GIVE YOURSELF AWAY!!!!

James 1:27

“Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.”

          Rick McKinley pastors the church Imago Dei, in Portland Oregon. And as a church they have accomplished this James 1:27 mandate! Rick recently wrote a blog about ministry, with the main five points being these…

1. The church is perhaps the most untapped resource in the world for good.

2. Someone needs to lead.

3. Doing what God loves changes us

4. Join the city in what they are already doing

5. No Logo, No Ego

          I highly suggest that you guys check out the full blog! You can find this article at http://www.rickmckinley.net/.

          Over the past few years of my life I have been shocked by how corrupt most peoples’ view of religion is, and not only that but also how many people lived from a corrupted faith system. I look at legalists, and I look at emergents, living whole heartedly for an unbalanced gospel, and then I shake my head in disbelief because I am looking at them and not at Christ. And in so doing, I make myself the fool. Colossians 3:2 tells us to set our minds on things above, so how is being intently focused on others’ faith benefitting the kingdom? It’s not. Of course there is balance. We are to aid the body of Christ in running the race with purity and verve, but sitting back in my comfy chair and pondering the weaknesses in another’s beliefs is truly a sign of weakness in mine!

          As a result of this conviction I decided to turn back to James 1 where the Lord gives us His definition of a worthwhile religion. Again, it says, “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” So there we have it, a definition from God answering the question, “What is pure religion?” Let’s look at these two key mandates given.

          “…to visit orphans and widows in their distress…” I look around online frequently and see more ministries than I can count, but most of those are by individual churches that are trying to gain the credit for the action, it seems, more than trying to help find a solution to the problem itself. I love what Rick said in his blog (the link is above, check it out) about “No logo/ no ego”. The thought of joining an existing ministry, or mission to make it that much stronger, and to maintain pure motives is an excellent thought. Much more, what if the church was a unified body? Can you even fathom what would happen if the churches within specific denominations even joined together to tackle a cause? What about if the Baptists, Southern Baptists, and the Independent Baptists actually joined together to fight poverty within our cities? Let’s think bigger. How much more effective would it be for the those groups to join with the Methodists, the Non-denominational churches, the Presbyterians and the Churches of Christ? I am not proposing we all join each other for Sunday morning church, I’m suggesting we join together to accomplish what no government and no individual could ever accomplish.

          I get so frustrated hearing everyone’s excuses? There is NO excuse for not joining hands in fellowship to the king by serving the orphans, the widows, and the poverty stricken! But it starts with the individuals. The great awakening was started by a few individuals praying together at lunch… Something so simple as a prayer time in which the individuals came together and rejoiced with the Holy Spirit turned into a movement that led tens of thousands to Christ! Why then can’t we get along enough to focus our thoughts on the big picture?

(Just a quick side note… The story of Joseph Smith, as told by the Mormon church, is this. Smith asked God which denomination he should join and allegedly God told him not to join any of them… Isn’t that sad? Our allowance for division within the church was the “logical cause” that a young man used to create a false gospel that has led millions and millions into the pit.)

          “…and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” This second mandate is where the dividing line comes into play. The emergent group has latched onto the first mandate, and the hyper right wing fundamentalists have latched onto this command. But here is our duty plain and simple. Christ has given us a very clear set of guidelines on how to honor Him and to succeed in following on the true path.

“You must, therefore, be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” -Matt. 5:48

“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” -Phil. 4:8-9

 

          These are just two passages of scripture that show us what God wants from us, so that we might be unstained from the world, and there are many more where that came from. Please read them and meditate on their meaning, on their depth, and listen to the very voice of God as you expose your heart and head to His word.

          I said in a recent blog that we are supposed to be in the world but not of the world, but still in the world. I added that last part because I wanted to emphasize the point that we are all in this world together, and creating a bubble and a religious subculture like we have is not going to solve the problems we face. If anything it will serve to alienate others. Don’t get me wrong, there is a need for Christian bookstores, music, movies, etc, but being isolated in just that life is dangerous. I believe that because I have been in the world I am a lot more aware of what to avoid and run away from. Sure I have learned the hard way, but I have still learned none the less. And how else are we to share the gospel if we are exposing ourselves to only fellow believers. For a perfect example of meeting unbelievers where they were at, read the Pauline Epistles. Paul did just that. He went to their marketplaces, read their histories, got to know their culture and then used it all to exemplify Christ! It was such a brilliant prodding of the Holy Spirit to have Paul do that, and it worked.

