I read this article today and felt I should share it here. I do so with permission from the original authors. I hope it will help us all consider these vital questions.
Billy Graham, 1918-2018: Two Questions to Consider as You Hear the News
As in the case of Isaiah, recorded in Isaiah 6, the death of a leader can certainly be used by God to cause those of us still living to stop, breathe deeply and consider our own lives.
Billy Graham has died. He lived 99 years on this earth. While none of us may fully agree on every point regarding his ministry, there is little disagreement with the fact that he was an international public figure that caused millions of people to consider their relationship with God. He was used by God to be a royal ambassador for God to this world.
As we read the news stories and see his biography played out in media in the coming days, may God use this to cause us to consider two main questions in our lives regarding the Gospel.
1. Have I Accepted the Gospel for Myself:
Are You Ready to Die When Your Time Comes?
First, do you have a real and vital relationship with God through Jesus Christ? Have you repented of your sin, come to God for forgiveness based on the death, burial and resurrection Jesus? Have you called on the Lord Jesus Christ and invited him to come into your life and change you for eternity? If you have been considering starting a relationship with God and want to learn more, we invite you to click here to watch some short videos that will help you understand the Gospel better. Stay in touch if we can help.
For those who have a real and consistent relationship with God, may the death of Billy Graham be used to inspire us to consider our personal responsibility to share the Gospel and make disciples of all nations. The news articles talk about how Billy Graham used all the new technology of the 20th century to spread God’s word. What are we doing with the powerful free tools of social media? How can we personally spread the Gospel more effectively and be a royal ambassador for Christ?
2. As a Christian, How Are You Doing With Your Responsibility As an Ambassador for Jesus and His Gospel Message?
How often do you think of yourself as a representative of King Jesus? How much of your life is spent on the mission that he has given to you?
Throughout the Bible we see many powerful metaphors to help us understand what it means to be the a Christian, and what it means to be a follower of Jesus. One of the best and most unsung metaphors is that the church (We are talking about the whole saved family of God here.) is the embassy of Christ and we, like Billy Graham are royal ambassadors.
Consider, an embassy is:
Where is this concept found in the Bible? In Philippians and Ephesians, Paul refers to himself as a “citizen” of heaven and an ambassador for Christ. And perhaps most clearly, in 2 Corinthians 5, Paul reminds the church that they too are ambassadors and that God is “making his appeal” to the world through the church.
God has called Christians to be his ambassadors, his authorized representatives; and he has called local churches to be embassies; groups of ambassadors that all have the same objective. Churches ought to be little localized outposts of the kingdom of God. Churches are supposed to look like, act like, and function in the same way that the kingdom of God does. Christians, as ambassadors, are likewise called to live the same kind of lives that we will when our citizenship in the future kingdom becomes complete. So, what exactly does that mean for us to be an ambassador of Christ and his Gospel?
Who and what do we represent? Where is our “homeland”? How long are we on this mission? How are we supposed to go about it?
1. We represent a King and a kingdom
As Christians, we no longer live for ourselves but for Christ and his kingdom. We should look different, act different, speak different, and live different than the culture in which we live. We should be representing Christ’s character, his love, his commands, and his purposes to the world around us. We have been sent to the foreign land of this world in order to represent our King and our kingdom’s interests. The problem is that most of us look just like everyone else. We spend our money the same way, we dress the same way, we talk the same way. But that isn’t the way it is supposed to be. Just like you can tell when someone isn’t a native to where you live, the world should be able to look at Christians and say, “That person clearly isn’t from here. Where are they from?” Would people say that of you?
2. We have the King’s authority
Jesus sent his disciples out with his own power and authority in Luke 9. He has given the church the keys to the kingdom (Matthew 16) and told us that the gates of hell will not prevail against us and that it is through us that the “manifold wisdom of God” becomes known (Ephesians 2). He has gifted us with his Spirit so that we might possess his power and authority. He has not sent us out on this mission empty handed, for he has given us his very own authority.
