Thursday, April 23, 2009

Attention to Evidence

In my former church there were some things in the New Testament, that were basic teachings to the new church, that were completely ignored the last couple of years that I attended there. One thing that really bothered me was that no one could get baptized at the church. It was just not important to the pastor. OH, he may say it was or is important to him, but what is important to you, you give attention to. Let me tell you, there was never a service that the TITHE wasn't paid attention to. But baptism was not mentioned in over two years.

In the New Testament, everyone that got saved got baptized. Jesus was baptized. Not only could you not get baptized at this church, if you were someone who was unschooled in the Bible or had no knowledge of Christianity, you could have attended this church for over a year and you would have no knowledge that there was even such a thing or what it was, much less why it is done or what it symbolizes.

In looking back to when there were baptism services at this church I remember that there were very few people baptised at the last couple of services.

I realized that without baptism services there is no evidence of how few people are being saved and making a real commitment to Christ at the church. I remember it got to where there were so few people being saved in the services and of the few that came forward hardly any ever came back more than once or twice. I realized that the absence of baptism services kept the evidence of this from being apparent to the congregation.

When the service closes and the pastor gives an invitation it is usually for more than just to get saved and give your life to Christ. There may be several other invitations, healing, recommitting your life, being filled with the Holy Spirit and other things. In this way, people in the congregation just see people come forward and then when they are told that so many people are being saved they just believe it and with the absence of baptism services there is no evidence of the truth.

There was also no evidence of the poor being helped by the church, widows being helped by the church, people being taught to live holy lives, or peoples' individual needs being ministered to.
A healthy, New Testament church should have EVIDENCE of these things.

James 2:14-18 (Amplified Bible)
14What is the use (profit), my brethren, for anyone to profess to have faith if he has no [good] works [to show for it]? Can [such] faith save [his soul]?
15If a brother or sister is poorly clad and lacks food for each day,
16And one of you says to him, Good-bye! Keep [yourself] warm and well fed, without giving him the necessities for the body, what good does that do?
17So also faith, if it does not have works (deeds and actions of obedience to back it up), by itself is destitute of power (inoperative, dead).
18But someone will say [to you then], You [say you] have faith, and I have [good] works. Now you show me your [alleged] faith apart from any [good] works [if you can], and I by [good] works [of obedience] will show you my faith.

If you are attending a church and your pastor claims to teach FAITH, claims to live by faith, hear from God by faith, claims he is the one to teach you faith, then look at his WORKS. Not his works of standing in a pulpit and claiming to know it all but his works in the community, his works among the congregation, his works SHOWING his faith. There should be EVIDENCE. Evidence of his faith by his works, his actions, evidence of what the church is doing and accomplishing.

Pay attention to the evidence. If you can't see any, then you are being deceived. You need to find a church that it is evident what they are and what fruit they are producing.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Its All About The Word

In my former church, we were always told, "It's all about the word", meaning it was all about the Word of God. We were taught that...

-we were not supposed to listen to peoples problems.... when they began talking about them we were to just "tell them the word"

-attacks came against the church because that church was the only church that preached the word the right way and the devil was trying to destroy it

-we were to speak the word all the time and not give voice to illnesses, situations, or anything that did not line up with the word

-the preaching of the word, the way the pastor interpreted it was more important than anything.. even people

In reading the gospels, and looking at the ministry of Jesus, it is obvious that the most important thing to Him was people. The Bible says that Jesus was the Word of God in the flesh. Yet, He did not teach and preach that He was the most important thing. He was not here to promote Himself, He promoted doing the will of the Father and loving PEOPLE.

Yes the word is important. It is alive and powerful. It is the good news to all men. It is the answer to every problem. It is the standard we live by. It is truth. But the most important thing to God is people.

Jesus spent His life here on earth serving people, healing them, showing them love, helping them, putting them first until He made the choice to die for them. Yet we have pastors now that won't give the people in their congregation the time of day. Won't attend their funerals. Have no interest in helping them with their problems, answering their questions, or listening to them when they need someone to talk to. Need to see their tithing record before deciding whether to attend something they have received an invitation to.

Preachers today need to wake up. It is not all about the preaching of the word with whatever twist or "new revelation" they want to push! It is about taking the gospel of Jesus to a lost and hurting world. Feeding the hungry, giving to the poor, ministering to the needy and the hurting, and genuinely loving people.Its about using the word to do this, not using it to get what they want. It is about using the word to teach others how to live, how to love,how to serve and how to live holy lives. It is not there for people in the ministry to use it to excuse whatever sins they choose to engage in and then keep them in ministry positions no matter how atrocious their lifestyles are.

In careful consideration I have comet to the conclusion that it is not ALL about the Word, it is ALL about people.