We can change the world around us!

What is ‘Church’?

Church is where most believers go to assemble with their brothers and sisters in Christ. However, church is not limited to a building. Church is not a ‘sanctuary’ that we go to, church is us.

Matthew 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”

As a result of the work of Jesus on the cross, we are fully forgiven from sin and then fused into union with Christ. We are brought into a new way of being human, as sons and daughters of God. Every believer on the planet was born-again into a new spiritual family.

The Ministry Center, or our local church is where we gather together in worship and learn about our identities as sons of God in the context of family.

However, what happens there was never meant to stay within the four walls of our local worship center.

Miracles, prophesying (for those of you who need clarification; it’s simply speaking over a person how God sees them), fellowship, dreaming big, and loving is not to remain in the building that you happen to meet in. It happens where you happen to be!

If we don’t learn who we are and that we can change the world around us, then there’s potential for us to believe that ‘church’ is the only place where we can experience freedom and safety. There’s a problem with that thinking, it cripples people.

The ‘sanctuary’ isn’t our church, it’s inside of us. We are the sanctuary. We carry the presence of God.

As some of you may know, I love baseball. Just a few years ago, I was playing in the minor league farm system for the Los Angeles Angels. I played for two seasons, then was released of my contract. Often times I reflect back on those years as to what I did right, or what I did wrong. Clearly, I would love to have made it all the way to the major leagues, but I didn’t.

To be vulnerable and honest, I believe that it wasn’t my lack of talent or ability that got me released. It was my mindset.

In my immaturity as a son, my perspective was that the baseball world was a dark place. Every player there who didn’t happen to go to church was (I’m exaggerating some) someone who could potentially be my next ‘project’. My teammates were guys that I needed to fix, or get that one on one time with.

They weren’t already approved or forgiven in my mind, because they didn’t partake in the religious activity that I did. Therefore, they weren’t accepted in my mind by God, because I didn’t accept them. Did I enjoy them? Yes, most of the time. It was more like I tolerated them, but in reality they tolerated me! I still have some former teammates that I talk to from time to time. The funny thing is, because I was so religious in my thinking, I often times felt so overwhelmed by the darkness there. Church! Where’s the church?! Where’s the chaplain?! I need to get out of ‘here’, and go ‘there’! Lord help!

So many of those guys walked in more of a renewed mind of freedom than I did!

Since the status of my heart and mind depended so much on my performance, whether it be spiritually or physically, freedom came only in snippets! I remember one of my Dominican teammates, Luis Jimenez, would chuckle as to how wound up I would be when I failed. He wanted to see me free, because he was free! He could see the religion all over me, he would do whatever he could to make me laugh and to offend that religious spirit. He was a riot, thank God for Luis. Love that guy.

My point is this, let’s become more mature. How about we no longer regard anyone according to the flesh? Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:16 this.

16 Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer.

Just as Christ is raised up and seated next to the Father, let’s look at the people in our world around us differently. If there’s a person who claims to know Christ but acts hypocritically in their lifestyle, treat them as though they are already like Christ in love. When they find out that is not who they are, they will realize in Christ they already are free and it will manifest! If there’s a person who doesn’t know a thing about Jesus, treat them as a person totally forgiven and absolutely adored by the Father in heaven. Build relationships with no agenda! Love people well!

How about we find ourselves just as comfortable in our spheres of influence as we do when we’re around our fellow believers?

What if ‘Church’ happened where we happened to be? Is this how we change our world?

Equipping you to conquer,

Ryan Groth