May 30, 2007 at 5:20 pm 2 comments

As you have figured out by now, I like benchmarks.  That is, I like to know where I have been as well as where I might be headed.  So I mark even the small events in my life with some evaluation and on this blog write a post about it. 

Today’s post is #100 on this site.  A few have been Linda’s but The View From the Juniper Tree has 100 individual posts over about 130 days.  These posts have been viewed 26,697 times, at last count.  There have been 365 comments by over 160 different people.  I mentioned this before but because it means so much to me, I am going to mention it again;  more people read what I write here in a week, then I spoke to on a weekend during my days as a preaching pastor. It has been a lot of fun and good therapy.

Mostly I write about the church, my concerns for it and the changes I think must take place for her to become the Bride she is destined to be.  I have great concern for the institutional church but the concern is mostly a retrospective concern because I am convinced of the need personally, now and in the future, to seek the Bride rather than the institution claiming to be the Bride.  Jesus is not going to come back to claim an institution.  He is not in love with leaders, boards, committees, focus groups, programs or any other of the many institutional ideas common in the church today.  Jesus is going to return to claim His chosen Bride, the Bride He gave His life for–redeemed people.

I know it has all been said before and yes, I do think there is a place for what we call the church, but Jesus is not in love with that.  He did not die for your church, He died for you and for the rest of the human race.

The Father did not call us to build a church, plant a church or do anything else to help Him along on His mission.  The only thing we are called to do is to love Him back in response to His love for us.  This is love, not that we loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins (1John 4:10).  The beauty of the Bride is seen in how well we respond in simple trust to His love, in spite of how we feel sometimes about what appears to be His absence or what He allows to take place in this world. 

The Father loves, we respond in trust to that love and we find security and wholeness–shalom.  When that is true of us the Bride is beautiful and ready to receive the Bridegroom.  I believe the Father is waiting for the Bride to be appropriately dressed before He sends the Bridegroom for His Bride.  More on that subject another time.

We are not commanded to hold meetings, elect elders or deacons or many of the other representations of the church as we have come to know it.  We were given one command: To love others as we have been loved.  When the Bride is secure and confident in the love of the Father then it freely gives away what it has in abundance. 

The Apostle Paul placed love on a higher plane than knowledge.  While knowledge may make us feel important it is love that really builds up the church (1Corinthians 8:1).   Since that is true, why do we spend 90% of our time on acquisition of more knowledge compared to 10% on loving others.  (I made up the percentages but you get the point)

Paul thought it was absurd for believers to trample those for whom Jesus died over disputes about what foods to eat and what days to celebrate.  It still happens today because the institutional church always makes it about right doctrine rather than about loving people.  You either conform or get trampled.

So, for me it is fitting that the #100 post on the juniper view would be about the importance of love and the shalom that is ours when we trust in that love and share it with others.

Who knows how many more posts there will be but you can expect that at least a few of them will hammer on the critical importance of the Bride of Christ to freely receive and freely give love.  Over the last 19 months and especially the last four this has become clear to me:  Until we know how much we are loved by our Father we will never give it away. We will do church instead and invest our energy in knowing more instead of loving more.

I hope and trust as you read the next hundred posts on this site you will find yourself being drawn more to the Father’s love than to a study of the Father’s love.

Thanks for reading.


Entry filed under: Christianity, Church, Culture, Faith, Friendship, Jesus, Revelation, The Father.

Account ability Thinking about miracles.

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Royal  |  May 30, 2007 at 10:47 pm

    Thank you for this post. I have felt for along time that organized religion was losing focus and working too hard for financial, political, and evangelical gain (meaning that some churches try to prove they are better than others). You can not buy God’s love, it is there for the taking, all we must do is spread it around, there is plenty. Congratulations on 100, I can not wait to read the next one thousand!

  • 2. momlovesbeingathome  |  May 30, 2007 at 6:06 pm

    Wow! You’ve got a lot of readers! That’s awesome!

    This was a great post and I think you’re right on. We do get caught up on so many things that aren’t important and we forget what the gospel is all about.

    “Paul thought it was absurd for believers to trample those for whom Jesus died over disputes about …” That paragraph really spoke to me as this is along the lines of something I’ve been thinking about lately. I just wrote about Christians judging others and deciding what is Christian and what is not. Why do we think we need to have disputes over stuff like this? You’re right – we need to love people.

    Anyway, just wanted to say this was a great post! Congrats on your benchmark. 🙂

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