Tag Archives: Church Complacency

We have 17 days to prepare, Are you ready?

then-comes-satanThen cometh the wicked one… saith the scripture in Matthew 13, verse 19 in the parable of the sower of the seed. Those words make my stomach queasy. It’s not by happenstance that Christ uses the seed in His parable; stealing the seed has been from the beginning the goal of Satan. He attempted to steal, kill or at least mar the perfect seed of God that was placed in the womb of Mary. He was of course unsuccessful, so he had to come up with plan “B”. If he couldn’t rid the earth of God’s Son, he would do his best to mess with God’s productivity through the church, and on that scale his successes far out weigh ours.

I must say that I’m excited about my ministry for 2017. I’ve been laying the foundation for the last few months in my teen class to warn them in advance that I had expectations for 2017. It was often times met with the sounds of crickets or a look of resistence to the possibility but I have not let that deter me one iota. I’m tired of the status quo of the church vs. Satan and we have no one to blame but ourselves. There’s no wonder as to why the state of America is what it is… it’s that way because we’ve allowed it. And although Trump is a partial answer to prayer, he isn’t the answer to America’s problem.

I’ve watched in my own church as we fought valiantly to stay together when we were without a Pastor, only to go into a state of rest when the Lord delivered a great one into our lap. What America falls at risk to now is the status quo becoming “enough.” Satan loves it when America says it has “enough.” Not too much Jesus else we’ll be a fanatic, not too many services or it cuts into “family” time. Don’t’ get me started on there’s no need for Sunday School because worship is enough. And then when worship time comes, we don’t want to get excited, wasn’t showing up enough.

One by one Satan picks at the seeds planted in the church until there’s nothing left but barren ground because we’re not discipling saints or leading leaders. Soul winning is left to the Pastor because the liberal crowd has convinced us to keep our mouths shut in the world because the world finds Christ offensive. We send kids into the world and tell them not to be like the world, but yet the world is their only example; being that the adult Christians in their life don’t have the back bone to open their mouths about how good God is, or show by example how to invite and encourage people to come to church.

Church has become the lowest priority on the list, and the first one off the list if something better comes along, or folks just are feelin’ it.

Wow… that was harsh wasn’t it. No, it was just what I needed to hear and likely what you need to hear to kick start 2017. Now the task is set before us not to let off the throttle. I can very easily do it when I’m met with resistance. I’ve began filling my calendar with action, not just talk.

While it’s true that the new President elect has created in me a freer expression of my Christian values, if America doesn’t do something with those Christian values, and the economy takes off, the world views will take off with our children and the church will continue to go into decline. Proven fact is prosperity doesn’t draw folks to Christ, it usually draws them away. And as evil as this nation has become there are plenty of things to draw them to. So we need to get a head start. President Trump takes office the 20th. We have 17 days to prepare, what are you going to do with yours? You can mark it down that Satan already has a plan.

How to Lose Your Religion on Sunday

psalm-134

A friend of my husband messaged him last night and said that I needed to sing him a song on Facebook because “between the people he had to deal with and the WVU ballgame his religion was at risk.” Needless to say that was a nice compliment and a worthy chuckle. So this morning it put the word “religion” on my heart, why we should lose it, and why Sunday is the perfect day to set out on that mission!

Religion reminds me of those folks who sing “Standing on the Promises” while sitting on the premises with their hands across their chest. Religion causes me to have frown lines and I don’t need any more lines on my brow. It reminds me of a previous me who felt very uncomfortable when the Holy Spirit moved in a service. It felt odd, out of place and very unwelcome. Heaven forbid people should raise their hand or go to an altar with a repentant heart, or a burden of prayer. Let’s just carry those burdens around until we die and in err believe that people buy our pious religious demeanor and mistaken it for spirituality. Wow! Where did that come from? I guess as my ol’ friend D.L. Kerby used to say, “If God laid it on your heart, you must have needed to say it!” Well, sometimes D.L. was right and sometimes not, but perhaps we all need to hear a reminder before church this morning that now is not the time to get complacent in our faith. Religion should have no part of church, you should lose it before you enter the building.

Religion is repetitious

In Christ every day is a new day. We don’t go church “just because it’s Sunday.” We go to church because that’s the day God’s people come together to encourage one another and to hear what God has to say.

