Category Archives: Churchianity

Noise

As I’ve written on my blog before, I’m an introvert. It’s something I’ve come to terms with and something I’ve struggled to understand my entire life. For a majority of my life I didn’t realize there was such a thing as an “introvert” or an “extrovert” personality type and that they were actually the way God created us. Growing up I saw all of the people who were the “life of the party” type of people and thought there was something wrong with me. I’ve always enjoyed solitude and easily get stressed out in the noise and crowds.

I know people have often thought of me as aloof and somewhat arrogant. I don’t enjoy making “small talk” and in fact find it really boring. I have a hard time chatting about the weather and similar things. However, I’ve always enjoyed deeper conversation and when I’m paired off with someone of similar interests as mine I tend to dominate the conversation because I enjoy talking about certain subjects so much.

In other words, because I’ve never been a “life of the party” type of person; I’ve been told much of my life that I’m anti-social. To some extent this is true because social situations give me anxiety, but when in smaller more intimate conversational settings I enjoy myself, which is far from “anti-social”. I just never will be the guy dancing on a table at an office party.

I recently finished reading a book by the name of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. The book is an in-depth look at the differences between introverts and extroverts and focuses on the traits of extroverts. The writer, Susan Cain, describes in-depth what she calles the “Secret Power of Introverts”. The quietness of an introvert allows for creativity, thoughtfulness, and introspection. Most, but not all, of the worlds greatest minds were introverts. People who literally changed the world. People like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, Martin Luther, and the like were all introverts.

Quite interestingly, the book has a section dedicated entirely to extrovertism in the American church and it’s effect on mainstream Evangelicalism. Susan Cain, in my understanding, is from a Jewish background and isn’t a professing Christian. Of all places she chose to use as an example of an American church that idolizes extrovertism, she chose Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church in Southern California.

In the section of the book mentioned above, Susan Cain met with a man who was a Presbyterian minister for an interview at Saddleback. They attended a service there in order to get the look and feel of what a service was like at Saddleback church. The basic gist of the interview centered around how “extrovertism” has gripped the popular American Evangelical church culture and how church services of quiet contemplation, prayer, and scripture reading are no longer a part of most of the American church.

 In order to draw the multitudes into the American Evangelical church of today there has to be plenty of excitement and programs to keep people interested in attending church. Saddleback church and Rick Warren with his Purpose Driven Life method of doing church has arguably had the largest impact on the latest church culture of “extrovert” idealism.

 As I said earlier, I’m an introvert. I enjoy reading and quiet. Although I’ve struggled with thinking there was something wrong with me all of my life, I now no longer do. I’ve come to understand there’s a place for solitude, prayer, and Bible study in God’s church.

However, for many years I attended an Assemblies of God church that had fully implemented Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life “seeker sensitive” church growth model. As time went on, I was considered “odd” and was cast aside. I enjoyed Sunday School. It was cancelled. I enjoyed Sunday night services. They were cancelled. I enjoyed Wednesday night Bible study service. It was cancelled. Once a month prayer rallies were cancelled in lieu of bi-yearly “praise rallies”.

In other words, all of the things than an “introvert” would enjoy about church, things like learning, Bible study, close relationships with a tight-knit group, suddenly vanished. In their place came large social events and activities designed to “pump” the congregation and build excitement with the church. Things to cause “seekers” to want to come to church. Programs to make it fun for the kids but little in the way of teaching them the Word.

I now know that God created me with the gifts he gave me. I know that I am a member of the Body of Christ. I may not be a hand or a mouth in His body, but I am a member nevertheless. I also know there are many others like me (my oldest daughter, for instance) who have become weary of the “rah rah rah” of the American church. We worship God with all of our minds, bodies, and strengths. We love to serve behind the scenes without much fanfare. We long to share insights into God’s word with others. We want to give without others knowing.

Today’s American churches make very little room for this. Much of the American Evangelical churches are geared more like high school pep rallies where the “cheerleaders” and the “band” are worshiped. The quiet and the contemplative and the faithful are increasingly moved aside for the new, the excited, and the vocal. The quiet ones are now looked at with suspicion as having some sort of spiritual issue because they aren’t “on fire for the Lord”.

