Archive for the ‘ Church ’ Category

Honoring the Past to Propel the Future

Photo courtesy of the Church of God Archives and Dixon Pentecostal Research Center

Photo courtesy of the Church of God Archives and Dixon Pentecostal Research Center

Last week I went to our state camp meeting but this post is not about that. Friday night when I got home the Lord began speaking to me (because apparently, sleep is not important). He said in order to move forward there must be honor for the past.

A few weeks ago I posted about one of my former Pastor’s who passed away. I wanted to honor him and how he impacted my life.

Dictionary.com defines honor as “high respect, public esteem, and the privilege of being associated with or receiving a favor from a respected group or organization”.

At times there can be tension between the past and present. There are some who want to hold on to the glory days and some who want to throw out anything associated with the past. Both positions are wrong and cause great harm to progress in the Church.

When we honor men and women who have led in the past, when we honor moves of God that puts us in position to stand on the shoulders of past outpourings. On the flip side, if we stay back in the 1950’s healing revival or the awesome period of any given denomination it will stunt all forward progress.

I believe we honor our past by knowing our history, learning both from victories and mistakes, and following the example of their faith. Paul said follow me as I follow Christ. Many leaders of the past kept journals or have biographies written about them. When we read these books I believe we can learn from how they walked.

We don’t honor the past by being a carbon copy, we honor those before us by applying what they taught in our day and moving forward in their vision.

Being part of the Church of God, the best way for me to help grow the movement is to be part of my local church, pray over events in my state and for our General Assembly. Each day I pray for my Pastors, state and national leaders. But if I really want to see the Church grow I need to understand where we came from, I need to know our history. Each generation builds on the previous, we don’t start over. We can’t build and move forward if we aren’t acquainted with our past.

It’s easy for the young generation to get frustrated with the older generation when things don’t seem to be moving forward. It’s easy for the older generation to be frustrated with the young people coming in because they feel like we want to change everything. The truth is both generations need each other. I can get frustarted at times but then Holy Spirit reminds me, those before me built the Church of God from nothing and that is a huge accomplishment. Men and women before me have seen mighty moves of God because they were willing to pay the price of ridicule and much more.

Let’s do our generation and the next generation a favor, get to know our past, honor the men and women before us. Honor what they have set in place. Us young guys need to get under good pastors and learn from them, seasoned pastors need to take young leaders and mentor them. This is how things continue to grow.

 

Getting acquainted with the past:

2000 Years of Charismatic Christianity by Eddie L. Hyatt

Theological Roots of Pentecostalism by Donald W. Dayton

Like A Mighty Army (History of the Church of God) by Charles W. Conn

 

Moving forward in the present:

Issues in Contemporary Pentecostalism (various contributors)

Comeback Churches by Ed Stetzer and Mike Dodson

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The Kingdom of God

Jesus todayHow should we picture the Kingdom of God? Or by what story shall we present it?

Interesting question isn’t it? It’s one Jesus asked His disciples.

I think an answer to that is eating with tax collectors and sinners.  Yes, I know today we have certain things in place that help us stay on the path of our walk. At times I wonder though, if our path keeps us from the very people we are to reach.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “guard your witness’? It’s a phrase to admonish us not to be seen near a liquor store, never offer to hold someone’s beer, don’t offer anyone a light.

If I were to be talking to someone at Starbucks about Jesus and they said they were getting hungry and asked me to go eat at the Drunken Donkey, should I say no because it “ruins my witness”? Or would it actually ruin my witness to say no to someone I was sharing the love of Jesus with?

The Pharisees took the teaching of the Torah and added a bunch of stuff to it. It was all the “bunch of stuff” Jesus and His disciples were always accused of breaking. “Why don’t you follow the tradition of the elders?” This is my paraphrase here, “Because tradition isn’t Torah”.

I’m all about living a holy life because Scripture tells me to but as I read Mark’s gospel the other day I began to see that Jesus did things way different than we do today. For one thing there is the eating with sinners thing. We can be so concerned with ruining our witness that we actually have no witness.

Jesus was moved with compassion and healed people. Often times we are moved to judgment to condemn people. Jesus walked in love and those of us who are Jesus followers should walk the same way.

Every time Jesus preached he followed up His message with a time of healing people and casting out demons. When was the last time we saw that in a church service?

It’s time that as Jesus followers we become more focused on His Kingdom and not our denomination. We need unity not infighting. I read so many articles about the church in America being in decline could it be because we are not Kingdom focused? Could it be because we’ve given up a gospel of power for a gospel of intellectual doctrine?

