Monday, December 6, 2010

Why We Can't Get It Right!

In the day and hour in which we live, it seems that we have a growing number of Churches that struggle in the area of Church growth. If there is one question that I hear from fellow Pastors that supersedes all other questions, it is "Why isn't the Church, as a whole, seeing growth?" It seems that amidst all our efforts and concern, somehow we just can't seem to get it right.

We can attribute this to many reasons, but I will only be able to scratch the surface of a few of them within the content of this blog. I am convinced that the primary reason that we can't seem to get it right is that for the most part, the efforts that were mentioned in the first paragraph, are without the aid and direction of the Holy Spirit of God. We have grown so accustomed to our idea of what a worship service should consist of, that many times we are not following the leading of the Holy Spirit. Somehow we have instilled in our brain housing groups that if we don't sing a certain number of songs and if the Preacher doesn't preach for a certain amount of time, that we have missed the mark. May I kindly submit to you that we have missed the mark when we adapt to this way of thinking. The leadership of the Holy Spirit is a must.

Yesterday afternoon I listened to a sermon by my Father-In-Law Rev. Ray Luffman who is the Pastor Emeritus of our Church. During that sermon, he touched on what I believe to be another reason that we can't get it right. He dealt with the fact that the Church today is not a praying church. The fact of the matter is that we are failing in the area of prayer. We run about with so many priorities in our lives and many times we are very neglectful in the area of communing with our Heavenly Father. How long has it been since you petitioned the throne of God on behalf of your Church. So many people want to place this responsibility sqarely on the shoulders of the Pastor. While it is his duty to pray for his congregation, him and him alone praying will not get the job done. God's people must pray for God's forgiveness and God's blessings in that order (2nd Chron. 7:14)

Finally, for lack of time, if we do not get back to being students of the Word of God, we will ultimately fall flat on our faces. God speaks to us through His Holy Word. When we study the word of God for the wrong reasons (i.e. super spirituality, debates, etc.) than we are failing not only God, but ourselves. We should study to prove ourselves, not to others, but to God. (2nd Tim. 2:15) We are seeing a time right now where Pastors spend more time on their outlines, than they do a steady diet of reading and studying God's Word.

May God help us to take the proper measures to experience the type of growth that He would have us to experience. If we do these things, regardless of the number of people in the seats, then we WILL get it right!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

To Have Them Loved or To Have Them Leave?

We live in a day right now more then ever, where people are searching for something more than what they presently have. We see people everywhere wanting more and more whether it be by way of finances, material possessions, or even in the area of relationships. This is where the Church can and should play a vital role in our respective communities.

The more time that I spend in the Ministry, I am utterly convinced that people, in general, have the same basic need and that need is to feel loved. Think about a successful marriage, both partners know that they are loved. Even though problems may occur from time to time, they have the security of that love from their partner that lifts them up above the problem instead of being another statistic buried by that hardship. If we in the Church would take time to love people as Christ loved people, then our Churches would prosper and floursih above their problems as God intends for them to.

We have to rise above the stigma that is especially prevalent in some Independent Baptist circles that says "People that need babysitting aren't serious about the Lord's work anyway!" While this sounds like a super-spiritual statement, it is not Biblical. We're not talking about babysitting people, we're talking about ensuring that they feel loved and that they know that God's people are there for them and praying for them.

If you are a Godly influence today, it is solely because someone took the time to love you and show you God's love with their life. Please remember that we in no way, shape, or form have to condone people's sin to love them. People don't expect the church to help them in efforts of continued sin, however they DO expect the church to help them to get out of continued sin. How can we do this? It starts with loving them.

As we love them, they will do one of three things. If they're saved they will get right with God, if they're not saved they will get saved, or if they are part of the percentage that strictly takes advantage of the people of God, they will eventually move on. Either way let's not allow the negative possibilities to be a deterrent in accomplishing the will of God for our lives.

Let us make a concentrated effort to do what God would have us to do. In reality that is what we need to remember. What we're talking about here is not anything above what God has already asked us to do. If we'll take time to do this, then our Churches will have God's blessings upon them! The choice is simple......We can either love people as Christ loved them, or they will leave! It really is that simple!

In Christ's Service,
Bro. Brandon

Monday, February 8, 2010

Is it ever too late to pray?

In the day that we live in, we see the vast majority of people who claim to know the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior whose prayer life leaves a lot to be desired. Many times it seems as though these would be prayer warriors wait until some type of tragedy takes place in their lives to truly get before God and make their petitions unto Him.

The truth of the matter is that the praises of these individuals do not precede their petitions. Psalm 100 clearly instructs the believer to "Enter into his gates with thanksgiving and into his courts with praise." The key word in this scripture, when taken in its proper context, is "Enter." We must begin with a perennial praise of the Lord. If we praise the Lord in all aspects of our lives whether great or small, then we will not feel like novices when we must approach the Creator of the Universe with something that we deem as "important" or "pressing" in nature.

So the question is begged...."Is it ever too late to pray?" The Word of God teaches us that as believers, Jesus Christ will NEVER leave us nor forsake us. We must remember however that the Scriptures state that if we regard iniquity in our hearts, then God will not hear our prayer. If we stay prayed up and confessed up and in right standing with God, then it truly is NEVER too late to pray.

There are examples in the Bible where we see that for some, that it was too late to pray. Take Sodom and Gomorrah for example. God had turned them over to a reprobate mind and turned them "over to their own lusts." This is still applicable for today. Be careful about the things that you desire more than God, because He may just turn you over to those desires.

There is coming a day for the lost that it will indeed be too late to pray. You see, one day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. This will in no way shape or form constitute Salvation, but will rather be a recognition that they have wasted and squandered every opportunity to make things right between them and the Almighty God. Please dear friend, don't be the one for whom IT WILL BE TOO LATE TO PRAY!