Wednesday, March 14, 2007

To Go Or Not To Go....That is the question.

There's quite a conversation taking place over at
Glenn's blog. Glenn's post is dealing with a book titled, "They like Jesus but not the Church".

In the comment section, I stated I don't like the name of that book. I still don't. I might feel better if it was, "They LOVE Jesus but not the Church." Oh Shannon, you're getting tripped up over a book title. Perhaps.

What I really want to bring out is a comment that was made that really got my mind going.

Jason said, "When people ask where I go on Sunday, I say oh about 10 feet to my couch where I take what is rightfully given to me by God, that is my Sabbath. A day of rest and rejuvenation with my family. I love it, and hope it never changes."

I have to admit, my first thought was, "What a lazy christian!" But, forget about that. Is there really a need to "attend" church? A church as in a gathering of people for the purpose of corporately worshiping God and edifying one another? Is this something that's been done away with and the Bible no longer holds any instruction in regards to this? Is it OK to not participate in a regular gatherings of God's people?

Scriptures like Hbr 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some [is]; but exhorting [one another]: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Has this scripture been mis-understood and mis-represented all these years? Has the meaning of this scripture somehow lost it's value in our post modern society? Would Jesus attend gatherings if he were living in 2007?

I'll be honest. I don't believe a person HAS to be in "church" every time the doors are open but I do believe a Jesus-Follower should be actively engaged in corporate worship often. You've heard the saying, "No man is an island to himself." That is the feeling I get when I hear someone say they don't need church or they can get as much from God sitting at home.

A key to spiritual growth is communion with other believers as we worship our God together. I wonder just how much a person grows when they aren't helping others get closer to God. When they aren't serving others, I wonder who they are serving?

Someone has said that being a Christian without being faithful to church is like:

- A student who will not go to school
- A soldier who will not join the army
- A citizen who will not vote
- A salesman without customers
- A seaman without a ship
- An author without readers
- A parent without a family
- A football player without a team
- A bee without a hive

You see, it may be possible to be a Christian without going to church but can you be a good, growing and godly Christian without participation? I don't see how. We need one another.

R. A. Torrey said it well,

"There is nothing more important in the Christian life than beginning right. If we begin right, we can go on right. And, one way we begin right is by being faithful to the house of God."

The day of Pentecost wouldn't have been the same if 119 of the people didn't participate in prayer in the upper room.

So, what do you think?

Is Church overrated and there is no Biblical mandate for such interaction with other believers?

Are you half-awake or half-asleep?

William James said, "Compared to what we ought to be, most of us are half-awake?"

Half-awake, half-asleep...same thing. I love this quote and I think about it often. I'm a firm believer in that God presents opportunity to us and if we're not awake, we'll miss them.

Sometimes we're so busy with our own lives that we miss God-opportunities. Sometimes we're so busy messing up other people's lives that we miss God-opportunities. Sometimes we're just not spiritually tuned into what God is doing and we become totally disconnected so that everything God would do just flies right over our heads.

The danger in this is that a missed opportunity is just that, missed. You may never get it back again. How many God-op's have I missed because I wasn't aware? How many opportunities to help someone? How many opportunities have I let slip right through my hands because I was too busy with my own agenda? How many times have I failed others because I was so self-focused? Where has God tried to bless me but because I wasn't aware, I failed to recognize His hand in it?

God sends opportunities often so we must have our "spiritual antennas" up so that we will be able to detect what God is attempting to do through and for us. Don't miss out on what God wants to do for you and through you because you're not alert.

How do you become alert? Prayer! Pray, because when you're praying, you're alert and you're expecting God to move in your life. If you're not praying, then your spiritual antenna is not up!

1Th 5:17 Pray without ceasing.

I pray that God will lead you into greater and greater opportunities that will bring Glory and Honor to His name!

Friday, March 09, 2007

Take it to the next level

So often in church circles, especially "Pentecostal" ones, you'll hear phrases like this,

  • We need God to pour out His anointing
  • We need the Holy Spirit to move
  • Our worship service needs to go to the next level
  • Our church needs to go to the next level
There are more but I think the point is understood. I want to say first of all, I'm not against any of these things. Actually I think they're all needed in every local church. But, what I don't get is why many people saying these things act as if it's the "churches" responsibility that these things are taken to the next level. I think God will pour out His anointing. I think the Holy Spirit will move. I think worship service can go to the next level. I think churches can go to the next level. I also think we miss it many times when we stand on the outside peering in without any change or advancement in ourselves.

Here's what I think needs to happen. I think people need to go to the next level. Not the "church". Let's not forget WE are the church so if the church is lacking, that can only be indicitive of our own lack. If we want the church or worship to go to the next level, then we first must go to the next level. Quit playing church and get serious about God's work; that is reaching the lost. Not maintaining what we have only. God will pour out His anointing, the Holy Spirit will move, worship will go to the next level and our church will go to the next level when WE go to the next level in God.

When we get out of our comfort zones and advance the kingdom of God like never before, God will be there like never before. I'm concerned that many I know have this fixed mentality of how church and God are and they're waiting on them to go to the next level but they do not understand that God is waiting on them....not them waiting on God!

We must come to the place where God is all we want. Nothing else. Just God. He is the most important need of my life!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

So much to do and so little time...

This is one of the busiest times of the year for me. We're preparing to have our Annual Business Meeting at Living Springs and there is so much to do and get ready for. This year we're presenting new ideas to help us achieve what God has called us to do as a church in addition to reviewing where God has brought us from last year. 2006 was a tremendous year for me personally as well as for our entire church. As I look back and consider all that God has done, I'm simply amazed. He is so good and so faithful to us. Even with all of the wonderful blessings of God throughout last year, I'm so excited about what God is doing this year. We're almost through the first quarter of the year and there's yet so much I feel God wants to lead us in that it can be a bit overwhelming sometimes. I need to sit down and prioritize what are the most urgent and needed steps to take. What God is doing will certainly take everyones passion and participation. That to me is what's most exciting. Uniting with His body to bring glory and honor to His name. We're going forward with a deep thankfulness for what He has accomplished through us over the past year!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Bridge to where?

My wife is out of town at a conference so it's just me and the kiddos. Last night we all went to see the movie, Bridge to Terabithia. I must admit, I was not impressed at all. The movie was very slow to get into and once it did finally become interesting, you were busy chasing the scenes in an attempt to figure out where they fit into the overall theme of the be honest, I never discovered the overarching theme of the film. After leaving the theater on the way home I kept trying to put it all together but I just couldn't. The good side is, I spent some quality time with my children and ate nachos and popcorn to my hearts content. :) So it wasn't a total loss. ;)