Why the decrease?

According to a poll done recently, of the nearly seventy percent of Christians who identify as Christians in the United States, only forty to fifty-nine percent of those attend church weekly. The article was on Faithwire so I am giving you the link to it if you want to read it. The United States came in as an outlier in the statistical realm because of our less involved Christians.

Why have participation and participants gone down in the past fifty years in America? I think it is because we have moved away from teaching our children about the moral absolutes found in the Bible. The schools are not allowed to teach it anymore, we don’t have a copy of the Ten Commandments in schools anymore for fear of offending someone. We have taken prayer, compulsory or voluntary, out of schools because of “political correctness” and trying not to offend people.

You know, Jesus offended His people while He was teaching and preaching! He would heal a person on the Sabbath or clear the porch of the Temple because of all the business transactions going on in a worship setting. He ate with sinners of all things! What a disgrace!

Really? Those who are sinners, which we all are by the way, need to hear the message of love and forgiveness more than the people who have been in the church for forty years. Many of those who have been in the church the longest are more like the Pharisees than the tax collector. They may not pray like he did, essentially telling God that He was lucky to have him as a teacher and that he wasn’t like these sinners or this tax collector, but they have ears which have grown calloused to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Many of them are spiritually deaf!

Then, when they go home their children and grandchildren don’t hear any more about Jesus and His teachings until next Sunday for about thirty minutes or so. If you aren’t teaching your children about Jesus during the week then they are listening to those at school about what exactly? Football, basketball, soccer, cheerleading, all of the religions of America which push Jesus into the locker room and shut the door.

Then during the fall there is hunting and more football and its an endless cycle every year. We are letting our children down into a well where Jesus is not and if they don’t find out about Him in time, they will drown in the world’s “religions” and may never darken the door of a church after they graduate. We have allowed this to happen to our children and to society in general. It isn’t some plot from some other religious group or some computer or console game! The blame for this lies directly in the laps of our families because we have failed in our duty to teach the next generation.

If we don’t turn this around and begin teaching our grandchildren and children now, in another generation there won’t be a church in America or the UK. Many are closing their doors each month as it is because no one attends and there is no money to keep the church open, let alone pay a pastor. We are living in the time just before the return of Jesus and the world is running away from belief in Him as fast as possible and it breaks my heart. I know it is breaking God’s heart too watching those that Jesus died for turn away and leave.

“Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, “Return to Me,” declares the LORD of hosts, “that I may return to you,” says the LORD of hosts. Zechariah 1:3

Faith is doing!

That is why it says in James chapter 2, “18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works”. The Hebrew word for faith is Emunah, which is less about knowing and more about doing. The literal meaning of Emunah is “to take firm action”. To look at faith in the light of the Hebrew word is like a staircase, in your mind you know the stairs lead to another level but until you climb the stairs you won’t get there.

That is the type of faith which the church NEEDS today! Faith in Jesus which moves us toward doing His Work in our daily lives! Not the intellectual knowing of or about Jesus but the kind of faith which carries us from the sermon out into the real world so that others might see Jesus working in us and through us in our lives!

What kind of change needs to happen in your life today so that your faith is defined by what you do instead of what you know?Faith



focused – focused on a goal

attainable – possible, practical goals

individual – personal goals

trackable – trackable goal

heartfelt – heartfelt goal

Faith…it is a gift of God, indeed, but one which must be realized and cultivated as any other gift if it is to realize the purpose for which it is given. (A.W. Tozer)

Consider that faith is something which is given to each of us by God through the action of the Holy Spirit to bring our hearts into alignment with His goals and purposes. It is not a magic formula nor is it something unique to Christians. Many people have faith in their jobs or their religion or even in their government..at least to an extent.

Faith is the belief in something which is hoped for yet is unseen at this point. Just as Abraham had heard God tell him to sacrifice Isaac as a burnt offering. He knew that God has also promised him that through Isaac a people, a nation would arise. So, he followed God’s command to go to the mountain and build an altar to sacrifice his son upon it. He likely felt that if he did take Isaac’s life, God would raise him from the dead in order to fulfill His promise. God provided another sacrifice in the place of Isaac, but it was by the faith of Abraham that God did that too.

