Monday, November 03, 2008

WHY CHURCHES ARE DYING

Are Christians willing to join in on the blame game by pointing to the pitiful government leaders as the cause for the nation's struggles? To hear us talk, the election--who wins and who loses--has everything to do with the state of the nation. I don't think so. I think the condition of the church has everything to do with the state of the nation.

I have friends galore in every brand of Christian branches. Matching the political scene, we have representatives of liberal and conservative persuasions. Bitterness and joy, struggle and peace; each has elements of momentum in all camps.

I believe churches of every brand are dying because we have become unfaithful to the Word of God. While nearly all sects use it as a guide, it's riches come under the scrutiny of leaders who find it more important to continue the heritage of their particular view than to study openly for the Word to reveal its freshness, its newness, its revealing mind. We are in desperate need of the winds of freedom to believe to criss-cross our land.

American churches aren't as interested in uncovering the buried treasures of the Bible as they are at placing steady guards at the front doors of churches slowly becoming tombs so no one will mess with what's going on inside. What has happened is God's method of learning men and women has been replaced by "standard keepers". The problem is that many of the Standards were never of God; but highly preferred by some evidently influential and persuasive in our past.

How many times have we heard of those who go by the Bible, that don't study it or grow from it? This isn't going by the Bible. This is refusing to open up to its beautiful teachings. Too many churches are dying because the very Word each treasures is beginning to die within their own walls due to suffocation and ultimate stagnation.

Let the Word breathe among all our churches. May Christ have the freedom to build His church His way according to His plans without our interference.

8 comments:

newheights said...

Great thoughts.

Brenda said...

Amen!!!!

Anonymous said...

Hear, O America
Deuteronomy 6 3 Hear, O Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the LORD, the God of your fathers, promised you. 4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
America has turned its back on God, or people that have invaded America have turned their backs on God. I don’t know which one is correct, but if we don’t listen to and hear God’s still small voice, we are in danger of something greater than what has already happened. God called to Elijah in a still small voice; how does he call you? God speaks to me but I have to be willing to listen.
I have heard more boring rhetoric from political candidates that it gets to be sickening, but they babble on and spill out more lies.
The Word of God is truth and I like to stand upon the truth of the Word, and meditate on it day and night. I know I could spend more time in the Word than I actually do, but God feeds those who pursue Him in righteousness. Are you pursuing Him in righteousness?
The Nation of America has become so much like the nation of Israel of long ago. From the time of captivity in Egypt to the time when they (the Israelites) asked God to give them a king, named Saul, their full trust wasn’t in God but in man or something other than God. Here we are, Democrats, like the Israelites, blaming the Republicans, like they (the Israelites) blamed Moses and God, for their troubles. The Democrats don’t want to point fingers at themselves, but when they point a finger at President Bush or the Republican Party, three fingers point right back at them. The 3 fingers represent their own party under the leadership of former Presidents Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton, and most recently the Democrat controlled Congress, that has caused the financial problems in America today. Now America may elect a man who I will not stand in judgment of but will say that any man who endorses the killing of unborn babies and then even the killing of babies born out of abortion doesn’t sound like a man who God would put in the Presidency of the United States of America. How can any Christian vote with a clear conscience for a man who endorses this! Again I say to you – how can a person who calls themselves a Christian vote with a clear conscience for a man who supports abortion up to even a time when an innocent baby can be born alive and then set on a table to die!
It reminds me of Pharaoh and his edict to kill all the newborn male Israelites by throwing them in the River, yet Moses was spared because of God’s divine intervention. Then years and years later another king, Herod, wanted to kill baby Jesus, so he commands all babies to be killed, but again God delivers Jesus, for the greatest mission of all time.
With Barack Obama as President, the nation will suffer. He cannot stand by many promises because so much of what he has said changes like the shifting winds. He has manipulated many Americans, even too many Christians who think change is needed – every day produces change – a new fresh set of clothes, new meals, new life, and newness is all around us. One of my favorite scriptures of all time deals with something new, Isaiah 43:19. I include verses 18-28 because after the new thing we have a choice to make as to what we will do with what God has given us:
Isaiah 43:18
"Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the desert
and streams in the wasteland.
20 The wild animals honor me,
the jackals and the owls,
because I provide water in the desert
and streams in the wasteland,
to give drink to my people, my chosen,
21 the people I formed for myself
that they may proclaim my praise.
22 "Yet you have not called upon me, O Jacob,
you have not wearied yourselves for me, O Israel.
23 You have not brought me sheep for burnt offerings,
nor honored me with your sacrifices.
I have not burdened you with grain offerings
nor wearied you with demands for incense.
24 You have not bought any fragrant calamus for me,
or lavished on me the fat of your sacrifices.
But you have burdened me with your sins
and wearied me with your offenses.
25 "I, even I, am he who blots out
your transgressions, for my own sake,
and remembers your sins no more.
26 Review the past for me,
let us argue the matter together;
state the case for your innocence.
27 Your first father sinned;
your spokesmen rebelled against me.
28 So I will disgrace the dignitaries of your temple,
and I will consign Jacob to destruction
and Israel to scorn.
What will you do with the new that God gives you, verse 19 above? I plan on making something wonderful of it. We only have a life on this earth that is compared in James to that of just a mist or a vapor. Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. James 4:14 (NASB) – Are you making yourself useful in the Kingdom of God, or are you just biding your time, depending on others for what you can do yourself.
Those tired of President Bush may not want him back, but what is ahead will be worse unless God’s true people repent, humble themselves and turn back to Him and leave Barack and his rumblings behind. We have had for 200 year greater and more numerous opportunities to prosper than to suffer and now comes along a man, a Democrat, who will be like the Democrat controlled Congress, and Presidents Carter and Clinton before him and bring a struggling nation as of now, further down, HOPEFULLY THOUGH TO OUR KNEES IN PRAYER! God is wondering where your heart is! Is your heart willing to bring America back to God or is it in man made change that will crumble just like the nation of Israel because of it’s lack of total dependence on God (doG). As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. What about you?
Joshua 24:14 "Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. 15 But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."
As you ponder the words above, there are more words I want you to read when you are ready! It is scripture and commentary from Matthew Henry:
Isaiah 48:9 9 "For the sake of My name I delay My wrath,
And for My praise I restrain it for you,
In order not to cut you off.
10"Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver;
I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.
11"For My own sake, for My own sake, I will act;
For how can My name be profaned?
And My glory I will not give to another.
Deliverance Promised
12"Listen to Me, O Jacob, even Israel whom I called;
I am He, I am the first, I am also the last.
13"Surely My hand founded the earth,
And My right hand spread out the heavens;
When I call to them, they stand together.
14"Assemble, all of you, and listen!
Who among them has declared these things?
The LORD loves him; he will carry out His good pleasure on Babylon,
And His arm will be against the Chaldeans.
15"I, even I, have spoken; indeed I have called him,
I have brought him, and He will make his ways successful.

