Weekly news + What has happened to our churches?
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WATCH: Rep. Gohmert provides America solid proof Democrats aren’t willing to help blacks, exposes Rep. Nadler’s lynching bill sham
The Philadelphia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations shared on its Facebook page this image of a Philadelphia skyline dominated by minarets, making clear its theocratic goals for America.
SETTING OUR MINDS ON THINGS ABOVE
I ended last Saturday’s past with a call for the Church to fulfill its responsibility to show a better way than what we’re seeing played out in our cities. Today I’m discussing three examples of “church life” that need to change if the Church is to become an effective agent of change. The first is one of engagement. American Christianity has largely become a weekly spectator sport in which those on stage play to or perform for an audience. The success of the performance is determined by how those in the audience feel when they leave. The success of the church is determined by how many people attend, how many baptisms there are, or how many “professions” have taken place. The focus on the stage reinforces the idea that this is where all the action is while the audience looks on. I think the root of the problem is that too much is expected from the pastor and not enough from the people.
On Paul’s missionary journeys, he established churches where the gospel had been shared and appointed leaders (elders). After Paul had moved on, they became the overseers who ran the church. With no pastor, they still grew because every member had to step up and utilize his or her gifts. They learned to work together for the common good. When churches have to figure things out for themselves, instead of relying on the pastor, they must seek the Lord’s guidance and develop a genuine faith.
People sit in the audience to hear the pastor or to listen to the praise band instead of engaging with one another. The fact that so often there is a “stage” is very telling. I know of one small church that arranged the chairs in two concentric circles with nothing in the center, not even the pastor. Everyone was looking at everyone else. The pastor sat with everyone else. Imagine what would happen if your church did that. Large churches can’t even imagine doing such a thing. Fortunately, many churches have learned that real spiritual growth takes place through genuine “one-anothering” when the congregation is broken down into small groups.
So much for the engagement problem. The second example has to do with our inability to live in light of our future. The message of John Lenon’s “Imagine” should be disturbing to Christians but is it? Its message is that utopia would be living for today with nothing worth dying for -no cause, no person, no Lord, no future. No heaven or hell, just this life, so you may as well get what you can and live it up because in the end, nothing really matters. Did you know that some on the far left are pushing to replace the Star-Spangled Banner with Imagine?
The American Church knows this is in direct opposition to what we believe, but is it? What we really believe shows itself in how we live, and too many Christians today have lost touch with our promised future. Oh, we look forward to having new bodies, but do we live in light of what we know to be our future, or are we really living for today as though this is all we get? I believe we have lost touch with the future dimension of our salvation, which leaves us walking by sight instead of faith since faith is all about the future.
When we understand the end of history as revealed in Revelation 19-22, its impact should drastically affect our present. By studying and obeying what we find in such passages, we will start living in light of the promised blessings. (Revelation is the only book of the Bible that promises a blessing to those who read it (1:3). We would do well to remember and guard our hearts and lives with Jesus’ words, “Behold, I am coming quickly.” God knows our tendency to dismiss things that we think won’t happen in our lifetime. Perhaps one of His purposes for our current “Covid-reset” is to force His Church to start living in light of our future.
The third area needing correction has to do with sticking to the script. The Bible needs no additions or corrections, yet churches adopt all sorts or worldly techniques to attain what they see as success. Instead of trusting in God to pay for what He has ordered, countless churches have set their own agendas and adopted worldly methods that have worked for other churches. Other churches have adopted all sorts of techniques for getting what they want through visualization, mind-power utilizing popular psychology and/or mysticism, opening the door for all sorts of demonic delusions. If their “ministry techniques” come from some self-appointed enlightened guru instead of Scripture, God will surely come after them with a vengeance.
My point is that churches must analyze everything it does, practices, and believes, to be sure it’s biblical and from the Lord. Since Satan comes disguised as an angel of light, we must be alert to his schemes, recognize his deceptions, and take corrective action so God doesn’t have to do it for us. Perhaps this is exactly what God is doing in our nation right now.
Why do we go to church each week? The most honest answer is probably, “Because it’s what Christians do.” If those comprising the Church are ever going to be the agents of the changes our nation needs, we need to start changing what goes on inside our churches and our own hearts.
A final thought. If people are so intent on removing statues of those with a checkered past, not one would survive. Everyone is ashamed of something in his or her past. We are told to remove the log in our own eye before condemning the speck in another’s. Let him who is without sin cast the first stone. If they assert that slavery is in a “contemptible” class by itself, why do they save their most vile contempt for the one who came to earth to set us all free from the slavery of sin itself?
ON THE LIGHTER SIDE
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