Monthly Archives: September 2011

Six reasons to be a Faithful Member of a Local Church

I have always been a strong proponent for a family staying faithful to a church body for a long period of time. In our time as strong Christ-followers of about 26 years, 21 of those years was serving at 2 churches. Even though we have a short tenure of 2.5 years at CRBC, we plan to navigate the issues of life with this group of Christ-followers for a long, long time.

Staying at one church for a long period has so many benefits. In an age of church-hopping for the craziest reasons, faithfulness is to be the norm, not the anomaly. In running through a blog roll today I came across a post on why one should be a faithful member of a church. It was so impacting I thought I’d throw out the reasons rapid-fire fashion, let them reverberate in your spirit, and hopefully, solidify your faithfulness to the church you now call home.  Here they are:

1. You follow a pattern established in the New Testament.
2. You have a greater opportunity to use your spiritual gifts.
3. You become a more committed part of a spiritual family.
4. You insure a balanced Christian life.
5. You avail yourself to a multitude of Christian counselors.
6. (Maybe the best one) You experience the joy of serving others.

If the points capture your attention, check out the original post for scripture references for each and a bit of detail to go along with them. 

In an age of consumerism in churches, easy-offendedness, lack of fortitude, minimal numbers of friendships or shallow ones, it is easy to not be faithful to ones local church.  If you are in a local church, be faithful.  If you are stagnant in attending somewhere because of a hurt or something, forgive those who hurt you and try again.  We are all busy, business is not a good reason.  Prioritize appropriately.  Teach your children well.  A sniffle shouldn’t keep others from benefiting from your presence (unless of course you work in the nursery at your church).

Bumper Sticker Christianity

Whenever I follow cars that have bunches of stickers on them, I feel like I am being yelled at. Ever feel that way? Sometimes I will take the time to read some, other times I just ignore the volume of verbiage. I will wonder about the person and agenda behind the plastering of perfectly good paint with paper and sticky glue. Has anyone changed their minds about a particular topic because they read a bumper sticker on a car? Maybe the next time I see a “My kid is on the Honor Roll at South Elementary,” I’ll run up to the car at the next stop light, shake their hand, and congratulate them. So cynical, I know.

What happens when someone reads a “Christian” bumper sticker? Does the same synecism flow? I ran across this article on the subject.

“Jesus is the Reason for the Season.“ It is evangelicals who have cried out the most against the commercialization of Christmas, but then became co-opted by turning the phrase “Jesus is the reason for the season” into one of the most commercialized phrases of all time, blazoned across t-shirts, coffee mugs and yes, church signs. They can be purchased at any local Christian book store, 10% off if you pick up a precious memory angel along with it.

“Free coffee, everlasting life – yes, membership has its privileges!” or “Walmart is not the only saving place.“ Do you hear what lies behind all of these messages?

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“Our Children Don’t Get Anything Out of the Service”: Worship as Training for Life

If I got a dollar for every time I heard this statement, “I don’t get anything out of the service,” I’d have a bunch of dollars.  The deliverer of the statement has come in many shapes and sizes, ages, so-called “religious experiences,” seminary degrees, and religious forms.  There are a multitude of reasons why some have experiences with Father and some do not.  IMHO the reasons are not extrinsic, but intrinsic.  If one does not have an awe for the Majesty, it is difficult to get past the formalities of a church worship service in order to engage the speaker and his/her text to have a life-changing experience. 

Nevertheless, here is a fun article by David Fitch at reclaimingthemission.com regarding some of the ins and outs of this age old dilemma.  Here is the website.  Here is the article:

I have a six year old. Truth be told, if we would let him, he would sit in front of the television for hours consuming hours of programming about sharks. But we (Rae and I) don’t allow it. “One hour a day!” we say. Why? Because, if we do let him watch that much TV, the child’s brain will turn to mush. He will never learn how to engage the social world. He will be become passive. He will probably gain a lot of weight. He will learn to live life from the vantage point of the remote control.

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“Why Youth Stay in Church When They Grow Up”

As a former youth pastor, it pains me when I hear about young people who appeared so strong in faith as young people, yet when they venture off to college, move out of their homes, finish high school, or join the military, don’t participate in church life as they did earlier in life.  

