Is your church part of the problem?

In many churches today, especially within a fifty-mile radius of my home, many visitors feel unwanted and unwelcome. Why is this? Mostly because our churches have become social meeting places rather than places to meet and worship God and Jesus. My church and yours should be places to fall in love with our Savior, but more often than not we talk more about politics and government issues and who should be added to our prayer list this week. Granted, many who are truly in need of prayer for healing and comfort NEED our prayers each and every day.

But the political issues in our government and how it is being run should be part of our prayer ministry, not a part of the commentary and debate in church or Bible study time.

Is the church part of the problem in America today? In some cases…yes it is. We are more concerned about the color of the carpet in the sanctuary and how it looks than we are about drawing more people into the church to hear about salvation through Jesus! So, what can we do about our relationship with Him? I mean, it is our relationship with Jesus which we are supposed to be giving away or at least showing people a Savior that they need to get to know!

Why are churches turning away from their “first love” and trying to be everything to everyone these days? It seems that some churches are trying to attract more people to church just for the numbers in attendance. Having a large number of people attending church is good, but if the message is more fluff than it is substance pertaining to salvation through Jesus, then the message is wrong!

Having 300 or more people attending church every Sunday is great but if you aren’t preaching the love of Jesus and the salvation which He died to provide for those who will believe, then you just have a full church. IF you aren’t following up with those who have attended your services to find out where their beliefs are or if they need prayer for specific problems in life, then you aren’t doing your job as a church. When I say this, I don’t mean that the preacher has to be the one following up with the people. It is the responsibility of those who are Christians in the church who should be doing this as well as the preacher!

Even a full-time preacher can’t reach out and touch every person who has visited your church or has asked for prayer. The only way that we, as a church, can take care of those in the congregation and those who have visited but haven’t decided to be a part of your church is for the deacons and the elders in the church to go to them and invite them back. If they are searching for Jesus, they will feel His presence in those who are inviting them back IF you are doing it in the power of Christ and with His love shining through.

Numbers and the amount which is given during the offering are not the way which measures a church and its commitment to following Jesus. Telling others about Him, mentoring those who are new to the faith, Bible study and helping others to grow in their walk with Jesus are the ways which the church continues to be the true church in the world today! Praying for each other’s burdens, listening to their concerns about being a Christian and living your walk with Him every day is the way to walk the walk so others might want to know Him too.

Many of these things are what our churches need to be doing but few actually are doing them and doing them effectively.

Jesus loves….me!

I sang along with the children in my church this morning and we sang “Jesus loves me”. It is a very fitting song for Christmas because that is the reason He came to be our Savior! This season is known for excess spending and all sorts of commercial excesses in sales and marketing and all sorts of product placement, etc.

Why can’t we place our Savior at the center of this celebration? We have the freedom to worship Him, yet we change the names of trees that are bought for this time of year. We say “Happy Holidays” instead of Merry Christmas so we don’t offend a few people! The freedom to worship God was the reason which began the journey to this country for many people, so why should we have to give up or limit our freedoms now because of a minority of people who may be offended?

God’s love is so great for each of us that He sent Jesus to be born in Bethlehem and grow up under Jewish law to save His people. When they refused to see Him as their Messiah, the offer of salvation was expanded to the entire world! There have been many stumbles and mishaps along the way to bring Jesus’ gift of salvation to every nation. Some of them very tragic and costly in lives and property and those damages can’t be undone from a cultural standpoint.

Just as the results of wars cannot be undone and the effect of words on different parties can’t be unsaid to remove the hurt and the pain they have caused, Christian history cannot be changed either. But, there have been many good things which have come from the spreading of the gospel in the world. People have come to know Jesus as their Savior who wouldn’t have had that chance if we had not followed the Lord’s command to go into all the world and tell others about Him.

God loves you and every person on this planet and He wants you to come to know Jesus as your Savior. The extent of His love and compassion is unknowable because God is infinite in knowledge and power, but of all the people on Earth who can be effective in His Kingdom, one of you who reads this can do something which no other person in the world can do! You can reach your children or maybe your nephews and nieces when nobody else can. You may be able to reach your family in ways that nobody other than you can do. God knows all of these facts and He can use your talents because He gave them to you.

Don’t consider that your talent or gift is not useful to God or useful in His Kingdom because He wouldn’t have given it to you if you couldn’t use it. Seek Him out in all that you do, ask for the ability to use your gift to bring someone to Christ because that is the most wonderful gift of all and it doesn’t cost you anything.


Anger or compassion

thereasonforourproblemsWe live every day with the consequences of one or the other, the outcome depends upon which one is more prevalent in our lives. Is it anger and our temper or do we live a life of service to others and showing compassion toward their problems? Do you worry more about your own problems and troubles? Most of us do exactly that. We worry about our lives and our finances and many other problems, most of which we can do nothing constructive about.

Life is given to each of us to bring glory to God, not to our own life or for our own selfish needs or wants. God gives us the necessary abilities to accomplish everything that He has intended for us to do. We should depend upon Him and His provisions for us, whether it is in the form of money or talent, to be able to accomplish the task He has given to us. Finding out that task is our job, to work toward being close enough to God so that we can discern His will for us.

How do we do this? By reading the Bible with an attitude of prayer and seeking His will for our life. Read a chapter then ask God to reveal His wisdom in what you just read. Ask Him to show you what His wisdom means in this chapter and how it applies to your life and ministry. It doesn’t matter which book you are reading or what chapter it may be. It could be in Genesis or Psalms or Matthew or even in Revelation.

The point is that whatever you read, ask God to show you what His wisdom is in the scripture. I have found that it doesn’t matter how many times you read a book or chapter in God’s Word, you will get a different meaning almost every time you read it. Why is that? Because God’s Word is a living document which reads you and your Spirit as you read it. Actually, it is God’s Spirit which inspired the Word of God in the Bible which is reading you and your soul.

I know that many will read this and call it crazy or something like that, but if you ask a preacher or an evangelist about what they get out of reading and studying the Bible, you will get many different answers. By that, I mean that each time you read the same passage, if you are reading it to learn from God’s wisdom, you will get a little different message than you did the last time. I have only read the Bible through about seven or eight times and each time I will get a slightly different message from the last time I read it.

God knows you so much better than you do and His Word speaks to those differences however slight they are or what those emotional or life experiences might be. His Word speaks in His voice to your soul, your spirit and it is that part of you which hears the different messages or teachings which come from the study of His Word.