boyradd

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Archive for the tag “WAKEUPCHURCH”

The Importance of God’s Word

2 Timothy 3:16-17 – “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”

A few days ago, a friend of mine sent me an article about a church in New Jersey which challenged every one of their congregants to read the entire New Testament in 40 days.  In response, over 3,300 adults and children signed up for it.  The article went on to say that every day, over 700 people in America give up on reading their Bibles.

Matthew 4:4 – But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

What is it about Americans?  USA Today poll said that Only 11%,” of Americans read the Bible every day. More than half read it less than once a month or never at all. 18% of born-again Christians read their Bibles once a day, while 23% who professed to be Christians said they never read their bibles at all.

Romans 15:4 – “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”

Christianity on the world stage is exploding in growth!  The American church is declining!  According to the Hartsford Institute for Religion Research, the average size of a church in America is 75 people.  Churches that have attendance between 7-99 people are in 59% of all of the churches in America!  The church I go to is in the minority.  I attend Chesapeake Christian Fellowship which has between 1,000 and 1,999 attenders every week.  According to the Hartsford Institute stats, that puts CCF in the top 2% of all of the churches in America!

Hebrews 4:12 – “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

What is going on in America that is causing the church to decline?

Joshua 1:8 – “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”

Look at Joshua 1:8.  In reading that Scripture above, if we are to meditate on the Word day and night and not let it depart from our mouths, then God will give us good success.  The world defines success in attaining money, clothes, houses, boats, etc….  God is looking at this from a different way.  How many souls will go to heaven when their time comes.  THAT, church, is what success is based on in the Christian’s life.  THAT, church, is what we need to have in our churches today.  Not fiscal success.  Not even success in having the most attenders.  BUT SUCCESS THAT COMES THROUGH TURNING THE GREAT COMMISSION INTO THE GREAT COMPLETION!  We need to be winning SOULS for Christ.

Churches have gotten away from the Bible.  People have been waiting for me to stand on my soapbox on this blog and tell you what I believe with regard to hot button issues, but I have not truly done that because it is important to know that the Word of God is for ALL, not just a group who reads Christian apologetic blogs.  But I believe homosexuality is a sin.  I believe abortion is murder.  I believe that this world, including many churches, has been attracted to all sorts of false idols that take away from the TRUE nature of God.

When the Bible gets changed or watered down by the Christian community, God will take away the successes in soul-winning that was so prevalent in years past.

CHURCH, WE NEED TO GET BACK TO THE BASICS OF THE BIBLE!  STOP CHANGING IT TO FIT THE WORLD’S MOLD!  WE NEED TO BE COUNTER-CULTURAL!

Everyone thinks you are a rebel if you are going out getting drunk every night, doing drugs, getting pregnant out of wedlock, or smoking or whatever else the world has to offer.  I will tell you today, there is only ONE true rebellion left in this world and that is reading your Bible.  NO ONE IS DOING IT!  That is the last true rebellious nature is reading and adhering to a Biblical standard.  You want to be a rebel?  Read your Bible!

Psalm 119:105 – “His Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my way.”

As we navigate this world, we need a compass (ok, you have to listen to the lyrics of this song for those of you who aren’t into the punk scene, but really, this song fits and this band is a friend to my family after meeting them at Purple Door).  There are moral absolutes in this world.  The Bible is printed form of God’s moral absolutes.  It is our compass to lead us to where we need to be.  It is our lamp that leads us through the dark night of this fallen world and into a promised land.

If we neglect to read the Bible, then we will get lost.  Caught up in a world that only looks out for itself.  Understand that God is not a malicious God, only desiring to please Himself.  If He was, Christianity would not have flourished since the crucifixion of Christ.  But God came to earth to be a sacrifice for us.  He took a bitterly dark world and added a little bit of light, a little bit of color.  He gave us a hope.

If you are reading this and realize that you do not have the hope that comes through Christ, then I urge you today to reach out to me.  Send me a message to frednoble11@comcast.net and I will reply with my phone number.  We can talk on the phone and pray together.  Through God, we’ll get you on the right path to life everlasting and love eternal.

Amen.

Have You Been To The Dentist Lately?

For those of who read this blog, you know that when I mean dentist, I most likely don’t mean dentist.  But in this case, I am going to talk about both the real dentist AND the metaphorical dentist, in this case, Christ.  So if you are like me and the sound of the dentist’s drill totally makes you want to faint, then man up and read anyway.  Paul said we are to not have a spirit of fear  (2 Timothy 1:7) but of boldness.  I fully believe that he is talking about proclaiming the Word of God, so I am still allowed to have my fear of the dentist.