I know this is the way it is, because I lived it for 2 years while looking for a home church. My family and I visited many churches across many denominations and to find one that actually was centrally on the Word, prayer, and music with sound doctrine was virtually impossible to find. And there are over 60 churches within a few miles of my home…….Hey, I live in Texas, you know.

Next Sunday, look around. Has your church become a social club? Is there room within the congregation for the quiet among you to serve and worship? Is there a balance between “excitement” and “reverence, awe, and solitude” before the Lord as a congregation or is it all “celebration. all the time”. Is your fellowship actually a true “body” of Christ that makes way for all parts or are only the “mouths” esteemed?

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Filed under Books, Church, Church Search, Churchianity, Life

Double Hockey Sticks

Before you read this post, I just want to state that although I want to always keep this blog a “G” rated blog, this blog isn’t really intended to be “family-friendly” entertainment. Justasorethumb is intended to log the things that are on my mind at the time and though I’ll avoid profanity everywhere I can, I also realize the world is the world. Sometimes they just need their mouth washed out with soap.

I give this warning because attached to this article is a link where there are a couple of “naughty” words used and if anyone is easily offended, then don’t click the link.

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There are some things that seem so obvious to me that at times I have to sit in amazement that others can’t see what I see. There are some things that seem so obvious, that I have to constantly check myself to be sure I’m seeing it correctly.  I mean, when you’re in a room of 20 people, for instance, and you think you’re the only one that’s right and everyone else is wrong…..well you might want to check your ego a little, because you might just be the problem.

So when I read a post on Facebook the other day by an acquaintance of my wife and I praising a television show called “That ’70’s Show”, I have to admit I’m a little stunned. See, this person is a professing Christian and not only were they praising the show, they made the statement they wish all of their friends were just like the characters on the show. Adding to this were other professing Christian acquaintances of ours making comments that agreed.

While I have never watched an episode of That 70’s Show from start to finish, on several occasions early on I would flip over and begin to watch the show. It didn’t take long before some of the characters in the show were talking about sex or drug use. And not in a way that made it seem bad, but it made teen sex and drug use seem okay, even funny and fun.

So I guess I’m a little baffled that professing Christians could watch this show, use it for entertainment, and even want their lives to emulate the characters on the show. In fact, like I said above, it seems so obvious to me that this isn’t a show a professing Christian needs to be watching that I have to do a “double-take” when other “Christians” can’t see what we see.

So when along comes a show on ABC like this here , I have to admit again I’m a little stunned. I guess I even to say “So what?”.

So many professing Christians today are feeding themselves on garbage like That 70’s Show, Sex and the City, Justin Bieber, Twilight, Harry Potter, Ultimate Fighting, and other similar entertainment that the world can’t tell the difference between a Christian and a non-Christian.

Read this statement from the article about the ABC show above:

“ABC’s core viewership is Christian, so the goal of the show won’t be to attack Christianity. Just like the book, this is a show by Christians, for (mostly) Christians, to enjoy a little prime-time self-deprecation,” Los Angeles-based entertainment expert, Jenn Hoffman said.

So I have to ask…….where did ABC get an idea like that? That their core viewership is Christian? I doubt they pulled it out of thin air, I mean, they pay big money to marketing experts whose job is to understand the demographic of their viewers.

So when suddenly ABC decides to put on a show that depicts Christians acting a little like the rest of the world, I gotta say “So what?”.

After spending years telling the broadcasting executives you love television shows that glorify extramarital sex, gossip about your neighbors, greed, lust, pride, and self-worship what else do you expect them to do? How else do you think they’re going to view Christians?

So if you’re really and truly tired of the networks doing things like this and offering shows that cast Christians in a negative light, then stop supporting the networks. Period. Turn off the shows that glorify sin and perversion and stop entertaining yourselves with it.

Otherwise shut up and take the criticism from the world because whether you know it or not, the world didn’t pull this image of Christians out of thin air. There’s an element of truth to it. It’s how they see us living our lives. you know, all “back-bitey”, gossipy, lusty, greedy, all the while acting all “goody-two-shoes.”

Seems to me we’re getting a little of what we’re asking for.

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Filed under Christianity, Churchianity, Entertainment

My Glasseth, Half Fulleth

Over the last couple of months or so, I’ve been reading through the books of the prophets (Isaiah through Malachi) in my Bible. Although I’ve read select prophetic books multiple times such as Isaiah or Jeremiah, it’s been nearly five years since I’ve read completely through the prophetic books from start to finish.

As I was finishing up Micah this morning I was taken back to an incident, though seemingly minor at the time, that occurred in a prayer/Bible study group I was part of several years ago. This group was led by an older retired woman who spent most of her time involved in ministries such as these prayer/Bible study groups. At the time I thought her to be a very wise woman and a gifted student of the Bible.

During the bi-weekly meetings we would have, we would go over different passages of scripture, often from the Old Testament, and spend time praying. Like most good charismatics, we spent an inordinate amount of time in the book of Nehemiah because it has all those “broken down walls being rebuilt” scriptures that charismatics love to apply to ourselves.

Nevertheless, as I was finishing up the book of Micah I was taken back to this bible study group and something the leader had said once. She had commented that she just couldn’t read through the prophetic books of the Bible because they were just too depressing with all of the judgement and killing that went on. She said she would start in Isaiah (the first of the prophetic books) and could only get about half way through before it would make her a nervous wreck. Looking back, I find this strange as much of the verses we focused on in the Bible study came from the Old Testament prophetic books.

Over the last year or so I’ve slowly began to learn the Doctrines of Grace, that is, the sovereignty of God in everything including our salvation. During this time one thing I’ve discovered is the danger of picking Old Testament scriptures  that were promises  from God made to the nation Israel and making entire doctrines out of them. The entire face of Christianity today has done just that. If it weren’t for cherry-picked scriptures taken out of context there wouldn’t be any of the sort “televangelism” we see infecting “christian” television the world over.

Coming to slowly understand the sovereignty of God has made me look at not only God in a way I’ve never seen him, but approach the Bible in a whole new way. Before, where I might have had the same perspective as the lady leading this Bible study/prayer group I now see God’s grace throughout history.

In spite of Israel’s extreme idolatry and faithlessness toward God, they were always in His grip. He punished Israel for their idolatry and sin, but He saved a remnant, just as He promised. No matter how ugly Israel’s sin became they were always in His sovereign, gracious grasp. In fact, no matter how ugly their sin became they couldn’t run from Him. They were under His sovereign grace…..always pursuing, always disciplining, always faithful.

Now as I read through the prophetic books of the bible I have a whole new (and somewhat shocking) perspective on the God I so often fail to serve. He’s the God who, for whatever reason, has pursued me with His everlasting love, His never-ending grace, and His loving discipline. In spite of my idolatry, my sin, and my faithlessness He never leaves me nor forsakes me.

And no matter how many Old Testament verses we take out of context in order to say “I’m gonna smash through this wall, I’m gonna tear down this stronghold, I’m gonna command that to happen”, we can rest knowing that we can trust that God has us right where we need to be……and sometimes it’s being disciplined.

Yes, God is sovereign. Even over my salvation.

And whethere you know it or not……..you can’t command anything.

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Filed under Bible, Christianity, Churchianity, personal

How Not to Evangelize a Biker

You know how sometimes things pop into your head regarding events that happened in the past for no apparent reason? Well today I thought of something that had happened to a co-worker friend of mine about 8 years ago that involved a near-death experience for my coworker and a zealous Christian.

My coworker friend, Charlie, was a hard man. He was around 58 years old or so. He had gone through around 4 or 5 wives, cussed constantly, and although rarely “visibly” drunk, he drank a little almost all day.

He was also a motorcycle rider.

