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The Fulcrum is Jesus

Sometimes I sit in church with the realization that for a lot of folks they think this is the center point of their walk with Jesus. As if, somehow, the fulcrum of the Christian life is attending a worship service?

We’ve been raised (Christian language: Discipled) to make church that “can’t miss” thing of the Christian walk. In evangelicalism, the practical disciplines of the spiritual life are:

  • Go to church
  • Regular Bible reading
  • Daily prayer

If you want bonus points:

  • Join a small group
  • Serve in a ministry of the church

Don’t get me wrong. I do most of those things on a regular basis. And these are very good expressions of the Christian life.

But these are the peripherals of the Christian life, not the fulcrum.

The church is not the centerpiece of your walk with Jesus. That’s idolatry.

You can’t sit in church and say… “YES! This is it.” Attending church (passive action) isn’t it anymore than watching football on TV is the same as playing in the game. (active participation) Jesus didn’t come so you could go to church. He didn’t tear the veil between Levites and the people so you could watch church. That’s a foundational misunderstanding in the person and action of Christ.

Your load... is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. That’s so much more than church involvement, reading your Bible, praying, being in a small group, and serving in the church. There’s nothing wrong with those things, but they are too cheap and easy to be “it.

What Jesus describes is all encompassing. Like two lovers in the first 90 days of their relationship! 

Your output… is to love your neighbor as yourself. The output of your walk with Jesus can’t just be church involvement. It’s can’t be about you and your learning. It can’t be about serving at the church. That’s not what Jesus said was the output.

According to Mark 12, the output of loving God with everything is loving your neighbors. (You know, the people next door.)

One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

Mark 12:27-31

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7 Responses to The Fulcrum is Jesus

  1. Lanny January 23, 2012 at 9:15 am #

    GREAT BLOG … Amen!

  2. Jonathan Wright January 23, 2012 at 9:25 am #

    Sometimes the greatest block to our faith in this whole submission to Christ thing isn’t wrong things, but good things. I have friends that worship the Bible, where I am most often guilty of worshiping great people.

  3. Brian Hennon January 23, 2012 at 11:27 am #

    Starting a new church plant has brought this front and center for me.  We have consistently tried to beat the “church (or at least the Americanized concept of church) out of our people (as well as ourselves) and encourage them to be the church.  It has been difficult, but so far has produced a lot of fruit.  Our Christmas Eve service was just such an experience as we decided not to have an actual service in a church building, but to take Christmas Eve to people who couldn’t get out.  As we worshiped, prayed and did crafts with Dementia patients, it became clear that being the church was much better than “going to church”.

    Now we’re toying with the idea of scrapping our Easter Service and doing the same thing.  Rather than putting on a show for people who can actually attend (and who have thousands of other churches to choose), we are considering taking the church to people who can’t make it- wanting to make loving our neighbor a very practical reality.

  4. Katie Reams Dupuis January 23, 2012 at 4:11 pm #

    I love this Adam!  This is so great!  It really irritates me how people will act like I’m not a “good Christian” because I don’t make it to church much, and when I do show up they say things like “I’ll pray for you” in the most insulting condescending manner possible, lol, but if we’re going into a restaurant and I say “Let’s invite that guy holding a cardboard sign on the corner to join us” they are horrified and look at me like I’m a crazy person. Church is great, I like church, but it doesn’t make or break your relatioship with Jesus. At least it shouldn’t and if it does there’s something wrong. Church is a bonus. I usually don’t make it because my husband likes me to spend that time with him and some people act like honoring my husband in that way is somehow less important then sitting in a lecture for an hour a week.

  5. Anonymous January 23, 2012 at 8:54 pm #

    Really love the fulcrum analogy. It really balances the “by faith alone” with individual free will while still being totally christocentric. Consider this analogy “stolen” (with credits and props to adammcclane.com, of course!)

    • Adam McLane January 24, 2012 at 6:26 am #

      Thanks for the laugh. Yep, harvest away. 

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  1. ‘You Gotta Care’ Links of the Week [Saturday 7] « Ben There Do That - January 28, 2012

    [...] 4. Putting the church service in its place. “The church is not the centerpiece of your walk with Jesus. That’s idolatry” -Adam McLane | Link [...]

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