3. We have the King’s protection
We have been granted asylum as refugees. We fled from our former lives of slavery to sin and to the kingdom of God where we were granted access because of Jesus’ love and sacrifice on the cross. We have been given protection through our citizenship. Though we may be afflicted in every way, perplexed, persecuted, and struck down, we will never be crushed, driven to despair, forsaken, destroyed, or totally overcome. As citizens of heaven, no matter what happens in this life, we have been given the promise that God is with us and our citizenship is secure.
4. We are on temporary assignment
Like Billy Graham, we are resident representatives, but only for a while. This foreign land is not our home, for our true homeland is the city that God is preparing for us while we are away on the mission. We are always waiting and longing for the return of our King and our entry into the completed kingdom of God. Because this is true, we shouldn’t get too comfortable in this life because we won’t be here for long. If you were going on vacation, you would pack light. In the same way, we should “pack light” in this life and instead store up for ourselves treasure in heaven. This treasure is accumulated through obedience to Christ’s mission and message.
5. We are not to isolate from culture
While the people of Israel were in Babylonian captivity, they were not called to isolate from culture but to seek the good of their neighbors and captors. Though we are called to represent Christ’s kingdom and interests in this world, that does not mean that we are to totally isolate from culture. We cannot possibly be successful ambassadors for Christ if we are not involved in, familiar with, and connected to the culture around us. We should understand, contribute to, and strive to better the culture while we are here in this land. We have a different King, a different mission, a different drive in life – but in order to represent our King and his kingdom, we must be a visible part of our culture. We are living in the culture, but not of the culture. We should not allow the evil culture of the world to live in us as God’s ambassadors.
6. We have the King’s mission and message
In Matthew 28 and Mark 16 Jesus commissioned his disciples and believers everywhere of all time for a specific task – to go, baptize, teach, and declare the message of reconciliation to the world. Our mission is to declare the gospel message to the foreign land around us so that they too might become citizens of the kingdom. God has entrusted to us, as stewards, the treasure of the gospel that we are to share with the world. We are to be a city on a hill, a light in the darkness, drawing people toward Christ.
So, as you watch the news and consider Billy Graham’s life, perhaps you will ponder your own short time on this earth. Do you have a real relationship with God yourself? Where will you go when your death day comes? If you do have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, what does it mean to you to be an ambassador for Christ? How often do you embrace your role as an ambassador? Do you think you and your church do a good job of representing Christ and his kingdom to the world?
Authors wish to remain anonymous - Used with permission
Here is more from our church you may find helpful...
Peter gave inspired instruction to the early believers as he wrote to them in I Peter. The persecution they were facing would later give way to even greater persecution. One of Peter’s burdens was to make sure that the believers were steadfast in their faith. An essential ingredient of that was the love that he spoke of in 1 Peter 1:22: “Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart.” Christians should give heavy weight to his God-breathed instruction regarding this brotherly love and unity in the body.
This past week at Grace, we reviewed five unity-crushing sins which should be put away by all Christians seeking to grow in brotherly love.
Malice is usually the driver of spiteful behavior. It is the difference between unintentional versus deliberate wounding of another and therefore can be the greatest catalyst for disunity in the church. Malice is often the result of harbored, unresolved bitterness.
Mature believers strive to deal with conflict and hurt before it leads to bitterness. Sometimes, “innocent” statements can impact others in ways not intended; humility is required in order to genuinely resolve these conflicts. Ask yourself:
“Have I done or said anything that was meant to take another believer down?”
“Have I been deeply wounded by someone and need to resolve it with them?”
On the other hand, church members ought to recall that love is not easily provoked. A member should not flippantly take offense and should not actively seek ways to hold church unity hostage due to hyper-sensitivity.
Deceit exists in many forms, but all of them are in some way a misrepresentation of the truth. Why is deceit so harmful to church unity? Wouldn’t some even say that deceit can, at times, protect unity?
Not when the root of deceit is exposed. Even in its most innocent of forms, deceit is motivated by selfishness and a lack of trust in the other person. Deceit says: “you’re not able to handle the truth the way I want you to handle it.” Deceit in this context communicates a person’s need to be in control.
