Deuteronomy 6:5-9

"You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Thoughts on people leaving the church...

Martie read a blog recently titled, "Dear Church Here's Why People Are REALLY Leaving You". Below is his response to the blog. 

Mixed thoughts on this one. Some good things to ponder.

1--Sunday morning productions, we can't do a better job than the world at entertainment nor should we try. The Sunday gathering should be about worshiping, equipping the saints to serve, building the people up until they reach Christlikeness. 

2--Speaking a different tongue. Again some of it needs to be cut out, but we need to teach Biblical truth, but take the time to teach those who don't understand. I agree the building too often is the focus, but we also don't need to lose sight of the purpose of the building. It is not the temple, but special in that we should leverage the building/property/resources for the kingdom. The Church (people) are missionaries sent to Declare/Preach and Display/Live/Love. 

3--Lousy battles, I couldn't agree more. 

4--Love...This part frustrated me, the person wants love without of the "spiritual riff-raff". We wouldn't know love without the "Spiritual Riff-Raff" (Gospel) The Spiritual Riff-Raff is what motivates our Love. Is our love perfect...NO! We too are struggling like you who are leaving...we too want our lives to be about us...we too don't feel like we have the energy or the drive to deal with other people's drama, but that is what we are committed to doing regardless of how bent and broken our efforts may be. 

You say you want us to hear you before we debate you. The problem is you are not talking and if you do talk you are not speaking the truth. Most of the people who leave church won't be honest about their thoughts and feelings when they do talk. Most often it is the same language, "its not you its me". They won't allow others to ask pressing question and most often rather flee unannounced and unnoticed. 

In conclusion, it breaks my heart that many are leaving churches. I certainly have had to deal with a great deal of departures in my 10 years of ministry. I have wept many tears over many people and most of them never knew it. Break-ups hurt both parties. I wish I could tell you many stories of reconciliation, but typically when people have made up their mind to leave there is little chance they will return. At the heart of the issue is you will never love the church and be satisfied in the church until you are in love with Jesus and satisfied with Him. Soon after you will grow to love what He loves, which is His Church. You will love like Jesus, unwilling to leave and forsake His Church regardless of their constant battles with sin and Satan. Your first step to reconciliation is just like ours. Humbling ourselves, asking God to forgive us for being to self-centered, seeking to know and love Jesus with all we are and praying He would unite us in His Body, the Church.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Give thanks!

Because Scripture commands me to give thanks in all situations, I am choosing to do just that. The kids might be sick, I might still be in my pj's, the laundry still needs to be folded...

But...I am thankful today for:
  1. New TV that we received as a gift for Christmas.
  2. Amazon Prime account that allows us to rent movies anytime we want.
  3. A husband who appreciates me, and knows when I need a break.
  4. Warm showers in a locked bathroom.
  5. Emergency chocolate that I've hidden in my room. (and forgot about)
  6. Warm blankets- another Christmas gift
  7. Dinner brought to us by friends.
  8. A 20 oz. coke that was in the bag with dinner, just because my friends know me. 
  9. Store bought bread, peanut butter, and jelly
  10. Family and friends who will genuinely and lovingly pray for us at any time.
  11. Friends who are willing to take on my role in other areas of my life, so I can take care of my family. 
  12. Viruses, yes I'm thankful for viruses. Although my kids are pretty miserable, whiny, and needy it could be worse. They only have a virus, it's not a disease and they will be better....eventually. And on the bright side, it's building up their immune systems. 
Psalm 13:5, NIV I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation
Nehemiah 8:10b, ESV And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.
Psalm 28:7, NLT The LORD is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.
1 Thessalonians 16-18, NIV Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Romans 12:12, ESV Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
1 Thessalonians 5:17, NLT Never Stop Praying.
Philippians 4:4, ESV Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.