Something Wrong with Church?
Or Signs of
regard to the first Christians we are told that,
continued daily in the apostle's teaching, friendship, in the
breaking of bread, and in prayer ... And everyone kept feeling a sense
of awe as many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles.
And all who believed were together, and had all things in common; and those
who owned property and possessions would sell them and lay the money at the
apostles feet to provide for any who had need. And they continued
daily to meet together from house to house and in the temple with great joy
and oneness of heart, praising God, and having favour with all the people. ...
they had then seems a bit different from the routine, once-a-week, song & sermon
services of today: where after "church attendance" and sermon, everyone goes home
to their own family: if they have one, and where many people have large and/or
multiple houses while others are living in their cars, vans, tents and/or sleeping
bags, while others are dependent on welfare from an increasingly godless
know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down
our lives for the brethren. But
whoever has the world's goods, and beholds his brother in need and closes his
heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?
children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.
We shall know by this that we are of the truth ..."
who attend church often say that theirs is great, yet
others admit that something is wrong with what some now call "Sunday-go-to-meetin" Christianity -- and that God wants more
of His people than to just "attend" church, greet one
another, sing songs, give money (to church or foreign missions), hear a sermon, say goodbye and go
home ... Only to come back next week to do it
again ... and maybe even have a pot-luck or social gathering
once or twice a month.
church goers don't see, visit, or do anything with
their church "family" members all
week long, and may only see their "church family" members at church.
Many others, who have families of their own are quite content with once a
week church, that only wants an offering, yet doesn't impinge too much on their personal family
life, nor demand their service -- much less that they "give up their
life" to follow the Lord and help others who are less fortunate.
called His followers to take up their crosses and "follow" Him --
wherever He leads. He also told His followers that to follow Him would mean
"losing" your life -- for His sake, and the cause of the gospel: Mark
8:34-38. Unfortunately many churches seem to be more concerned with getting
people to "attend" church, live a moral life and give money to
the church than with reaching out to the poor and oppressed and changing their
communities for Christ.
let’s consider a few things that may be wrong with, not
just your church, but the modern church itself, and whether or not your church and its
people are making a serious attempt to do their part to fulfill God’s purpose
and plan for their life.
following are a few areas where we think the modern western church has a lot of room to grow.
vs. Pyramid Church
Members allowed to use their Gifts?
Your Church reach out to the Poor?
for the Homeless
On Hospitality and being a Family
Foundation of Creation
and External Growth
Tithing vs. Using your Time and Abilities for God
Warning to NOT Condemn others
Luke 18:28-30 and Former Dads
Breaking Heavy Yokes
Tithing vs Giving
the Church was a Family
Entertained (and polluted) by Evil
modern Westernized evangelical church has adopted a (pyramid) structure that
began after Constantine legalized Christianity and called Christians out of
their house-based meetings and into the former pagan temples. This was the
beginning of ruling over the people from the top down, where the pastor is at
the top and directing virtually everything that goes on in church --
including the discipleship and teaching of all of those under him. This has
been called the 'Big
Fisherman' approach where the primary job of church members is to bring people to church so the pastor can
get them saved and then hook
them into regular (church-service) attendance and spoon feed them the word of God.
This approach assumes that individual church members will not rise above the pastor's
personal relationship with the Lord, and even if they do, the pyramid structure
often hinders them from exercising their gifts to minister to the body.
Return of the First Church,
John Fenn makes the following observations about most of today's modern
example of Jesus teaching, preaching, and healing while living with his
disciples in ... community is the pattern for today.
(While) The Jethro (pyramid) … (of) relationships
(is) built around (church) work, and then everyone goes home
… (yet the example of Jesus) … is relationships (around our
daily) ... life together, perceiving (our various different gifts) ... and (serving)
... each other.”
cannot happen in a pyramid shaped organization because its structure is
about empowering the main man and keeping everyone else silent.
In the flat structure portrayed by Jesus and … (the
person is free to operate as God created them, (and to operate) in their own
gifts, while submitting to one another in love.”
pyramid (church) is built (so) that the top man might be in the spotlight
and other staff members are just players on the stage.
That is 180 degrees from what Jesus said the church should look like
… (and) a testimony to God’s grace that He can flow through it at all
a structure is built to empower the one at the top instead of the people, the people
become anemic and their spiritual gifts and muscles become atrophied …
and Sunday morning becomes a ritual of entertainment and manipulation instead of
empowerment and discipleship.”