Church unity thrives on mutual trust that each person can have the same potential for the Holy Spirit to be working in them. Mature Christians do not trade truthfulness to protect self interests. The outcome of that exchange is a loss of unity.
Hypocrisy is incompatible with unity because it places a person in a self-assigned, superior class. It allows a person to apply different judgment on others than they apply to themselves. It hides a person’s sins under a guise of self-righteousness. How can a church have unity if it’s members are ducking behind self-righteousness while throwing stones at those willing to be transparent? Growth is crippled in that church because the members quickly begin to obsessively cover their faults rather than deal with them.
An envious heart is a heart which has lost it’s focus on the goodness of God. It has fooled a person into thinking that God wants something less for them than the best. How can a church have unity among it’s members if they have hostile, discontent attitudes towards each other?
Believers should focus on the innumerable gifts God has given rather than obsessing over what has been given to another.
Slanderous talk comes from an unloving, selfish heart. It would trade unity for fleeting self-promotion and it costs more than most participants realize. Gossip causes damage by discussing with another what one perceives to be truthful information, but the damage of slander goes so much farther by assaulting another’s character with deliberately false statements.
Do Christians really engage in such behavior towards each other? Sadly, yes. Peter wouldn’t ask the church to put this conduct away if it weren’t possible they might engage in it. Get rid of slanderous talk. Don’t participate in it if you want to have unity in your assembly.
Putting off these behaviors requires supernatural intervention. Because we still have our flesh, we are capable of committing any of these sins. However the admonition from Peter is that each of these sins be completely removed from our lives. We have to admit that these are a constant temptation in one way or another so there is always the need for us to put any of this behavior out of our lives. How often? As often as it happens! Don’t forget the quote from Paul Tripp and David Lane who said, “When you fail, keep Jesus and his work in view. Run to your Lord, not away from him. Receive his forgiveness, get back up, and follow him once more, knowing that each time you fail, you can experience your identity as one for whom Christ died. Each failure reminds us of why he had to die; each confession reminds us of the forgiveness that only the Cross could provide.”
The good news is that there can be unity and love among believers. We desperately need it because the enemy is not one another—the real enemy is Satan who wants us to bite and devour ourselves. Do not fall into Satan’s trap in any of these areas that create disunity.
So how does this make sense in the face of tragedy even to those who believe this worldview? How does it bring hope to despair and meaning even to hardship?
1. In a Christian worldview, God is creator and therefore he is the authority over all his creation. He sets the rules for his creation. He sets both natural law i.e. gravity which cannot be broken, and he sets moral laws which can and have been broken. The reason we even know right and wrong and that murder is evil is because God created life, gave it value and gave us moral law. Non-Christian worldviews cannot adequately account for these facts.
The reason we know what happened in Parkland or in Texas was a tragedy is because precious life was taken and the Evolutionary answers of survival of the fittest doesn’t add up! In the depths of our soul, in our emotions and conscience, we know it was horrific evil because we know what good and evil are thanks to God
2. In a Christian worldview, God has not left his creation to suffer under evil indefinitely. At great cost to himself, he sent his only son, Jesus, who is God as well, to suffer and die in order to conquer evil and provide salvation from evil. Jesus entered into our suffering. He himself was tragically murdered. However, His death and resurrection from the grave prevents evil from ever conquering good completely. In a Christian worldview, God always overrules evil with good even though for the moment, as with Jesus’ death, evil may seem to win.
3. In a Christian worldview, there is hope because of salvation in Jesus Christ. He conquered death, rose again from the grave and now provides eternal life and the forgiveness of sins. Not only is evil like that in Texas overcome, but our own sinful heart can be forgiven and our relationship with God can be restored. We personally can have victory over evil and sin in our own life. We do not have to be captive to our own sinful condition. In fact, the Bible declares that If the young man who did this evil in Florida repents and turns to Christ for forgiveness and salvation, his eternal future will still be good. He will still go to Heaven not because his evil is overlooked by God, but because Jesus Christ was punished on the cross in his place. Of course he will and should be punished here and now for his horrible deeds.
