Church Tag

man praying on knee And He taught, saying to them, Is it not written, "My house shall be called the house of prayer for all nations?"  Mark 11:17

Jesus was quoting Isa 56:7 when He made the above statement when He was chastising the people for what they hade made the Temple into. Here Jesus was saying what God had already stated one of the purposes of the Temple, the forerunner of the church. Jesus had found the Temple lacking, not fulfilling one of its purposes, prayer. Prayer is to be center stage when God’s people gather.

How about your church on Sunday, would anyone who was there say that your church was a house of prayer. If Jesus visited it today would He make the same statement of your church as He did the Temple in Mark 11?

I’m not talking about, or is God a one or two minute prayer at the beginning of the service. Or a 60 second closing prayer at the end ether. I’m talking about Gethsemanes garden level praying here, earth moving, world changing, on your face praying. Does that describe your church service today?

If your church was not a house of prayer on Sunday, ask your pastor why it is not. If you are the pastor why isn’t your church a house of prayer. God said, Jesus said that the gathering of Gods people was to be known as a house of prayer for the nations. Any gathering of God’s people, the church should consist of Spirit lead, Spirit filled, Spirit empowered prayer. The church should be praying for the nations and each other every time it gathers.

waited on The question was posed by a fellow Twitterer, “Why do we make church about us”, there are many factors, reason why that is. The one that I believe is the gasoline on the fire for this attitude among attendees is this, the leadership, the pastor

To many pastors today focus on man, making church about the individuals wants and expectation, but not in a good way, it’s about making them happy and comfortable in the flesh. They use surveys and marketing firms to tell them how to make church into what the people what it to be about, centered on them. Even thou Christianity is about dying to self, and living for Christ and others. About dethrowning ours selves and becoming servants at the feet of the only true King, Christ Jesus.

To many churches today make church all about the right music, i.e. entertaining the the attendees, not real God centered worship, and pleasing Him. Rather than focus on moving hearts to fear God (Rev 14:7) and worship God with passionate love. They focus more on making the people tap their feet to rock star performances by hip bands, as if the people are at a U2 concerts and not at the feet of a holy God to worship in spirit.

It’s about how long the services is, after all God does not want to inconvenience you and take up too much of your time, because you have better places to be, right? How great the sound and lighting systems is as to pleasing them, after all that why the body gathers, right? It all about the attendees, right? Make sure you served the right coffee and donuts, that’s Communion, right? That you are comfortable and happy, after all that is what God is most concerned about for you, right? But what about what please God?

Yes church is about us, me in many ways, good ways, but only second to God. Like me worshiping and serving God. Me serving others, me praying for others, me encouraging others, me bearing the burdens of others. There is an element of me to church. Yes worship is to be to my liking, as long as my liking is the desire that God was worship and pleased, that I was able to cry out and sing praises to God, to Fall on my face before God. That the Holy Spirit showed up and moved with power among us. Not was I entertained, was I comfortable. Me doing the one another’s to others. Those are some good me’s.

But when you run church like a resort, a county club, or a grand hotel. That church is all about me and everyone is their to please “me”, entertain “me”, meet “my” every whim and want, I am the “King of the World” when there, it is all about “me”, every thing about that resort is to please “me”. the people can’t help but to believe that it is all about them, because it is.

Just something to think about.

feast Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.”

John 4:34

Most Christians today believe church is a passive activity today, believe getting feed is a passive act on their part, that getting feed at church requires action only on the part of others, others doing for them, like the pastor.

There is some truth to that in that the pastor is to be teaching the word of God, and not just about the word of God, not just feel good stories, but teaching the meat of the word as the apostle Paul calls it. But there is much more I think to getting fed than just good teaching alone, much more than just setting and listening.  At least it seams that way according to Jesus, because He adds another dimension to it, Doing.

To Him getting fed was an active thing on the part of the receiver. According to Jesus He got fed by doing the will of God and accomplish God’s work.