As Followers of Jesus I challenge each of us to spend regular time reading the gospels. I think it will change the way we do and see church.

honoring the legacy of Dr. T. L. Lowery

tl loweryDr. T. L. Lowery passed away this past Sunday at the age of eighty seven. I first heard Dr. Lowery on a Perry Stone broadcast and thought, man, this guy sounds like a preacher. While I never followed his ministry anytime he was on with Perry Stone I enjoyed listening to him teach.

 
Dr. Lowery served in many different capacities in the body of Christ including; pastor, evangelist, mentor, and General Overseer of the Church of God.

 
He was most known for his enthusiastic Spirit-filled preaching and for the many signs and wonders that took place in his meetings. The most impressive thing to me about Dr. Lowery was not that he pastored large churches or that he served as General Overseer. What impresses me about Dr. Lowery is that he took time with so many young ministers, he taught them, mentored them and gave young men an opportunity to speak.

 
What is now known as OCI, the ministry started by Mark Casto and Perry Stone began in T. L. Lowery’s building. Dr. Lowery allowed a young minister, Mark Casto to use his building for prayer meetings and the rest developed from there.

 
There are so many things that could be said about his life but as I reflect on the messages I heard him preach and the discussions I watched him, Perry Stone, and Fred Stone have, I can just hear him saying don’t focus on my legacy go do what God has called you to do. Go do the preaching, go do the miracles, win people to Jesus and lead them in Spirit baptism. Preach the Word and live holy.

 
Dr. Lowery’s legacy will live on in the lives of countless people who have heard him and will continue to be able to hear his messages on YouTube and read his books.

 
When a great general leaves the battlefield that does not mean the fight is over, it means you take what that general taught and you continue in the mission. We still have a great commission to fulfill and Dr. Lowery is looking on from the great cloud of witnesses.

The Key to Revival’s Door

door keyThis Father’s Day will be the 20th anniversary of the Brownsville revival.

 

Myself and maybe more importantly, well known leaders in the Church have been talking about the need for another great move of God, a third great awakening, a revival.

 
As much as I believe we need a revival, I think we need God more. Let me explain, revival can be trumped up through happy music, shouting, screaming preachers, and let’s be honest, spiritual excess. All this can and many times is called revival, when in reality it’s not.

 
If we truly want to see a revival we must first look to God and obey His word.

 
We are all familiar with 2 Chronicles 7:14, but the reasons that verse has not worked for us is two-fold. One, we’ve never truly repented, and two, we’ve never taken it in context.

 
2 Chronicles 7:12-22 NKJV ” 12 Then the LORD appeared to Solomon by night, and said to him: “I have heard your prayer, and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice. 13 When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, 14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 15 Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place. 16 For now I have chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there forever; and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually. 17 As for you, if you walk before Me as your father David walked, and do according to all that I have commanded you, and if you keep My statutes and My judgments, 18 then I will establish the throne of your kingdom, as I covenanted with David your father, saying, ‘You shall not fail to have a man as ruler in Israel.’19 “But if you turn away and forsake My statutes and My commandments which I have set before you, and go and serve other gods, and worship them, 20 then I will uproot them from My land which I have given them; and this house which I have sanctified for My name I will cast out of My sight, and will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples.21 “And as for this house, which is exalted, everyone who passes by it will be astonished and say, ‘Why has the LORD done thus to this land and this house?’ 22 Then they will answer, ‘Because they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, who brought them out of the land of Egypt, and embraced other gods, and worshiped them and served them; therefore He has brought all this calamity on them.’”

 
When we read this portion of Scripture with context it has somewhat of a different feel to it.

 
The place was sanctified and there was sacrifice. We need to be sanctified and we need to be the sacrifice.

 
To be sanctified means to be set apart. We are sanctified when Jesus is made LORD of our life. At salvation He is savior but at sanctification He is made LORD.

 
Psalm 51:7-10 NKJV ” 7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.8 Make me hear joy and gladness, That the bones You have broken may rejoice.9 Hide Your face from my sins, And blot out all my iniquities.10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

 
1 Thessalonians 4:3-7; 5:23 NKJV “3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5 not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. 7 For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. 5:23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

 
Many Christians have made Jesus savior, but not all have made Him LORD. Salvation and sanctification are clearly two different and separate works of Holy Spirit and until we are sanctified, until our temples are sanctified, until our churches are sanctified we will not see God, nor a move of God.

