Peripheral Stuff Or God
This morning I read Brad House’s words about the futility of, “being satisfied with the peripheral blessings of God rather than enjoying God himself.
I paused beneath the shade of my umbrella and gazed from my beach perch. I pondered what I had just read. I closed my copy of “Community: Taking Your Small Group Off Life Support” by Brad House. There were peripheral blessings being enjoyed all around me. Sun, water, family… but was anybody enjoying God? The family to my right was outfitted to enjoy the peripheral blessings of a vacation with enough sand to keep their three kids going forever. The peripheral blessings seemed to stop suddenly. The mom began berating the eldest son (probably all of 9) at loud volumes. I caught a blaring “A**hole”, and knew the peripheral blessings were just not enough to sustain happiness.
At a Saturday night church service last night, I wondered if the swaying lady in front of me loved the feelings of worship, or if she really loved God. Would the feelings all still be there if the LED, computerized, moving stage lights weren’t? I assumed she just really loved God, but do you think some Christians settle for the peripheral stuff of church world to the neglect of God? Do Christians want the peripheral stuff or God? I’m confident I’ve settled for peripheral blessings instead of God Himself.
House writes, “This is the definition of idolatry. We must, therefore, be careful that we do not encourage one another to seek the blessing rather than the Author of the blessing by making the product of community its purpose. For many (including CCC) the product of community can be belonging, making big church feel small, learning the Bible, pastoral care, family, friends, fellowship, and closing the back door of the church.”
What is the ultimate purpose of community? Worship. Mission. Discipleship. House convicts with these words, “Our primary purpose in community is not that our needs are being met, but that Jesus would be lifted up.”
I sent Joe Braun, our Community Groups Pastor, an email. I thanked him for the Brad House book recommendation. I asked him if he’s ready to lead more change within our community groups structure. Joe’s actually already begun. He’s been waiting for me to catch up. Peripheral blessings have been keeping me too busy. Sorry Joe. Now we’ve got some work to do. Cumberland is ready for this.