In contrast, Jesus taught
'servant leadership' where he who is greater is to be servant of all. In
this regard, Jesus said:
"You call Me 'teacher' and 'Lord' and rightly so,
for that is what I am. If I then, the Lord and teacher, washed your
feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I gave you an example
that you also should do as I did to you."
other words we are to become involved in each other's lives and serve
each other (I Pet. 4:10), but the
'Big Fisherman' approach does not encourage service and
submission (to each other) and allow everyone to use their
gifts to serve one another, but rather
stresses church attendance, bible study, tithing, and bringing
people to church -- for shallow (church-based)
relationships. The pyramid approach is, in essence, a minimum
participation / spectator based "Christian" religion that
many people mistake for true Christianity; however Romans 14:17 and the
verse above from I Peter tell
was not even a Christian, yet he understood this concept
nonetheless, for he said,
'Tell me and I forget, ... Involve me
and I learn.'
Getting people involved in more than church attendance creates a
commitment that allows people to use their gifts before and after church, and
even away from the building. It's the difference between taking up one's
cross to follow the Lord vs spectator-based 'church' that encourages members to
simply sit in a chair and give their money to be spoon fed the word as if they
will always be little toddlers who can't feed themselves -- and who only know
and relating to each other at
his book on the church, John Fenn also quotes from a pastor in India who comments on the
difference between American and Indian churches:
Americans preach a different gospel than we do in India. You tell people
(that) if you receive Jesus as Lord you will be healed, you will
be made rich, you will have relationships healed. In India we tell
them (that) if they receive Jesus as Lord you may lose your
health, you may lose your possessions; you may lose your family,
you may lose your life."
Return of the First Church, p. 100
foot washing example of Jesus tells us that if we want to be followers of
Christ, then we need to get involved in meeting each other's needs: which demands
than just church attendance and tithing. It's the difference between
getting to know our fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord on a level where they live,
sharing our lives with them and helping them grow in Christ vs just seeing
or 'knowing' them from church.
apostle Paul taught this as well when he said that each one of us is given the manifestation
of the Spirit for the common good: (I Cor. 12: 7). This can only be the
case when each
person is using his or her gift to serve the body of Christ: which pyramid
church and top-down micromanagement hinders, if not prevents.
Sermons that are Primarily for those who
Don't read their Bibles: much less study them
today seem to be for immature Christians who don't read
their Bibles, or who don't have access to the Internet, or a ($20 -- $50) Greek
to English New Testament and Hebrew to English Old Testament, don't own a radio, and/or for those
who are not yet saved.
the fact is that any brother or sister can open up his or her Bible and get a message
from God: several times a day. We can also
hear sermon after sermon
by excellent bible teachers -- all week long on Christian radio, TV, the Internet, or by
reading books by Christian authors. In
fact, anyone who can read can look up the individual Greek or Hebrew words
for themselves and compare different Bible translations to each another and
also find whole articles on almost any verse of
the Bible: Free for anyone with an Internet
connection and who knows how to do a simple (online) Google, Yahoo, or Bing
search on any virtually any topic or verse in the bible.
This means that
Christians who read their Bibles regularly (and have an accurate translation) don't need
pastors or teachers to
"expound the word" to them, because they can do
it themselves. And in this regard we are told that the Holy Spirit,
Himself, teaches us and even tells us that we don't need "anyone"
other than Him
to do so: John 14:27; 16:13; I John 2:27.
can also supplement,
if not replace, Sunday morning song services with Christian music CD's, Christian radio, the Internet, and/or
"songs" that the Spirit puts on our heart (Psalm 32:7, 40:3) all week
other words, church services are, in many ways, in need of replacement with
something more challenging and engaging: especially for those who read
their Bibles regularly and who want to be a disciple of Christ.
For example, services where people are allowed and
encouraged to participate – as is described in I Corinthians
14:26-31 -- along with open forums. This
is also discussed below under Member
short, it's time for many pastors to come down from their platforms and stop pretending
as if they are more spiritual or more important than those
around them and to allow the body of Christ to do what the apostle Paul said
should occur: i.e. for each one to participate in more than just seat-warming and paying money to hear
sermons ... and allow each person to share and
become involved in outreach and in each other's lives: as is described in I
Cor. 14:26, which says:
is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one
has a song,
has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation.
Let all things be done for edification."
the shepherds were told to "Stop
This was because they had set themselves above the flock and were "lording it
over" or micromanaging (if not oppressing) those under them, and fell far short of what a
true shepherd should be. Verse four says:
who are sick you have not strengthened, the diseased you have not
healed, the broken you have not bound up, the scattered you have
not brought back, nor ... sought for the lost; but with
force and severity you have dominated them."
And in John
Jesus said, "I know My sheep and they know Me," and ...
"they hear My voice and follow Me. John 15:4-6 is also pertinent in
that we are told that apart from Jesus we "can do
that it does NOT say that "apart from Church, you can do nothing" (for
God's Kingdom) but rather it all centers around Jesus: our Savior, Leader and
Founder of the Church, and of
God's kingdom on earth. In fact, we are told in John 17:3 that eternal
life is all about knowing God and Jesus. See also Psalm 16:3,
34:3, 85:6, John
7:37-39, Acts 20:24 and
we leave this subject we think it is appropriate to give examples of
"sermons" that are worth preaching, and in need of hearing.
