Sunday, July 29, 2018

The American Church Is Broken

I know this will be misunderstood. I'm sorry. I have a book that explains it in much more detail.

American churches have become event driven. That used to mean something different than it does today. In the past it meant special speakers or music groups; or even major productions from their own choir, dance team, youth ensemble, etc. However, things have evolved to the point that every Sunday has to be "amazing, exciting, you-don't-want-to-miss-this" type of meeting.

I think it has become counter-productive. If you know anything about me, you know how much I hate dull, lifeless worship services. That's not what I'm talking about. But I believe gathering as the Body of Christ, giving our praise and worship to God, hearing the Word taught, and fellowshipping with other Believers is pretty exciting. It doesn't need hype. It doesn't need a special media campaign every week.

By generating a "focus" for each Sunday service the mundane things (the Body giving praise and worship to God, teaching of the Word, fellowship with Believers) gets lost in the shuffle and placed as a secondary reason for gathering.

Instead of being Event-focused we need to remain Process-focused. The process is making disciples. The process is personal growth through worship and the Word. The process is what Jesus came to demonstrate through His life among us.

Most will justify their programs by claiming "it's for the millennials." Before them it was the flower children, the Boomers, the Gen-Xers, etc., etc. We are so far removed from ekklesia described in scripture that we don't even have a clue.

I don't know how to right the ship. Fortunately this is mostly an American Church issue. Maybe other countries will send missionaries (by the way, they already have) to help us get back on course. I pray we find a way back to True Worship.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

The Need for a Standard

In ancient days there was a small town near the water that relied on fishing as both a trade and a source of food. Because it was prosperous it was regularly the target of thieves that would come in during the night and plunder the town’s businesses and its residents. The town’s leaders gathered to find a solution for the constant danger they faced from the marauding hoards.

“Let’s build a wall around the city with only one gate of passage. Once the gate is closed for the day it will remain closed until morning. No exceptions.” Those that once plundered the town ceased because they could not get passed the wall and its gate. The people flourished once again in this safe and secure environment.

One day a fisherman was late getting home and missed curfew; the gate was closed and he could not enter. He decided to make the most of the evening and went back to fish. That night He caught some of the most amazing fish he had ever seen.

The man’s home was positioned right next to the wall. He had an idea. In one of the back rooms of the house that faced the wall he decided to dig a small hole just large enough for him to slip out and back in. It was easily concealed. That night he slipped out to go fishing. He caught some amazing fish. His business grew and he gained wealth.

One day he was entertaining some friends and they were grilling fish, enjoying life. His friends inquired about his newfound success and asked him to share his secret. He decided it was not fair to keep this secret to himself so he showed them the hole he dug and explained the wonderful bounty he discovered in fishing at night. He implored them to not tell a soul.

Some of them decided they would do this as well and they, too, enjoyed the benefit of the night fishing and all of its benefits. As you could imagine it did not take long before many of the town’s people had holes in the wall because they also deserved the right to enjoy the prosperity that night fishing would bring. The once protective wall looked like Swiss cheese with all of the holes.

News of this spread beyond the town and reached the ears of some of the thieves. They returned and found easy access to the town through all of the holes and once again plunder the town and stole their treasure.

What is the meaning of this simple story? You cannot have exceptions. Once there is an exception to the rule, regardless of the benefits received by one or a few, you must not allow them for the sake of all.

I’m not a Calvinist but I agree with the first of the “points” of Calvinism: “the total depravity of man.” There are no exceptions to this. Every person born of man has within them a sin nature. Regardless of how one is born it is depravity. Only in Christ can we find salvation and the life that He can bring to us. “Being born this way” should never be a defense for wrong behavior. It is simply an attempt to justify our sin nature.