Religion is like raisins

Only not nearly as sweet. It’s a shriveled up version of what God intended. Yes, God wants you in church, but not just to sit there for your one hour due diligence. He wants you fresh and lively like the grapes on the vine. Jesus said in John 15:5 “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.  Raisins are dried up fruit, a very good analogy I think to a religious Christian. Oh… you were good fruit once upon a time, but now, you’re ready for the box.

Religion is rebellion

Yep. I said it. And if you’re religious you’re likely upset. But God did not die on the cross for religion. He died on the cross for a relationship with those He died for. Sitting lifeless and unaffected by a sermon is not having a relationship. It’s like a rebellious child who will sit in your presence and listen to you speak, but your words are doing nothing more than tickling their ears as they go in one and out the other.

When Saul failed to take heed to the word of God and kept some of the “good spoil” for himself and the people in the battle against the Amalekites, Samuel said this to him in 1 Samuel 15:23, “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of   Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king.”

 We call children rebellious when they won’t listen to their parents… Hello… God is our Father. If we’re not listening to Him, we’re rebelling. It’s that simple.

And I’m as guilty as the next.

I’m not saying every Christian has to be loud and hands in the air, else their not saved. That could be chaos. But if it was done in the Spirit of God, it would not be, even if the whole church was loud and hands in the air! What I’m saying is… When you get to go to church this morning, go in… sit down… and wait for instruction on the edge of your seat. And if you do… something exciting might just happen. And you too can lose your religion on Sunday and God will be well pleased!

God’s Means May Not Mean Money

chick trust

I heard someone say, not long after I was saved, that we live far beneath our means. And it’s true. But I fear sometimes that prosperity gospel teachers and the flesh itself convinces believers that as children of God the world is our oyster and because of that we have a right to all we want. God’s means may not mean money. By definition the word means is resources, which could be financial or assets of an entirely different kind. It could mean that we survive by the skin of our teeth for a better day in glory where His world will be our oyster.

But until that day let’s take a reality check.

Romans 8:12-17

12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.

“Brethern.” A reminder that they and we are no longer viewed by nation or blood but as children of God. Bought with a price and no longer ruled by the flesh but by the very Spirit of God, leaving us without excuse for falling to the flesh when it says “You deserve…” No, I deserve Hell. But because of the Almighty God engrafting me into His family as an adopted child of grace, I can live above my means. Because I now depend on His resources, not my own.

13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

People who live after the flesh are the walking dead. They are not living in the newness of Christ. It’s the same people that show up to church as 11:00 sharp and leave at 12:00 dull, having received nothing from the service because they had not yielded to the Spirit. They didn’t come at 10:00 sharp for Sunday School because they get “enough” God during the worship hour. Whew! If I stepped on your toe I’m not the least bit sorry. I love ya… but I’m not sorry.

14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

Being led by the Spirit of God is tapping into those resources, those means that God grants to every believer for the asking. The resources that fill your heart with so much gladness you don’t have time to notice anything missing from your life.

15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

God didn’t take us to raise because He needed someone to take care of. He took us into His family because He had that much love. He created us… “the Uncreated Creator” as my Pastor says and filled us each with resources to be a blessing to Him. How awesome is it as a parent when your child returns to do something kind for you. It’s not that we need it… but it sure feels nice, doesn’t it? When is the last time that we’ve taken the gifts and talents that God has blessed us with and returned home… not in bondage because God controls us, but because He’s our Father and we love Him like that.

16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

If you’re a child of God, my words should have pricked your heart. It did my own.

17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

Whether or not you have a dime to your name or a matched wardrobe of Loui Vuitton it matters not. Because everything here pales in comparison to what’s there. But everything here has a purpose. Are you using it?

A Conversation from the Back Seat

A post on my Facebook wall yesterday morning of the A&W Root Beer Stand brought floods of memories of my own times with my parents at the drive in hamburger stand. What a treat to get to eat in the car! Now it’s the story of my life as I travel the roads of West Virginia. My favorite A&W story isn’t mine, it’s the story of Franklin Graham (Billy Graham’s son) from his book “Rebel with a Cause.” As a child he was picking on his sisters in the back seat of the car as and having been warned by his mother (Ruth Graham) that she was going to put him in the trunk if he didn’t stop, he wasn’t really concerned.  They were on the freeway in four lanes of traffic (heading to A&W or a like place) so he “knew” she wouldn’t stop there.  So he continued until he felt the car swerve out of traffic, across three lanes and on to the berm. She got out, pulled him out, and proceeded to put him in the trunk. He said he loved it. There were all kinds of toys in there. Car jacks and tools and such! When they got to A&W he thought, great, now I can get out. He hears him mom order their food, waits a while, hears the waitress return and then hears the car door open. Ruth Graham opens the trunk, hands Franklin his burger and, and shuts the lid again where he enjoyed his lunch and rode the trip back home. Lesson learned. Don’t doubt your Mom.

