Are you bored with God?

via ChurchLeaders.com by Thomas McDaniels: If you’re bored with life, you’re bored with God. How could you be on fire for God and bored with life?

 

„We must measure our Christianity by our relationship with God, not our relationship with our church. If you’re bored in life, you’re bored with God! How can you be on fire for God and bored with life? Because if you’re bored with life you are bored with God. But, do you know what I find? I find that people get bored with church. Why? Because we’re doing it the wrong way and we expect God’s results: How much was in the offering? How many children in the children’s dept.? We’re measuring the wrong gauge. Maybe we should find out who is not here, because maybe they’re ministering. Maybe we should find out who is in a nursing home. Maybe we should find out who is in the prison preaching the Gospel.

Maybe we’re asking the wrong questions and maybe we should start asking the right questions, and this is what God is dealing with my heart about:

  1. How many non Christian organizations are using your building Tom?
  2. How many sinners attend your services?
  3. Are we inviting the poor to our banquets?
  4. How many of our neighbors call us for help, Pastor Tom?

That’s my questison. Every neighbor around here that’s having a problem should be calling the church right here. But, if we would love our neighbor as ourself… „Love your neighbor as yourself..” Is that an option? Jesus never said, „Love your neighbor as yourself- if you want to.. or, Love your neighbor as yourself if it’s convenient for you… or, Love your neighbor as yourself if you’re not busy, or if you don’t have a 50-60 hour a week job. It’s okay, it’s optional.” Jesus didn’t say it was optional.
And you say, „I love my neighbor.” Oh, you don’t know him. And you say, „Well, that’s all right, I’m just supposed to love him.” There’s another verse: „as yourself.” You know you. So, if you know you, you’re supposed to know them.

 

 

 

Love Yourself Much? from LifeBridge on Vimeo.

 

Are you contributing to the death of your Church?

Thom S. Rainer is the president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources (LifeWay.com). In an article at ChurchLeaders.com he writes about the 7 Deadly Sins of a Dying Church.  Let’s look at the list from a personal perspective and identify where we are lacking and where we need to make personal changes that will reverse the trend of a dying church. Here are the 7 areas to look at:

Sin #1: Doctrine Dilution

One of our consultants sat in a Bible study class of a church that had brought in our team for a long-term consultation relationship. He had been told that the class included some of the church’s strongest leaders. Much to his surprise, the entire Bible study was a debate on whether or not a non-Christian might go to heaven. After much argument, the conclusion was that God would indeed allow such a person into heaven.

When such cardinal truths as the doctrine of exclusivity become issues of doubt, a church is in trouble. There’s little motivation for outreach and evangelism if other paths and other religions are equal to Christianity.

Ironically, in our survey of unchurched persons across America, we found that these non-Christians were much less likely to attend churches with weak doctrinal beliefs than those with strong ones. “Why should I waste my time in a place that does not have much certainty of belief,” Amy, a 29-year-old unchurched person from Arizona, told us. “I can find plenty of uncertainty in the world.”

Sin #2: Loss of Evangelistic Passion

It is no surprise that declining and dying churches have little evangelistic passion. In my January/February ’05 Outreach column, I highlighted one of the major reasons for evangelistic apathy: Many senior pastors either don’t have or have lost their evangelistic passion. Congregations tend to follow the passions and visions of those in key leadership positions, particularly the pastor.

Sin #3: Failure to Be Relevant

Unfortunately, many churches in America are out of touch with the changing trends and values of today’s culture.

Some churches, for certain, abandon many of the cardinal truths of the faith in their quest to be relevant to the community they serve. But even more churches are woefully unaware of the realities, hopes, and pains of those around us. Failure to be true to doctrines of the Christian faith leads to apostasy. Failure to understand the world in which we live and serve leads to irrelevancy.

Sin #4: Few Outwardly-Focused Ministries

In a recent survey of churches across America, we found that nearly 95% of the churches’ ministries were for the members alone. Indeed, many churches had no ministries for those outside the congregation.

Many churches seem to exist only for themselves. While there certainly should be ministry available for church members, often the balance between external and internal ministries is heavily skewed toward internal. When churches seek to care and minister only to their own, it’s a likely sign that decline is in motion and that death may be imminent.

