Saturday, June 28, 2014

What does Gilligan Have in Common with the Church? (Part 1)

My TIE: Commit Your Way to the Lord (Ps 37:5)

The setting to the classic story of Gilligan’s Island begins with a rather eclectic group of 7 people only intended to travel together for a 3-hour tour around the Hawaiian Islands. Somewhere along the way, the small ship called the “SS Minnow” encountered a severe storm. The tiny ship and 7 people crashed on an uncharted island. When it was apparent that there was no immediate rescue, this small group began to form a community.

 Who was in this community?

The Professor who not only had a gift in science but also in engineering. He could design the physical framework for the new community to survive in the natural world.

Mr. and Mrs. Howell the millionaire couple. For some reason they brought trunks of money, clothes, and effects for a comfortable lifestyle on a three hour tour. They brought refined culture to the basic fabric of this new community.

Ginger the movie star. She provided entertainment and glamour. 

Mary-Anne the farmer’s daughter, She provided a more practical skill set of agriculture and homemaking skills.

The Skipper who captained the SS Minnow. He provided protection, order, and a sense of duty in serving the needs of this new community.

And then, there was Gilligan. He was the first-mate. Compared to the others, Gilligan had no apparent useful skills. His was usually the one who was causing problems and chaos on the island. Several times he was the reason that potential rescues were foiled.

What Made Gilligan Special? 

Gilligan had a special relationship that impacted all areas of this small community.
- To the professor he was a lab assistant
- To the millionaire couple he was a son
- To the movie star hew was a test audience and an extra
- To the farmer’s daughter he assisted with the chores
- To the skipper he was a “Good Ole Buddy”

Gilligan's community value was that he connected people who had little in common into a community. Without Gilligan there would have been a group of castaways without a community.


How can we become a Gilligan and bring people together in this world of castaways?

My thoughts are that we are called to be more like the misfit Gilligan than a cutting edge Google or Apple. Like a Gilligan, we need to form a community out of a world of castaways.  But unlike our fictitious character, we need to form a church community where God’s power through the cross initiates mutual growth in His holy callings on our lives.

We need to allow God to turn our spiritual switch ON. Paul prayed in Ephesians 1:18a, “That the eyes of your heart may be enlightened. 

We might think that our hearts are pure but Jesus tells us in Matthew 15:19, "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander." While in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus tells us only that the pure in heart will see God (Matt. 5:8)  Therefore without God turning on or activating the eyes of our heart, we will not see the full power of His works because we lack the purity needed to see.

When God turns on our hearts, we see the following evidences of God’s work in bringing His people together according to Ephesians 1:18-19 .

1. God’s hope brings His people together
In order that you may know the hope to which he has called you (1:18b)

Hope is an anticipated result of what will happen in the future. For believers they can anticipate being forgiven from their sins because of the work of Jesus on the cross. They can anticipate being present with God and God present with them without any separation because of sin or death. And even in the present time, we are called to a hope that allows us to anticipate that everyone who makes it to heaven through Jesus Christ will be declared “overcomers.” There will be a lot of victories to celebrate at that time (Rev. 21:7).

2. God’s Inheritance brings His people together
The riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people (1:18c)

We show that we value the church by building up Holy people who discover their calling from God for salvation, maturity and mission. The question of the average member becomes, “How can I help prepare you for God’s mission every day?” The church gives everyone an opportunity to be prepared in the Word, encouragement, practice in patience, and sacrifice in for the benefit of others that will add strength to meet the challenges that stand against Christ in our world.

3. God’s incomparably great power brings His people together
And his incomparably great power for us who believe. (1:19)

Paul goes on in Ephesians 1:19-23 to exclaim that the same power that God resurrected Christ from the dead is indeed the SAME power that is visible in Christ church. This is amazing!

God makes a unified people who have no other reason to be unified. People are naturally unified or separated according to culture, language, philosophy, worldviews, political parties, race, nationality, etc. But through God’s power we can have peace and agreement with other people outside our familiar groups because of Jesus’ cross where natural hostilities have no place in our churches.

“For Christ himself has made peace between us Jews and you Gentiles by making us all ONE people.” Eph. 2:14

The church ought to be and must be the place where God’s people gather in order to mature in the God given abilities to touch every segment of community outside the church with His gifts of life through His grace, truth, righteous, and most of all showing that His Good News is indeed Good.

Furthermore, God has a heart for gathering the castaways of this world and giving them the opportunity to find community among His people.

Next week I will further my thoughts about how God’s power in His church is evident through “Common-Unity” rather than “Common-Formity.” 

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