4. In a Christian worldview, we have the hope of eternal life. For those who have accepted God’s gift of salvation which is free to us but came at great cost to him, it is not death to die. Yes, that is right, it is not death to die. When God speaks of death in the Bible, he speaks of eternal death which is separation from God in Hell for those who reject Jesus’ gift and do not believe in him. For those who do accept his gift of salvation such as those at the First Baptist Church, death is not eternal. It is a passage way to eternal life. The Bible says that for those who have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ to be absent from this earthly body is to be instantly present with the Lord in Heaven.
5. In a Christian worldview, evil such as we saw in these situations is punished. Perhaps the killer supposed in his worldview that his ticket to freedom from the carnage he had caused by his evil actions was to kill himself thus ending life and entering a state of non-existence. No jail, no remorse, no guilt, no dread, he felt as many who commit such atrocities do, that killing themselves was the end. However, in a Christian worldview, the man who killed himself in the Texas shooting went to Hell. He will stand before God in the final judgement for his sin as we all will someday and then he will be condemned to eternal death in the Lake of Fire. There is no hope for him, no second chance. His fate is sealed. His worldview was horribly wrong in so many ways and at so many levels. Worldviews do have consequences. In the case of the situation in Florida, the young man will be punished and if he does not repent toward God will also spend eternity in Hell.
What is your worldview? What are it’s consequences for your future? How do you process events such as these terrible tragedies? Do you believe that the universe happened from a “Big Bang?” Do you believe in the evolutionary process, the survival of the fittest, that life is random, futile, and meaningful only for the strong who survive? Do you believe that good and evil are simply cultural norms? Do you believe there are no moral absolutes based on a moral absolute being who is designer, creator and ultimate authority, GOD? May we ask you to consider the Christian worldview. Use the resources below to learn more and consider God.
For those who have a Christian worldview, do not be discouraged even in the face of hard questions. God is in control. He does overcome evil with good. We are part of his plan in doing so. Share God’s good news contained in the Christian worldview with others. Share God’s love by reaching out to others and loving them. Pray for God’s help and strength for those touched by this and other effects of man’s sin, and look up for the Lord can come at any time.
Do you have questions? Would you like to talk about your spiritual life and relationship with God? Contact us using the information below or visit us for a service soon.
Click here for other helpful articles that can help answer questions about God, the universe, his relationship to you and more.
Check out these other helpful articles below on our website for more information about God.
Daily Devotion for Today
On Wednesday, February 14, seventeen faculty, staff and students were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, FL. It is the second-deadliest shooting at a U.S. public school. On November 5, 2017, at approximately 11:30 am a man walked in to the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, TX and killed or wounded at least 46 people.
Many questions arise in the aftermath of tragedies like these or in our own personal lives. In the early hours and days, the questions are often answerable. How many died? Who was the killer? What did the authorities do in response? What was the killer’s motive? However, these questions quickly give way to the deeper questions that seem to be unanswerable. We all wrestle with questions like these about tragedies.
Although many of these types of questions are and will remain unanswered in detail, there are answers in the bigger sense. Though we may not understand the specifics of why this tragedy, why these particular people, or why this small church, we can understand from the Bible who God is, why evil exists and how God has victory over it. Those answers come from what we call a Christian worldview.
We all have some sort of worldview if we realize it or not, and it matters!
A worldview is best described as the glasses through which we see and interpret all that is happening around us in the world. It attempts to tell an overarching story, to explain the universe in both grand and detailed ways. The story attempts to bring clarity and understanding to every part of existence.
Without a worldview of some kind, life has no meaning. There is no understanding of what is happening around us. Without meaning, living has no real purpose. Without purpose, there is no hope and reason to live.
We all seek to understand the world around us, especially in the midst of confusion, pain and tragic situations. From scientific questions to questions of good and evil, and why there is suffering we wonder why. We seek guidance for decisions and meaning to life’s trials. We seek true beauty in art and wonder at the hate we see between human beings. These answers and more can be found through the glasses of our worldview.
God has provided an undistorted worldview through his word, the Bible, by communicating basic truths that are fundamental to every aspect of our life. This worldview brings clarity, purpose, and guidance for all of life.