 Sin #5: Conflict over Personal Preferences

Some of the more vicious internal battles in congregations today are not fights over defending the great truths of the Christian faith. Instead, members have conflict over their preferred worship style, the way a room is painted or carpeted, and the type of pulpit the preacher uses. Battles like these are sure signs that members are more concerned about their needs than the needs of the hurting and unchurched people who live and work next to them.

 Sin #6: The Priority of Comfort

A few years ago, my youngest son, Jess, was a high school senior on the football team. Because he gave so much of himself in the Friday night game, he often slept late on Saturdays. Around noon, he’d trudge down the stairs, turn on the television in the family room, and collapse on the sofa.

One Saturday, I passed him as his extended body contorted on the sofa and noticed that my football player son was watching HGTV. Curious, I asked Jess why he was watching a home and gardening show. His response was classic—“’cause the remote is broken.”

 Sin #7: Biblical Illiteracy

Only 3% of churches in America have a planned method of instructing their members to learn the Bible in its entirety. While studying the Bible shouldn’t be limited to a church setting, it’s imperative that churches take the lead in these types of endeavors.

When only three of 100 churches even attempt to provide a way for their members to understand Genesis to Revelation, biblical illiteracy is likely to occur. And biblical illiteracy means that our churches may not be obedient to the calls of Scripture because they don’t know what the Bible says.

Sexual Temptation – Can a man carry fire next to his chest and his clothes not be burned?

A great post over at ChurchLeaders.com written by Aaron McCarter.

Aaron McCarter shows that „Proverbs is warning us not to let lust override the commandments of God’s word„. And McCarter points out that it is no different today, than it was during Solomon’s reign when he wrote his admonitions to young men. McCarter writes:

Proverbs holds a view of romance, marriage, and sex that was counter-cultural back then, and it’s counter-cultural now. In Proverbs, the highest possible value is placed on faithfulness and friendship in marriage. I’m not entirely sure those are the leading ideas in culture at large today.

He talks about the danger of sexual temptation and recounts the devastation he has seen from „having a front row seat” to the destruction of many a marriage:

Being a pastor can be sobering at times. I’ve been given a front row seat too many times to watch the destruction that unfaithfulness brings to a marriage. It’s horrifying to watch. Usually I’m brought in to help… but I generally feel like a helpless bystander with little or nothing to offer. It’s just carnage. You’ve probably seen it yourself.

No decent human being sets out to cheat on their spouse… but it happens all of time. Why? It’s not because somebody goes out and does it. It’s far more subtle than that. The seeds of adultery are planted in the mind.

People have affairs because one day they allowed themselves to consider it. That’s all. And then, inevitably, they flirted with the idea (even if they didn’t yet even flirt with an actual person). And the momentum gathers.

“Can a man carry fire next to his chest and his clothes not be burned? Or can one walk on hot coals and his feet not be scorched? So is he who goes in to his neighbor’s wife; none who touches her will go unpunished.”

He concludes by comparing lust to fire and showing how fire can be „powerful and useful„, yet, „difficult to contain and enormously destructive„. He concludes with a pastoral warning:

Don’t see how long you can carry fire next to your chest. God intended sex, romance, and relationships to be handled in a certain way, and walking close to sexual temptation is a sure way to get burned.

 

 

 

 

Things to consider before you correct another person

Over at http://www.churchleaders.com they have posted an article from Frank Viola in which he lists 14 things to consider before you take it upon yourself to correct another person. This is an excellent article to print, save and pull out when confronted with a situation where you take it upon yourself to confront another person. It just might help lead us into making a sound, scriptural decision instead of a „heat of the moment” one. There is lots of wisdom here.

Here are two things I took away from the 14 points he gives for our consideration:

  1. Be keenly aware that you are just as fallen and deserving of judgment as the person you are correcting.(That is Viola’s point #10) Viola continues, „The sin of self-righteousness is the result of regarding some sins (that of others) as being more serious than other sins (those of our own). Jesus equated anger with murder and lust with adultery (Matthew 5:21-22, 27-28), and James said that if you break one point of the Law, you’re guilty of breaking every Law (James 2:10). That puts all of us on the same needy level. Be careful not to fall into what Philip Yancey painfully observed: “Christians get very angry toward other Christians who sin differently than they do.
  2. In  points # 9  Viola gives a list of questions you should answer when considering corrective action. He says that if you can’t answer „yes” to these questions, „then you’re not yet qualified to correct your brother or sister.”  Here’s a sample of the questions:
  • Is it my place to correct this person? Do I have a personal relationship with them? Or am I being a busybody in another person’s affairs? (1 Peter 4:15; 1 Timothy 5:13).
  • Have I forborne this problem for a long time? Has longsuffering and patience run its course?
  • Have I agonized before the Lord, asking Him to remove the dark parts out of me before I talk to my sister or brother?
  • And perhaps the most important of all: How would I want to be corrected if it were me who needed the correction?

