Tag Archives: church
I watched a short clip recently with Carl Trueman in which the scholar made the observation that one likely reason we are seeing a drop in church attendance is that parents are simply not teaching their kids that it is a priority. Trueman said:
“The church is losing its young people because the parents never taught their children that it was important. I think that applies across the board. It applies to family worship, and it also applies to whether you are in church every Sunday and what priority you demonstrate to your children church has on a Sunday. If the sun shines out and their friends are going to the beach, do you decide to skip church and go to the beach? In which case, you send signals to your children that it is not important.”
I am constantly curious by the reaction of Christians to the fall of a prominent Christian leader. Ranging from the “I knew that person would fall” to “my whole world is crashing down,” these reactions reveal our lack of understanding of the nature of sin and our susceptibility to it.
Recently I was listening to a podcast of Dr. R.C. Sproul on the total depravity of man and the nature of sin. This part of his teaching on the doctrines of grace and Reformed theology dealt with sin from an honest and biblical perspective. Dr. Sproul made a very poignant statement that Christians need to hear and understand. He said:
“There is no sin that a Christian is not capable of committing.”
This is a timely comment as many people become disillusioned by the fall of a Christian leader. If we become discouraged by the sin of another we are showing that we do not have a proper view of sin. If we believe for one minute that there is any person not capable of falling due to sin we are gravely mistaken.
Dr. Russell Moore recently wrote on how our response to the sin and fall of another is evidence of our misunderstanding of sin:
I recently watched the Cleveland Cavaliers pull off an improbable comeback to win the NBA finals. With their team down 3-1 the Cavs won 3 straight games to bring home Cleveland’s first NBA championship; a promise LeBron James issued two years ago. It was an exciting game and series for fans, but it also reminded me of how much Americans worship sports.
To be fair, I love sports. I’ve been playing and watching since I was a kid. What I am most thankful for is that my parents never allowed sports to interfere with our family, or our life as part of the church. That doesn’t seem to be the case today.
How often have you said to your pastor, “we won’t be around much the next few months, it’s _________ season.”?
There’s a verse in the Bible I’m learning to understand more as our culture moves toward complete rebellion of God’s principles. That verse simply states, “you cannot serve God and money.” (Matt. 6:24 ff)
Now, some would say this means you can’t be rich and serve God, but that’s a false conclusion. One look into Scripture reveals many people that were indeed rich and were used of God; King Solomon is just one example. Nope, that verse is teaching that your priorities cannot be both the pursuit of money and the pursuit of God and serving God.
Our society has become driven by money: the pursuit of money, the protection of money, and the acquisition of more money. And when money is threatened it is not a surprise to see people make decisions in favor of money rather than in favor of serving God.
If you didn’t know better, you would be convinced that a vast majority of evangelical Christians support Donald Trump for president. If you didn’t know better.
There is no doubt that the mainstream media is propping Donald Trump up in his bid to be elected president. No one says the crazy things Trump has said on the campaign trail and survives unless the media is helping. Liberal outlets even seem joyful in their reporting that “evangelical Christians” are lining up to support Trump. But is it true that evangelicals en masse are prepared to vote for Trump in this year’s election?
I don’t think so.
Yes, it’s true that Trump has secured (for now) a large part of the Christian vote. We could have a discussion on the difference between “self-identified Christian” and those that are truly Christ-followers, but I’ll save that for another time. For now let’s just agree that many church-going people intend to vote for Trump in November and that reality is causing a stir.
Never in my years of presidential elections have I witnessed so many prominent evangelicals vocally oppose a republican candidate. For the most part church leaders and other prominent evangelicals remain silent. Not because they don’t have opinions and prefer one candidate over another; but because they prefer to focus on the Gospel instead of politics. (That’s also another conversation.)
Can we truly worship God apart from our emotions? The debate over what “worship” in churches should and should not be like confronts us with the idea of whether it is possible to be divorced from our emotions and truly worship.
That question has been on my mind as I rethink what it means to worship. We know that we are to “worship in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24) But it seems the practical application of worshipping God “in spirit and in trust” is what is up for debate.
