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Parade Ground to Battlefield

by Don Pedal  
9/02/2010 / Leadership

How many of us are sitting in our pews, Sunday after Sunday, quite content with our spiritual lives? We are believers enjoying a rich church life of worship and fellowship. That's what the religious life is all about, right? Is it possible we are missing something? Could we be victims of "religious arrested development"? To answer that, let me ask you a disturbing question. Are you bearing fruit?
What do I mean by bearing fruit?
When I first heard that question my reaction was, of course I am. I go to church every Sunday. I read my Bible and pray and attend a home bible study. I'm there for potlucks and sing alongs. Life is good. My friends are all believers who are socially and economically compatible. We are careful to stay separated from that sinful world out there so as not to be contaminated by it. Of course I'm bearing fruit.
Many in the church today have what I call the castle mentality. The church is our Christian castle surrounded with a moat and a carefully raised drawbridge. Our religious system uses the moat and drawbridge to ensure that none of that world system out there seeps into our church. We're uncomfortable with things like ear rings, tattoos, certain hair coloring and hair styles. Why don't they conform like we do? I wonder what Jesus would have to say about them?
We spend a lot of time on our parade ground (meetings, committees, programs etc.). Could it be that we are missing something?
Now the question arises ---- parade ground or battlefield? Am I willing to leave my emotionally comfortable and safe parade ground and go out into the hurting, lost and sometimes hostile battlefield to personally serve the Lord as He leads me daily or would I rather remain on the parade ground and decide how I will serve Him? Am I really bearing fruit or am I quite comfortable doing Godly work?
Henry and Martha
Meet Henry and Martha. Henry is a corporate executive with years of experience. He has demonstrated, many times, his qualifications to lead and a natural ability to manage and influence people. His record of successfully completing anything he sets his mind to, is impressive.
Martha is a homemaker who successfully raised three children to know and love the Lord. She taught them important values that served them well as each one completed their education and received their degrees.
Henry and Martha are strong believers, born again and active in their church and faith. Every Sunday found them at service. As time went on, they tried to find a church ministry to be devoted to. They had no success. Not easily discouraged, they went to the Lord for direction. After much prayer, they both began to believe that maybe the lord was calling them to step out in faith and minister on their own, as He led them.
Several times Henry and Martha noticed the homeless gathered in a park downtown. One day they decided to visit the park and bring coffee and food to go with it. Loading their van they headed downtown. When they arrived, there was no one in sight. Looking around, they noticed a man sitting on one of the benches. He appeared cold and lonely. Henry thought that he might be someone they came to see. "Would you like a cup of coffee?" He asked. The man's eyes carefully surveyed Henry. "Sure" he finally said. "Might as well have a roll with that" Henry invited.
Back at the van and a cup of coffee later, Henry noticed several people approaching. They must be friends of his guest, mused Henry. Martha stepped in and it wasn't long before there was a small group around the van enjoying the morning refreshment. The following week found the same group at the park with a few new faces added.
As the weeks went by, the word went out and the group grew larger. Now, as the van approached, they found an orderly line at the curb. Several of the group decided to do a little organizing and help. As the line formed, they opened the van, reached inside, and set up the tables, coffee urns etc. under Martha's watchful eye.
Today, as a result of one man and woman's decision, an active evangelical community is growing in the heart of one of our major cities. A Godly minister has seen the vision and joined the group. They are now forming their own church under his inspiration and much prayer. They not only pray and worship together, but offer their members spiritual and life counseling. They also assist with paperwork, job counseling and other social services so critically needed.
Henry and Martha are an outstanding example of what one man, woman or couple can do when anointed and guided by the Holy Spirit. They were willing to get out of the pew, leave the parade ground, cross the drawbridge and moat of the institutional church and stand on the battlefield. This battlefield is the secular world that scoffs at us, ignores or openly opposes us as we seek to make disciples in obedience to our Lord's command. (Matt. 28:19 20)
Now the question arises --- parade ground or battlefield? Am I willing to leave my comfortable parade ground? Am I really bearing fruit or feeling smug as I do "Godly work"? Am I willing to boldly step across the drawbridge and "Go forth and make disciples"?
We can ponder this, pray about it, consult others for opinions etc. We can mull it over until it fades and other things quickly gain our attention.
The lord did not consider "Go forth and make disciples" a suggestion Do you?

As a senior citizen, I am dedicated to serving the Lord through sharing my experiences and insights with other believers. My primary focus is upon being an disciple of Jesus and, in being one, I can help others to find their spiritual way also.
This article is original and not copywrited

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