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.
I can hardly believe it happened! Last week I suggested that we make the Friday after Thanksgiving to be “Giving Friday”. Little did I know that there was coming a national “Giving Tuesday” this week. Who would have thought?
Anyhow, last night Vickie and I were sharing a fast food meal in the Food Court of the Mall of Georgia. It actually was not that crowded, surprisingly. A lady was seated near us who had some unmistakable features. You could see that she had been burned badly in a fire because of the scars on her face. And then you notice that she does not have a hand. As she is leaving, Vickie speaks to her (no surprise there). So we get into a short conversation with her.
She tells us that she is from Indiana and visiting Buford— to get her new legs. We did not notice that even though she was standing by us. She explained to us that she was in an accident while on the job 30 years ago in which a propane tank exploded. She later had to have her legs amputated due to infection. She is married and has a daughter. We continue to interact and discover that she goes every year to Wisconsin for snowmobiling in an area not too far from where we lived. Shortly before she left and as part of the conversation about snowmobiling she remarked, “At least my feet don’t get cold.” And she walked away.
We did not have the opportunity to get into her spiritual condition so I do not know if she is a believer. However, I do know that she had a good attitude about something that is very difficult in life.
She could have been a bitter person. But she did not communicate that spirit at all.
I was challenged by her attitude of acceptance and not being bitter. It has been said that with every circumstance in life you can choose to be bitter or better. We have to be careful about a “root of bitterness.”
Hebrews 12:15 - See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled;
Bitterness is a result of not accepting the grace of God for the circumstances that you face. No matter what we go through in life, God gives you grace for the need and for the moment.
Hebrews 4:15–16 - For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
2 Corinthians 12:8–9 - Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
James 4:6 - But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
Bitter or better—the choice is yours. We must choose to accept the grace that God provides.
Dr. Wynne Kimbrough is the editor of this resource.
Some of the articles are written by him while others are found and shared with permission from the original authors. Some of of these authors wish to remain anonymous.