          I once heard about a former stripper that got saved and then began a stripper ministry. She would go in and buy the girls time and then tell them about her story and about the gospel! Obviously I would never send a man in to do that job but she had all of the credibility and experience to go into a very debased place to spread the word of God. Stephen Baldwin also did the same thing, reaching out to youth in the extreme sports world with a very cool dvd and the ministry of Christ. These are examples of meeting people where they were at, and God has used them for His glory!

          So what is pure and undefiled religion? In Layman’s terms, pure religion is a group of believers that strive for holiness and give themselves away for Christ. I pray that all of you will take this opportunity to pray about where you can be an aid to others and what you can do to live a beautiful life of purity and promise.

          Below are lyrics from the song “Rise” by Robbie Seay Band… I love this cd and hope you guys will go pick it up.

“Rise”

Slow down, be still
Let go, we will
Be here, be now
Slow down, be still
Breathe in, refill
Be here, be now

If you choose to love
To know that the call
Is to give all you are
To give love away, away
Rise, rise, people of love rise
People of love rise, give yourself away
Rise, rise, people of love rise
People of love rise, give yourself away
Give yourself away, give yourself away

Slow down, just breathe
Be still, believe
Be here, be now
Slow down and see
It’s all you need
Be loved and free
And to hear the call, is to give your love away
And to hear the call, is to give your love away
And to hear the call, is to give your life away
Is to give your life away
We’re not safe, we’re not safe
But we will rise

          For more information on another great ministry you can help check out the following! The Belmont Foundation is a mentorship program for fatherless children. It was founded by Donald Miller and is yet another ministry that Imago Dei church sponsors! The video is YET another ministry under Imago’s umbrella that serves the city they are in! I hope you are blessed.

http://belmontfoundation.org

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~ by Tim Kurek on September 14, 2007.

8 Responses to “GIVE YOURSELF AWAY!!!!”

  1. “how corrupt most peoples’ view of religion”
    – It’s so true. And you want to shout it out that you’re not a “Christian” but a Christ-follower.

    I wrote a post a while back about my work-friend whom I’ve known for a few years. She didn’t know I was “one of them Christians,” and actually didn’t believe me when I insisted that yes I am.

    Because the difference between Christ-follower and Christian, to her, made no sense, I didn’t even try to make the distionction.

    And at the end of the conversation she said, “You never try to shove it down my throat, Jayleigh! You’re just a very nice person, so I won’t hold it against you that you’re “religious” ok?”

    I told her, “I won’t hold it against you that you’re not.”

    It was an amaaingly frank conversastion and I’m glad we had it, but I was kind of sad that she had no idea that I love Jesus. But you know what? She sees it in my life, in the way I live. And if I can help woo her to Jesus because of my non-threatening ways, then I’ll be so happy.

    Hope you have a great weekend. Nice blog.

  2. Great blog! Some thought provoking stuff here… I loved it!

    “He has told you, o man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8

    Why do we have to make it so complicated?

    Loved your comment about catching yourself looking at others instead of Christ. How often we lapse into that!

    Thanks for an inspirational read. I’ll definitely be back. 🙂

    Heather

  3. Thank you for reading the blog. I appreciate the comments. We do overcomplicate everything, including our daily walk with God!

    tim kurek

  4. I am so glad to know that God gave himself away first.

  5. Tim: Excellent! If the church would just be the church the world would have a very hard time continuing to be the world.

  6. Good post. For the past couple years, God has been impressing this idea of balance on my heart, the same balance you wrote of. We do have a responsibility to take care of each other. It’s really a foreign concept for many of us who have grown up in this culture which worships independence and self-sufficiency. But God calls us to community and interdependence and reliance on Him. Sometimes, we will be the ones to give ourselves away and take care of others, and sometimes we will be the ones who need help.

  7. I’ve often thought about division as one of the major problems in our society today. Stopping to realize how large this division is even in Christianity itself is eye-opening… I agree with you whole-heartedly, and believe it is our duty to do all that we can to make the unification in tackling issues such as poverty possible. We may not share the exact same tenants of belief, but all believe in one Christ, one God, one Bible. That should be enough.

    Great blog Tim 🙂

  8. Thanks for always visiting bro.eli blog! i hope.. you will meet bro.eli in person.. God bless you brother!

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