Read the entire post here at http://frankviola.org

Related articles

photo by Ben Steed – source http://www.heartlight.org

Are you contributing to the death of your Church?

Thom S. Rainer is the president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources (LifeWay.com). In a recent article at ChurchLeaders.com he writes about the 7 Deadly Sins of a Dying Church.  Let’s look at the list from a personal perspective and identify where we are lacking and where we need to make personal changes that will reverse the trend of a dying church. Here are the 7 areas to look at:

Sin #1: Doctrine Dilution

One of our consultants sat in a Bible study class of a church that had brought in our team for a long-term consultation relationship. He had been told that the class included some of the church’s strongest leaders. Much to his surprise, the entire Bible study was a debate on whether or not a non-Christian might go to heaven. After much argument, the conclusion was that God would indeed allow such a person into heaven.

When such cardinal truths as the doctrine of exclusivity become issues of doubt, a church is in trouble. There’s little motivation for outreach and evangelism if other paths and other religions are equal to Christianity.

Ironically, in our survey of unchurched persons across America, we found that these non-Christians were much less likely to attend churches with weak doctrinal beliefs than those with strong ones. “Why should I waste my time in a place that does not have much certainty of belief,” Amy, a 29-year-old unchurched person from Arizona, told us. “I can find plenty of uncertainty in the world.”

Sin #2: Loss of Evangelistic Passion

It is no surprise that declining and dying churches have little evangelistic passion. In my January/February ’05 Outreach column, I highlighted one of the major reasons for evangelistic apathy: Many senior pastors either don’t have or have lost their evangelistic passion. Congregations tend to follow the passions and visions of those in key leadership positions, particularly the pastor.

Sin #3: Failure to Be Relevant

Unfortunately, many churches in America are out of touch with the changing trends and values of today’s culture.

Some churches, for certain, abandon many of the cardinal truths of the faith in their quest to be relevant to the community they serve. But even more churches are woefully unaware of the realities, hopes, and pains of those around us. Failure to be true to doctrines of the Christian faith leads to apostasy. Failure to understand the world in which we live and serve leads to irrelevancy.

Sin #4: Few Outwardly-Focused Ministries

In a recent survey of churches across America, we found that nearly 95% of the churches’ ministries were for the members alone. Indeed, many churches had no ministries for those outside the congregation.

Many churches seem to exist only for themselves. While there certainly should be ministry available for church members, often the balance between external and internal ministries is heavily skewed toward internal. When churches seek to care and minister only to their own, it’s a likely sign that decline is in motion and that death may be imminent.

 Sin #5: Conflict over Personal Preferences

Some of the more vicious internal battles in congregations today are not fights over defending the great truths of the Christian faith. Instead, members have conflict over their preferred worship style, the way a room is painted or carpeted, and the type of pulpit the preacher uses. Battles like these are sure signs that members are more concerned about their needs than the needs of the hurting and unchurched people who live and work next to them.

 Sin #6: The Priority of Comfort

A few years ago, my youngest son, Jess, was a high school senior on the football team. Because he gave so much of himself in the Friday night game, he often slept late on Saturdays. Around noon, he’d trudge down the stairs, turn on the television in the family room, and collapse on the sofa.

One Saturday, I passed him as his extended body contorted on the sofa and noticed that my football player son was watching HGTV. Curious, I asked Jess why he was watching a home and gardening show. His response was classic—“’cause the remote is broken.”

 Sin #7: Biblical Illiteracy

Only 3% of churches in America have a planned method of instructing their members to learn the Bible in its entirety. While studying the Bible shouldn’t be limited to a church setting, it’s imperative that churches take the lead in these types of endeavors.

When only three of 100 churches even attempt to provide a way for their members to understand Genesis to Revelation, biblical illiteracy is likely to occur. And biblical illiteracy means that our churches may not be obedient to the calls of Scripture because they don’t know what the Bible says.

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