My subject has to do with living out an authentic Christ-centered life. (Don't we all want that?) It's amazing how we, as Christians have gotten so far off track, though. What does being an"authentic Christianity" really mean? Here is one man's take...
"A simple church may meet anywhere with or without trained leaders, formal liturgy, programs or structures. To facilitate relationship, discipleship (spiritual formation), multiplication, mobility, and member ownership, a simple church is usually a small group of no more than 20-25 persons. Church "programs" are virtually nonexistent and small group participation is essential. The process of moving from worship to small group, small group to mission work, and mission work to worship is a primary focus." (source)
What are authentic Christians, anyway?
AUTHENTIC CHRISTIANS ARE TRANSPARENT
If you have been in the church very long, you know there are people who are evasive and others who are downright deceptive.And there are those who are in denial; they have issues in their lives and their relationships that they never acknowledge or deal with. These are the kinds of people who often are the source of division and confusion in the church.Authentic Christians are transparent. What you see is what you get with them. They have learned through hard experiences that the transparent life is more likely to bring them the joy and peace of the Kingdom, so they are honest about what is happening in their own lives and they are honest about issues they have with other people.Transparent people learn the wisdom of living according to John's plea that we be transparent in our relationship with God, with ourselves, and with other people (see1 John 1:7-9).That is, we live in confession of our sins, we find forgiveness of our sins, and we walk in truth and light with God and with others.
AUTHENTIC CHRISTIANS SHOW CHRIST'S LOVE THROUGH SERVING OTHERS.
Love In the Name of Christ exists only to help churches mobilize their members to be the hands and feet of Christ in their communities. As Christians we are called to show the love of Christ to those in need. It is only through the love of Christ, living in and reflected by his people, that lives, burdened and broken by the world, can be transformed into wholeness.When local churches, united in the purpose of showing Christ's love in their community, come together they are a powerful force for transformation, not only to individuals and families, but to the entire community.
AUTHENTIC CHRISTIANS ARE CHARACTERIZED BY FOUR THINGS
1. We are to be sincere and honest
2. We are "commissioned by God." We each have a purpose. We are not to be idle dreamers or wasters with no definite objective in view. We have been commissioned as military officers are commissioned, given a definite task and specific assignments so the Christian is commissioned.
3. We do all this "in the sight of God." This indicates an attitude of openness to investigation, of transparency. A man who walks in the sight of God isn't interested in putting up a good front. He is perfectly trustworthy.
4. "We speak, as ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us" (vs. 20).
It is not being a Christian that produces these, but living as a Christian. There is a knowledge we must have and a choice we must make before these virtues will be consistently present.
Briefly defined, "an organic church is a group of believers in Jesus Christ who are learning to live by the indwelling Lord together. They have left behind the man-made religious system normally referred to as Christianity, along with all of the “baggage” associated with that system. They have embraced Christ alone as their only Life, Center, and Head of the church. They are learning to function as the Body of Christ in order to express His fullness. And they are learning to live together as His house and His family in face-to-face community." http://www.organicchurch.org/
Also often associated with this movement is what is known as "Counter Culture"
How are Christian leaders being countercultural, and why do their lifestyles give us hope for the future of our faith?
"The next generation of Christians aren’t separatists - those who have removed themselves far away from the corruption of culture in the name of their game, antagonists - those who have decided to fight against almost everything culture promotes, or striving to be “relevant." - those who simply copy culture and become a Xerox of what they perceive as hip in hopes that people will perceive them as “cool” and give them a chance. Instead, countercultural Christians advance the common good in society. These Christians see themselves as salt, preserving agents actively working for restoration in the middle of a decaying culture. They attach themselves to people and structures that are in danger of rotting while availing themselves to Christ’s redeeming power to do work through them. They understand that by being restorers they fight against the cultural norms and often flow counter to the cultural tide. But they feel that, as Christians, they’ve been called to partner with God in restoring and renewing everything they see falling apart."(source)What if:
A commitment to being countercultural rather than being removed or “relevant” isn’t always easy. Living differently can be hard. Going against the ebbs and flows of culture can create friction and sometimes provoke a hostile reaction to the good we are trying to create. As the apostle Peter encourages, “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us” (1 Pt. 2:12, TNIV).
When Christians have the courage and compassion to apply their convictions to everyday life, particularly when it comes to the most pressing social issues of our day, we have tremendous opportunities to affect people for good. Clearly, the call of Jesus is for the Christian community to be salt on a rotting world and light in the dimmest places.
"Jesus was not only counter-cultural—He was transcultural calling us to transform our culture rather than blending into it."(source)
What are your thoughts on the subject of authentic Christianity and do you think this is a counterculture movement today?
Have a blessed week!