Faith is powerful in our lives today because it is by faith that we believe in Jesus and in the atonement granted to us by His death on the cross and His resurrection as our Savior. We couldn’t believe in this or any of the promises from God’s Word without faith. Also, faith in and of itself is not a “magic” word nor is praying in the name of Jesus. Even though you hear it and learn it in church, these words only have meaning in your walk with your Savior. 

If there is no relationship between you and Jesus then your faith and your prayers don’t accomplish much. Walking with Him, reading His Word and using the strength that you find in your relationship with Him to be more like Him is the best relationship that you can have! A marriage with Jesus holding the two of you together is also the best and most rewarding marriage that you can have as well.

God designed each of us to want a relationship with Him but many people try to fill that feeling of emptiness with other people or things and just like a puzzle piece in a jigsaw puzzle, only one fits in that spot. That is where Jesus goes. Don’t let “feel good” preaching tell you otherwise and don’t think of any book, other than God’s Word, as being your guide in this life or as a guide to eternity!

We have God’s Word for a reason. The acronym that best describes it is this: Basic Instructions for Believing and Living Everyday!

Read it, study it, pray about it and through it and live by its wisdom and your life will have a purpose which is given to you and ordained by God our Creator Himself. Living by His Word can only be accomplished by FAITH so make sure that yours is grounded in Jesus and His Word.

Understanding your role (part 3)

I didn’t realize that my sermon was quite so long, so I am having to add another post to finish it. I hope that you enjoy it. Remember, the first part is at http://inhisservicetilhecomes.com.

Part 2 was published on this site, so it should be easy to put them together. Try to read them in sequence so you get the context of the whole sermon.

This is the final piece so here it is:

In other words, do what Jesus did in that He took care of those having faith in Him with prayer and supplications often and He healed their afflictions in so much that it would give glory to God the Father. Of course, He kept himself from the sins of this world which is nigh impossible for us to do except that we have to  live in the Word and be praying to God for the strength to do so while we are present in this body.

Why does James call us to be strong in our faith and our walk with Jesus? Because of the witness that we have by claiming Jesus as our Savior. If you aren’t living out your faith on a daily walk with Him, then how will people be able to tell if you are a true Christian?

Charles Haddon Spurgeon said it like this when he preached from this chapter:

“It is your faith which is tried. It is supposed that you have that faith. You are not the people of God, you are not truly brethren unless you are believers. It is this faith of yours which is peculiarly obnoxious to Satan and to the world which lieth in the wicked one. The hand of faith is against all evil, and all evil is against faith. Faith is that blessed grace which is most pleasing to God, and hence it is most displeasing to the devil. He rages at faith because he sees therein his own defeat and the victory of grace. Because the trial of your faith brings honour to the Lord, therefore the Lord Himself is sure to try it that out of its trial praise may come to His grace by which faith is sustained. It is by our faith that we are saved, justified, and brought near to God, and therefore it is no marvel that it is attacked. Faith is the standard bearer, and the object of the enemy is to strike him down that the battle may be gained. It is by our faith that we live; we began to live by it, and we continue to live by it, for “the just shall live by faith.” Hold fast, therefore, this your choice treasure. It is by faith, too, that Christians perform exploits. Faith is the conquering principle: therefore it is Satan’s policy to slay it even as Pharaoh sought to kill the male children when Israel dwelt in Egypt”.


In conclusion, we are to live out our faith daily, sometimes hourly if the temptation is ongoing, so that we will be counted as God’s adopted and influence others to want what we have found in Him! Amen?

Belief…do you believe?

faithbeliefIn the world today, there are many who don’t believe in Jesus or the Bible itself yet it is the inspired Word of God. Although many people don’t believe even that the Bible is God’s Word but just a collection of stories written by a bunch of men. The Bible is so much more than that!

It was written under the direction and influence of the Holy Spirit and the words which are contained in it come from God. Yes, it was written by forty different men over a period of more than 1500 years. That in itself is amazing because if all of those men from different times, even centuries apart, could write a book which told of a Savior Who would come to save the world, then how could they have made the stories up?!