The following are examples.
From a video on youbube.com, Francis Chan tells us that:
Sundays I preach for about five or ten minutes, and then we all go out to
the streets and witness for two hours, and then come back and talk about
The pastor gets up and says something like this: "We are going to begin
to do things differently around here from this day forward. And to be
quite blunt, some of you are NOT going to like it, while others will, but I
feel like we have been playing games with God, and I admit that I am guilty
too -- if not more so than you since I have been your leader. So
from this day forward we are going to stress being "doers of the word,
and not just hearers of it, and we are going to start with us."
"So I will go first" ... And then he confesses his
shortcomings, idols, addictions that have been holding him back from having a
closer walk with the Lord ... say for about 1-2 minutes, and then he opens up
the microphone for others to come up and do the same -- even if it takes all
day and night.
pastor confesses that he feels like he has been holding back the flow of the
Holy Spirit, and not allowing people to use their gifts. Then he
preaches a short (2-5 minute) sermon on Malachi 3:16-18 (or similar passage on
getting involved in service to the Lord), ... and then another 3-5 more minutes
on Isaiah 58 and /or Luke 14:16-26 and confesses that neither he, nor the
church has made a serious attempt to reach the homeless with the good news of
Jesus, nor to take them into "the house," nor to find them jobs
(and/or give them something to do), nor to find opportunities for saints who
are members of the church, or who attend there to serve one another. And
then he asks the following question:
you consider yourself a follower of Jesus, then you need to ask yourself,
what God wants you to do to serve His people. If you consider your
house to ... be the Lord's house, then you need to offer it up
to Him for His use -- and open it up to the saints once
a week or every day for fellowship, Bible discussions, open forums, breaking
bread and prayer. And if you consider yourself a follower of Jesus and
there are things in your life that are preventing you from serving the
saints (such as excessive internet use, computer games, TV, movies, etc.), and you have a car, or an extra car that you are not using, then
consider offering it up (and perhaps your time as well) to the Lord, and/or to someone
who needs it or who has time to give people rides during the
Pastor comes up and says the following: "Today, instead of me preaching I
am going to open up this service to the Lord and allow you to
begin to meet one another's needs, and/or to ask questions. So with that
said, is there anyone here who has a need or a question: about God, or the
Bible, or anything related to the church and helping one another grow closer
You may also pass out cards for people to write down
their questions or to state their needs.
Pastor comes up and says something like: Today I want to do something
different. From this day forward we are going to make a serious attempt
to meet one another's needs and share our lives with each other -- and
hopefully grow closer to Jesus. So one way we plan to do this is to
begin to move closer to one another, such as in the same neighborhood, or on a
Ranch, etc. and begin working together as if we were a family. In fact,
according to the scriptures, we are going to spend eternity together and our
Lord has said in this regard that He "desires that they be with Me where
I am." John 17:24. Therefore, we need to start living like a
family instead of living separate lives and only seeing each other for a few
hours once or twice a week. In this regard, we note that Jesus actually
lived with, at with, and ministered to His disciples (24 hours a day, 7-days a
week) for Three Years.
your church have an Open Forum where members can ask any questions out
loud, or write them on a piece of paper? Did
you know that Jehovah’s Witnesses have open forums during their services
each and every Sunday?
is it that few churches have open forums where members can participate, ask
questions, and share what God is doing in their lives? God
says in Isaiah 1 to: "Come and reason together ..."
and Proverbs 11:14
"for lack of
guidance a nation falls, but with many advisors there is victory."
it be that most pastors simply ignore the apostle Paul's admonition for
'every man' (in Rom.
12:3) 'not to think more highly of themselves than they ought' -- and his instructions for Church in I Corinthians
14:26-31 -- because they DON'T WANT others to participate?
I Cor. 14:26-31 the Apostle Paul encouraged the saints to take part in church
services. See also
Ps. 34:3, Isa. 1:18 and Acts 2:41-47 and note the use of the word
“all things in common,”
and that people began
possessions” to meet the needs of the saints.
though some may
say that the practice of sharing our lives (and possessions) stopped because it wasn't
working, the truth is that it
stopped because of great persecution
that broke out
right after Stephen was martyred. This is explained in Acts 8:1.
Therefore, we should go back to the methods of the early church -- sharing our
money, talents, and our very lives with our brothers and sisters.
also Luke 14:33, Acts 20:24, Ezek. 34:1-31, Jer. 23:9-22.
would include sharing your time and talents with church members and opening up
your home for fellowship and allow church members to meet your needs as well. In
this regard we note that early church members “sold their possessions”
to meet the needs of their brothers and sisters in Christ – and that they
meals together daily and breaking bread from house to house, and
that “everyone kept feeling a sense of awe” – because the Lord was
present among them: Acts 2:42-47
3:3-4 tells us to:
your mind on things above, not on the things that are on earth.