 Now I’m not talking about the kind of 50-ish motorcycle rider you see now days where they put on their stick-on tattoos, dress up in their outlandish leather outfits, almost like it’s a Halloween costume, and get together with all of their friends on a ride to go off and “kill” a stack of pancakes 100 miles away. 

Charlie rode nothing else other than an old mid 70’s BMW. He rode it in the rain, cold, heat, rode it to work, and on dates. He wore an old wore out leather jacket, helmet, leather boots and jeans.

In his 58 years, most of it riding motorcycles, Charlie had never been down on the pavement while riding. I don’t know everyone who rides a motorcycle, but of the people I know who ride, this is rare. I think that everyone I know who rides a bike has had at least a little wreck. But not Charlie.

Well, one day Charlie didn’t show up for work, which wasn’t rare, as he was a drinker. Then another day went by. Then another. All the while our boss was calling his cell phone with no answer.

After a week went by, Charlie’s son called in to work and said he’d been in a serious motorcycle accident and was in the hospital. He’d been unconscious for around 3 or 4 days and was just now aware of what was going on.

After about 3 weeks Charlie came back to work with lots of skin missing, a broken wrist, and barely able to walk. But he was there ready to work. Once he got back he related what had happened to us.

Charlie had been going around a long sweeping curved overpass and took the curve a little too fast, got too close to the outer guard rail and hit some gravel and debris and down he went. He, of course, had been drinking and was going around 60 mph or so. He had flipped, tumbled, and skidded on the pavement but miraculously nothing other that his wrist or hand was broken. (Believe it or not the cops never checked to see if he had been drinking and got away with it.)

As soon as he came to a stop after skidding nearly 100 feet he was unconscious. He awoke with someone opening his faceshield on his helmet frantically wanting to know if he was a “believer”.

Charlie was in serious pain and had a concussion, broken wrist, and very little skin left on his legs. He was crying out in pain, but this well-meaning Christian was demanding to know if Charlie was a “believer”. Charlie said he didn’t know what the [heck] he was talking about but he told him to get out of his face and call an ambulance.

This Christian man wouldn’t leave him until he knew whether Charlie was a “believer” because he didn’t want Charlie to die and go to hell. If Charlie would repeat a prayer then he would leave and call an ambulance. With all the strength Charlie could muster, Charlie told him to “Get the f*&% out of my face!” By then other people were beginning to stop and help and this Christian was pushed aside.

Charlie went on to tell me how stupid you “born againers” are that you wouldn’t even get him an ambulance but you kept wanting him to repeat a prayer. He went on to tell me how we didn’t really care about people we just wanted “numbers”. I told him he was wrong, but inside I knew in some way he was right.

This Christian man trying to do a “deathbed conversion” on Charlie was well-meaning, but he has a false understanding of the gospel. I’m aware that among the two thieves on the cross, one was converted instantly. But there’s a big difference between Charlie’s experience and the thief that hung next to Jesus…..

The thief came to know Jesus as the innocent Lamb of God who was suffering for our sins. Charlie wasn’t introduced to that Jesus.

After I thought about this past event this morning I couldn’t help but wonder how much stuff we Christians do that cause people to see our hypocrisy. How many activities we engage in that appear more like clever marketing tactics rather that actually caring for people.

As I’ve spent the last 9 months or so looking for a church, I’m afraid. I’m afraid because most of what I see in the churches I’ve investigated is nothing more than clever worldly marketing tactics rather someone who actually cares about people enough to tell them about the suffering Messiah who hung on a cross and took the punishment we rightly deserved.

The gospel must come first. When it pierces their heart they’ll want nothing else than to cry out to God for salvation.

The bible doesn’t say that “Repeating words is the power unto salvation”.

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Filed under Christianity, Churchianity, Evangelism

Tell You a Story ’bout a Man Named Jed

Jesus used parables to teach. I’ve read commentaries where people thought He did it to help it stick in people’s minds more. Some said it was to confuse the spiritually blind, and still others say it was due to the cultural methods of storytelling of His day. I’m not sure as to His reasons, but a good story does help bring to light things you might not otherwise consider.