 
Hebrews 12:14 says without holiness no man shall see God. It is not enough to be saved. Matthew three says we must produce fruit in keeping with repentance. We must be sanctified.
In our sanctification we must present ourselves holy and acceptable which is our reasonable worshipful service.

 
In revival we want the glory of God to come down. The glory of God is the holiness of God. Exodus 15:11 NIV “majestic in holiness, awesome in glory”.

 
There are two Hebrew words here, Kabod: holiness as brilliance, and Kodesh: holiness as glory.

 
The eleventh verse ends, working wonders.

 
Before we ever see supernatural manifestations of glory, we must see and be a part of the holiness of the glory of God.

 
We must walk according to the Word of God, 2 Chronicles 7:17. If we do not take the holiness of God seriously and the command of all of Scripture to live and walk holy, we will never see the glory, we won’t see revival.

 
Second Chronicles seven was written to the Church, not the world. This is for us. The call to repentance is for us, the call to sanctification and sacrifice is to us. The call to walk according to the Word is for us.

 
I am thrilled to acknowledge and celebrate a revival anniversary, but this needs to serve as a wake-up call. Steve Hill preached repentance and holiness, the healings and other things happened because of the repentance and holiness lifestyle.

 
If we truly want to see a move of God we must do the following:

 

Repent of our wicked ways.

 
Invite Holy Spirit to sanctify us and we continually sanctify ourselves through the Word.

 
We must put ourselves on the altar of sacrifice.

 
All this must be done individually before we can ever do it corporately.

 
Holiness is a positive message, it is a victory message. If we want to see the promises of God fulfilled, and I know each one of us does, we must hold up our end, which is to walk on the highway of holiness (Isaiah 35:8).

 
Take some time and ask Holy Spirit to speak to your heart, ask to be sanctified, pray the prayer of Psalm 51. Begin walking in victory today, walk in purity and demonstrate power.

Two Hindrances to Revival

revivalI believe there are two major hindrances to any move of God, legalism and lawlessness. These two are opposite of each other but they have the same affect, effect, and infect; they stop the move of God.

Legalism can take on two forms. One it can take the Word and twist it and two it can past moves and make the new move try to fit.

The Pharisees took the law and twisted it, but we must understand, the law is not bad, the perversion of the law is bad. Jesus taught the law in His “Sermon on the Mount”. The difference between Jesus’ teaching and the Pharisees teaching? Jesus liberated and the Pharisees locked up.
We see Jesus healing on the Sabbath (liberating) and we see the Pharisees condemning Him for it (locking up).

Jesus said this, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the Scribes and Pharisees you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Paul called himself a “Pharisee of Pharisees”. The law is not bad, without the law you have lawlessness which is condemned in Scripture.

Pharisees tried to hinder Jesus, that same spirit tries to hinder moves of God today.

A second manifestation of this spirit is to make a new move fit an old mold. Remember, you can’t put new wine into an old skin. Isaiah 42;9 declares, “behold I do a new thing before it springs forth, I will tell you of it.”

The move of God in 2015 will not look like the move of God in 1950. It will be the same Spirit with new manifestations.

I believe the main reasons why denominations can start off so on fire and thirty years down the road be dead, dry and predictable is because they try to fit everything into the mold of the beginning.

We must allow God to speak and move in new ways. I’m not talking about revelation outside the Word, I’m talking a fresh touch and move of the Holy Spirit.

We must be willing to move in new directions to experience this next move of God.

The Second hindrance to revival is lawlessness. Simply put lawlessness says we are under grace there are no commands. This is simply not true.

Jesus said if you love me you will obey me. Jesus is the Word made flesh, that’s Old Testament Word and New Testament Word.

The only thing in the Old Testament we are not bound to is sacrificial law because Jesus is our sacrifice, but Jesus did not do away with the moral teaching of the Torah.

There is more I can say on this subject but I would simply be repeating things I have said in my last few posts.

The bottom line is this as we press forward into the supernatural, let’s not put God in a box from fifty years ago and let’s not dismiss His call to holiness. Without holiness, Hebrews says, no man will see the Lord.

Let us open up our hearts and submit ourselves to God in worship so that we can catch the wave of this move of God.

Realization, Repentance, & Restoration

pen and paperRealization:

It has been a while since my last post and during that time the Lord has done many things in my life and spoken much to my Spirit. During that time the Lord sat an appointment for He and I during a Passover conference. Many things transpired during the conference and in the following weeks.

