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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Wired Together

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For eleven seasons, from 1982 to 1993, “Cheers” was one of the highest-rated shows on television. For ten seasons, from 1994 to 2004, “Friends” became one of the most watched shows on television. What accounts for this popularity? Inspired writing, well-drawn characters, talented
actors—these all played a part. But I think there’s
something more. I think that shows like “Cheers” or “Friends” tap into a deep human longing for community. They all show us people who care about each other, who accept one another in spite of their many frailties, people who share an emotional bond, who are committed to one

[“Cheers” theme song] “Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got. Taking a break from all your worries sure would help a lot. Wouldn’t you like to get away? Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came. You want to be where you can see, our troubles are all the same. You want to be where everybody knows your
name. You want to go where people know, people are all the same. You want to go where everybody knows your name.”

[“Friends” theme song] “I’ll be there for you (when the rain starts to pour). I’ll be there for you (like I’ve been there before). I’ll be there for you (’Cause you’re there for me, too).”

Isn’t that what we all want? People who care about us? People who are glad when we show up? People who will support us and stand by us? People who will accept us instead of criticizing and judging us? People we can just be ourselves around? I want that. I need that. And so do
you. We all do.

There’s good news and bad news. The bad news is that “Cheers,” and “Friends,” and all the other TV versions of community, are pretend. They exist only on a Hollywood sound stage. People love those shows. They tune in every week by the millions because they desperately want to be
a part of that kind of community. They see something in those characters’ relationships with one another that they want. But it’s not real. The good news is that it can be real. The good news is that there is a place where that kind of community can and does exist. And that place is the church. Or at least it should be.

"Why Can’t the Church Be More Like ‘Cheers’?” I love community. I always have. One of the reasons I’m in the church is that I love being with people. It thrills me when I see Lincoln Christian Church enjoying community. I think Jesus wanted that for us. "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another." -

John 13:34-35 (NIV)

The purpose of the church is not to produce impressive buildings, or well-reasoned theological statements, or inspiring music, or well-run mission organizations. The purpose
of the church is to produce people who love God
and who love one another. If we are that kind of a
church, the angels will rejoice and the world will beat a path to our door. It is the basics of church ministry. There’s a great story that dates back to the early sixties when Vince Lombardi took over the reins of the Green Bay Packers. The Packer franchise was struggling—the team had been losing for almost ten straight years. They were on the bottom of the league standings, and morale
was sagging.

In comes Vince Lombardi, a new coach. He had been given the challenge of turning the franchise around and he was excited to get started. He began a series of practices, training, motivating, and doing all he could to inspire his players. At one point during a practice he got frustrated
with the players and blew his whistle and said,
“Everyone stop and gather round. This isn’t working. Either I’m not training you right or you’re just not getting it. In either case, what we’re doing is not working.” Then he knelt
down, picked up the pigskin, and said, “Let’s start at the beginning. This, gentlemen, is a football.”

One guy said, “Slow down, Coach, you’re losing me.” But Lombardi persisted with his course of action, saying, “This is a football, and these are yard makers, and that’s the goal post, and I’m the coach, and you all are the players.” He went on in the most elementary of ways to explain the basics of football.

History tells us that from that point on, the whole direction of the Green Bay Packers turned around. Everyone knows that once and a while we all need to go back to the basics.

Community is one of the basics! It’s the way God purposely wired us together. If the church is ever to achieve community, if it’s ever to reach it’s full potential, then people must come together. It is for all these reasons and more that we must rediscover God’s design for the church...God’s design for us. He has wired us together and
has called us, “The Church.”

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for man to be alone…” (Genesis 2:18)
[Ron Otto, Preaching minister
Lincoln Christian Church]




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