So the next time you hear someone say they are “not getting fed”. You should ask them, are you exercising your spiritual gifts for the good of the body? Who are you serving with God? What risks are you taking for God? What adventure of compassion did just returned from with the smell of God on my clothes? Are you seek and doing God’s will? And the next time we feel like we are not getting fed at church, we should ask ourselves the very same questions.

If we ask these questions maybe we will discover why we are not getting fed. Because there is no food in our lives, that food being Us doing the will of God for us to feast on. That is easy to fix, just take the list of one-another’s, talk about a feast to be had at church (there are 53 of them), they are the will of God for us to do, doing them  is helping to accomplish God’s work in His people. And that would also be loving one another, also the will of God for us, and the mark of being one of His disciples. That is a good place to start, a good beginning.

If we do that, I wonder if we could ever truly say we are not getting fed at church.

Havest crusades Ana The Harvest Crusades with Greg Laure made history Sunday night, breaking the 4 million mark of persons reached, with 329,572 making a decision for Christ. A 126,000 people filled Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Calf., last weekend with thousands more turned away at the gate. More than 4,500 people made decisions for Christ on Sunday, bringing the total number of professions over the three nights to 11,969, that’s 11,969 salvations in 3 days.

And over the last two decades 4,014,968 people have attended the crusades with 329,572 with decisions for Christ on this 20th anniversary weekend of them.

Greg Laure whom is one of my favorites pastors, I have known Greg for nearly 30 years, we go back to my/our days as Calvary Chapel. I set under his teaching for 10 years there, he is so gifted by God, endowed with the gift’s of both preaching and evangelism, I learned much from him. He has such great love and passion for Jesus, for the body of Christ and the lost, a true man of God.

In this day where it has become taboo to preach the gospel, teach the word of God and use words like sin, Hell and repentance. He unashamedly preaches the word of God as it is written, tells people they are lost in their sin and need The only Savor Christ Jesus and they must repent from their sins. And the result is 11,696 decisions for Christ in three days alone, proving the power of the gospel and the word of God.

He is the one model of a pastor – evangelist that everyone whom has such a call should learn from, imitate. Greg’s tag line should be theirs, “I have a Commander-in-Chief called Jesus, and He has commanded me to go into all the world and preach the Gospel.” And Go and do likewise!

Read about the Anaheim crusade here.

internetchurch2 I read an article yesterday on internet church that was encouraging the use of internet church over attending a real body of believers. That pastors should build a following of Christian who make the online church their church.

This I must say I am greatly opposed to this, not a church putting their church services online, making the sermon mp3’s available for free. But encouraging people to just go to online church instead of being part of a body, telling pastors to encourage the use of the on line church over being part of the body of Christ, that I am very much against, and so is the word of God.

This is what the scriptures say about being part of a body or not:
Heb 10:25  not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

Being in community is central to Christian identity and the purpose and function of the church, the body of Christ. And Community is central to the mission of the church. with out it the church ceases to exist as it was intended to be.

Online church can be useful to Christians for when they are home sick, or with a sick child. Great to let Christians experience another gathering of the body in other cities and countries. For those uses it is Good. But unfortunately the side effect is we have people getting lazy, and disconnected from the body, by slowly getting addicted to the online church, and just skipping the body altogether and just using the internet church. And that is very Bad.

It can be used as a tool to allow non-followers of Christ to view church, witness the Holy Spirit at work, hear the word of God preached. That is Good! If it is done as a outreach, that is to reach the lost, to draw them to Christ, the gospel, then get them into the body of Christ. That is very Good. But to leave them there, say let this be your church. But to promote it to be someone’s church, for it to replace being physically part of a church body as a way of life. That is very Bad!

My suggestion is STOP promoting internet church as church, promote it only as a tool of evangelism, it should lead, funnel people to become part of the body, to actual GO to the church gathering, not stay on the internet as “your Church”, but to become part of a live fellowship.