The first thing that began to take place is a revelatory understanding began to take place in my spirit concerning the Hebrew or Jewish roots of the faith. When I say revelatory understanding I mean something that has changed me and not just head and book knowledge that is acquired. I have spoken some about this and more will come in the future.

I also began to see how I had lost my passion for prayer, don’t misunderstand, I still prayed and still emphasized the importance of prayer in my life, it’s just that I allowed that passion and the commitment to pursuing the presence of God through prayer slip.
Many things began to be revealed to me, much of which lead to times of repentance.

 

Repentance:

During this time I realized how I had allowed religion to take hold during my high school years. I had some very wrong staunch positions and said very hurtful things to people I knew. At times I focused too much on the Judgment of God than His love, for that I am deeply sorry.

As I began to repent for things Holy Spirit brought to my attention I began to see how a restoration of God’s order and purpose needed to take place, not only in my own life but in the body of Christ as a whole.

 

Restoration:

The first thing that I knew needed to be restored was the Hebrew Roots of the faith. I am not saying we go back under law, I am saying there are things God put in place that He did not change between the Old and New Testaments, these include, Sabbath, Feast Days, and the BLESSING that comes in walking in obedience. We need to be restored to God’s order and His timing and this happens when we return to our roots.

I also believe the Lord wants to restore the reality of the fruit and gifts of the Spirit to believers through the leadership of the Five Fold Ministry of Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor, and Teacher. It is the first two that truly need to be restored to the Church.

We must return to prayer, praise, and the presence of God. I know many denominations see how they disagree with each other but it is those who will realize that they agree doctrinally and put aside secondary issues that will see a move of God.

We must restore true praise and worship to the Church and not a fifteen to twenty five minute song service that is broken up with greet your neighbor, bowing for prayer, and worship leaders who talk more than they lead us in worship. Scripture tells us to enter with thanksgiving and praise. We will not experience God in the way He has for us until we return to both corporate and personal worship.

 

Concluding Thoughts:

It’s time for us to be willing to put aside our traditions, programs, and orders of service and invite God in to awaken us. We must be a people of personal and corporate prayer, praise and worship, and people of the Word.

We have destroyed ourselves by trying to systematically learn and describe everything about God. Theology is important but when it is more important than experiencing the God of the theology the devil has won.

We must return to the Church of Acts and the Mystics of times past they knew God and demonstrated God and the Church grew. We wonder why the Church is in decline, we have left relationship and experience for a systematic theology that puts us at odds with each other.

Church, let us turn back to a relational experience with a God who loves us. I’m not saying throw out doctrine or morality. A true experience and an awakening only comes with those things, but with those things alone we are Pharisees, having a form of Godliness but denying its power.

Church lets realize where we are, repent for the things we need to, restore the age old foundations and experience a revival that leads to awakening.

Needless “Churchisms”

churchA few days ago on twitter I posted a needless “churchism” and it got me to thinking about some of the  things we say in church and how even though they sound good and spiritual it’s either pointless, a given, or makes no sense. So today, I’m going to give you a few of those needless churchisms and why I think they are all silly.

#1 “You may be seated in the presence of the Lord”.

This is the one I posted on twitter. I know what is meant when this is said. Sometimes it is said when there is a physical/emotional feel of His presence, however like I pointed out on twitter, everywhere we are seated we are in the presence of the Lord, so technically, when I’m sitting on the toilet I am seated in the presence of the Lord. This makes me wonder if I am closer to God in the bathroom since we are both sitting on the throne.

#2 “There is a special presence of the Spirit here today”.

Again, I know what is meant by this, when there is a move of the Spirit that can be felt physically and brings emotions to it this phrase is said. Yet if we think about it even when we can’t “feel” the presence it’s still there and it’s still special. I’m not being nit-picky and I’m not saying we shouldn’t say these things, I just see the humor that’s in some of our best phrases.

#3 “If there was ever a time we needed the Lord, it’s the time we are living in right now.”

This by far is the most popular phrase, preachers say it all the time and honestly this is one of the dumbest things we could ever say. (Hoping I have never said it and now never say it in the future). This sounds good and the Amen corner wakes up on this one but come on, we always need the Lord, the same amount we’ve always needed Him.

#4 “Tell three people you love them in the Lord”.

I’m twenty-five and I still haven’t figured this one out yet. And what’s with the three or five people thing anyway?  Also a sub point, I don’t get the purpose of the greeting time in worship, yes it’s good to mingle, but is the two to four minutes really necessary considering most people just rotate to those in front, beside, and around themselves. And we all know if you’ve been to church more than two weeks you have your seat on your row and so does everyone else in church.

