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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

XX. Happy Holi...MERRY CHRISTMAS!

No matter what twists and turns society has put on this time of the year such as characters and sales and entertainment and controversy, one thing remains constant: it is still Christmas. And Christmas has always had the same meaning. This holiday (holy day) has been set by man but had been instituted by God.


The true date of Christ's birthday is still a mystery but the meaning behind the event is the clearest thing ever. God came down from His throne in heaven and placed Himself into our lives. He came from Paradise to come to a world hurting and dying to save it.


Why have we, as Christians especially, allowed the world to demean what the day stands for? Why do we constantly give up ground on this issue? It doesn't matter if Kwanzaa is celebrated. It doesn't matter if Hanukkah is celebrated. It doesn't matter if there is a Festivus for the rest of us. This time of the year is still set apart for the savior of the world. And if you are a Christian, then celebrate Christmas not the holiday season.
Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

XIX. Let Me Entertain You

Results from the last poll on what do you want to see more of at church?
  • 68% more worship. The Church needs to set more time for worship. Worship is the first defense against the worldly pressures. When the Israelites were going to war God told them to put the singers first and lead them into battle. 2 Chronicles chapter 13 tells us that when Judah was being surrounded in battle those with trumpets blew their horns, the men cried out to God and Judah was triumphant that day. This is why worship is so important to the lives of Christians. We're are living in a world that hates us; in a world that will tear us down. Worship lifts us up again because it brings true hope and change. Not like those who only promise hope and change. The question is...how are we worshiping? In truth? For show? For time allotment? Too many churches have a set number of songs they sing each week thereby taking emphasis away from this crucial part of the Christian's life.
  • 57% wanted more small group studies at the church. There is a major push to having home studies only. This is not a bad idea but sometimes Sundays are the only day that people have to set aside for studies in this world of go go go. Too many times we forget how important this is. More in depth studies to understand the life God has planned for us are needed.
  • 52% say more missions are needed. This is saying that the Church focuses too much time on itself. This may be due to the fact that many churches have been "sub-urbanized" to the core. This cold hearted fact of the suburb mentality may be killing some churches spiritually. The mentality of "keeping up with the Jones'" means people are more self-centered and holding back tithes and offerings to fulfill their own personal mission: Being fulfilled in life by being richly blessed i.e. money!
  • Not surprisingly 0% said more entertainment was needed. The big question here is why are churches then focusing on being a form of entertainment? They all will say that is not what they are doing but in reality...yes, they are. Movies, plays, concerts, and all the like are good ways of bringing people in to the church. And they are a great form of communication when used correctly. But why is it every Sunday? Why is it every event? Is the Church located in Los Angeles (Hollywood)? Are we all Clinton and Obama followers? Do we all need to be entertained each week? What happens when the entertainment isn't so entertaining? Will we turn in off just like a bad TV show? Churches need more substance. Even 42% said the sermons need to be more in depth.

A true growing church needs balance. Something for all. But it also needs to get real. Many people who go to church will walk away feeling good but will never hear what the message is all about because they had to run back out into the lobby to refill their coffee cup. Gimmicks are not a correct way of teaching people about Christ. There is a church that actually had auctioned off a car to get people to come to the church. Why wasn't the money spent on the car used to fulfill a mission?

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