Love

Clean The Club Night

Taproot Church is privileged to partner with the Boys and Girls Club of the Magic Valley. Every Sunday, we get to use their space for our church gatherings. But we don’t simply want to use the space. We want to steward it well for the glory of God. 

The Boys and Girls Club is a well used building. Every week, it’s filled with hundreds of kids from around our city and valley. One of the ways we can serve this great organization, is by helping maintain and clean the facility. 

Next Wednesday, January 25th, Taproot Church is hosting a Clean The Club Night. We’re going to work hard to clean the floors, scrub the bathrooms, wipe down walls, wash windows, and anything else we can do to help create a space where the people who use this facility every day can flourish. 

We’ll have cleaning supplies on hand, but you can bring your own too. The work will start at 6:30 p.m., and we’ll work for a couple of hours. If you can only make it for 30 minutes, that's great too. Anyone is welcome who wants to help. 
Childcare will not be provided, but your kiddos are more than welcome to join us. 
For more information, please email: info@taprootchurch.org. 
 

Am I My Brother's Keeper?

There is a famous line in Genesis 4. It says, “Am I my brothers keeper?” The line comes after Cain brutally murders his brother Abel. God asks, “Where is your brother?” The only way Cain can think of answering is by “minding his own business,” and pointing the finger at the brother he just killed.

Most of us are familiar with this section of scripture and this verse in particular. What we’re not familiar with is how to handle it. It’s easy to take the side of Cain. In a culture of hyper-individualism we shake our heads in agreement that we are not our brothers keeper. We think to ourselves, “their business is their business. I don’t need to worry about what they’re doing or not doing.” And when we do poke into someone’s business, we’re often told, “mind your own business!” Maybe there are scenarios where we ought to mind our own business, but more times than not we’re simply abdicating a responsibility that is ours to keep. We are our brother’s (and sister’s) keeper.

The church is the family of God (Mark 3:31-35). This means that if we are a Christian, our brothers and sisters are not only those who are related to us by blood, but are also those related to us by the blood of Christ spilled on the cross. To be a member of this family means that we care for one another. It means that we are in one another’s business–not for the sake of gossip, slander, shame, ridicule, or scorn– but for the sake of building up. It means that we care whether or not our brothers and sisters are representing Christ in their day to day lives. 

Jonathan Leeman, in writing about church membership, puts it like this: “Church membership is not about additional requirements. It’s about a church taking specific responsibility for a Christian, and a Christian for a church."*

“Church membership is not about additional requirements. It’s about a church taking specific responsibility for a Christian, and a Christian for a church."

The gospel of Jesus frees us to love one another in ways that we would not have previously. It frees us to celebrate with our brothers and sisters in their victories, and weep with them in their failures. It frees us to ask questions, and to have questions asked of ourselves. The church is to be a family like none other on this earth. It is God’s grace that we get to care for one another in such a way that doesn’t promote our individualism, but exemplifies his kingdom instead.

*Quoted from Leeman's book: Church Discipline.
 
 

The Scandalous Love Of Jesus

What Does It Take?

What does it take to be a follower of Jesus? For many, a long list of moral reformation immediately pops into mind. Stop drinking. Stop smoking. Stop cussing. Stop looking at porn. Stop sleeping around with people you aren't married to. Stop being attracted to someone of the same gender. Stop voting for liberal democrats. Stop voting for conservative parties. Stop hanging out with all your friends because they'll only bring you down. Stop lying. Stop stealing. Stop...you get the picture.

Scandalous Love

Here is the scandal of the love of Jesus. None of those things are required to be one of his followers.

In our text this weekend, Mark 2:13-17, Jesus continues his ministry along the Sea of Galilee. In the midst of his teaching, he calls Levi, the tax collector. Now, this might not sound like a big deal to us, but in Jesus' day it was. Tax collectors were considered to be among the worst kind of sinners. They were seen as traitors, and their treason was ultimately seen as opposing God. They were lumped in among those who were murderers and thieves, and they were seen as more unclean than a leper, because a leper had no choice in the matter of his uncleanness. A tax collector did.

But these are the kinds of people Jesus was friends with. In Matthew 11:19, Jesus says, "The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!'" What's startling is that his friendship with them included no agenda. No strings attached. In other words, Jesus didn't require anyone to "clean up their act" before they could hangout with him! Instead, Jesus just hung out with people as they were. The result was that Jesus was constantly surrounded by those who were the most unclean and rejected.

Jesus presented a real challenge to the religious separatist culture of his day, and he continues to do the same to ours. You take a look at the church (as people, not a building) and seldom do you think of the unloved being loved. The popular opinion is that the church is far more hostile than loving.

But if Jesus were among us today, he would still hang out with and call to himself the same people he did then. We would no doubt see him with a house full of sinners, functioning as the host to: alcoholics, drug addicts, prostitutes, porn-stars, homosexuals, adulterers, fornicators, corrupt lawyers and politicians, extortioners, terrorists (even of the ISIS sort), rapists, child-molesters, thieves, and so on.

And the chances are, many of us do the same thing the religious people of his day did: look down our noses at him and those he kept company with wondering, "Why is he hanging out with those people." Not realizing that our hearts might just be more wicked, sick and desperate for salvation than theirs.

True Reform

This text is challenging. As I've prayed and prepared this week, my heart is challenged. I don't love people the same way Jesus did. Truth be told, I'm afraid to. I'm afraid of what might happen if I invite these "worst of all sinners" into my home or the gathering of my church. I like my comfort. I like my safety. I like what is familiar to me and everyone else around me. I like to know that people appear "right" before I let them get too close to Jesus. I think I have the control.  

But then I'm reminded of the gospel. Jesus came into this world to pursue sinners! I am among those. In coming, he was met with hostility so intense that he was brutally killed by being hung on a cross. The question that needs to be asked is, "Who put him there?" It wasn't the "bad company" he was always with. No. It was the religious people. The one's who had it all together. The one's who thought themselves righteous. Their religion was far more hostile to the scandalous love of Jesus than any murderer ever was, and their hearts were farther away too. 

You see, the beauty of the scandalous love of Jesus is that he invites us to follow him while we're sinners. He calls us to himself, as we are, in the midst of our disgusting, unclean, un-put-together lives. In so doing, he confronts the heart of the religious and the sinner. The religious did not recognize their uncleanness before God the sinner does. He draws us close so that we would know him and be near him. And then in experiencing his love so amazing, we can't help but want to be more like this Jesus who was crucified for us.

We have much to talk about this weekend, church. I'm inviting you to pray along with me, that our hearts would be challenged to love in the same way that Jesus has loved us.

Christ is All!

Pastor Mike