I’m not sure what classifies a parable from any other type of story. I guess I could look it up, but I really don’t want to. I mean, what exactly is the length of a parable. When does it become a  story? A fable? A tale?

I’m going to attempt to tell in parable form something I’ve been contemplating for a while now. On Sunday morning, while singing hymns in our new church, I got the idea to tell it in a story, so here it is.

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In a small suburb of Dallas, Texas there lived a man named Jed.

Jed, along with his wife and two children, attended a local congregation  of a popular worldwide pentecostal (charismatic) denomination. Jed had a good job at a local engineering firm and his local church was alive and growing. Jed had what many feel was a pretty good life.

Jed’s local church had just built a new building and experienced growth as a result. Along with that growth brought many new faces and lots of new talents. As a result the worship team had grown significantly in skills and abilities. Additionally, people came who were skilled in computer graphics and the skills and abilities of these people began to be utilized during the worship (singing) part of the Sunday morning services. To come into a Sunday morning service with this great worship band and the sound, lights, and computer graphics was quite an experience.

Now back to Jed.

Jed’s boss also attended the same church as Jed. In fact, it was Jed who had invited his boss and shortly thereafter Jed’s boss raised his hand during a salvation invitation and “accepted Christ”. Although there was significant change in Jed’s boss, overall he was still the same difficult boss to deal with he had always been.

Overall his boss was good to Jed, but he would make crazy decisions and implement difficult policies at work. He would seemingly discipline co-workers for no reason and was just a difficult to understand type of boss; very difficult for Jed to grow close to. In general, Jed didn’t really like or understand his boss. He thought that if he was boss he could do a much better job.

Jed found it difficult to obey his boss’s seemingly strange commands and pointless policies. At every opportunity Jed did it his own way and covered it up to where his boss didn’t know.

Jed was a pretty smart guy, though. Because he attended church with his boss and because the engineering firm he worked for was a pretty tight-knit community, Jed was careful not to talk ugly about his boss openly, but he held his contempt for his boss in his heart. In fact Jed always spoke highly of his boss.

On Sunday mornings He would greet his boss with a hearty handshake. At the company Christmas parties he would say glowing things about the direction his boss was leading the company. Whenever Jed’s wife complained about Jed working late or how Jed’s boss was treating him, Jed defended his boss with “Well, he has a difficult job and is under a lot of stress”. 

Jed never missed an opportunity to “suck up” to his boss and sing his praises, just in case Jed might be the next in line to manage the engineering firm. Jed felt like all of the praises would someday result in his boss taking note and heaping a blessing of some sort on Jed. A raise. A promotion. A bonus.

All the while, though, Jed held his mistrust of his boss in his heart and couldn’t wait to one day receive his reward for faithful service to both the engineering firm and his boss.  He could settle in and live a better life. Be the big man. Be the boss and finally get to lead, run, direct things in a manner of his choosing.

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My family and I have been attending a new church now for around six weeks. It’s very traditional. They have Sunday school. The pastor wears a suit and preaches expository sermons from sections of scripture. And they sing hymns from a hymnal. You know, boring stuff. Stuff charismatic Christians hate.

As I sang the hymns this past Sunday I was taken back to our previous pentecostal (charismatic) church that we had dedicated so much a part of our lives to. The worship band was great. The sound and graphics were great. I loved singing and entering into what I knew at the time to be God’s presence. It was during those times of worship that I felt so close to God, so much alive.

People would weep, cry, kneel, and sway. It was always described as an “awesome time in the very presence of the Lord” and was often followed up by a prophecy of how the “sacrifice of praise” was a “sweet smelling aroma” to the Lord.

But then reality would set in. The fleshy lusts were the order of business in the church. An over-indulgence in food, spending, and sports were the order of the day. I can’t believe how many people I knew who were in crushing financial debt and thought it was normal. How many people who were severely overweight and laughed it off. How the church had to hire out the upkeep of the church. How they had to quit having men’s bible studies because of the lack of attendance.