That’s all of the ones I can think of right now, I’m sure some more will come out from time to time. Which ones did I miss, comment and let me know.

The Heart of Worship

worshipI have been thinking quite a bit lately on church, how we should do church, what does being relevant mean? Is it jeans and a t-shirt, is it a pastor who preaches off an ipad, is it a coffee bar, is it smoke, lights, illustrations, and power points?

I’m not going to get into all that today, I’m not even going to teach. Yesterday in church the last song we sang was the heart of worship. The worship leader relayed the story of Matt Redman’s pastor (we all know Matt Redman; he is a great contemporary worship leader). His church had the smoke and the lights, they had a full band, but the pastor felt that worship had become too much of a production. So he took away the sound system, band, and the whole thing for a period of time so that the church could get back to the heart of things. Matt Redman said the song; The Heart of Worship was born out of that time.

When the music fades
and all has slipped away
and I simply come.
Longing just to be
something that’s of worth
that will bless Your heart.

I’ll bring You more than a song,
for a song in itself
is not what You have required.
You search much deeper within,
through the way things appear,
Your looking into my heart.

I’m coming back to the heart of worship
and its all about You, its all about You, Jesus.
I’m sorry, Lord, for the thing I’ve made it
when its all about You, its all about You, Jesus.

I’m not saying there is anything wrong with a band, or lights or anything, but as I attend worship services these days it does seem like it’s a production and not a praise time. As Dusty said in Pure Country, “I’m tired, I’m tired of all the smoke and the lights, it aint me, and the people cant even hear me the music is so loud.” I think George Strait’s character in the movie can describe the Church. Now I’m not saying get rid of your band (the smoke machine, maybe). Read the lyrics, let them sync in…. Our churches have become more about entertaining it seems…

My point is not to get rid of anything, but to examine our hearts, motives, and why we do things.

More on this in the coming weeks.

The Church and its Ordinances

baptism_communionThe Churches mission is simple and clear. Matthew 28:18-20 NKJV “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. (19) “Go, therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (20) teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

We see in the great commission given to the Church that we are to make disciples and walk holy before the Lord.

1 Peter 1:15-16 NKJV “but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, (16) because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”

The two ordinances of the church are water baptism and communion. Our baptism and water symbolizes our commitment to Christ. When we are baptized in water we are saying we want to follow Christ’s example in holiness and righteousness.

Romans 6:3-4 NKJV “Or did you not know that as many of us were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? (4) Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”

Jesus was baptized in the Jordan; however, the Bible is not specific to the mode of baptism. Baptism may be administered by immersion, pouring, or sprinkling according to the choice of the applicant.

The second ordinance of the church is the Lord’s Supper, also known as communion.

1 Corinthians 11:23-34 NKJV “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat, this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes. 27 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 30 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. 31 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.” 33 Therefore, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. 34 But if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, lest you come together for judgment. And the rest I will set in order when I come.”

As believers we should take part in communion to remember what the Lord has done for us, not only His death and resurrection, but the things He does in our lives as well.

We also need to examine ourselves before we participate, if we take this memorial meal without examining our hearts we our bringing judgment on ourselves.

Communion allows us to remember what Jesus did for us and also keeps watch on our hearts. In partaking of communion we come together with other believers and keep ourselves on the path of holiness.

The Church (A Message for its Members)

churchAs I began thinking about writing about the Church and its purpose, my mind automatically went to the great commission:

“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing    them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things  that I have commanded you; and lo I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” ~ Matthew 28:18-20

As I thought about that verse, I decided to go in a different direction. For those of us who have been in Church we readily understand our purpose of winning lost souls and making disciples. However in this post I have decided to take a look at the church today.

Before I begin, I want to say that I am not against Churches that are large in size; I have however in recent months begun to develop a bad taste for what many “mega-churches” have become. I don’t believe we need to go back to the 1800’s, however I do thing we should still be reverent in church and I don’t believe we should be using worldly things to attract the world, HELLO! They already have the world they need Jesus!

The inside of many churches are beginning to look like night clubs instead of houses of worship. Preachers are giving “talks” that are about 25-30 minutes in length instead of truly teaching the truth of the Word for 25-30 minutes.

Now this is not all big churches but quite a few. We put the verses up on the screen which can cause the people to look there instead of the Scripture on their lap, this causes some (dare I say many people) not to even bring a Bible to church, or if they do it remains unopened.

