Why nothing seems to get people back to church – The issue at the core of decline

“A church seeker is looking for a church community because they love Jesus and want to follow him. They are not looking for a church because they love church.”

The Millennial Pastor

“People just aren’t committed like they used to be”

This week, I came across this satirical article from the site BabylonBee “After 12 Years Of Quarterly Church Attendance, Parents Shocked By Daughter’s Lack Of Faith

The article humorously reveals an issue facing many churches today. I can’t tell you how many times (56,819 times) I have had the conversation where someone talks about the fact that young people aren’t as committed as they once were. People aren’t coming to church like they did in decades past, and those left behind have started to notice. Many congregations are feeling older, thinner, and tired out. The future feels bleak. The studies tell us that the church is declining.

And so churches try any number of things to attract people back to church. Youth group programs, revamped and modern music, renovated worship spaces, hip and cool pastors with tattoos and any…

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Dripping poison

THE RIVER WALK

dripping poison

Those who control their tongue will have a long life; opening your mouth can ruin everything. (Proverbs 13:3)

Read: Joshua 7:16-9:2, Luke 16:1-18, Psalm 82:1-8, Proverbs 13:2-3

Relate: I failed today. Every single one of my 340 students I love in their own unique way. There is no greater blessing for me than to sit with one of the kids during a break and just pour favor and attention on them as they try in their broken English to show me a toy or a drawing or their new haircut or whatever. I love them all, but I can also just as honestly say I do not love every class. Those students are broken into seventeen classes of about twenty students that I teach once a week. I have four each of first through third grade and five classes of fourth graders. Some of those classes, like 4C, I can’t wait to get…

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Be the wheels not the track
Be the wanderer that’s coming back
Leave the past right where it’s at
Be more heart and less attack

“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” ~ Ezekiel 36:26

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers” ~ Psalm 1:1

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you”
~ Ephesians 4:32

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” ~ John 13:34-35

You Won’t Like This: But I Hope You Hear Me

“No, not every rebuke is right, and it can be abused: but if it’s coming from someone who cares, or from someone you decided to hurt, then it’s worth exploring before you throw it out with the rest of your logic and empathy. “

J.S. Park

[You won’t like this.]

I hardly ever meet people who can apologize without excuses, or who can handle rebuke with a level head, or who don’t immediately lash out and get defensive when they’re corrected. I only know this because I’m that guy, too.

We do everything possible to avoid the consequences of our actions, to hold on to some tiny frayed rope of self-righteousness, to desperately grab for some centimeter of posture in a tug-of-war. We run to “What-about-you?” as if that cancels out the hurt we’ve caused. Such a sloppy mirror-defense uses someone else’s “tone” or past grievance to wiggle out of being wrong, like some kind of insane free-styling Walter White to proclaim up is left and purple is sky. Every suggestion is shot down by a sniper’s rocket launcher in a walled-up tower of self-pity, without considering the other point of view, the other human being…

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Yahweh’s Creation

Looking Back ii

Then God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters He called Seas. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. So the evening and the morning were the third day. ~ Gen 1:9-13

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He is Risen

Forever He is risen, He is alive

Amen we celebrate this weekend the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and look forward to His ascension so that we may too take part in His eternal life.

“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” ~ Gen 3:15

“Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He sent out his word and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction.” ~ Psalm 107:19-20

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” ~ 2 Cor 5:17

This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

“52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread[a] the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59 Jesus[b] said these things in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum.
~ John 6:50-59

 

#MusicMonday

 

I Don’t Like Being Confronted (Part i)

I love being confronted. One of the things I like most is listening to a lecture and learning something new that is vital or hearing a sermon that allows the Holy Spirit to convict me. The confrontation that comes from this, whilst may be emotional and make me feel uncomfortable, is very good because it’s a blessing from God; it teaches me and makes me grow.

