Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Shepastor: “Becoming Irrelevant or Do We Just Have it Too Good? Attitudes Toward ‘Church’ Today…”

18“I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it." Matthew 16:8, NASB

“Your problem is that you’ve got it too good…” I can still hear my Dad speaking those words to me as I (a teenager at the time) complained, moaned and or groaned about this or that. He would go on to share with me the difficulties he experienced as a child and as a young person, growing up in painful and poor conditions. He was trying to help me understand that appreciation often is an outgrowth of having experienced the pain of the opposite.

I’m wondering if modern day American Christians are not victims of the “you’ve got it too good” syndrome. I’ve qualified Christians with “American” because in general, in our Nation (to God be the glory) we are free to practice our faith where ever we want, whenever we want and basically, however we want. We’ve read the statistics about severely declining church attendance. We’ve heard the chatter that “the local church is dying…people have lost interest in the local church…we’ve got to find a new way to ‘do’ church or it will disappear…it has become irrelevant…people are no longer interested in coming to church…”

Interestingly, in other parts of the world where “the Church,” (big “C” and little “c”) is being persecuted, the church is thriving. In places where Christians are denied Bibles, imprisoned, beaten, beheaded, abused etc., the Church and the church is growing in record numbers. People in those circumstances are clamoring to hear the Word of God, secretly assembling for prayer and a message of salvation, hope, inspiration and empowerment from the Holy writ.

No praise band, no entertaining and flowery words, no gimmicks, no twitter accounts or websites, no catchy themes or colorful banners or “hot cards,”…yet they thrive. By word of mouth and compelling testimony, they draw others to “come and dine.” Some meet in caves. Some meet in crude make shift sheds. Some meet in valleys. Some meet in damp, dark basements. Some meet in obscure patches of trees…yet they are vibrant, “sold-out,” risking literally life and limb to go. To them, “church/Church,” is not an option, a tradition, a thing to check off of a “to-do” list, a place to do social networking…for them, “church/Church” is the life-blood of their existence. This is not because of the institution, but because they hunger and thirst for the relationship with Christ and other believers.

May we realize the beauty and blessing of what we have in both the “Big C and the little c.” May we value the gifts and talents that the Lord has given to the body of Christ to heal, free and give sight. May we get back to the basics of preaching and teaching the life, love and salvation offered through Jesus Christ and speak more respectfully and appreciatively of the Bride that Christ died for.

Irrelevant? Dying? Boring? Out of touch? Maybe we've got it too good. Maybe what we need is a good dose of persecution. It would be interesting to see how many of those terms would then apply.

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Be blessed on your Lenten journey of repentance, reflection and rededication.

Until Next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
Pastor Chris

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