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Do You Have A Temple Complex?

Pastor Steve asks the questions, "Why do all the energy of our churches go into Sunday worship? What is that about? Are Sunday services prominently featured in the New Testament? Author J. D. Walt wrote the following in SeedBed magazine that I thought answered these questions.


"Breaking Free from our Temple Complex"

by J. D. Walt


Ezekiel 47:2 (NIV) "He then brought me out through the north gate and led me around the outside to the outer gate facing east, and the water was trickling from the south side."


Consider this: "The Spirit of Jesus in me greets the Spirit of Jesus in you and brings us together in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen"


Jesus leaves us pondering: "Everywhere the river flows, everything will live." Say that aloud to yourself a few times. Get the cadence of it.


"Everywhere the river flows, everything will live. Everywhere the river flows, everything will live."


Try singing it. Make up a melody.


The source of this river is Jesus himself. The water is his Spirit, the Holy Spirit. This is how he shares himself with us and through us with others.


Everywhere the river flows, everything will live.


He couldn't be more clear could he:


"Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them."


We believe, "there is a river" as the psalmist wrote long ago, "whose streams make glad the city of God" (Psalm 46:4). If we are honest, though, we are seeing and sensing only trickles. Why is that? Remember when trickles were in Uncle Zeke's vision [J. D. Walt is referring to Ezekiel, here]?


"He then brought me out through the north gate and led me around the outside to the outer gate facing east, and the water was trickling from the south side."


The water was trickling back at the temple. The trickle became a brook, then a stream, and finally a roaring river too deep to cross; ankle deep, knee deep, waist deep, then too deep to cross. You see the sight. The Spirit is giving you the insight. Why only trickles for us? Because we are stuck in the temple courts. The further we go downstream the deeper the river runs. There is a direct correspondence between the distance we get from the temple and the strength and size of the river.


Water never flows uphill. Water always flows down to the lowest places We certainly see this in the life of Jesus. He is always going to the hurting people, the broken places, the lost situations. The same holds true for the Holy Spirit. The river trickles at the temple but it roars at the Dead Sea.


It's odd how all the energy goes into the temple. We have a temple complex. The church was supposed to be different, and yet we still seem to carry such a strong temple mentality. All the action and money and metrics focus on the Sunday services. I follow a lot of churches on social media and I am always surprised by how most all of the postings are about the Sunday services, sermon series, even telling the songs coming up this Sunday. That's okay, I guess. I'm just looking for some postings on what's actually happening down river--you know, people speaking Jesus in the marketplace and Holy Spirit stories in the neighborhood.


See if you can spot the most telling word in the text for today. I'll repeat it here.


"He then brought me out through the north gate and led me around the outside to the outer gate facing east, and the water was trickling from the south side."


The word is "outside."


Outside. It's the opposite of inside. Truthfully, we need to finally let go of the temple mindset. The temple is history. The future is Jesus. The River is rolling. The further down river we go the deeper the water of the Spirit flows, and the louder the song sings:


Everywhere the river flows, everything lives.


Pray with me:


God our Father, who with your son Jesus Messiah, fills us with the Holy Spirit, thank you for the miracle and the mystery of the day of Pentecost. And thank you for today, and that it is only the day after. Rivers, Jesus. I just keep praying for Rivers and I hear you saying, "Follow me there." I'm really ready to stop going to church. I'm ready to become church with others and for others. I'm ready for the River, Jesus. Dead Sea here we come. Come Holy Spirit! make it so. Praying in your name. Jesus. Amnen.



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