Discussions and comment threads over the use of instruments (and the banning of others); the use of dance (and the sin of dance); and the use of traditional hymns versus modern songs (aren’t the Psalms the most “traditional” hymns?) has made the discussion difficult to learn from. Each side is convinced of their right-ness on the issue. And in many cases opposing sides are willing to “agree to disagree”; a nice change from the typical name-calling (“legalist,” and “hippie” come to mind). But this is important.
The worship of God is not like the disagreement of whether or not Christians should drink alcohol. Our worship of God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit is central to our lives as believers. Refusing to think critically about this topic could be spiritually deadening.
Back in the 1950’s and 1960’s, A.W. Tozer, a highly respected pastor, author, and theologian, was concerned that people just wanted to be entertained, even when they came to church. His fear was that society in general was moving towards an insatiable desire to be entertained. It seems his fears were well-founded and the subject needs to be revisited once again.
Like many, I have been in public settings where people would normally be interacting but they were all staring at their phones. It seems the next tweet, Instagram photo, or Facebook post was more captivating than the people around them. And now, our reliance on social media for stimulation and entertainment has made its way into the church. Entertainment has, in many ways, become another possible master for us to choose from.
A recent article at Desiring God explores the reality that entertainment has become the master of choice for many people, even Christians. The author confesses that entertainment has been used “…to distract me from the guilt of sin, friction in relationships, or anxiety about work. It became what daily prayer and Bible reading should have been — a safe haven to retreat for rest and comfort.”
But the result of choosing entertainment as a master is that it will slowly draw us away from Christ:
I spend a lot of time during my job talking about “market volatility.” It’s something people know exists, don’t quite understand, and have a lot of questions about. So I spend time explaining it, calming fears, and answering questions. As I thought about “market volatility” I was struck by a couple of articles that made me realize the pastorate is one of the most volatile markets in existence.
When we think of volatile markets we think of ups and downs, gains and losses. If you’re an investor you think of your account value and what the market does to your investment. When the market goes down you incur a loss that can take some time to recuperate. When the market goes up you see a gain that you want to protect. It’s easy to see how the pastorate is very much like the market in its volatility; ups and downs, gains and losses.
But while historically the market has always had periods of volatility – and that doesn’t look to end anytime soon – the pastorate doesn’t have to continue as a place of volatility.
A recent article at The Blaze shared the results of a study conducted by LifeWay Research. The study centered on the main reasons pastors quit the pastorate before retirement age. The study boiled the answers of 734 former senior pastors down to five main reasons:
uppose you went to church on Sunday morning to hear God’s Word and listen to a sermon or lesson intended to help grow you spiritually. You’re eager to know how God’s Word applies to your life today and how you can look through a biblical lens at the issues that permeate our culture. You sit eagerly waiting to hear the message God has given your pastor when the pastor begins by say he/she wants to discuss the biblical support for abortion!
That may seem far-fetched; as if there is no way any pastor would express support for something so obviously wrong. Right?
Unfortunately the reality that there exists members of the clergy that regularly teach God’s Word to those gathered in their congregation while also supporting abortion is true. Even sadder is that it is not one or two “rogue” or isolated pastors adhering to this lamentable position. In fact, according to a recent article, 53 pastors in the state of Texas alone support abortion:
It’s clear from the plain understanding of these laws that anyone, not just a church, has the right to live and do business according to their sincerely held religious beliefs. The idea that the Supreme Court or any governing body can force a person to support anything that violates their conscience or religious convictions is completely foreign to the American Constitution. (This includes the taxpayer funding of abortion.) Our Founders specifically sought to create a place where people would not be forced to violate their convictions.
The proposed resolution goes on to cite cases from around the country where Christians have been prosecuted for their refusal to support same-sex “marriage.” These examples include a photographer in New Mexico, baker in Colorado, florist in Washington, and others that have seen their business and personal lives thrown into turmoil by an overzealous government and complicit media that are chomping at the bit to make examples of anyone that refuse to bow to their agenda.
The resolution goes on to propose the following law designed to protect churches and the people that work for them, as well as religious organizations and their employees and Christian-owned businesses: