Friday, March 28, 2008

Worship or Entertainment?

Yes, when in church I am one of those who occasionally look around during service to see the expressions on the faces of others. When I watch a sermon on television I pay close attention when the camera swings around to the crowd. What I see is the same things going on in these mega-churches as they are in my own church. Adults with their arms folded staring straight ahead with little or no expression on their faces. Occasionally looking down at their watches checking the time as if counting the laps of a race or measuring the pace of the service.

I was blessed once with the opportunity to be part of the choir. It breaks your heart to be standing up there singing your heart out for God and see others in the audience with lifeless faces. The difficulty for the Pastor to give his sermon with passion for God while seeing those same faces scattered throughout the audience must be tremendous.

Without a doubt these are the lost. Yet these same lifeless faces have greeted me in the hallway and made it very clear by telling me that they were saved long before I was born. Point taken but your witness by your actions is a little hard for me to accept.

I have tried to step into their shoes. Trying to understand why they are like they are. Trying to see things from their perspective. I have not been able to figure it out. I get charged up at worship. No I am not one to jump out of my seat and dance. Sure there are times I would like too. Yet like most Christians I do not want to offend others there or look foolish. By caring what others think though I am looking foolish in front of God. Perhaps that is part of it. It is a problem facing all of our churches today.

We have the full audiovisual presentation. Sound like a stage production a projection screen like a theater. We have soundboards and lighting controls with every color under the sun. Small armies queuing up the microphones for the choir, musicians, soloists, and the Pastor. It is a full-blown production every Sunday morning.

Even with all this we find fewer and fewer people stepping forward and giving themselves to Christ. We see fewer baptisms each year. It must be just as heartbreaking for the crew of volunteers behind those controls as it is for the choir members and the Pastor.

Ten or twenty years from now when I am sitting in the pew will I be as broken as those I see today. Year after year seeing your church rise and fall. Battled scarred from this spiritual war that is going on daily. Or will I be just as excited about Christ then as I am now? I must be if I am to serve my Lord and Savior. I will not be able to do it alone. We need our brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus. Perhaps that is the solution. Regardless of age we are all brothers and sisters in Christ. Seek and save the lost.

Monday, March 24, 2008

No one wants to be God:

We hear it from adults. If I were God I would never let bad things happen. Teenagers might say that they would have created the Internet and MP3 players on the first day. If we think for just a moment about the unimaginable responsibility God has how would anyone of us ever want to be God?

Think about it. Just look at one single blade of grass. A chemist could spend a lifetime studying it. The very building blocks of life are contained within it. Yet God is involved and responsible for every blade of grass across the entire earth. He is involved and responsible for every grain of sand. Now add over six and a half billion people. If just 1% of them whines and complains as much as I do then there is reason enough why you would not want to be God. Now add all the planets in our solar system. Add too the junk spinning around our planet and the various thousands of asteroids. Now add the millions and millions of stars throughout the universe. God is involved with every detail every moment of the day.

Yet when I pray He does not say sorry D. C. I am too busy right now. Try back later. No, God is there. Does He talk directly to you? Not in my case. I believe God speaks in a whisper like the wind flowing off the wings of a butterfly. It is easy to miss. My problem is that I am so busy telling God my problems that I fail to realize all He has done for me. If God is willing to put the universe on hold to listen to me at least I can find the time to stop, be quiet and listen to God.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Barabbas and Easter:

Here it is Easter so why would I be studying about Barabbas? I have found that when the Bible mentions a name or an event twice or more we should take notice. The word Barabbas is mentioned five times in Matthew chapter 27. He was guilty of murder. It does not take a lot of head scratching to figure out that it should have been Barabbas on that cross and not Jesus. Therefore would you agree that Jesus took the place of Barabbas?

Why is that important? Dig deeper. The word Barabbas in Greek means “son of father.” With that said. Follow me on this one. Barabbas was a son of Adam as all of us are the sons and daughters of Adam. Born into sin and death. Jesus the Son of God the Son of our heavenly Father took the place of the son of our earthly father. Jesus took our place on that cross. Jesus was the only sacrifice acceptable to all mighty God. Conquering sin and death.

Pilate could have chosen anyone. He chose Barabbas. The people chose their earthly son. As we choose our earthly ways. While our salvation stood right in front of them and us now!

God has given us a clear message.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Why Seminary?

It is much more than just bible college. It is much more than just bible studies. For me, it is boot camp training to serve as a soldier. Spiritual warfare is real. The battle has been raging for thousands of years. Service in ministry is not a career move. There are no riches and rewards. There is hardship and service. Not a great recruiting slogan I admit.

The numbers are even worst. The statistics I have been exposed to state that half of seminary students fail to graduate. Of those who do; enter the ministry over half will leave in the first two years. Combine that with falling numbers in church membership and attendance the appeal in ministry service has little interest. I would not say the encouragement from my fellow church members of me entering seminary has been overwhelming with enthusiasm. Ouch!

Hey D.C. it seems you have been painting this picture with nothing but dark colors. Entering the ministry takes more than just passion to serve more than a passion to help others. People will disappoint you and you will disappoint people. We must do it because above all we love Jesus.

D.C. those are noble words from a first year student. They are and I will return to this article again years from now.

I have been blessed to know several Pastors over the past 10 years. All serve because of their love for Christ. No one in their right mind would choose a career that has such daily ridicule and attacks against one’s family. My professors serve and through that service their love for Christ shines bright. So brightly that it encourages all of us in school.

Seminary is intense and difficult. The service we are facing will require such sacrifice. Why seminary? Why face a lifetime of being the world’s stepstool? Why face a lifetime of servitude? Love.

The love of Christ gives me the ability to smile when there is nothing in my life to smile about. As a servant of Christ perhaps I will be used so another will also be able to smile even though there is nothing to smile about.

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