For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be
revealed with Him in glory …"
for the Homeless
regard to taking care of our brothers and sisters, Jesus said, "I
was a stranger and you took Me in":
26:31-46. And in 3 John 5-11,
the apostle John confirmed this when he told the Church members to take
strangers into their homes: and especially those who are believers. See
also Isaiah 58:1-14.
your church have an outreach program to clothe, feed, and house the homeless? Or
even better, does your pastor encourage church members to bring poor and
downcast people into their homes: some of whom are Christians? If
not, then your church is not taking God’s heart and will seriously: as is
evident from Isaiah 58. And, if
not, does your pastor encourage church members to reach out to the homeless,
and needy to help them find work? Does
your church (at least) provide soft pads for homeless people to sleep on,
sleeping bags, rain gear or tents? If
not, then it is safe to say that it is NOT giving itself to serve the poor
and/or oppressed: as is discussed in Isaiah 58:6-12. What’s more the church
is in danger of the sin of Sodom.
this regard Ezekiel
16:49 tells us that:
this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant,
overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.” NIV
Isaiah told the
religious-minded people of his day -- who claimed to be seeking God -- to not just
share your food
with and clothe
the poor, but to
yourself to the homeless and
take them into the house."
the Word yet Missing the Mark
you ever been invited to your pastor’s home or the home of any of your
you only see your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ on Sunday?
If so, why?
your church have a place where members can meet every day for fellowship and
to help each other or ask questions about God or His word? Does your pastor encourage people to open up
their homes for fellowship, Bible study, and to share their lives with each other?
your pastor ever taught on Creation vs Evolution, or invited an outside
speaker to do so? In this regard,
are people encouraged to ask questions -- or in regard to anything pertaining
to God's word and/or His coming kingdom?
you know why the subject of Creation is foundational to what we believe: and
to the entire Old and New Testaments?
When Jesus taught, people didn't fall asleep. He
used parables to drive home His spiritual and ethical points. Likewise
the prophets often gave illustrative sermons that came directly from God, and
also performed miracles. Jesus' stories were taken
from the everyday experience of His listeners. When He healed people He
almost always used different methods, one time spitting in the dirt and making
mud that He then placed on the eyes of a blind man. Another time, telling lepers to go to
the priest and they were healed as they traveled. So, if Jesus was
unique and creative, and if we are His followers, why are many church
service monotonous and boring? If we are followers of Jesus, shouldn't
we be like Him? Why has much of the church put the arts on a back
pew, not to be used except for music? Didn't Jesus say that we (His
followers) are the light of the world? And doesn't that suggest that our
life itself -- including church -- should attract people?
is the Foundation
first sentence in the Old Testament tells us that God is the Creator of both the
visible world and the invisible / eternal realm as well. And the facts
of science strongly support Creation by a Super-Intelligent Being -- and oppose
the idea -- or belief -- that even the most basic life-form could come about by
time and nature.
is not only the Foundation of what faith in God and eternal life and truth are about, but
He is also the co-Creator with God: John 1:1-2; Col. 1:15-18, Heb. 1:1-2. Creation is the foundation of who God is
and why we serve Him: because He made us -- not from an ape or ape-man, but
from the dust, or independent from other life forms (Gen. 2:7). In
fact, according to Genesis, God made all land animals and birds also from the
ground, thus also independent from each other. This means that there is NO
Scriptural grounds for "evolution" from one type to another, and
thus NO NEED for "millions of years."
this regard, we have noticed that it is often the case that many churches fall short of teaching their members to stand up and defend their faith – in God, Creation, a
worldwide flood, etc. – as things that are not only scientific but based on sound logic,
historical records and
Take back our Colleges and Universities: especially those that are public:
simply by going there and talking to students and passing out literature.
our free College
literature or create your own.
Letter to an Atheist Proof of
for a Young Earth
a book called Prayer
that Brings Revival,
Pastor David Yonggi Cho talks about a critical change that took place in his
ministry. As a result of His sensitivity to the Holy Spirit and
willingness to allow God to have His way (at church), the church that he
started with God's help now has over a million members. We quote from his
Cell System is the very basis of our church. I discovered this concept
during one of the most difficult hours in my ministry. ... (When
our church was at) ... three thousand members, I felt that I could do
everything, and I tried to. I would preach, visit, and pray for the
sick; yet, as (the) church grew, I became weaker. ... (until) One Sunday as I
interpreted for an ... evangelist, I collapsed ... (and) was rushed to the ...
doctor told me that to live I) "must give up the ministry!"
