Saturday, November 5, 2011

state of the church

"The true man of God is heartsick, 
grieved at the worldliness of the Church, 
grieved at the toleration of sin in the Church, 
grieved at the prayerlessness in the Church. 
He is disturbed that the corporate prayer of the Church 
no longer pulls down the strongholds of the devil."
-Leonard Ravenhill
No matter how much we try to fit in and be comfortable with those around us, no matter how close to the world our lifestyle tends, there is yet a great chasm between the broad and narrow ways (Matt. 7). And sadly, Jesus says that few will find the narrow way that leads to true life! The more I read about the faith of our fathers, the more I think that modern Christians have missed it.

Several weeks ago, one of my FB acquaintances posted that his church was having a Wednesday prayer and worship evening, so he invited everyone on his friends list to come. And then he said, "Come out and support our pastor." I recoiled, "WHAT?!? What does supporting a pastor have to do with worshiping and praising and magnifying and spending time before our AWESOME GOD?!" Besides missing the point, his post reflected a "churchianity" that I don't share or believe in. God calls us to Himself, to worship Him, to commune with Him, to let Him change us into His image, and to let Him turn us into ministers of His saving grace. Not to follow a man or a dogma or doctrine.  Or get hung up" on one issue or another, totally missing the whole picture of our purpose for existence and life here on earth in view of eternity.

Paul addressed this in 1 Corinthians 3 when he was confronted with Christians who wanted to segregate and divide Jesus' followers into "camps of belief." He first states that some ministers plant seeds and some water them, but God is the one who  gives the increase. You almost think he is dismissing his own role in the ministry process, yet he says that every man shall "receive his own reward according to his own labor." So, yes, the church does play an important role in the spiritual life, but "supporting our pastor" should not be a motivation to spend an evening with our Maker and Savior!

I counsel and talk to students and parents every week who have no tools of the Kingdom, no power of the Holy Spirit, and no victory over their flesh, sin, and the devil to live a dynamic Christian life. It is sad but true. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the tide or spiritual and Scriptural ignorance that surrounds me (and I am not talking about my immediate family here!). I can only do my part to stem it and shine the light towards paths of righteousness, and leave the rest to the Lord! 

Case in point...several months ago, I had to call for an intervention meeting with the parents of one our struggling students. Only the mom could make time in her schedule to come. And when I asked her if she and her husband prayed over their children, she looked at me with a blank look and didn't know what to say. I still can't fathom the feeling that crashed into my spirit as I sat there, realizing that this parent didn't really care about their child's spiritual welfare. She could cry and weep all she wanted, but when the rubber hit the road, she wasn't willing to do what that Bible says to train up and intercede for her child(ren). 

Demonic apathy is rendering us has crept in and stolen our zeal and thirst and hunger. In Matt. 11:12, Jesus was talking to his followers about John the Baptist, and explaining why John was so different and why he couldn't be like everybody else around him. And He ends with, "From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force."

"May the things of this world so lose their power over us that we do not in the slightest wish to be "worldly"; nay, we even delight in not remaining 'in the world.'"
-Watchman Nee 

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