I have had a few conversations with Christians now where maybe I have been too rough with my choice of language, but whether I spoke in a bitter or sweet tone, they respond that they don’t like being confronted. Personally, I’m thinking great, they have heard the Holy Spirit and are now seeing their mistake, just like I have many times before. I really love that experience of becoming aware of the darkness within but also having that light to cling onto, so that I may strengthen. But unfortunately, this is (in my experiences) usually not what my brethren are thinking. They are thinking “I do not like being confronted, because I don’t want/need to be”.

Okay, let’s back it up a bit here. As Christians we are followers of Christ. Which means putting off our old self and looking towards the prize which is [in] Jesus Christ (Luke 9:23, Gal 2:20, Phil 3:14). A part of our process which many pastors (especially those Lutheran ones) have repeatedly taught is that we are to realise our sin and then through God become renewed, strengthened, made holy etc. And that is how we become more like Christ, Amen? It concerns me if a brother or sister after a lengthy discussion says ‘I do not like being confronted’, because it tells me that their focus is not on Christ and the life that He gives, but on them wanting to hide away their faults.

The Holy Spirit convicts us. And we need it.
“And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”
John 3:19-21

We are beings who have fallen short of God and constantly struggle to maintain good behaviour. To compare light with dark you can see the contrast between each. God is a light unto our lives (John 8:12) and in result He shows us where the dark spots are in our lives and ourselves. Interestingly enough, one of the readings for today Good Friday, is Hebrews 10:16-25 which helps us understand this:
“This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds,” he also adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”
Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin. Therefore, my friends, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain (that is, through his flesh), and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful.
And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

The most important thing for my argument I want to point here is the first verse, “I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds”. For when people are revealed to the truth of Christ this collides with their “in-built” knowledge of the law and they instantly understand their sin and see the need for Christ. So to say that you don’t want or need to be confronted, is to say you do not want to confess that you are or have been a sinful being who needs Christ.

The second part I want to point out, is the encouragement for faith and hope. If we see we have struggles and faults, we are to have faith and assurance that Christ has made us clean in His death and resurrection. Amen. And we do not need to continue in guilt for we have hope that God may guide us onto the right path.

I know confrontation is hard, but it is necessary. I know sometimes brethren don’t take the right approach to talk about it, but the truth still remains. We need confrontation and conviction. We need to see the darkness, the sin, so that we may strive towards the light.

In the follow up to this I will write up a short discussion on how we can approach (and/or confront) Christians and non-Christians peacefully, so that they may learn.

May the Lord bless you and keep you!

Inactive

I’m sorry for all the recent inactivity, I haven’t even been keeping up with Music Mondays.
I have a small list of things to talk about, a fair bit of controversial stuff that I want to get off my chest, regarding sexuality.
I also have some ideas to create a post about ‘modern’ heresies, those small incorrect teachings that manage to worm their way around youth and “modern” styled congregations. Some tough topics, but they’re on mind.

In the meantime if you want to ask any questions about teachings, beliefs, theology etc… Feel free to at yahwehnature.tumblr.com/ask
And I will answer there and then give a “Blog version” of the response here.

Why did Jesus have to die? – Why God didn’t kill Jesus on Good Friday

God knew the the cross was in store because God knew us.

The Millennial Pastor

We are on the doorstep of Holy Week.

Clergy types will soon be setting out to write and preach sermons that somehow make sense of the passion story, from Triumphant Entry, to Last Supper, to Trial and Crucifixion and finally Resurrection.

Along the way, it will be important to say something about how the death of a wandering preacher, teacher and healer on a cross is the means of our salvation… and what exactly we are being saved from.

This is a tricky endeavour because the story of the passion doesn’t explain the reasons. Instead we are left to fill in the gaps, and Christians have been trying to make sense of Christ’s death since St. Paul was writing letters.

And so often on Good Friday, a strange and convoluted theory of the reasons for Christ’s death is presented… one that makes God seem merciless, if not plain incoherent.

Often…

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