Although there are many many worldviews that people follow, there are only two basic worldviews, a true one and a false one. The true one has only one definition. The false one takes on many forms. Let’s look at these two worldviews.
Firstly, let’s look at a non-biblical and false worldview summary. Remember, there are many versions of this, but they all include the same fundamental points.
Secondly, let’s look at a Christian worldview. You can watch this short video summary of a Christian worldview and then we’ll give you some reasons why this view works and makes sense even in the face of tragedy to the very people who hold this worldview.
Authors wish to remain anonymous - Used with permission
Often during times of heart-rending events that involve mass casualties and national grief, our leaders will say that “our thoughts and prayers are with those who were touched by the tragedy.” Perhaps you are wondering how to pray. You can pray for the people touched by this terrible school shooting in Florida based on the following ideas presented in Psalms 25 and Lamentations 3
If you are wondering how God could let something like this happen, click the link at the bottom to see our article that was posted after the church shooting in Texas.
In the meantime, when thinking of the families and friends of those dear people in Florida, pray:
Take some time to read through Psalms 25 and Lamentations 3 and let these passages help guide you as you seek to pray for those who are suffering and hurting in unimaginable ways. Pray for America as a nation as well. Tragedies such as this raise many deep and difficult questions about God, his love, his control and his goodness. While no human can answer all these questions, we believe the Bible has answers for the problems of evil and suffering. We would be glad to talk further with you or have you join us for a service soon. We all wrestle with these issues and we would be happy to point you to the truths we have learned in years of studying God’s word the Bible. In the meantime, take some time today to pray for these hurting people and our nation.
Authors wish to remain anonymous - Used with permission
Here is more you may be interested in...
Dear Grace Baptist Church Family,
Do you know what it means to have a “winsome” attitude or a “winsome” spirit?
A person who has this kind of attitude is attractive to others. Others find that they enjoy being around this kind of person. They are drawn to people like this.
There are many characteristics of a “winsome” person, not the least of which is that they enthusiastically believe in what they are talking about.
I have met many people like this over the years as I am sure that you have. I met a restaurant business owner recently who had that kind of attitude. She spoke to us about her business and her food and her employees. She believed in them. She believed in her service. She was totally sold on everything about her restaurant. And she was thoughtful and gracious about everyone she spoke of. By the time she was finished I wanted to eat there every day! [Not really because I love Vickie’s cooking.]. But I did leave her with the thought that I wish we all had the same enthusiasm and passion for the church as she did for her restaurant.
That is where I realized that we have the opportunity to share our belief in Jesus Christ with a winsome spirit. We can tell others in a gracious way how much He means to us. We can tell them what He has done for us. We can invite them to our church. We can lovingly share with others the hope that we have within us.
And we should.
Not all of us have the same outgoing demeanor as others. But we can all have a heart of love for others and a passion for Christ that in one way or another shows a compassion for those around us who need Christ.
Let me encourage you to take the opportunity to share Christ with someone. And as you have the chance, look for the many, many ways that you can show a winsome spirit and invite others to come to our church. We have a wonderful church family and I believe that there are many who need what we have to offer because of what Christ has done for us.
We can all be “winsome”—even me…and you.
I look forward to worshiping the Lord together with you this Sunday. Please be in prayer for our church and the services.
Also, there will be a prayer time every Sunday at 9:15am in Classroom #3. Please join us for any part of the time that you can.
In case you missed it, there was snow this morning!! I did a quick video so that I had proof that it happened…it might be the only time that it happens!
That is not my topic for today but it is current news. However, we need to move on. But if you have coffee or hot chocolate and a few minutes I have an article that I will print below for you to read.
Every day I read numerous articles and selections as I am sure you do. =The article below fits with an area that I mentioned to you a few weeks ago. As you might recall I encouraged you to pray for our church as we meet for worship on Sundays. I hope that will become a regular practice for you if it is not already. However, there is another angle to consider. What if you are bored with church? Or maybe there is another term that fits—almost any term will do. Anything less than being excited to be in God’s house worshipping the true and living God together with our brothers and sisters in Christ fits this category. And it can and does happen to all of us at some time I would think.
