How did we get here?

July 12, 2010 at 8:31 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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Have you ever had a moment to stop and look at your life? Have you ever stopped, examined your life and where you are, and wondered: How did I get here? I’ve done that a few times and it’s always been eye-opening. I never seem to have been where I thought I was. Sometimes I was further along than I thought and other times I wasn’t as far along as I expected. As I looked back on the path that I trod to get where I was, when I began studying where I walked, I could easily see the things that had gotten me off track. Things like disobedience, willful blindness, and sin led me off of the narrow path and out into the weeds. Because of my lack of diligence or awareness I had to work harder to get back on the path. I had to push through painful thorns and cut through the vines of worldliness that were trying to hold me down and choke me out. Through God’s grace alone, I am here. I’m cut up, bruised, and worn out, but I’m here. As I was pondering these things, I couldn’t help but wonder if the body of Christ has ever done this. I can think of one time when I would say this happened, but other than that, I don’t think that something like this has ever taken place. I wonder why? Does the church not see where it is? Do they not care where they are going? Or are they afraid of what they’ll find? Regardless of the reason, I think that the church would benefit from taking a little time to look at where it is in the face of the state of the world. Continue Reading How did we get here?…

What is the church?

June 28, 2010 at 6:30 am | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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It seems like such an innocent question doesn’t it? Logic would say that there should be a simple definition for what the church is and that should be that. Unfortunately, there isn’t. Well, I take that back. There is a simple definition of what the church is. A large number of those who profess Christ even seem to know what this definition is. What’s odd is that, while they know the definition, it doesn’t match up with what they are living out. Taken to the next level, this same oddity seems to be true for local churches. Attendees can give the Sunday school answer for the question but, looking at the church/individual, there’s a discrepancy. Before I go where I’m going, it would be helpful to have the definition of what the church is according to the Bible: Continue Reading What is the church?…

The purpose of the church

November 16, 2009 at 4:38 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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I have been thinking about this for awhile, but it becomes more apparent the more I study the scriptures. I’ve studied Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, 1 John, and now I’m doing a study on the spiritual gifts. In every study, I’ve seen a picture of the church, and when I compare the picture I see in the scriptures with the one that I see in America, they don’t match. It seems like the church in America (and other countries) no longer understands its purpose. No one seems to know what the church is about and this leads to a lot of busyness with nothing substantial to show for it. There are numerous churches who have many ministries and events but to what end? Certain churches are growing and the numbers are increasing but is this a proper gauge? When did it become all about the quantity of “Christians” in the church instead of the quality of the Christians as shown by the way they live their lives?
So, what is the purpose of the church? Well, first, you have to understand what the word church means. The word church is found only in the New Testament. It is the Greek word ekklesia and it means: church, congregation, assembly; a group of people gathered together. It can refer to the OT assembly of believers, a riotous mob, but usually to a Christian assembly, a church: as a totality or in a specific locale. In the NT a church is never a building or meeting place. So what does this mean? It means that the church is not the building you meet in whether it’s an actual church building or someone’s house. Instead, a church is the group of believers that meet in that building. Nowadays, it seems like people are more concerned about the state of the building than the state of the people meeting there. It is important to understand that it’s not just anyone who meets, it is the believers who meet. Those who are not believers are not part of the church.
Now that we have a simple understand of what the church is, what is its purpose? There are a few things that the church was designed for. The main purpose of the church is to glorify God. Many people would say that it is seeking the lost, but I disagree. As believing individuals, our main purpose in life is to glorify God. Why would that change when we gather together? If we do not glorify God, then it really doesn’t matter what we’re doing does it? There are other important purposes for the churches existence as well. A few of these can be found in Ephesians 4:11-13.
and He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists,
and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service,
to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the
knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs
to the fullness of Christ.
There are some interesting things to note here. First, there are specific reasons why God gave the spiritual gifts and none of them have to do with someone becoming rich and famous. It’s not the point of this blog to go into whether or not some of these gifts still exist or not (I believe they do) so I’ll leave that for another time. Second, the church is for the equipping of the saints. It is not for sinners. That may sound harsh or unorthodox now, but it’s the truth. The church and its purposes completely revolve around born-again believers. But, today this is not what we see. So many churches have gone to “church growth methods” like the ones at Willow Creek or Saddleback in order to get numbers. In doing so, they’ve gone out to the non-Christians to ask them why they don’t come to church and then tailored their “churches” to suit those who are lost. It seems to be a very weak and very dangerous substitute for evangelism. Instead of going out into all the world to preach the gospel, many try to lure them in with wordly entertainments preach the precepts of men as the doctrine of God.
The fact that the church is for believers becomes even more specific though. There are many churches who are filled with believers, but they are still not fitting the purpose that God intended. Why? Because the saints are being entertained instead of being equipped. The churchgoers come to service on Sunday and hear a sermon series on the summer blockbuster movies or popular music icons (like U2) instead of hearing the unadulterated Word of God. They don’t hear the truth or how they can apply it to their lives so that they can grow in holiness. They don’t get the scriptures they need to defend the faith and fight the good fight. The sad thing about all of this is that it is now commonplace. If things don’t go this way, it is an anomaly.
The purpose gets still more specific though. The saints are to be equipped for the work of service. What service? Simple. Going out to preach the gospel to all creation, baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; and teach them to observe all the things that Christ commanded us. The equipping of the saints also facilitates the building up of the body of Christ so that we are unified in our faith and in our knowledge of the Son of God. This too has not happened. There are numerous denominations and each one of them is going to heaven while the rest are going to hell. We are obviously not unified in our faith. Thousands of Christian brothers and sisters are spurned and treated unbiblically because they don’t fit in the right clique. They are not able to exercise their gifts to glorify God because they aren’t related to someone in charge or because they don’t have the right kind of clothes, the right salary, or the right kind of car. Not only are we not unified in our faith, we’re not unified in our knowledge of the Son of God! There are many people who claim to be Christians who have a false view of Jesus or the gospel. They don’t believe that God is in control, that Jesus is the only way to heaven, or that the Trinity exists. Some don’t even believe that Jesus is God! And these are supposed to be BELIEVERS! Many churches have tossed aside what scripture says in order to embrace a man-made system that provides them the money, power, and prestige they want while neglecting the needs of the church and the lost!
From what I see in scripture, this is not how it’s supposed to be. The church is supposed to be like this. You are saved and you become part of a local church. The pastor-teacher teaches you the truth and shows you how to apply it to your life so that you can glorify God and grow in holiness. You are taught about the spiritual gift(s) that you have from scripture (not man made doctrine!).You then begin to use these gifts to glorify God. The church also makes it possible for you to learn how to evangelize and tell others about Jesus. You do this either by becoming an evangelist (if that’s your gift!) and traveling the world preaching the truth or by taking the opportunities presented to you daily as you go about your life. When someone responds to the gospel in repentence and faith, they become part of the church and the cycle continues. There is nothing about entertaining the lost at church. There is nothing about catering to those who hate God, but this is what is happening.
Part of the reason our country (and world) is in the condition it is in is because the church has left its purpose in order to pursue worldly things. Many “pastors” today seem to hope that the one or two lines they sneak in about Jesus in the middle of their sermon series on the Spice Girls will somehow be absorbed by osmosis. They seem to think (erroneously) that it’s enough. It’s not enough. Until the church gets back to fulfilling its God-given purpose and loses all of the other things that it has taken up in hopes of inflating its membership, it will never accomplish what it is supposed to…

