Here's an example of what I mean…
 
I think that usually, churches start with the idea that they are going to serve people with the love of Jesus. That's why they started.  "This church exists to help and serve you." Sometimes, at some point tho', there's a shift. Or a switch. All of the sudden…or maybe subtlety…because someone has a "vision of what God is calling us to be" , you exist to serve that church! Or you are there to share in achieving this "vision". It all started with the idea that the church was there for you, but now you're there for it! In the end, the person sacrifices and serves the church, with its programs and goals, rather than the church and those who work there serving and sacrificing themselves for the people who come to it. 
 
Everyone is having a hard time in life. The church is there to make life better and more full of Jesus for the folks who go to it. Those who go there should feel this! The church isn't there to use people, suck their life and energy, and make their life more stressed. 
 
If that church were a person…a person who sees you as someone to use and exploit for his or her dreams and ambitions, rather than a person who loves and serves you, and lives to make your life and walk lighter and sweeter…would you want that person for a friend?
 
Here's what the apostle Paul said…"But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us." (1 Thes 2:7-8)
 
If I were looking for a church, I'd ask…What do they talk about? If you go to a church and they talk a lot about themselves…and what they going to do next…If the Sundaymessages are often about the next thing, or new plans they have for reorganizing or reaching their community, instead of talking about Jesus and Who He is, and how He loves, and what He can do for you in the life and walk you have, I don't think that's good. If you hear the church's name all the time…If their website is a lot about what they've been doing, or plan to do next, or how awesome they are, or how "real and authentic" they are, this doesn't seem healthy to me. When we were missionaries and returned home for a few months periodically, it seemed that some churches and their pastors were always preaching about their church and "what we're going to do now". I thought, "If I went here consistently, I'd be starving!" I used to wonder about some single mom, sitting out there, who is struggling to make it thru the week…maybe wondering if she matters to Jesus at all…especially if she doesn't have the energy for the latest push or the next thing the pastor's promoting.
 
If that church were a person…who always talks about themselves all the time, instead of who Jesus is and why He's awesome…instead of listening to you some…would you be friends with that person?
 
" For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake." (2 Cor 4:5)
 
Is the church generous? Do they give a lot of money away? Do they give lots of  money to support people who are out there where they never could be, reaching people for Jesus? Do they give money away to the poor? Or do they spend almost all of their money on themselves? Their programs? Their buildings? Their school? Sending their own people on weeklong mission trips? Many churches give away less than 2% of their budgets to missionaries or to help the poor. 
 
What if that were a person? What if a person gave away less than 2% of his money and spent the rest on himself or herself? Would this be a person I would want to know better and to follow? 
 
"So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?" (luke 16:11)
 
Followers of Jesus are supposed to be real servants of people. They are supposed to be humble, gentle, and kind. They are supposed to be generous and giving. So are churches!!
 
I'd look for a gentle, sweet, humble, servant-ish, generous one!
 
Well, there you go! I guess I had more to say about that than I thought! Let me know what you think!…
 
A million blessings!
 
Tom"
 
And then I wondered…
 
I know these are our goals…to be this way, but...Are we that way?
 
If Triple C were a person, would you want to be friends with him or her?
 
Will you tell us if and/or when we're not? We don't want to subtly switch or shift. Will you tell us if we do? We're counting on you to help us be and stay this way.
 
Those of us fish swimming around here all the time don't know what the water's like…because we live in it!
 
Splish! Splash!