Archive for July, 2009

Why Do We Do Church This Way?

July 21, 2009

Thinking about what church is like in America, and looking at how it’s described in the Bible, I have to ask a question.  Why?  Think about it: in almost every church in America, the main focus is people coming to a building on Sunday morning, singing some songs, listening to a preacher, and then leaving.  The types of songs vary by church, and some churches have extra gatherings throughout the week, but that’s about it.  Oh, and the number of times a month that communion is celebrated varies, too.

Contrast this with the Biblical model.  People met together in their homes.  When they had fellowship, they were friends.  They took interest in each others’ problems.  They shared their resources together.  Look at this, and contrast it with “doing church” in the US.

I think we did church last night.  My wife and I went to some friends’ house.  We took some food over, and our friends had some food.  We talked over dinner, and then spent time praying over our respective concerns.

I’m blessed with a wonderful father-in-law who hasn’t been to church in years.  He’s a great Christian man.  He reads his Bible daily.  He loves his wife and children.  He’s a man I can, and do, respect.

I don’t have an answer, but it feels like we’re doing it all wrong.  I think we’re supposed to be meeting together as friends.  We don’t need pastors, we need people who are willing to share what they know with those coming along behind them.  So the question becomes, what are we doing, and are we screwing it up?

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The Lie of the Abandoning God

July 13, 2009

One of the things that Christians know is that there is a war for our hearts and minds.  God speaks to us with love and truth, Satan with hate and lies.  Unfortunately, many, if not most, non-Christians have no awareness of this fundamental truth.  What they tend to believe is that God does not exist,or if he does that he is far away.  They tend to believe there is no Satan.  They tend to believe that they are quite prepared to believe in God, if he would just reveal himself to them.

Unfortunately, most of this is just not true.  God speaks to us daily.  I think what most of us refer to as our conscience is actually God whispering to us.  “Don’t do that.  Do this.  This isn’t right.” Unfortunately, even if we acknowledge the correctness of the whisper, we often respond with, “What can it hurt?  That looks unpleasant.  But it feels good!”  We run from the words of our conscience.  We run from the voice of God straight into the arms of sin.

So, who left whom?  If God left us, why does our conscience keep tickling us?  Why do Christians pop up in the middle of our depravity to gently call us back?  The reality is we are offered a choice.  Do you want to choose God, or sex with the hot chick next to you at the bar (and why are you having your fifth drink in a bar anyway)?  Do you want to choose God, or smoke some pot?  Do you want to choose God, or keep the ten bucks in your wallet you could use to give that guy lunch?

Turning your back on God is easy, even for a Christian.  However, living with that truth is uncomfortable, to say the least.  It’s much easier to claim you haven’t heard from God.  It’s much easier to claim that God has abandoned you.  After all, if God quit on you, then you don’t really owe God any loyalty.  Unfortunately, God didn’t quit on you.  God didn’t quit on me,either.

I chose sex, power, abortion, selfishness, intelligence, friendship, and many other things over God.  Along with those, I got dissatisfaction, depression, loneliness, arrogance, and a sense of entitlement, among other things.  God, in contrast, gave me love, a wife, peace, security, friendship, joy, the ability to endure trials, and the ability to see truth.  When I was unsaved, I would do almost anything to hear the words “I love you.”  Now, I am loved, and I know it by how those who love me treat me.  Realizing that some did not love me has hurt, but the ability to know love, not just hear the claims that mask abuse, has made all the difference.

What have you chosen over God?  What are you thinking about choosing over God?  Will you get what is promised, or something far less?  God doesn’t abandon us.  We abandon him.  Turn back.  He’s there, waiting.