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary
48:9-15 We have nothing ourselves to plead with God, why he should have mercy upon us. It is for his praise, to the honor of his mercy, to spare. His bringing men into trouble was to do them good. It was to refine them, but not as silver; not so thoroughly as men refine silver. If God should take that course, they are all dross, and, as such, might justly be put away. He takes them as refined in part only. Many have been brought home to God as chosen vessels, and a good work of grace begun in them, in the furnace of affliction. It is comfort to God's people, that God will secure his own honor, therefore work deliverance for them. And if God delivers his people, he cannot be at a loss for instruments to be employed. God has formed a plan, in which, for his own sake, and the glory of his grace, he saves all that come to Him.

I have chosen to be tested in the furnace. God refined me over numerous years. You would not believe it if I told you the number of years that God has spent refining my life. I wanted to give up on more than one occasion, but God’s pursuit never ends, but what we do is quite another thing. I would hope you would allow God to catch you and never let you go.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SIAdgLR1ZGw – listen to the wonderful song about God never letting us go!!!

jim cooke, midland, tx

Stoogelover said...

Hmmm ... I wonder if Jim Cooke has any thoughts on this election?

Excellent thoughts, Terry!

DJG said...

Exactly! You put it perfectly.

Nellie's Nuggets said...

Another great post!

Anonymous said...

"Why churches are dying?"

Because Christians are killing them.

Unfortunate, but sadly true. Let God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit run our churches, and they will thrive.

God added 3000 people to the first church on the first day. He can add infinitely more to His church in this day...if we only let Him.

Jeff Gary said...

Terry,
you are such an encouragement to me and thank you so much for your words today! I appreciate men who are willing to stand up and look themselves in the mirror. We would love to blame our problems in the church on outside issues but very rarely do we want to take a long hard look at ourselves. Thanks so much for your thoughts!