Detour Coffee Detours Coffee Shop one of Denver’s newest coffee shops is hoping to change their community by the way they do business. How, by giving away their coffee for Free. That’s right a coffee shop with FREE COFFEE. Once their sandwich and other goods became profitable enough to support the business they began to give away the coffee.

“At Detours It is our number one goal to create community and be active in the community we are apart of. We decided that when we began making a profit we would give something back by giving all our coffee away for free. There is a catch however. We ask that in return for never paying for coffee at Detours you would take the resources and do something for someone else. The average American spends over a thousand dollars on coffee a year. What would happen if we all took that money and spent it on others. Come by for a free cup of coffee today, and pay it forward to someone else.”
 
They say the average coffee drinker spends roughly $1,000 a year on their caffeine fix. If they can have that kind of impact, they believe it’ll make a positive impact. What there starving for is that the people will drink the free coffee and in turn use that money to help others, also do something charitable for others in return. Leading by example is what they are trying to do.

"Hopefully when you walk out the door, this sticks with you and you go above and beyond what you normally do for somebody else," she said. "With the economy, people losing their homes, we want to offer them one shot of energy during the day, one shot of hope."

With so many “churches” doing coffee shops, but charging like Starbuck for coffee, maybe they should take note of how to do it with a gospel intent, not a profit intent. Or what if 100% of the revenue when to something like ending world hunger, to support orphans, buy clothing for poor children in the community. Drink our coffee and save the life of a starving child could be the business model. So many more options to for profit, something to think about.

Visit Detours Coffee Shop if you are in Denver and read about them here.

I post on twitter the statement:

“Why do so many want 2 be like prophets of old, & like Tozer, Wesley & Spurgeon but no one wants 2 pay the price they paid?”

So someone asked me “What price did they pay” of course that can not be answered in the 140 characters limit on Twitter, it can not even be effectively answered in this post. But I will put a Cliff Note version on here.

The prophets of old as well as many of the great pastor and other great servants of God, those who spoke for God. The Tozer, Wesley Knox, Tyndale, Moody, Wigglesworth, Ravenhill & Spurgeon and many more.

  • To them ministry was not a paid 8 to 5 Monday – Friday job, a Sunday only job, it was a 24/7/365 job.
  • They labored hours a day in prayer, not unusual for them to spend a whole day or days on their face before God, for His people, the lost and the needy, for the Kingdom to be spread.
  • They labored night and day for the Kingdom of God preaching the word of God to the people anywhere they found man, street corners, bar rooms, anywhere, everywhere they went and they went everywhere.
  • They lived lives of great faith, displaying great faith in God to accomplish His work through them, they said no souls reachable for God, no task undoable.
  • Endured any hardship, made any sacrifice for the sake of the gospel, for Christ.
  • Spend hours a day in study of the word, the diligently committed themselves to the knowledge of the word.
  • They where obedient to the word of God, they lived according to the word of God at any cost.
  • They lived lives of complete dedication to the call of God, for Kingdom purpose, they forsake all things for the cause of Christ, for the gospel.
  • They put proclaiming the word of God, spreading the gospel, the Kingdom of God over possessing wealth, or anything of this world.
  • They left loved ones, wives, children for months even years at a time to do the work of the Lord

I will leave you with the words of John Knox: “Give Me Scotland, or I die!” that was the price they where willing to pay, and many did.

israel-flag There are more Bible reasons why Christians should support Israel than I could list in this post (100’s of verses), being one with Jewish roots does give me both prejudice, a bias as well as possessing intimate knowledge on this subject.

But simplify we will take the verse found in Genesis 12:3
"And I will bless those that bless you and curse the one who curses you. And in you shall all families of the earth be blessed.”

That  alone should motivate every Christian to bless, support Israel. God has promised to bless the man or nation that blesses the Chosen People.  History has proven beyond reasonable doubt that the nations that have blessed the Jewish people have had the blessing of God; the nations that have cursed the Jewish people have experienced the curse of God.

