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Be Bold, Be Strong for the Lord our God Is With Us

Faith, Youthwork and Family…

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April 2013

#HowTo make or Break a church

I heard today that the congregation of my friend’s church has split in two, it is a real shame as it seemed to me to be a great church, they always inspired me whenever I went! The problem being that it is not the first church, which has been having problems in the last year and I very much doubt it will be the last!

Jesus himself said Where two or more are gathered in my name, I am there with them! The issue is that “where two or more are gathered” there is also going to be disagreement!  Even if you are family members or long-time friends you will not agree with each other over everything!

As a family, we have moved churches a few times for reasons such as:-

  • Poor amount of biblical teaching.
  • Worship and talks being uninspiring.
  • “Unbiblical teaching” creeping in due to influence of visiting speakers.
  • Over-obsession with finding the “Glory of God

But I have also heard people leaving churches due to:-

  • Poor pastoral support.
  • Leadership being accusing rather than caring
  • Drums being “too loud” during worship

I know that no church is perfect and I mentioned this in a blog a few months ago, but maybe it is time for the “followers of Jesus” to get back to basics (like I said last week) and be “the difference”.  The early church sold all that they had to provide for the poor, why have we stopped that attitude?  I was talking to a builder who has done a lot of maintenance work, for the Anglican Diocese in his area, who said that half of the manses are bigger and more expensive than most other homes that he has been in! How can any church leader/preacher justify to themselves the fact that they are living in an expensive home and there are so many poor and needy around them?!

I do wonder what life would be like if we all were “red letter christians”? If we all were more concerned with what concerned Jesus, rather than what we have grown up to be concerned by?

I also wonder sometimes, that if I were to start a church what would it look like, where would my priorities lie? I believe they would be something like:-

  • Being willing to help the needy every other Sunday rather than meeting religiously as a “church”.
  • Meeting everyday (or as often as possible?) for worship, teaching and testimony.
  • Accept everyone – regardless of age, colour, background, how they dress or how they talk! (Possibly my highest priority!)
  • Bible knowledge
  • Testimonies
  • Prayer
  • Supporting each other in times of need whatever time of night!

What would your priorities be? What should they be?

“Should I stay or should I go?”

We hear different sermons on “waiting on god” or “stepping out in faith“, if you are currently unsure whether you are being called by God to stop doing what you are doing, whether it be something that you have felt rightly committed to do for a while or something you shouldn’t have started doing in the first place, it is hard to move on!  If something has become such a large part of your life that it is almost part of your identity, then letting that go is akin to a grieving process you go through with losing a loved one!

We all have plans that we try to make for our lives which may include-

  • A career/job we enjoy
  • Enough money in the bank to live comfortably (more if you are greedy!)
  • A Family
  • A house of our own
  • A happy marriage to the man/woman of our dreams
  • A nice car
  • A pet

How many of our plans include God’s ideas like:-

  • Being the man/woman of God that he made us to be?
  • Bringing up children who love God, Know the bible and are kind and considerate to others?
  • Knowing as much of the bible as we can?
  • Not just giving away the things we don’t need but sacrificially giving away things that would help others despite it making ourselves materialistically “poorer” temporarily?
  • Giving God time every day to speak to us and have an input into our lives?
  • Being conscious daily to do the right thing and avoid doing the wrong thing?
  • Putting other peoples needs before our own?

We are called to be “ready to give an answer for the hope we have in Jesus”, but if:-

  • our lives are no different to our unbelieving neighbour’s/friend’s/relative’s life.
  • we as followers of Christ do not in some way start to live more selflessly (Jesus only sent his disciples in “the great commission” with the sandals on their feet and the clothes on their back!) so all our trappings of gadgets and flashy fashionable outfits are meaningless.
  • we do not use what we have been blessed to afford and own to bless others? “How can you live more simply so that others can simply live?”

How can we say we are following Christ? How can we honestly stand in front of the most loving being, after our time on earth is over, and say “I looked after the poor, the needy, the thirsty, the hungry, the orphans and the widows like you asked me to.“? It is a poor use of our time to pontificate, become anxious, to go off and worry about whether or not we are meant to this or that! If we do as Christ says and “die to self”, to give up the self-obsessed thoughts, the selfish actions, the “look after No1” mentality. If we can look to help others when we can and ask God to guide us then surely that is so much more important!!

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