Tuesday, February 5, 2013


No, not High Definition…Humpty Dumpty.  Stopping the Humpty Dumpty Church.  You know the problem of assuming a high place on a wall and taking a fall with the limitations of all the king’s horses and all the king’s men being unable to remedy the situation.  The church, those amazing gatherings of God’s people, sometime get going in directions that can lead to hurt and brokenness.  God had another idea for His people, Jesus had another plan for His church.  We, as His people, get busy and miss what He was trying to do.  It would be good to stop the Humpty Dumpty Church.  And, by the way, what the servant’s of the king can’t fix the King certainly can.  Nothing is impossible for Him.  He is the one who can put the Humpty Dumpty Church back together again. 

In his book Jesus Christ: Disciplemaker, Bill Hull touches on a very important point: “The problem at its root is that we have accepted a non-discipleship Christianity that leads to plenty of motion, activity and conferences but no lasting transformation.” Transformation God’s way is key.  We find that notably mentioned in Romans 12.  Take a look:

 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.  Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:1-2 (NLT)

What a great statement.  Based on what God has done for us, His people, we give our bodies as living and holy sacrifices to God.  We give Him everything as a sacrifice on the altar gives it all.  We break from the way the culture around us operates and thinks and go His way being transformed by God into a new person.  Yeah, that is good. 

How does that stop the HD church?  The emphasis on God and His ways and not me and my ways is a great place to start.  Then in a veritable explosion of wisdom chapter 12 of Romans opens up in ways that offers healing to the wounded church that was in Rome and received this letter in the first century.  Look at this to begin with.  Big personalities and opinions exist among most people, right?  Imagine for a moment the challenge of powerful political Romans mixing with the slaves of the city and trying to overcome the day to day social order at a church gathering.  Not only were there socio-economic issues, but religious heritage of the Jewish believers who carried a particular prestige in this new order.  How do you deal with pride problems in such an arrangement?  Here we go:

Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. Romans 12:3 (NLT)

The standard for evaluation is this wonderful faith God has given us, and not the standard of Rome or Jerusalem.  In our day we have our own reasons for pride, but whatever they are they fall short of measuring up to God’s level and it serves us well to go His way. 

The brokenness of the HD church leaves a mess of pieces all over the place.  Romans 12 points us to unity in Christ as one body.  Do you know how we are to get to one body from all the pieces?  We are to acknowledge that we are different (not in ethnicity or material possessions or personal power or religious heritage).  We are different people blessed to bless others in the church for the good of all.  The emphasis is on giving and not getting.  Unity in the body follows the grace shown.  Here is how Romans 12 puts it.

 Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you.  If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well.  If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously.  And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.  Romans 12:4-8 (NLT)
Instead of focusing on division there is a unity in Christ’s body based on serving one another with a special function.  Serving, giving, sharing whatever one has is important and not the individual function…do it well as God has given the ability.  This is so good. 

God offers such a life for each and all of those who are His that it is hard to even grasp.  It stretches the imagination.  It radiates in glowing light.  It challenges to the very core.  The plan includes the ekklesia, the people of God gathered as the church.  His best for us is often wrapped up in a group of imperfect people.  It is there in that strange amalgamation of personalities and problems that God works His transformation in us.  The more we lay our lives on the altar as living and holy sacrifices and stop conforming to the world but allow Him to work His transforming ways in us our lives will be enriched, our families will be blessed, our communities will see a newness of life.  The HD church will always struggle trying to fix itself by earthly means, but the King has always been able to put Humpty Dumpty back together again.