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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

LXXXVIII. More Observations Of The Church Today

Words in italics were sent from a friend:
In 2012 - Positives & Negatives 

+ Most churches are very accepting of people and where they lack spiritually and can create a place where the "seeker" can find God.
 - Most churches do not preach repentance but only acceptance and then wonder why more do not donate their time or tithe and continue to only seek.
+ Churches really work hard to create programs and classes to increase church growth.
- Churches and their staff work harder on the programs than on converting and the actual visiting of the people the programs are to reach, even when asked.

+ Churches have connections and seminars to encourage one another in their work and accomplishment for Christ.
- Church conventions are often "Rah-Rah" sessions, kind of like the Pharisees in the Old Testament… LOOK AT US!

+ Church staff/preachers really do care about their congregation and who attend their church services.
- When a person decides to leave their church for whatever reason, it is then not "convenient to care" about them any longer and often no closure or encouragement for either happens.
 
 
Just something leaders should think about and understand.  It is not the program that saves, it is the message.  It is not the population growth that counts but spiritual growth.  It's not the greeting that people care about it's the bereavement.  It's not the reputation that needs to be worked on but the character.  It's not how loud we cheer but who we cheer for.
 
Too bad too many church leaders have become world-minded thinkers and say the church is an organization when in reality it is an organism.

Friday, November 9, 2012

LXXXVII. Worship 21st Century

Found this from another blog.  This pretty much says it all about what worship has become.
 
 
 
No substance.  All show.  All production.  All masquerading as "reaching the masses".  That actually translates into insincerity, either intended or not.  If all they do this for is to bring people in then they are not doing what the real command is.  Sure they do it to get the message out.  But the message is (cliche time) watered down to where the message is seems more like suggestions than commands.  Many of these new worship bands, which in name itself tells the whole story, play each week as if they are playing instead of leading.  Solos, frets, rolls, streams, and lights are now part of the show.
 
The Church wonders why people do not get involved with any ministries.  The Church wonders why people do not give enough to support the charities the Church supports.  The Church wonders why people don't full commit their lives to Christ.  The Church wonders why their influence in the world is being lessened as time goes by.  It is because of the Church.  It no longer sets the example in the world so God got kicked out of everyday life.  Now the Church no longer sets the example of what worshiping God is all about.  In both cases the "me generation" is still alive and well.  Make me feel good.  Make me get the stuff out of my life that keeps me burdened.  Give me something I can listen to to feel better about all the mistakes I have made in my life.  And whatever you do don't tell me what I have done wrong.

 
Overtures, curtain, lights, this is it, we'll hit the heights, oh what heights we'll hit, on with the show this is it.  Bugs Bunny Worship time.  All fun and no work.  Worship is a sacrifice and until Christians understand this then no worship is true worship.

This is not to say that there can't be any fun during worship.  Do not add words to this Thought that is not there.  Worshiping God is supposed to be fun but even more importantly it is supposed to be about Him, NOT us.  And the most important, it is supposed to be real, not staged.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

LXXXVI. The New Asherah Poles

Does anyone really care about the presidential election coming up on Tuesday?  Do you think God judges us on which candidate we vote for?  Do you think we should vote based more on human reasoning, things that we feel are important personally or or biblical reasoning?  Does the Bible say anything about any of the issues we deal with today?  Actually it says quite a few things about politics or at least what leaders should be like.
 