So, here is an article that delves into that subject with some very good responses to what might go on in our hearts. I hope you will be challenged by this as much as I have been. It will take just a short time to read but is well worth it.
When Your Church Disappoints
Reposted from www.sharperiron.org
by Eric Davis
Let’s face it. Church is not always as exciting as we would like. Sometimes it’s boring and disappointing. It’s possible that there are good reasons for that. But it’s possible that there are not.
Being bored is not the worst thing that can happen to us in our churches. In fact, it may be the best thing since it can present opportunity for personal change. Though not always, our personal boredom can often be symptomatic of a needed soul adjustment.
Consider a few shifts before submitting to disappointment’s demands:
Turn complaining about your church into praying for your church.
If there’s one thing we know about complaining, it is fundamentally (whether intentional or not) a disapproving commentary on the perfect sovereignty of the One running things. God decreed everything about which we complain. He reigns. So, it’s possible that our complaints are really sovereignty-protests.
Even so, there are likely things about your church which need improvement or attention. Prayer harnesses your observations and makes them productive work-horses for your church instead of finicky commentators about your church.
A productive alternative to complaining about your church is praying for it.
Turn worrying about your church’s imperfection into trusting God’s perfection.
Worrying about our church often is symptomatic of a trust sickness. God is in competent control of our churches. Christ is not wearing a worry-path in the carpet of heaven’s throne room. He is seated, relaxed, and building his church.
Worry doubts his capabilities while trusting in itself. It assumes that its activity of fretting is more industrious than trusting God. It’s possible that our disappointment in our church is rooted here.
A productive alternative to worrying about your church is trusting God’s perfection.
Turn gossiping to others about the disappointment in your church into thanking God for the good in it.
Blunders can be found in every church if you look for them. And, often, even if you don’t. But they are normal, especially since the church is filled with people like you and me.
Re-channel the fleshly thrill of gossip elsewhere, however. While changes probably need to be made, worship God with the fruit of lips that give thanks to his name (Heb 13:5).
A productive alternative to gossiping about your church is thanking God for the good in it.
Turn being a part of the problem with your church into being part of the solution.
Just about every church has that guy who is skilled in simultaneously seeing and being part of the problem. But the most painful thing to church leadership is when they take the time to seriously hear his concerns, but he subsequently stiff-arms tangible suggestions to become part of the solution.
As you think about the problems in your church, ask yourself honestly, “How might I be contributing to the problem(s) in my church?” “What log might I have protruding from my eye?” Do not move past that question too quickly.
Then ask, “What can I do to confess my contribution and turn from being the problem, to please Christ so as to contribute to the solution?” Ask your church leadership the same question. Listen. Learn. Pray. Serve. Contribute. Help. Give. Get equipped.
And do more than simply avoid being part of the problem. That may, in fact, be how you are part of the problem.
Participate in a way that your church leaders can look back and see how you were useful in solving problems in the church.
A productive alternative to being a part of the problem in your church is to be a part of the solution.
Turn resisting your imperfect church leaders into getting united with them.
Most church leadership are well-acquainted with their inadequacies for the work in which they find themselves. If they are biblicaly qualified, they see the many, many ways that they need to grow.
If you choose to point those out, do so in a way that obeys the commands in Scripture to submit to, obey, esteem, and demonstrate accountability to your church leaders (1 Thess 5:12-13, Heb 13:17, 1 Pet 5:2-3). In most cases, contrary to propagating their imperfections, your efforts to unite will humble them, making them more competent for the Lord’s work.
Pray for them. Thank God for them. Consider ways to come alongside them.
A productive alternative to resisting your imperfect church leaders is to unite with them.
Turn passively attending the worship services into actively participating.
The Sunday gathering is the high point of the week for God’s people. Our disappointment might be eradicated by getting ourselves prepared to treat it as such.
Pray for it. And pray for yourself to be teachable, awake, humble, and transformed. Bring your Bible. Take notes. Study things afterwards which you do not understand. Assuming the Scripture is being faithfully exposited, our souls will be nurtured when the word is preached. Pray for ways to live out the sermon.