I am all for innovative ways to bring people in but let’s think things all the way through before we decide to do them. Pastor think about what it looks like for you to preach off your Ipad and not have your Bible, yes I know the verses are on your Ipad, but your people need to see you with a Bible, they need to see you turn to the scriptures.

I am all for Bible apps and websites. I have an app on my phone, but when you solely use your app or a website you aren’t getting to know your Bible, you don’t get familiar with book order; you can’t turn to your favorite passage. And while searching things can be helpful, I believe it causes us to know less of our Bible, and discourage memorization because all we have to do is pull up our app and type in a key word.

I am not trying to be mean or critical; there are just some things I don’t think need an update or modernization. We should stick with our leather bound Bibles and turn our pages and really get to know the person of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit from cover to cover, not keystroke by keystroke.

Why do I mention the Church looking like a night club, what’s the problem? It’s not a night club. Our lights shouldn’t be turned off with a few spot lights on the platform that’s covered in smoke.

I don’t mind coffee and donuts before church, but do we really need to bring them in the service?

For those of us who have been in church for a while, what’s the deal with this come as you are stuff? Wearing shorts, t-shirt, and flip flops on Sunday morning? I’m not talking about visitors I am talking about Church members, we are coming to worship God, and surely we can present ourselves better and eat the donut and drink the coffee before coming into the sanctuary.

What happened to the days of reverence?

The next thing that’s been on my mind is the mindset of celebrity pastor, (I’ll admit I have been guilty of this way of thinking when I have thought about my future church). On this subject I am primarily talking about your average size churches and not your mega churches. It seems today that many pastors are concerned with preaching and not shepherding. Yes the pastor preaches and should spend time studying, but the role of pastor is caretaker, counselor, encourager, and pray-er.

I have noticed in some recent conversations I have had with people in ministry (and those like me, aspiring to one day be a senior pastor) that the prevailing thought is pastors should only preach and they need to hire other staff to handle counseling and pastoral care, you know, all the day-to-day stuff.

I understand a church of 200 or more needs to delegate, but even small churches of 75-100 have pastors who want to only preach and not take care of the people God has entrusted them with.

Pastors who show up on time, not early, or early but don’t mingle with the people. The pastor who bolts after the altar call or the hand shaking. Pastors need to be for their people and not wannabe celebrities, for this I am guilty and have repented and asked the Lord to change my heart in this area and He has and is doing that.

A problem I see with those of us who are called to pastor is we see these guys on TV and the well known podcasters and start to imitate them and want what they have….God has called me to be me not someone else. I don’t need to have a huge church unless that is God’s plan and even then I don’t need to be a “celebrity pastor” pretending those in my congregation are the awful press, they are my people, my family and they should be treated as such.

Going back to the reverence issue of the church, I know some may say, God is my daddy and the church should be treated like his house. My answer is yes and no, not like you think. Yes, God is our Father and we should come to Him as such, but as far as church, worship, and Word go there must be a reverence.

In Nehemiah the people built a platform and pulpit solely for the purpose of preaching, as soon as the scroll (Bible) was opened the people stood in reverence. I believe this kind of thing is missing from many churches today.

While I love modern praise and worship, I still think hymns should be sung, they contain great truth.

The Church needs to strike a balance and not be so modern that we disregard our heritage, holiness, and the hope that we offer.

The Church should look like a church, we should use the language of the Bible and not try to update it but explain its richness…

I know I didn’t write a teaching on the purpose of the church like many (even I) thought I would but this is what was on my heart and I hope these things haven’t driven away any readers.

I am all for new methods but I don’t believe that means changing everything the Church has always been. It’s ok for a church to look like a church, it should. Have a steeple, have a cross in the sanctuary, have altars, even if they are at the side, have pew racks, not for hymnals but for Bibles, so that those who don’t have one or forgot theirs can still pick one up and read it.

One last thought, if the church building is completely overhauled along with the message that becomes a “talk” on God’s love, grace and mercy (but no mention of Jesus), all the happy verses, but not the holy ones, all the saving ones, but not the sin condemning ones, or all the prosperity verses without the profitable “hard to swallow” verses then can we really say we are the Church.

Again, I am not speaking against mega churches, or positive messages, the Gospel is a positive message. I am just concerned in some ways our modernization of our methods and message can is some ways be damaging if we aren’t careful. How can it be damaging? If we loosen up the methods and the message too much permissiveness of sin can slip in under the guise of freedom or love or grace, IF things are not kept in the right balance of method and message.     

Thanks for reading this post, a little out of the ordinary for this series…but this has been rolling around in me for a little while now….

See you next week, God Bless!

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