The Tithe

February 18, 2013 at 5:50 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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Even as I write this, I know that there will be many who cry foul. As a matter of fact, there are many churches out there (including churches I formerly attended) that would read this and ostracize me for it. However, knowing this only adds to my grief for the church and the direction that many individual churches seem to be headed. I’ve written before on how the modern day church has become a business and nothing seems to have changed since then. If anything, it has only gotten worse. In many churches today, there is a teaching that permeates everything these churches do in regards to giving and after having heard it over and over and over for the past 11 years, I’m going to go through it in the hopes that others will begin to see what God says about it. Continue Reading The Tithe…

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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?…

Pharisees

June 15, 2010 at 4:55 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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Often, when we are hearing about events that took place in the gospels, we are told about the enemies of Jesus. Those people who opposed Him and tried everything they could to show Him to be a charlatan. Of all the groups that did this, the one that Christians are most familiar with are the Pharisees. Because of the often simple light in which this group is painted, many people don’t realize the dangers inherent in what they said and did. To understand this, it is important to understand where the Pharisees came from.
 
The group of Jews known as Pharisees arose during the reign of John Hyrcanus. They came from the Hasidism, which was a militant religious community that was focused on obedience to the Law and worship to God. They began around 168 B.C. (before Christ!…). The name Pharisee means “separated one” and was applied to this group because they separated themselves from the Hellenistic influence brought in through the Greeks. At the time of Jesus, it is believed that there were around 6,000 Pharisees in Israel. The Pharisees saw the entire Old Testament as authoritative, but accepted oral tradition as authoritative as well. They believed in the existence of angels and demons. They believed in life after death and bodily resurrection. They believed that the study of the Law was worship. They strove to live holy by keeping the Law and saw the Law as determining what was clean and unclean. They felt very strongly about obedience to the Law and developed a set of regulations to help save people from breaking the Law. There are 613 laws in the Old Testament and the discussions that they had were as specific as whether or not a person should eat an egg laid on the Sabbath. The Pharisees lived for the Law and sought to use it in all situations. Continue Reading Pharisees…

Sunday’s Newslinks – 01/31/10

January 31, 2010 at 9:17 am | Posted in Newslinks | Leave a comment
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Sunday’s Newslinks brought to you by At Ease Tees

Brown victory prompts political tremors in California
California Republicans have joined other party faithful across the country in celebrating the Scott Brown win in Massachusetts and believe it will be the political stimulus the GOP needs heading into this Fall’s election.

Study: Sexting a growing and dangerous problem
Pew Research Center has released results of a survey on “sexting,” the practice mostly among youth of transmitting nude or semi-nude pictures of themselves via cell phone.

Airline clerk appeals UK rulings banning crucifix
A Christian woman is asking London’s High Court to force British Airways to admit it was wrong in demanding she stop wearing a crucifix at work.

Ten Commandments monument in place at Okla. bank
A Ten Commandments monument that supporters want to put on the lawn of an Oklahoma county courthouse has been installed outside a bank for the time being.
Continue Reading Sunday’s Newslinks – 01/31/10…

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?


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