A few weeks ago I started feeling a sharp pain in my teeth whenever I drank or ate something cold.  Knowing it was not normal for me to cringe in pain whenever I ate something, I felt it was important to head to the dentist.  Now, I am quite fearful of the dentist.  As a matter of fact, I can’t recall the last official time I had been to the dentist.  It had to be at least 7 years, probably more.

I WAS PETRIFIED WITH FEAR!

When the receptionist answered the phone, I paused for a few minutes, thinking to myself, “Do I really want to go through with this?” and “I wonder what snide remarks they will make about me not going to a dentist for so many years.”

But I made my appointment and showed up early.  They took me back, took some X-rays and pictures, poked me with a few sharp instruments, and came up with the conclusion:  I needed 2 crowns and a filling.

I thought they would be saying words about me not going to a dentist in years or how poorly my teeth look.  But they didn’t.  They were very nice, very accommodating, and very helpful.  I am still not a fan of multiple shots to numb my face or the sound of that drill or the 2 hours that I had to keep my mouth open.  But I will say that they not only took care of my issues in my mouth, but my issues with my fear.  They made me feel comfortable.  They understood the issues I have with fear of dentists.  They knew I needed to be there, but totally empowered me to know that I needed the services they provided.  Before I continue, I want to give a shout out to Dr. Doring and his team.  You need dental services? They are the people to call! www.doringdds.com.

But as I was lying in that chair with my mouth open, I started wondering if people see church the way that I see the dentist.  Could it be that people are so fearful of going to church that they simply do not choose to go.

The church could easily be seen like the dentist to a culture that is scared to experience the truth.  God’s Word is very clear.  Much of society’s focuses (views on homosexuality, the marginalizing of Jesus, etc….) are all items that make people uncomfortable when discussing.  And churches are known (at least the Bible-believing ones) for preaching a Gospel that is countercultural.  When you preach a countercultural message, you make people uncomfortable.

Like the dentist’s drill (which I can still hear in my ears days after leaving the dentist’s office), the Word of God is fashioned to cut away the rotted out parts of our lives.  The author of Hebrews puts it perfectly:  For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. (4:12)

So if the Word of God is going to hurt, why would anyone want to walk into a Bible-believing church?

The answer is simple:  because God’s people are (at least we should be) people who will disciple those who have a desire to learn more.  To disciple means to walk beside someone, in the good times and the bad.  To disciple is to stick with someone as they are scared to hear the Word of God.  Like the dental assistant who sat with me and talked to me, and knowing how uncomfortable I was calmed me down so that the dentist could do the work on my mouth that was necessary.

If we think of God as the dentist, it is our job to be the dental assistant, comforting the scared and walking beside them so that God can do His amazing work in their life.

I have been re-reading a book that I really like, Radically Unchurched by Alvin Reid.  In it, he shares the story of Bill.  Bill shows up late to a fully packed church dressed like he just came off the streets.  Since the church is packed, Bill sits down in the aisle up front near the stage.  Everyone looks nervous when they see a deacon in his eighties get out of his seat.  This particular deacon looks very nice, dressed in his three-piece suit and well-groomed.  He walks slowly over to the young man.  Everyone in the church is expecting the deacon to explain a little bit about church decorum to the man.  A silence fills the sanctuary.  Eventually, the old man reaches the young man, puts his cane on the floor and slowly (and most likely painfully) lowers himself and sits next to Bill just so he wouldn’t feel alone during the service. (Reid 2002)

Is this you?  Is this your church?  How welcome do we make people feel as they walk through the doors of our churches?  The message is a hard one to hear, especially when it runs countercultural to our current situations.  Are we as Christians making it more difficult for others to hear it because of how we react to outsiders, sinners, and those who don’t fit our Christian mold?

So, for all the Bills out there, how long has it been since you’ve been to the “dentist?”

And for all the Christians out there, how long has it been since you have taken the role of dental assistant?

Maybe it is time we look very closely to our churches and make it as comfortable as possible so that Bill can be discipled and we can all get our souls fixed.

Amen.

*I was not paid for my endorsement of Dr. Doring.

Bibliography

Reid, Alvin. Radically Unchurched: Who are they and how to reach them. Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 2002.

 

 

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