Where is the church?

April 27, 2009 at 3:16 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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Before I get into this blog I guess I should state up front that I know that there are churches that are actually doing the things that Scripture says they should. The thing that I wonder about is why there seem to be so few doing this and why their numbers seem to be dwindling so quickly…


It seems that modern churches are all about two things; money and numbers. Getting as much money from the tithe as possible and getting as many people in the seats as you can are the main goals of many preachers today. Because of this, “pastors” are willing to “preach” messages (sometimes written by other pastors) that tickle the ears of those listening. They spend their time on “uplifting” messages that fill their audience with hope. The topics often revolve around money, blessing, a positive attitude, “speaking the Word”, and what God can do for you. They entertain with funny anecdotes, relevant stories, and outrageous stunts to pad their “sermons”. The “worship” band tends to be the focus of the music while Jesus is only mentioned in passing. Nothing regarding sin, hell, or the depravity of man is ever heard or sung about. It’s all about man being free from sin and victorious.


The youth groups are full of teens that have taken a cue from their parents, “leaders”, and “pastor”. They know the right words to say and have all the “Sunday school” answers down, but their lives are far from real and it is hard to tell them apart from non-Christian teens. The “youth leader” (a fairly new invention of the modern church) is just as entertaining (if not more so) than the pastor; trying to lure teens into the church with lock ins, video games, and pizza in the hopes that the gospel will change their lives by osmosis (of course, they would have to hear the gospel first, but that’s a different subject). They give a cool message using examples from Twilight and other popular movies and music to try and keep the kids’ attention. They have cookouts, concerts, and rallies to try and get these “Christian” youth to bring their unsaved friends (I still can’t tell them apart). The kids are not being changed and there is no evidence that they are growing in holiness at all.