Belief is also bound up in faith because you can’t believe in the miracles or in our Savior without faith even if it is as small as a grain of mustard seed. The tiniest bit of faith can be used by God to accomplish many things, far beyond what you would think. When the will of God is involved in anything, it will be accomplished no matter the size of your faith!

Give your life and your heart to Jesus, as well as all that you have, and He will multiply it back to you and into His Kingdom in ways that can’t be imagined. I pray that this will encourage you to follow Jesus and ask Him into your life. Why? Because, I have to…it is my job to tell others about Him! I can’t keep quiet because He is in control and His power goes into the world to heal from this time forward! God has not stopped healing or mending broken hearts and lives.

Thank you for your time and may God richly bless you in all of the ways that you need, in Jesus’ Holy Name, Amen.

Moses’ staff

In Exodus, Moses saw a burning bush and decided to move up on the mountain to see this marvelous thing, “a bush burning, but not consumed”. When he drew near to it, God spoke to him and said, God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”. Exodus 3:5  

What made the side of the mountain holy?

The presence of almighty God! When you read the account of their conversation, you realize that God had watched Moses for many years. He had been responsible for tempering and molding him through his life, not because of his education in Egypt, not because of his murder of an Egyptian taskmaster, and not because of Moses being a shepherd for forty years. God had a task for him and through all of that, God had made Moses into the leader and the humble man who would lead Israel out of Egypt.

Moses’ Staff

1 And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee. 2 And the LORD said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod. 3 And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it. 4 And the LORD said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand: 5 That they may believe that the LORD God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath appeared unto thee. Exodus 4:1-5

God asked a question during their “interview” that seems silly to me. He asked Moses, “What is that in your hand?”. God knew what it was! It was his staff, it was just a dry stick that many shepherds used in their work with the sheep. He wanted Moses to see it as God saw it, an instrument of God’s power and might to be used to get Pharaoh’s attention.

It was also a representation of God and His Spirit, because God could use it to do great things. It was not to be worshiped, it was not to be put in a place of honor, it was to be used in God’s service.

A stick. What could God use a stick for? Well, during their time in the desert, a stick was used to purify water for them to drink at the spring at Marah.

The Waters of Marah: Exodus 15:22-26

22 So Moses brought Israel from the Red sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water. 23 And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah. 24 And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? 25 And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them, 26 And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee.

Now, Moses didn’t cast the tree into the waters but he used a limb from it most likely, a stick. But, when used by God even a stick can be a force for good and a force to change lives. It allowed them to drink, so it saved their lives.

Why did God use sticks? Because, without Him and His Spirit those dry sticks could do nothing but in the hand of a servant of God who is obeying God’s word, a stick can do wonders. God made the stick turn into a cobra, at one point the staff of Aaron budded and bloomed, a stick was used to purify the water at Marah. The stick didn’t do any of those things! God did!

Our God is the same God that Moses served in the wilderness. He is the same One who stood in the furnace with the Israelites when the king threw them in there for not worshiping him. He is the Creator of all things, you and me included, and He can use us even if our faith is as dry as a stick…if we will let Him!

The staff which I have in my hand has been dead for a long time, but if you can see it as a vine, like the True Vine of Jesus, you can hold it and keep it in the center of your life. It is a representation of God and His power, something to hold you up, to keep you steady in your walk with Him. It is a stick, but it can be a symbol for Jesus because it is something that we can hold and touch. Shepherds used a staff to keep the sheep in line, to help them to walk during the long days, to fend off predators, to lean on when they were tired.

All of these things, we can do with Jesus as well if we will place Him in that place where we can lean on Him. He is always near to us, we just have to acknowledge that we need Him and surrender our lives to Him. Something that our church, the church, needs to do today.

Won’t you decide to place Him at the center of your life today? Let Him assist you in your life’s struggles, no matter what they may be. He will give you the strength, the words, the wisdom and the way to get through your struggles. But, you must learn to lean on Him like a stick or a staff.