But have a “movie night” or a showing of “the big game” along with pizza, and boy did the men come out of the woodwork.

Sunday school was cancelled. Sunday evening service was cancelled. Wednesday evening turned into a reading of whatever the current fad charismatic curriculum of the day happened to be, and even that became sparsely attended.

But Sunday morning, Oh sunday morning. How people would sing God’s praises for all the wonderful things He was doing. How they would tell God how wonderful, beautiful, awesome He was. Singing, swaying, crying, and raising their hands……..and on,  and on, and on. It would last for nearly half of the Sunday morning service.

Meanwhile, whispered in the background, was the mockery of the “Baptist” type of churches that didn’t “have the Spirit”. The ones that were dry and only sang hymns banged out on a piano. We sure were glad we didn’t attend on of THOSE types of churches. WE were led by the very Spirit of God.

As I sang my old dry hymns this past Sunday morning that were rich in scripture and spiritual truths, I contemplated back to our previous experiences in worship music. How the songs tugged at our hearts but were full of spiritual nonsense. How I would get worked into a frenzy and feel good about my relationship with God. About how people thought they were in the “very presence of God”, but always left unchanged. I thought of Jed and his boss.

You see, Jed was living a lie. He was singing his boss’s praises, but all the while he had no desire to be conformed into the image of his boss. Jed wanted to ultimately do it his way and thought if he sang enough of his boss’s praises and “blew enough smoke” at his boss, he would one day get his boss to take notice.

Ol’ Jed was full of “cow dung”.

Ol’ Jed saw sacrifice as more important than obedience, rather than the other way around. Which is how God sees it.

I can’t help but see this as a parallel to our modern worship services. No reverence. No awe. No desire to see that the words that are rolling out of our lips have true scriptural meaning and that we have a desire to actually do what they say from Monday throughout ALL of the week. Not just during the music show on Sunday morning.

I also can’t help but believe that God isn’t impressed with all of our boisterous “look-at-me-and-how-close-to-God-I-am” type of worship poses on Sunday mornings when our heart isn’t really all that into obeying His every command and feeding our lusts the rest of the time.

God’s not as impressed with “suck-ups” as we might like to think.

P.S.—Within about 30 mins or so of writing this post, I came across one written by Phil Johnson here that  drives home my point much more professionally. Please take a look at it.

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Filed under Christianity, Church, Church Marketing, Churchianity, Pastors

If I Say It, It Must Be True

I was a Facebook resistor for a long time. Even after I noticed we weren’t getting e-mail communication any longer from our friends and family because they had all gone over to Facebook, I remained the curmudgeon that I am and refused Facebook. Finally I caved and joined.

After nearly a year on Facebook, I deleted my account. For reasons reserved for another post in the future, it was exactly what I had feared it would be. I began to lose respect for people I had loved and respected for a long time. I’m basically a “glass-half-empty” sort of guy anyway and the last thing I needed was fuel to a fire I have to battle daily.

Well, as I’ve stated before, my wife and I left our church about a year ago. The reasons are numerous and complicated. I hope to someday chronicle our journey through the church, but that’s for a later date. The Lord has led us out of some of the charismatic beliefs we embraced to more of a trust in His sovereign grace. A life of true faith in Him and less of a “faith” in ourselves.

Nevertheless, some of the people we attended our former church with are still a part of my wife’s Facebook community, and as people tend to do at the start of a new year, many people were posting words of encouragement and blessing for the new year.

The following Facebook post was one posted by the regional leader of a nationally known deliverance ministry who also happens to attend our former church. She was a very influential leader in the church and MANY hung on her words, especially the women. This post was a typical example of what was taught and believed by so many in our former church. That our words have an actual force behind them and that when we speak that a kind of “force” is enacted.

Negative words = negative force, consequences, sickness, even death. But positive words = blessings, goodness, faith, power.