Meditate on the words of the songs. Sing heartily. Ask God to help you make them sincere praise and prayer as you sing. Be on time. Listen carefully to announcements, readings, and anything else in the service. Reach out to visitors instead of coming in late and leaving quickly. Get their contact info. Invite them to a weekly home group. Help with set up or take down.
Be a part of what God is doing by being prayerfully attentive to every moment of the worship gathering.
A productive alternative to passively attending church is to actively participate.
Turn the desire to redo your church’s ministries into trying to benefit from what is already going on.
In many cases, our churches do need to rethink and redo certain ministries. However, be slow about taking that route.
Instead, intentionally seek out what is already happening. Participate in them humbly, faithfully, and enthusiastically. Give it time. Ask God to bless and use the ministry leader. Ask him to grow you from it. Find ways to help. Do not eject from a ministry before at least several attempts to grow from it.
A productive alternative to redoing various church ministries may be to benefit from what is already happening.
Turn restlessness and frustration into seeking out opportunities for evangelism.
Sometimes things in the church can get pretty frustrating. Committees seem to get nothing done. Projects remain unfinished. People disappoint. It can be discouraging.
While those things may need to be addressed, stay busy in kingdom work. Be sure to center on, and speak about, Christ crucified in the place of sinners. Pray for and seek out opportunities to share the news that is far more thrilling than your church is frustrating. Be so tired from disciple-making that you have little time for frustrated restlessness.
A productive alternative to restless frustration over your church is to use your energy for disciple-making.
Turn needing quick answers to the problems you see to serving the God who is sovereign over those problems.
Things probably are wrong in your church. We see the issues and often we demand answers. We must know now what is going on. But there is no Bible verse on our right to be in the know. However, there are several on our responsibility to be about serving.
As much as we may need answers, let’s devote at least that much energy to resting in God patiently, helping the church enthusiastically, and praying for her fervently.
A productive alternative to fixating on problems is to focus on serving our sovereign God.
Turn thinking about your disappointment and boredom into knowing and pleasing God.
Let’s ask ourselves, “Who cares if we are bored? Why might we even be bored or disappointed in the first place? What might that say about our understanding of the church and God?”
It’s possible that our boredom demonstrates that our feelings are more sacred to us than our God. Perhaps our boredom and disappointment have become more captivating to us than the God of Scripture.
But God is the most thrilling and awe-inspiring subject in the universe. Nothing and no one is more captivating, fulfilling, and motivating than the true God. As God’s people, we get to plug into his kind of churches for the great purpose and thrill of knowing and worshiping him. And God’s kind of church exists to worship God. If this is not the case, disappointment and boredom should be present and we may need to find a new church.
A productive alternative to caring about boredom is deepening in knowing and pleasing God.
Even as we do these things, however, there are those times when the church is disappointing for legitimate reasons. In those cases, ask yourself a few questions:
1 Do I trust in the Person and finished work of Jesus Christ for right standing with God?
2 If I am not converted to Christ, a New Testament kind of church is certainly going to be disappointing and boring (cf. 1 Cor 2:14-16).
3 Does the church exist to worship God above all things?
4 Does the church labor to unpack the glory and majesty of God through the exposition of Scripture?
5 Is biblical doctrine affirmed and systematically taught?
6 Is meaningful membership, biblical discipline, and discipleship practiced?
Except for #1, if the answers are “no” to the above questions, then a church is legitimately disappointing because it is not God-glorifying. Perhaps you need to leave and find a more faithful church. But approach that route carefully.
Church has a much higher purpose for existence than not being boring or disappointing. The most important thing is not that we are bored or disappointed, but that our lives and churches exist for the glory of God.
Eric is the pastor of Cornerstone Church in Jackson Hole, WY. He and his team planted the church in 2008. He has been married for 15 years and has 3 children.
Dr. Wynne Kimbrough is the editor of this resource.
Some of the articles are written by him, others are found and shared with permission from the original authors, some of who wish to remain anonymous.