... God (had) ... my attention ... and the days that followed were times of
reappraisal for my life. Yet, during that dark hour, I discovered the
basic ingredient to ... unlimited ... (church) growth ... (is) the cell
records a similar incident in Acts 6 ... When ... the apostles ... (had to
appoint) deacons (to take over) the administration of the church ... (so
they could focus on) ... their original calling (of continual) prayer and to
the ministry of the word." (Acts 6:4)
willingness to) receive the wisdom of the Holy Spirit (caused) them to
delegate their authority to others (and) thereby (allow) for unlimited
noticed that in several places in Acts, the disciples met in large and
small groups. The following are some quotes from Acts and Romans that
opened my eyes to the validity of the cell system:
they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking
bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness
of heart ... And the Lord added to the church daily ..." Acts
Cho also quotes Acts 5:42, 20:20 and Romans 16:5, and then states that:
and other scriptures gave me the direction I needed. Since then, our
cell system has grown to ... over thirty thousand cells in our church.
... (Their) meetings consist of five to ten families. They meet in
homes, which (are) convenient for evening meetings and women's meetings,
schools, which is best for our student cells; factories, for our
worker's ... meetings; (and) they also ... meet in a room of a restaurant,
which is good for businessmen's meetings. (They) ... are our church in
action ... (and even though we still conduct services at our) large building
... our church is really meeting in thousands of locations ... in our
... the members pray for each other's needs. The cell leader
visits them when they get sick and prays for their healing. Our people
... pray over everything."
his book Crazy Love, Francis Chan says the following with regard
to Lukewarm Christians:
people attend church fairly regularly. It is what is expected of them, and
they believe 'good Christians' do, so they go." p.
people gauge their morality or 'goodness' by comparing themselves to the
secular world. They feel satisfied that while they aren't as hardcore
for Jesus as so and so, they are nowhere as horrible as the guy down the
up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men --
robbers, evildoers, adulterers -- or even like this tax collector. I
fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get"
people say they love Jesus, and He is, indeed, a part of their
lives. But only a part. They give Him a section of their time,
their money, and their thoughts, but He isn't allowed to control
their lives." p. 72
also the Western
your pastor more likely to preach on Malachi 3:10: with regard to tithing to
the church, or Malachi 3:18 on dedicating your life in service to the Lord?
3:18 says that: “… the Lord makes a distinction between those who serve Him and
those who do not serve Him.”
Jesus taught on this as well. For example in
John 12:26 He said,
who serves Me, My Father will honor,” and
in Matthew 9:9 He said, "Follow Me." In fact, isn't
serving God what being a follower of Jesus is all about?
is stressed even more in Mark 8:34-38 in taking up one’s cross and following
the Lord wherever He leads. And in Luke 18:28-30 we are told that God
and His kingdom are (supposed to be) more important than our own family, wife,
children and possessions -- especially if, or when, they come between us and
our relationship with the Lord, or get in the way of fulfilling God's call on
our lives. This was made even more clear by the apostle Paul in I Cor.
7:29 where he said:
this I say, brethren, the time has been shortened, so that from now on those
who have wives should be as though they had none ..."
See also What
will it be Like?
Matthew 25:14-30 and I Peter 1:17-25 also tell us to make the
most of our time, talents, and money to promote God’s kingdom during our
short time on earth -- as opposed to building bigger barns to store up
our worldly goods: Luke 12:13-21.
God more interested in our “service” or our tithes?
If tithes, then why did God bother to give us a "Spiritual
Gift" when we got saved? If service, then are you using your
gifts to serve others? Does your church emphasize getting involved in
service to God -- even if your gift is to serve outside the church and make
the world a better place to live?
the church you attend is meeting your needs, has a place for you to serve,
and/or is actually meeting the needs of the poor and ministering to the
community, then give your money to that church. However we think it is
time for churches to de-emphasize tithing and emphasize getting people
involved in using their gifts: for we think that the Scriptures are clear on
this point: i.e. that God wants more of your life
than just a tenth of y our money and a little of your time on Sunday
morning. One way to do this is as follows:
an offering box on the back wall, or hallway, or the foyer, and stop passing
them around each Sunday. Let the
people know where you have placed it.
an inventory of the people in your church: both their assets and talents, or
anything they want to offer in service to the saints (who are in the church)
-- and to people who are outside the church. For
example, wealthy people may wish to open up their home for food and fellowship
after church on Sunday afternoons, and/or also during the week. Other
people may wish to open up their homes to the homeless, and/or needy for
coffee, tea, smoothies, etc. one or more days a week -- for fellowship,
friendship, or a listening ear, etc., while others may want to offer their
personal skills to people in the church: either for free, or at a discount.