I’m not advocating this method of child rearing!  The Welfare department would be knocking on your door before the day was out and probably should be; that was dangerous! But it just goes to show how times have changed. We’ve learned some lessons in raising children and we’ve failed in many other respects. In church it’s no different. We’ve learned much over the years but by the same token many of the old paths have long since been forgotten, traded for a newer shinier path that may or may not show you to Jesus. Church discipline is all but a thing of the past because the church no longer has the right to interfere in the lives of the members.

Well, for the record, God’s still calling the church to hold its members accountable. No… I’m not going anywhere with this. I really don’t know why it’s on my heart this morning, I only know it is. And if it only touches one person this morning, giving them the desire to walk the old path, then it’s been worth it. The world is watching… we’re supposed to be different.

We’re the kids in the back seat… not a good idea to run your mouth to the Father.

Church of the Big Hole

Sign near the entrance of a church in Wisdom, Montana. The Church of the Big Hole is a reference to the Big Hole river valley that follows along highway 43. It is one of three Churches of the Big Hole- others are at Wise River and Melrose, Montana.

(Photo by SeattleRay)

Complacency: It’s a death sentence to the spirit. It’s not a switch that suddenly goes off but gradually takes over the spiritual life of a believer day by day as they distance themselves more from the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Church events outside the norm of Sunday and Wednesday are checked off the list first, followed by an occasional Sunday for special events or to get caught up on sleep. Due to long list of things in your life you’ve now decided to step down from teaching or helping out in the ministries of the church, it’s just too much and someone will surely step up and fill the gap. You’ve done your time, right? Now that there is no obligation to the body of Christ and your load is so much lighter! You noticed that nobody stepped into your position, but they will. Little by little, week after week, your bible reading stops, church attendance stops, guilt ceases and the hole that was once filled with the goodness of God is now filled with vain attempts to accomplish trivial tasks on your “day off.”

Ezekiel wrote “O Israel, thy prophets are like the foxes in the deserts. Ye have not gone up into the gaps, neither made up the hedge for the house of Israel to stand in the battle in the day of the Lord.” ~ Ezekiel 13:4-5

Ezekiel, speaking to the leadership of the church says “you’re like foxes in the desserts.” Away from everyone and useless to them, you’ve left a hole in the church. Just for the record, nobody can step into your position, it’s yours until God says it’s not. And when He says that position is no longer yours, He’s already got another worked out. That’s what prevents complacency in the life of a Christian, else there’s a gap.

The Gap Defined:

1: A break in a barrier (as a wall, hedge, or line of military defense)

We’ve witnessed in America what happens when our borders are not guarded. The enemy comes in, sits among us un-noticed and launches an attack from the very ground we live on, and our people are lost. The gap you create by failing to attend church is one around your own life. Your family sees that church was of little importance, that God is expendable. And the gap that you’ve created leaves just enough room those that you care about to fall into the pits of Hell. Harsh? Yes. Real? Yes.

2: An opening in a solid structure or surface; a cleft or breach:

The church is getting less and less influential in our communities today. There was a time it was very real, and a solid structure in the lives of America. Now it’s viewed as a social meeting place where people come to be entertained or have their children attended to for a few hours. There’s a gap in the solidity of God’s house because His people have allowed the very structure of the church to be weakened by not taking a stand on the Word of God. What once was the “saving place” is now the place we’ll save if all else fails. And then, when we do need it, we’re so estranged to the Holy Spirit we don’t even know Him; and the gap continues.

Summer time is hard on me spiritually because I see so many people fall out of church during that time. We lose someone most every year during the summer because there’s “so much that needs done” elsewhere. And the gap begins.

If you’re thinking that this summer is too busy for Church, then your summer is too busy. Stay faithful friend! I found irony in the fact that the actual Church of the Big Hole was in “Wisdom” Montana and another at Wise River. Be wise… fill the gap.