There is an old saying that says an organization is only as good as its leadership.  If you have bad bosses to work for and they don’t know how to run the business it won’t make it.  Places like Nike and Ford only got to be as large as they are because of the way their leaders did things.  It is the same with countries.  If their leadership is bad the country falls apart but if it is good then it can last.
So picking the right leader is really quite important.  But why is important?  Most of the people would say because that’s what creates jobs.  But the Bible says in Psalms though that government is only there to protect people from each other not to take care of them.  God will do that.
We are supposed to listen to government.  Jesus recognized the role of government when he told his disciples to give to Caesar what is Caesar’s which was talking about taxes.  He even went to trial when he was accused.  He knew government had a purpose and we need to respect them.  But if it tells us to not to listen to God’s words then we have to remember that God’s word has more authority.  Even if that means it can get us into trouble we need to take a stand.
Daniel in the OT disobeyed the government when the king Darius told everyone that prayer to anything but him was a crime.  Daniel stood his ground and prayed to God anyway.  The ones who were in charge of making that law saw Daniel do it and told the king.  The king because he signed the law had to do something to Daniel in the form of punishment so he threw him into the lion’s den.  But Daniel trusted in the Lord and was saved.  The point here is that Godly values are higher than man’s values.  So what happens when man starts to think he knows more than God?  The men who thought they could overrule God were then thrown into the pit and eaten.
Before Israel moved into the Promised Land they were told not to worship false idols and false Gods that all of the people living there were doing.  It is even one of the Ten Commandments.  But when they got there they started to adopt the practices of the nations they had just got done defeating in battle.  One of the biggest things they started to do was use as a worship object something called the Asherah Pole. 
Asherah was a Sumerian goddess.  She was supposed to be the wife of God, his equal.  She was worshipped as one who had excellence and was powerful over the seas.  Now of course God has no equal.  By the way satan was supposed to be full of excellence and John’s vision in Revelation says he saw a creature coming out of the sea.  Anyway, this was a mythological creature created by the early Sumerians who did not follow the Jewish God called Yahweh or Jehovah. 
Asherah worshiping is mentioned over 30 times in the Bible.  The problem is the Jewish people did not get rid of this worship idol and even built poles in honor of her and each time God burned with anger against His own people.  He told them to tear down these poles.  Some kings did not do what they were supposed to do and neither did the people.  God then handed over the Israelites to certain nations.
When kings like Josiah tore down Asherah poles then Israel was seen a righteous and God returned to them.
Now I am not telling you to go mosques, Buddhist temples here in the US and tear them down.  This story is for us to understand that we are not to tolerate sin or things that lead us into sin.  We don’t have Asherah poles but we do have things that we have tolerated in this country too long.  We are not supposed to let “asherah poles” into our lives.  We are supposed to stand up against it and sometimes that means politics.  So how?
The most talked about topics in the Christian world are: Abortion, sexual impurity, and family values.
The Bible is very open and strict about these two subjects.  It says that God knows us in the womb.  He knows us because he made us; which means we have personality, a heartbeat and a life even before we can see the world.  There are many passages about sexual purity and how the family works.  I won’t bore you with the rest.  These aren’t the only three things that we need to deal with but they are important.
This is not to tell you which person people should vote for because there are over 75 candidates that are running for president.   Every individual has to make up their own mind.  But God is supposed to be part of our laws and moral standards whether people want to admit it or not.  And having people in the government allowing the “asherah poles” into our society is wrong.  God cannot be placed side by side with “asherah poles”.
However with that said, one political party argued about God this year and many of them in that political party were angered when the word “God” was put back into their ideas.  When we as Christians allow our leaders to kick God out and to act like He doesn’t matter, then shame on us and we get what we deserve.
·    Proverbs 29:2--- When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked rule, the people groan
God doesn’t care about your political party.  Abortion and things like that are wrong but there is a bigger problem in this country and that is disobedience of God’s word.  Abortion, and all that, are only a symptoms of falling away from God.  The Church for some reason isn’t teaching that anymore.  Christians have to take a stand like Daniel.  The Church needs to make a stand.
Because God said in…
·    II Chronicles 7:14---if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sins and heal their land.
Remember an organization is only as strong as its leader.  The Church needs to be a leader.  And if we are weak then so is our country. 
He may not care about your politics but he does care about what you stand for.  We have to stand for Godly values because in the end He is in control.  He gave us guidelines to live by.  He is the ultimate authority.
And no matter who wins on Tuesday we need to pray for our leaders.
·    1Timothy 2:1-4 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be made for all men, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way.

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