The Gospel Coalition posted an article by Jon Nielson a youth pastor in Wheaton, IL on what we can do to help keep our young people faithful to the Lord.   Enjoy!

Why Youth Stay in Church When They Grow Up

 “What do we do about our kids?” The group of parents sat together in my office, wiping their eyes. I’m a high school pastor, but for once, they weren’t talking about 16-year-olds drinking and partying. Each had a story to tell about a “good Christian” child, raised in their home and in our church, who had walked away from the faith during the college years. These children had come through our church’s youth program, gone on short-term mission trips, and served in several different ministries during their teenage years. Now they didn’t want anything to do with it anymore. And, somehow, these mothers’ ideas for our church to send college students “care packages” during their freshman year to help them feel connected to the church didn’t strike me as a solution with quite enough depth.

The daunting statistics about churchgoing youth keep rolling in. Panic ensues. What are we doing wrong in our churches? In our youth ministries?

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Today in History- Contact with the Woadani Indians of Ecuador

I have a friend named Scott who traveled with Steve Saint, the son of murdered missionary Nate Saint, to this village.  He has some pretty interesting stories about his trip and experience.  It is a place like no other.  The gospel has radically transformed the jungle community.  Pretty cool stuff.

So today in Christian history has a bit of a deeper meaning to me.  Product photo

September 19, 1955-

Neighbor Search in Ecuador    by Dan Graves, MSL

How’d you like to go looking for your neighbors?” Nate Saint had just flown into Arunjo on his weekly run from his permanent base at Shell Mera and was talking to Ed McCulley. The weather was favorable for searching for the elusive “Aucas” (Woadani). The missionaries wanted to share the gospel with them. Months earlier, Nate had flown over the last place they were known to have lived, but found no traces of them.

Ed eagerly boarded the “modern missionary mule” as Nate liked to call his little yellow missionary plane. The two lifted off into crystal clear air and began their hunt above the Ecuador jungle, searching for signs of Auca houses among the trees, especially along rivers. Some of the villages which had been reported earlier had hugged streams.

It seemed as if the hunt that began on this day, September 19, 1955, would prove futile like all others. Gas was running low and it was essential to turn back soon. But then Nate noticed a blemish, “barely discernible in the jungle.” He headed for it. It grew and they saw it was a clearing with manioc plants growing. In the few minutes remaining to them, they spotted fifteen more clearings and a few houses. Elated they headed home. They had found the Aucas.

Excitement was intense because the men had long hoped to contact these sturdy forest dwellers who fiercely resisted all efforts to subdue them, killing many who ventured into their territory. Ten days later, ferrying men and goods to another station in four flights, Nate deliberately flew different routes each way, zigzagging to bring as much territory under his plane as possible. On the third flight he spotted Auca dwellings barely fifteen minutes by air from the Arunjo station.

On October 1st, bad weather kept Ed from going back to Arunjo. Ed, Nate and two other missionaries gathered at Shell Mera and talked into the wee hours of the morning, huddled over maps and trying to establish the best strategy for reaching the Auca. How could they show them they came in peace and not in hostility?

Although they badly wanted prayer cover, the men decided to say as little as possible to the outside world. Government powers or secular forces might try to one-up them with armed expeditions. Nate and the other missionaries hoped to prevent that. They wanted no interference in winning Auca souls.

The outcome is well known. Nate Saint, Ed McCulley, Jim Elliot, Roger Youderan and Pete Fleming made contact with the Aucas. They dropped gifts to them from the air and landed on a beach where they spoke with members of the tribe. On January 6, 1956 all five were massacred in an ambush. Later, through the efforts of the widows, the Aucas discovered the meaning of Christian love and forgiveness and were converted to Christ.

Bibliography:

  1. Elliot, Elisabeth. Through Gates of Splendor. New York: Harper, 1957.
  2. Hitt, Russell T. Jungle Pilot: the life and witness of Nate Saint. New York: Harper, 1959.

 

http://www.christianity.com/ChurchHistory/11630810/