Others may be able to put people to work, teach them a skill, or simply lend a
helping hand to serve the saints during the week. For example, many
people could easily give rides during the week to people who don't have
cars, or who don't drive. This includes retired people, the disabled and/or people
who are unemployed or not working at this time.
should we give a tenth of our income to a church that is not meeting our needs
for a deeper – and deeper / growing – relationship with God?
Because of a sermon on Sunday morning, or because we got to sing a few
songs (at church) with the saints and attend a mid-week Bible study?
this regard, does the church have a place where you, or anyone else, can go to
– 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – for fellowship, friendship, and/or where
you can ask questions and get plugged in to serve, or to go out "into the
highways and hedges" (i.e.
among the homeless, lonely, and oppressed) ...
and to compel them to come into (a home perhaps) and open up their hearts to
Jesus: Luke 14:16-26.
our opinion, the
only type of church that is worth tithing to is one that
takes care of the needs of its own: meaning that there are no people in its
midst who are either in need of a job, or living in their car or on
the street, or who need someone to listen to them, or find them a place where
they can serve the body of Christ.
speaking on the subject of Tithing, Joyce Meyer stated the following:
just amazes me, because they didn't just give their money, but they gave
wonder how many of us are willing to write our name down and stick that in
the offering plate. Romans 12:1 says we should offer all of ourselves
as a sacrifice to God.
means living for God outside of church. It means being willing to give
money, but it also means being ready to love anyone God brings across your
path. It means being willing to use any resource you have for His
Luke 6:37, Jesus sternly warned us not to condemn, yet in spite of this
we have noticed that it is not uncommon for Christians to condemn Jehovah's
witnesses as having a false gospel. In this regard, we are not saying that
Jehovah's witnesses are "saved," or "born again," but simply
want to point out that Jehovah's Witnesses actually do what Jesus told His
followers to do in Luke 14:21-23: i.e. to "Go out quickly into
the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the
blind and the lame."
And while the JW's take this command very
seriously, many Christians
have never gone door to door, or even out in public -- much less to the
"back streets" to share their faith. Please also notice how
seldom Christians target the groups of people that Jesus named: i.e. the poor,
crippled, blind, and lame, but rather, after "attending church," many
Christians are more interested in attending social functions or going home to be
with their families, or to watch TV or play (almost endless) video games than they are in
reaching their neighborhoods for Christ.
this regard, many American Christians are more interested in giving a few
handouts to Radio preachers, TV preachers, and "foreign
missionaries," than in taking the gospel seriously and making an attempt to
help their own communities by reaching out to those who are poor and needy by
making a serious effort to help them, or giving to home missions, homeless
shelters, or food ministries.
that Jehovah's Witnesses are preaching false doctrine. For example, although they often assert that Jesus
isn't God, nor ever was God, nor equal to God, which the Bible clearly teaches that He
is, however, it is not our job to condemn them. And in this regard, we
have found that JW's will almost always "listen to us" when we talk to
them (I John 4:6), that they read and study their Bibles more than most
church-going (professing) Christians (I Pet. 2:1-2), have open services (I Cor.
14:26-31) and that in many ways are more "set apart" than many
(professing) "Christians" (Rev. 18:4, 2 Tim. 2:19).
We felt that it was important to put the above statements in this article
because in many ways the Jehovah's Witnesses are a better
example of a commitment to promote their beliefs, or
version, of the kingdom of Jehovah -- than many Christians. In this
regard, it can be said that many churches are
more interested in promoting their church (or cause) than the kingdom of God.
to popular belief, there are many divorced fathers who wanted to remain involved
with their children -- during and after divorce, but were FORCED OUT by mom and the
family court's cohort of professional liars and thieves: and we say this from
our own personal experience with how we were treated by America's (so called)
Jesus spoke of leaving one's house, family, wives, and children for the
kingdom of God (Luke 18:28-30) and the apostle Paul spoke of "forgetting
what lies behind, and pressing on to what lies ahead ..." (Phil.
3:11-12), apparently the anti-father culture of the end times -- along with
the governments that support it -- will be buying and selling children in the last
days, just like they have done before:
at least according to the scriptures below.
dads, we have noticed that it is almost never also mentioned what the child's
(or children's) mother and/or the court's officials may have done to
discourage fathers from spending time with their children: such as telling him
“get out” of the house -- and out of their children’s lives --
or charging him money to see or spend time with his own children. In the
case of one of the authors of this article, the Family Courts made $120,000
from ONE little kid -- and the 5.5 year custody battle that took place: via
court and attorney fees.
this regard, we have noted that -- to our knowledge -- the only Christian
leaders to speak out on the corrupt Child-Traffic (so-called) "Family
Courts" that exist in North America and Europe are Phyllis Schlaffly
and Professor Stephen Baskerville. This also applies to Focus
on the Family
and even the 12-week long Divorce Care classes that are sponsored by many
discussing divorce, it is rarely, if ever, mentioned what our Lord said in
Luke 14:20 or 18:28-30 with regard to fathers who “left everything” for
the cause of the gospel:
including houses, wives and even children to follow the Lord. See also
Psalm 34:3 and I Cor. 7:29.
discussing missing fathers, is your pastor more likely to mention
reconciliation with the children, or a Replacement
Dad Philosophy? Applicable
End Time Scriptures may apply: such as
#1: Acknowledge that Dads exist who did NOT abandon their children, but rather
had them taken away by corrupt courts and/or angry or malicious moms.
