Friday, March 02, 2007


I’m borrowing a coined phrase from the current issue of New Wineskins Online Magazine. The word is “ex-aisles.” Many Christian periodicals emphasize, with new zeal, the mission of the church outside of our meeting places. After we leave our Sunday pews, what happens Monday through Saturday? How do Christians act like Jesus in their communities?

Jesus set the outside-of-the-synagogue standard. Daily he engaged in conversations, helping the most religious and the outcast. He shunned no one.

Because of past and current language, the term “church” has weakened. We go to church. We wear our church clothes. We ask, “What church do you go to?” or “Where is your church building?”

The “church,” the living body of Christ, resurrected people, is a fellowship of believers assembled by the grace of God. The “church” is not a place. The church doesn’t have a physical address.

The church is built of “living stones.” We walk on two legs out of the aisles after our corporate worships to live like Christ. Much of those days will be engaged in bread-winning and keeping our families nourished and tidy, but beyond those expected tasks, where do our hearts roam?

One way hearts travel is the movin’-on-up path. When you get a raise at work? What are your first thoughts? We can eat less hamburger. We can have steak and shrimp once in a while. I can buy more expensive and deserved clothing. I’m trading up from the old Chevy to a sporty car.

When blessed with more, how do we choose to spend it? Do we have thoughts of others or simply how to better our own lives? Who comes first in our hearts? Me-first is a tough little devil to slay.

And the old lying devil is good at feeding us propaganda. He daily offers up tasty procrastinations: When you have more time, you can help the poor. When you get more money, you’ll redecorate your home, and then invite your neighbors for dinner. You’re not in any position to really help that troubled marriage. Wait. Tomorrow. Maybe. Try later.

Oswald Chambers said you shouldn't worry about being useful where you are, because you certainly can't be useful where you aren't. Start today. Be the church, the body of Christ, Sunday through Saturday. Be “ex-aisles.”

Give the church a new address—General Delivery to the World. On Sundays, when we hug and shake hands goodbye, we’ll know the church has left the building.

You may reach Cathy at

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