Here is the post:

My Blessing for You in 2011:
May peace break into your home and may thieves come to steal your debts.
May the pockets of your jeans become a magnet for $100 bills.
May love stick to your face like Vaseline and may laughter assault your lips.
May happiness slap you across the face and may your tears be that of joy…..
May the problems you had forget your home address.
May 2011 be the best year of your life (so far)!
For the sake of brevity, I’m going to forego posting of the responses, but in general response after response was “I receive that!” . Which only goes to further prove the belief that our words have creative or destructive power in the supernatural realm.
 
These people (myself was once included in this list, but praise God, not now) have come to believe that if they say “I receive that”, that it’s just like holding up a big catchers mitt and catching the blessing she sent forth like a missile. Conversely, if they don’t repeat “I receive that”, then they might just miss out on all that God has for them. God just might overlook them.
 
Sad…and it’s producing so much bondage and a false image of a good and loving God.
 
Nevertheless, through a series of events which I hope to someday document for the purpose of helping others, God led me out of this type of nonsense and into a better understanding of His sovereign grace.
 
God loves us so much He wants to cleanse us and rid us of this world’s filth. Sometimes a “bad” event in our life is His blessing. Sometimes it’s discipline. Sometimes a “blessing” is a blessing. Sometimes it’s letting us have our way so we can fall flat on our faces. Either way He is using it to grow us more into the image of Jesus Christ. 
 
BUT, this comes only through an understanding of His written word and a heart that desires to fully obey it. In other words, if we are constantly under the assumption that the bad stuff we see is an attack from the devil and the good stuff we see is always a blessing from God, we’ll constantly be in the mode of feeding our flesh and resisting Gods sovereign hand in conforming us to His will.
 
And, in a nutshell, that’s why we left.
 
Oh, be careful little tongue what you say……..You just might get it.
 

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Christianity with my Flapjacks

As I was cooking some of my chocolate chip pancakes for the kids this morning, I opened up the paper and laid it out on the counter and flipped through it in between my flipping of the pancakes on the griddle. As I did this, I came upon the Religion section in my local paper and read the two articles I’ve shown photographs here in this post.

A couple of years ago an elderly woman at the previous church I attended asked me if I had seen a particular televangelist’s show on a “Christian” network the previous evening.  I told her that I watched very little “Christian” TV because I felt like those pretenders did more to damage Christianity than any of the secular TV shows out there. She said “Well, I don’t know about that!” and walked off in a huff.

I do know about that, though. Whether we want to admit it or not, every time we identify ourselves as a Christian to the world, we are judged by what the world sees on Christian TV.

Through “Christian” television and many of the megachurches that are behaving in similar manner to the televangelists, the world has come to believe we are a bunch of sexually perverted, money-grubbing clowns.

There is literally an entire generation growing up in churches that just doesn’t know what the Gospel is….oh, they proclaim it means the “good news”, but they aren’t preaching just what the good news is.

The church shown in the first photograph above are having what is called “Blue Christmas” services. People can come and light candles, sing hymns, and write their thoughts on a banner that will be the “center of their worship”….Funny, I thought Jesus was to be the center of our worship…not our problems.

The churches in the second photograph aim to draw people to the Christmas services with cool technology. I guess the thought is that if we have the coolest sound, lights, music, and video displays that people will FINALLY bow before their Savior Jesus and repent…..funny thing is, they aren’t being told that repentance is necessary.

The Gospel…that all important message of eternal life is being left out. It hurts me that the lifelong church attending kids that are my daughter Emily’s age around 16 years old have never heard the gospel. Never.

Oh, they’ve heard that Jesus loves them, that Jesus can help them with their problems, that he can help them in school and similar “slogans”…..but never the gospel.

You see, the bible says in Romans 1:16:

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.

The gospel is what saves. No gospel, no salvation.

All of the other stuff is just fluff designed to inflate the egos of men, for pastors to get “attaboys” from the congregation, and worst of all, to fill the pews for the purposes of having “bragging rights” to your fellow ministers at the local “ministerial alliance” meeting.

I’m afraid the “foxes are watching the henhouse”, folks, and I truly believe it’s time to turn off the Christian television and dust off that bible…..you might just be in for a shock to see what’s really in there.

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