Applicable Scriptures are: Mal.
a result many
Dads.” And to date, the church, as a whole, has remained
silent on this subject.
#2: Start Former Dad support Groups and acknowledge that many fathers in
America and Europe were literally Forced out of their children's lives.
This was also made evident from Dr. Sanford Braver in a book he wrote called
"Divorced Dads." In this regard, Dr. Braver was the first
researcher to interview BOTH the moms and dads who were going through a divorce.
#3: Ask if there is anything that the church can do to try to reconcile former
dads with their children.
This may involve calling mom on the phone and/or sending someone to
with her and intervene --- according to
Cor. 6:1-8. It
also may involve warning parents about what they can expect if they seek
justice from our courts. See also www.familycourtcrooks.com.
also the following article on the decline of the Family
and the church.
Isaiah 58 we are told to "break every yoke," and in Matthew 11:28-30
Jesus said the following:
to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in
heart, and you shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and
My load is light."
a practical level this means that when you are in the center of God's will,
you will not only have peace, but rest, and the things that you do for God
will not seem like a burden but rather joyful. So if your energy
level drops as you head to church, or think about going, then something is
wrong. It could be that you are not using your spiritual gift that God
gave you to serve His people: Eph. 4:11-13. This may be because the
leadership in your church doesn't allow for people with your gift to use it,
or perhaps because God wants to use you elsewhere: such as outside the
confines of a church. Jesus said that we are to follow Him.
So if your pastor or church leaders get in the way of doing God's will, or
don't encourage or allow you to use your gift, then perhaps it is time for you
to find another church, or to begin serving outside of it. In this
regard, note that the 144,000 "bond servants" of Christ "follow the Lamb wherever He goes
... (Rev. 14:4). See also Matt. 9:9 and Mark 3:31-35
On Putting God to the
regard to giving oneself to meet the needs of the "homeless poor,"
speaking up for the oppressed, and "breaking every yoke" (of
oppression, lies, etc.), God made promises that in our opinion are very
similar to that found in Malachi. 3:10 with regard to giving (or tithing) ones
income to God's kingdom. They are from
Isaiah 58 and include the following:
Your light will break out like the dawn
2. Your recovery will ... spring forth
3. God will make your good deeds (or righteousness) evident
4. God will divinely protect you and "be your rear guard."
5. God will quickly answer your prayers
6. God will "continually guide you, ..." and
7. Satisfy your deep inner desires and strengthen you.
8. God will also use you to restore safety to the streets.
passage ends with the prophet saying, "For the
mouth of the Lord has spoken"
vs. 14. This is the
equivalent of saying something like what we see in Malachi 3:10: i.e.
"Test Me now in this." ... yet for some reason,
these verses are rarely preached on.
you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for
your sake He became poor, that you through His poverty might become
2 Cor. 8:9 NASB
possible, open up one or more homes where you can take in people who are
addicted to drugs – and who want to get off. These homes can be staffed with mature believers, and where
someone is available 24/7 to answer calls or supervise.
Some people may simply need a place to go to get off of the street,
and/or out of their cars. Other people may wish to go out into local neighborhoods,
street corners, or shopping malls and pass out literature that promotes the
Kingdom of God. Other people need
jobs. We can also open up work ranches where people can learn
responsibility by caring for animals, grow gardens, learn computer skills,
study the word, engage in open forums and get off drugs, cigarettes, alcohol,
example we have seen is a group of people who call themselves the Twelve Tribes of Israel.
Although their doctrine is off,
their model of caring for each other, living together as a family, and
putting people to work is exemplary. They also home school their kids,
don't watch TV, and allow their members to participate in their twice daily
Note 1: we are NOT talking about places where people can go to do nothing, but
rather where they can get involved and have their needs met.