I was pleased to read an article in The Jerusalem Post that ’50 million US Christians back Israel’

Christian supporters of Israel who gathered in Washington last week did not just sit through policy briefings and lobbying sessions; they danced the hora, blew a shofar, sang Hatikva and celebrated all that they love about Israel.

“We’re here to tell you and the people of Israel that there are 50 million Christians in this nation who support you and the State of Israel,” said CUFI founder John Hagee to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who joined the conference via satellite.

I say, Amen! & Amen!!

Read the article here.

keith green Keith Green is one of my all time favorite Christian singer/song writers no one since him has impacted the Christian world with such encouraging songs. He’s lyrics challenged Christians in their walk with God like no other musical artist. In so many ways His concerts where like sermons being song.

A great example is his song ‘A Sleep In the Light’ probably my favorite song of his, the lyrics motivated me every time I heard the song. I can not count the number of times that the song came into my head, in opportune times to share the gospel, jump starting me to do so.

This song is so needed in the American church today, one that needs to be played in every church and on every Christian radio station, this message need to come from every pulpit, because the church has never been more a sleep as it is today. Read over the lyrics below, let it take hold of your heart, Hear it here.

My favorite lines are “How can you be so dead When you’ve been so well fed Oh, Jesus rose from the dead And you, you can’t even get out of bed

Light’: by Keith Green

Do you see, do you see
All the people sinking down
Don’t you care, don’t you care
Are you gonna let them drown
How can you be so numb
Not to care if they come
You close your eyes
And pretend the job’s done
"Oh bless me Lord, bless me Lord"
You know it’s all I ever hear
No one aches, no one hurts
No one even sheds one tear
But He cries, He weeps, He bleeds
And He cares for your needs
And you just lay back
And keep soaking it in,
Oh, can’t you see it’s such a sin?
Cause He brings people to you door,
And you turn them away
As you smile and say,
"God bless you, be at peace"
And all heaven just weeps
Cause Jesus came to your door
You’ve left him out on the streets
Open up open up
And give yourself away
You see the need, you hear the cries
So how can you delay
God’s calling and you’re the one
But like Jonah you run
He’s told you to speak
But you keep holding it in,
Oh can’t you see it’s such a sin?
The world is sleeping in the dark
That the church just can’t fight
Cause it’s asleep in the light
How can you be so dead
When you’ve been so well fed
Jesus rose from the grave
And you, you can’t even get out of bed
Oh, Jesus rose from the dead
Come on, get out of your bed
How can you be so numb
Not to care if they come
You close your eyes
And pretend the job’s done
You close your eyes
And pretend the job’s done
Don’t close your eyes
Don’t pretend the jobs done
Come away, come away, come away with Me my love,
Come away, from this mess, come away with Me, my love.

I had a great conversation with a former pastor of a underground house church in China, (read my post ‘Visit The Underground Church in China’) he shared with me the format for his church.

This is what his house church in China looked like:

  • They met every evening
  • Had a meal together most evenings, called a love feast
  • They begin with prayer
  • Someone would share a message, always a word for word study of the bible
  • Then they would pray over each other
  • Each person would make known their needs and everyone one would pray for them
  • Worship with song and praises to God
  • Encourage one another in the faith
  • Each gathering would last 3 to 4 hours

I asked him about how did he get the word out, evangelize his town?

He sated that everyone in his church shared the gospel with everyone they know or meet (despite the threat of imprisonment or death). That in the Chinese church it is considered the greatest joy in life to share Jesus, to have someone come to Christ. That the church there lives to share the gospel and to have fellowship with one another.

He and his wife where arrested and put in prison for sharing Christ, they where released after a international out cry that gained them freedom, and exiled to the US.

I asked him to compare his church in China to the churches in American, said no comparison, he misses the church in China. Said we do not have church here (the US), it’s all programs and entertainment.

I agree.

More to come.

 

Related post: Visit The Underground Church in China