The adults are any better. They sit in their “Bible study” classes and talk about pretty much everything but the Bible. Gossip flows like water, all in the context of “being concerned for someone” or wanting the class to pray for them. Like their kids, it is hard to see the evidence of growth in holiness, but they can set up a church event, potluck, or revival faster than you can blink. Other than John 3:16, Psalm 23, and (maybe) a verse or two in Romans; most couldn’t tell you the address of where to find anything in Scripture. Many who can couldn’t do so in context and wouldn’t know why that’s important. Theology is pushed to the side in favor of a glazed-over, watered-down, sugar-coated version of Christianity where everything is sunshine and roses, God is only love, He only does good, and sinners should come to the church to hear the good news.


Is this harsh? Maybe. I don’t think so though. The church is supposed to look, act, think, and talk differently than the world but it doesn’t. It is supposed to represent Christ on earth and be an example. While it’s an example, it’s not the kind that many need. The church is often mocked and laughed at, and with good reason. It looks like cheap knock off of the world mixed with just enough spirituality to call itself a religion. Think about this for a minute. The church is supposed to be the bride of Christ. What would you do if someone were mocking your bride? How would you feel? Angry? Now, how would you feel if your bride did things that brought the mockery and laughter on her? You’d still feel angry, but you’d feel ashamed too (at least I would).


There is a reason that I write this and it comes from something that I was a part of last week. The area that I live in was hit by what is called a gravity wave (if you want to see what one looks like in action, check here). The wind destroyed a number of trees and power lines and did a lot of damage. My friend was one of the people affected by the gravity wave. He had damage to his house, truck, and sunroom. They were without power for days. The city took care of the trees in the road, but didn’t really help him at all. His dad, his family and a few friends, and a church did help him. The church that came to help was from a city 30-40 miles away.


I’ve got an issue with this and I’ll tell you what it is. The church that came to help was a great witness to my friend, but that witness was hindered. You see, I live in an area of the country where there is a church pretty much on every corner. Between the city he lives in and the city where the church came from there are hundreds of churches with thousands of people. Many of the churches would have known about it (it was on the news) and none of them were anywhere to be found. But, even that isn’t my issue. The heart of my issue is the fact that I could stand in my friend’s front yard, throw a rock, and hit five churches. One of them is almost directly across the street. I am aware that the churches probably suffered damage as well and the people that attend these churches may have suffered damage to their homes too. But surely some of them escaped damage. While I seem to be ranting about this, the issue actually goes a lot deeper than this one instance. I’ve noticed for a while now that most churches have become cliques. If you’re not part of that church (and even sometimes if you are) then you don’t seem to exist. The church does what it will for whom it wants to in their congregation and that seems to be the extent of it. What irritates me most about this is the fact that my friend expects this. He is unsaved and has become cynical of the church because he’s been burned numerous times by those who call themselves “Christians” and look or act nothing like what Scripture says. I know that some would say, “that’s not all Christians”, and you’d be right. I’d have to ask though: how many times someone should go through what he has before he thumbs his nose at the church and doesn’t want anything to do with it? Should he keep the fact that this “isn’t all Christians” in the back of his mind while he gets burned again? He’s not the only one either. There are hundreds of people in the same situation who have come to expect the lack of response from “the church”. Unfortunately, it hinders the witness of those who are actually trying to look and act like believers.


The church of Jesus Christ (not the Latter day saints!) is alive and well, but I find it hard to believe that it’s as big as most people say it is. With all of the foolishness and so many churches falling away from the faith, I can’t help but wonder if Jesus will find faith on the earth when He returns. It would be nice for a change if people were actually honest about themselves. If you call yourself a Christian and you’re not living your life according to the Scripture found in the Bible, then please stop calling yourself a Christian. If you’re part of a cult that claims to be a part of Christianity (Mormonism, Catholicism, Universal Unitarianism, etc.), please stop. I don’t expect to be heard by many, but maybe someone will hear me and at least think about what I’ve said. The church is failing the world and it’s because they have let go of the truth in order to embrace fads and “methods” that are unnecessary and unhealthy. The church needs to get back to the simple preaching of the gospel. If the sermons last an hour or two, then so be it. People (many of whom are in the church) need to hear the truth of the gospel and get soundly saved.


Will you be one of the ones to help?

Packing the pews

October 9, 2007 at 3:14 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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The Church of England recently held a “Back to Church Sunday” event where about 2,000 churches encouraged their congregations to invite friends and family back to church. This was an effort to slow the shrinking church in England and resulted in a change in the services of many of the churches.

I’ve got to say that I’ve noticed a trend like this in the US too. Not so much a shrinking church, but a desire and concerted effort to “pack the pews”. It seems the local churches have become more focused on quantity and not quality. It’s become more about numbers in a day and age where the truth of the Bible needs to be proclaimed with a bulldog-like tenacity. The mentality of the modern church seems to be that if we pack the pews and offer all of these “seeker sensitive” programs, we’ll see everything happen at a much greater level and we’ll have more people to do the work of God. Continue Reading Packing the pews…

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