2: In lieu of the above, church members need to begin opening up their own
homes to meet the needs of the saints: including those who are homeless, and are
not addicted to drugs or alcohol, nor porn, nor violent entertainment and
thus are safe to take in. See
your pastor ever discuss the danger of simply watching TV, worldly movies,
and/or playing video games: simply because of the violence that is depicted in
them? If not, then he is not
doing his job to warn the flock to not be polluted by the world and its evil
desires. One reason we bring this up is because we've noticed that many
Christians watch violent forms of entertainment (that depicts all sorts of
evil -- including murder) as if there is nothing wrong with doing so; however,
according to the Scriptures below, God does NOT approve of those who like
looking at evil: Ps. 11:5,
Cor. 6:14-7:1; I
John 2:15-18, and
example, Psalm 11:5 says that God "hates those who love violence,"
and Isaiah 33:14-16 says that:
in Zion are terrified: trembling has seized the godless, 'Who among us can
live with the consuming fire? Who among us can live with continual
burning?' He who walks righteously, and speaks with sincerity, He who
rejects unjust gain, and shakes his hands so that they hold no bribe; He
who stops his ears from hearing about bloodshed, and shuts his eyes from
looking upon evil; He will dwell on the heights; His refuge will
be the impregnable rock; His bread will be given him; His water will
this regard, the apostle Paul instructed us to focus our attention "on
things above, and not on the things of this world ..." Col.
3:1-4. See also Philippians 4:6-8, where we are told to:
anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with
thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of
God, that surpasses ... comprehension, shall guard your hearts and minds in
Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is
honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever
is of good repute, if there is ... anything worthy of praise, let your mind
dwell on these things."
that the TV and movie industry DOES NOT agree with what God says -- nor are
they in submission to God -- but instead would have us constantly seeing,
and/or dwelling on murder, kidnapping, rape, violence, sex, drugs, crashing
cars, and on anything goes -- get it while you can -- philosophy of me, my
family, and ALL we can accumulate.
are also told in Deut. 5:7 to "have no other gods" before the true
God. So if we spend more time being entertained by the world than
thinking about God, talking to Him, serving Him and doing His will, or reading
and/or meditating on His word, then it's likely that whatever is taking up so
much of our time, may have come between us and (the relationship we could be
having with) our Maker.
also: Allowing Immorality to Seep In.
to the following verses, a follower of Christ needs to make a serious effort
to "clean house," and stop sinning: Rom.
24. So if
your computer, TV, DVD, Smart Phone, etc. causes you to sin, then we can say with near
certainty that the Lord probably doesn't approve of it: meaning He would want
us to get rid of it. This also means not looking at pornography,
and/or listening to sexual connotations, or watching sex scenes on TV and/or
in movies: and especially if doing so causes you to stumble in or with sin --
or to lose your peace with God:
Jude 24, Col 3:15.
we all attain this level of commitment and walk with the Lord is dependent on
our striving to do so -- and according to the verses above, it is both
possible: and something we should strive for. Note also that in regard
to this type of sinless walk we are told that our Lord's prayers were always
answered, not just because of who He is but also because of His piety (or
holiness): Hebrews 5:7.
1:10-17; 58:1-14; 59:1-15 and many other Scriptures tell us that God is not
fooled by our religious meetings, or how many of them we have, or even how
long they are, nor in how much we pray or read our Bibles, etc.
And that if our knowledge of God doesn’t move us to action, then we
have become what Jesus warned not to be: i.e. tasteless salt that is good for
nothing except to be trampled on by men: Matt. :5:13. In this regard, the
apostle James said that we are “to be doers of the
word, and not hearers only ...”
time for pastors to get themselves, and/or their pride, out of the way, and
STOP hindering the flow of the Holy Spirit.
The people who attend your church belong to the Lord.
Your primary job is to make disciples and teach the people how to
evangelize their neighborhood, town, and community. Therefore, if you have people with the gift of evangelism in
your midst, or in your town, to allow them to
minister to the people and teach them how to share their faith.
In essence, it is time to send the people out and stop trying to
micromanage the Lord’s people – and in so doing, micromanage the Holy
Spirit’s work. The following
suggestions are intended to create an atmosphere where the Holy Spirit’s
work will manifest more fully in the lives of the people.
sermons and open up Sunday -- and other -- services to the Holy Spirit:
and for other people in your midst to come up and share what the Lord is doing
in their lives.
there is an evangelist in your midst, or in your area, ask him, or her to
share how the Lord is using them, and to teach, or help to teach a class on
this topic: Ephesians 4:11-16. In
fact, we think it is time the church start employing such people, and/or to do
more to encourage and support a gift that is listed before the pastor-teacher,
yet is treated by most churches as if it doesn’t exist.
up the microphone to the congregation to share what God is doing in their
lives, or for questions. If
nobody has a question, then open up the service for spontaneous praise and
Allow people who have creative abilities to use them: including those who are
gifted in the arts: i.e. paintings, dance, musicals and drama, sculptures, and
(computer-generated) graphic arts.
it time for God's people to not just attend church but to be the
Isaiah 2:12-17, Zech. 14:9.
The Forgotten Ways
Return of the First Church
So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore
is Wrong with a Pre-Tribulation Rapture ???
man Sleeps on Bus Stop Bench for Five Years