Let’s Get Real

Image is everything for most people, even at Church. Image is why the advertising industry is so huge, globally not only in Kenya. Advertising doesn’t sell the funtionality or utility of products – it sells the aspiration to a lifestyle. It appeals to your  desire to project an image that is different and perhaps better than your reality.

This obsession with image didn’t begin with us. We see examples dating back to the Bible. Last week I spoke about how the early church experienced strong community in the midst of deep differences and how people began to interact powerfully despite deep differences. Now in the midst of this God moment, we encounter some serious image management.

Read: Acts 5: 1- 11

Ananias and Sapphira sold some land and gave part of the proceeds to the apostles. The issue was not that they didn’t contribute the whole amount, but that they reported that they had given all the money to the Church. They presented themselves as something they were not. Unfortunately for them, God revealed their deception to Peter. He called them on it. The issue was that this couple agreed to lie about their giving. They thought they could get by with appearing to be generous. They felt more concerned with their image than their relationship to God.

For some reason, in this defining moment for the church, this couple missed it. For Ananias and Sapphira in this defining moment, life became about safeguarding their privilege and power. They lost sight of the reason for which they were created. Here is what I see in this passage: Sin distorts our relationships.

Ananias and Sapphira failed the litmus test of community. If sin fundamentally affects us at the level of relationships, then transformation takes effect fundamentally at the level of relationships. The true gauge of the impact of God’s power in our lives is in the quality of the relationships expressed in the community created by the spirit.

God has  saved us to belong to an authentic nurturing community in which we can be our true selves and give ourselves away without becoming poor. One of the ways Jesus described his mission was “I have come that they may have life and have it in the full” Life in its fullness is the purpose and this is what we are for and what Christ came to make possible.

Our quest for image and keeping up with the Joneses ends up isolating us and/or others. “I will not associate with a particular ilk until I feel like my image has earned it for me.” The effect is that we are intimidated by one another’s lifestyles and standards of living.

What would it take to for us to strip away manipulation and deception from our relationships at church? STOP FAKING IT START MAKING IT! Move beyond the superficial: The true test of transformation is realness. How real are you? How vulnerable are you?

Try this within the week: Go to your LG and share the one biggest challenge you are facing. What’s one thing your life group needs to know about you?

Secondly set some ground rules:

  • Confidentiality. How could vulnerability flourish in your group. In case you have already been hurt, there is a place to bring it out and offer forgiveness.
  • Maybe its personal hygiene: some of the things that affect groups are people forcing the group to endure smelly socks in a small space for two hours.
  • Perhaps its that your group leader is not performing. What are your expectations of your group leader.
  • Perhaps the timing of the group is not working for you. Agree on time. What time do you want to leave and what time do you want to arrive? How will people get to and from the Life group?
  • Agree on what will be served. Do you want to serve meals or snacks or can people serve either based on what they can afford. Who will do the washing up?

We must increase the level of vulnerability in the group and decrease the superficiality in our groups.

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4 Responses to “Let’s Get Real”

  1. I am so going back to the LG i dissed…Wooii Tornado ninakuja as i said sibebi mizigo peke yangu…will share¨. Thanks Pastor Linda

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  2. Pastor LOA,

    Thanks for the great sermon and the pop-star moment when you performed the sensational ” Scotts Emulsion” advert. 🙂

    Just to share something I have learnt while going thru my one year bible. And this is the lesson…God honours an honest heart that expresses total surrender and reliance Him and there is nowhere else you can experience this other than in Life groups(Lg’s).

    Heb 10 reads “Let us not give up meeting together(lg’s), as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–..” and to this God has a Promise in Matt 18:20 ” For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”

    The early church not only got it right as Act 2:42 explains but also got to enjoy the benefits (Acts 2:43-47). And this is the inevitable result when individuals from different backgrounds decide to make God their central purpose…

    Quote…..”All who believed were together and held everything in common and they began selling their property and possessions and distributing the proceeds to everyone( Prison, children homes, The needy…), as anyone had need.Every day they continued to gather together by common consent in the temple courts(at Mavuno campuses),braking bread from house to house(Lg’s), sharing their food(snacks..) with glad and humble hearts, 2:47 praising God and having the good will of all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number every day those who were being saved.”

    Personally, as a guy I thought( not fully out of the woods yet) sharing personal struggles an issues was a sign of weakness and not verrrryyyyyy masculine. That was for women..beacause men sort their issues out…Kama mwanaume!! But attending Lg’s has change alot of that not only creating a balance between knowing my responsibility but also being accountable to a group of ordinary people who on the outside look perfect yet deep down they struggle with the same issues like i Do. Two years down the line i have a group of friends enjoying life together..Some have gotten married, others have children..celebrating new jobs….sigh!!! That’s Life group!!!

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  3. first of all pastor lindah we love you thank you for the sermon God really used you to get through me kwanza that part about image,it was like you were pointing fingers at me nway i’ve learnt alot includin that the relationship i potray is more important than the image i try to potray……..thank u very much and wil start takin the LG seriously

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  4. Jonathan Kayemba Says:

    Great message and very profound, have got more insight on image management, something i have been struggling with. Also i have learnt how to carry on in Life Group especially when dealing with the members, no moresuperficiality

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