A Typical or Atypical Pastor's Wife-whichever one you come to believe

Welcome to the barnyard. Watch your step! The things written here are raw and unedited. Just my thoughts thrown on a page as they flow from my heart.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Wow, Church in America Sure Has Changed!

Nope!  This is no joke!  I wish it was.  But it's not. 
Awhile ago, there was an article in the paper about someone who started a church that met in a bar. The disturbing thing was that the Pastor was not against kicking back a few with the parishioners after the service. It seems to me that we in America have forgotten whose house we are attending. In a lot of churches, I fear that God has departed, but those in the church are so busy in their charismatic pursuits (or too drunk), they haven't even noticed that He left! 

Nope, I'm not against Charasmatics. I used to call myself one, but have switched from saying Charasmatic to saying Pentecostal (even though I fall dreadfully short from seeing what the pentecostals in the Bible saw, but I'm praying and believing that I too can and will walk as Christ walked on the earth.  It's what people need!  It's what I need!)  I'm well on my way to being a moldy oldy and I don't like the trend I see in what most people call "Charisma", so I choose not to associate myself with the term.

Phyrst Church, drink and pray. Come have a beer and hear a message of hope.  I just can't picture us sitting around in God's presence kickin back a few with the Good Ole Boy. 

Instead of making God feel comfortable in HIS house, which would automatically make sinners uncomfortable, we now do whatever it takes to make sinners comfortable, even at the expense of God's comfort and at the expense of His holiness.  I think Jesus took issue with this very thing twice when he "cleansed" (what a sanitary term) the temple.  Really what he did was deliberately made a whip and went in and wreaked havoc in a fit of righteous indignation which we know was alright because Jesus is sinless!  So when my "ire" (yes, I have Irish blood flowing through my veins, just no red hair to show for it.  Loreal sees to that),  gets up when I see some things that people now call "having church", I don't feel guilty.   

Sinners used to come to church and leave as saints. Now they come and leave as sinners, but they feel better about themselves. Unfortunately, their eternal destination has not changed at all!

People used to come to church drunk and leave sober. Now they come sober and leave drunk, and rarely do they leave drunk in the Spirit.

Addicts used to come to church and leave clean. Now they come and leave with the same addictions they had when they arrived, but thinking that God is some kind of 12 step program instead of one who can, by his great power, deliver them instantly.  I don't recall that Christ ever needed time to deliver anyone from anything, but because psychology has told us over and over again that time is necessary to get delivered from anything, we don't have faith to just believe that Jesus can deliver instantaneously.

Worship songs used to be more about God than us. Now they are all about us with a little God thrown in for good measure.  Otherwise, we couldn't call it worship. 

People actually used to pray at the "Wednesday Evening Prayer Meeting". Now they do everything but pray and it is abundantly evident in the state of the church in America.

We used to come to church and sing "How Great Thou Art", and now we come to church and sing "How Great We Are Because of You". And yes, there is a huge difference!

People used to come to church where Pastors that were actually called stood in the pulpit and declared the truth of God's Word.  People would leave with a sense and awe of how great God was.  Now they come and leave with a sense and awe of how great the worship team is and how wonderful the many programs are.

People used to respect the Pastor and welcome his input in their lives.  Now they are respectful to him, but not respectful of him and what he has to say, especially when they don't agree.  I heard a great joke that illustrates this perfectly.  A Pastor and two of his parishoners went deer hunting.  At the exact same moment they all saw the same buck and simaltaneously took a shot.  The deer dropped right where it stood.  When they got to the buck, there was only one bullet hole, so they weren't sure who had actually bagged the buck.  The game warden came across them standing over the buck, looking quite perplexed and asked if he could do anything to help them.  "Well, one of them said, we all took a shot at this buck, but we can't tell which one of us actually hit him."  "I can tell you", said the game warden, it was definetely the Pastor's bullet."  "How can you tell?", they all asked.  "Because the game warden said, the bullet went in one ear and out the other."  This would be funny if it weren't so true.  

The sermon used to be the pinnacle and highlight of every service.  Now, it's what we do on the downside of worship to fill in the time, play on our Blackberries, or use to get a much needed nap. 

Oh yes!  Our churches are full.  That is true.  But full of what?  If the rapture happened during a Sunday morning service, in some churches, things would continue on as usual.  They would not even notice that He had returned.  It's not the number of butts you have in a pew that determines your success.  It's not how comfortable, accepted, and valued the butts that are sitting there feel that determines how effective you are for Christ. 

What counts is how many of those butts have been transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit.  How many have old things that have passed away and all things that have become new?  How many can truly say, I remember the day, the hour, the minute that God transformed my life, when he brought me out of darkness and into light, when he changed me from the inside out?  If you can't, then you are just participating in the very thing Christ came to destroy-religion.  Religion may get you some brownie points here on earth, but they count for nothing in God's economy. 

Many preachers in America claim from time to time to have revival.  But if we study revival, we will see that true revival will change a town.  In the past great revivals, bars shut down.  They didn't become churches that served alcohol or Starbucks coffee.  We have been decieved by the spirit of our culture that says "bigger is better".  NO!  Bigger is just bigger, that's it!  Quality is determined by the amount of obvious change there is in a life and how much of that change reflects the Holy Word of God.   Even people in cults change their behavior, but they're just as lost as they always were.  They lack the spiritual element of the life-changing, life producing power of the Holy Spirit which is the very beginning of true salvation. 

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