Week Twenty-Five, 2019
THE HEALTH OF THE CHURCH
“And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it” (Matthew 16:18).
Put a bunch of Baptist pastors in a room together and sooner or later one will turn and whisper to the other: “Hey what are you running?” That’s preacher code for how many do you have attending on Sunday morning.
For some reason, we judge the popularity of the pastor and the health of the church based on Sunday worship attendance. But, I ask, does that really judge the strength of the church or the effectiveness of the pastor?
Yes, worship is a factor and a practice that every Christian should count as a part of their week. But the real role of the church is not to see how many people can be put in rows of pews and look at the pastor on Sunday morning. People need the Word and are deepened in the faith by hearing good preaching. Worship is a place to plant salvation seeds and maybe even meet people at the altar.
The business of the church is not just limited to saving the lost, but equally important is discipleship. What does the church do to encourage and help people grow and reach out to others beyond the walls of the church? I once heard someone say that your salvation experience is not totally complete until you bring someone else to Christ. That’s not theologically correct, but it makes a lot of sense.
Today, fewer and fewer people are drawn to the church and if the church wants to have an impact on them then we must take the church out to where they are. The growth of a local church is the natural byproduct of its spiritual health, and growing churches are thus not necessarily healthy churches.
Many church worship services are run like a Broadway show….. lights, camera, action. Everything is scripted and there is little room for Jesus to interrupt or disturb the flow. The stage manager sits next to the pastor and taps him on the shoulder when it is his time to take the stage. Crowds come to hear good music, observe the stage lighting and hear an eloquent pastor deliver a wonderful presentation of an often benign sermon.
The worship experience is ready… set…go… hop … skip……jump when true worship is faith…love….action. Those who attend are entertained and enjoy the experience, but often leave with nothing to take home and guide them through the week.
The charge given to us by Jesus in Matthew 28:19-20 is clear: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you..” Mark 16:15 expands on this command: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”
Should the local church do any less?
SOMETIMES TRUE STORIES
DON’T BE SO HARD ON YOURSELF. Jesus can bring good even out of your mistakes. Your finite mind tends to look backward, longing to undo decisions you have come to regret. This is a waste of time and energy, leading only to frustration. Instead of floundering in the past, release your mistakes to Him. Look to Him in trust, anticipating that His infinite creativity can weave both good choices and bad into a lovely design.
Because you are human, you will continue to make mistakes. Thinking that you should live an error-free life is symptomatic of pride. Your failures can be a source of blessing, humbling you and giving you empathy for other people in their weaknesses. Best of all, failure highlights your dependence on Him. He is able to bring beauty out of the morass of your mistakes. Trust Him, and watch to see what He will do.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
QUOTES YOU CAN USE
You cannot only clean the part of the pool you swim in. —Jim Denison
If I wiped out all of the numbers in your address book, how many of them could you call from memory? Doesn’t that make you impressed that God knows all of us without an Apple or an Android? —Dwight Short
“What our deepest self will crave,” wrote Henry J. Golding, “is not mere enjoyment, but some supreme purpose that will enlist all our powers and will give us unity and direction to our life.”
Pain means you’re alive!!!!!
Your Best Bet for a Successful Future Is to Own Your Share of the Past. —Ken Whitten
Nobody Ever Believes Their Way into a Better Future
Blame Sets Us Up for a Repeat Performance
To Make Peace With Your Past ,You Have to Own Your Piece of the Past