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Tag Archives: CHURCH

Can There Be No Unity ???

In my post of last Saturday, July 25, I mentioned how I had witnessed unity within the church in France like I have never witnessed anywhere else. How that unity was achieved and has been kept alive, I’m not certain. One person told me that it is because the church is not large in numbers. I did speak with more declared atheists in Paris and London than I ever have in my whole life. It definitely is a post-modern culture there. Much more than I run across in NYC, and anywhere else in this country that I frequent. Perhaps this is a factor.

I believe that if the apostles were present today, or Jesus Himself, the church of today would not be recognizable to them. Paul, in his epistles, wrote 7 verses speaking of church unity to every one he wrote on justification by faith. This should speak volumes to us!! Justification by faith is very important, it is a major doctrine no doubt; but if Paul spent so much time on Christian unity, why does the church care so little about it??

There are hundreds of denominations here in the United States that have reproduced themselves all over the world. Most are so suspicious of one another and won’t even talk to one another. What a superior thought of oneself and a tragedy it is!! This is not to say that the early church had no disunity. In Romans Paul told the house churches there to get to know one another and not to be suspicious of one another.

” May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” Romans 15:5-7 (ESV)

It’s because of this disunity that the world doesn’t take us very seriously. When speaking with the many people that I do, church disunity, and all the differences, is a major drawback for them to not even want to consider Christianity. True Christian churches should have one central message, which is the Gospel. The Gospel is our unifying message and is what should bring us together. Not the way that a person is baptized, or the different views of Communion, or when and how Jesus is coming again, etc.

As I stated earlier, Paul spoke of unity within the church more than he spoke of justification by faith. He knew it was difficult, and so must we. Let’s do something about it!!!

Shalom until next time, Lord willing,

Levi

 
40 Comments

Posted by on August 2, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Six Reasons Your Church Might Not Be As Friendly As You Think It Is

I read this post at thomrainer.com yesterday and thought it important enough to reblog it.

Six Reasons Your Church Might Not Be As Friendly As You Think It Is

“We are the friendliest church in town.”

I have heard that statement thousands of times. I promise. In over 500 church consultations and thousands of church member interviews, I heard it. Most church members really do think their church is very friendly.

But, more times than not, they are wrong. Guests who visit the churches usually have a much different perspective. Here are six things to consider if you really think your church is friendly.

  1. Almost all church leaders consider their church friendly. But we have strong evidence to the contrary. We have learned that self-perception (or perception of one’s church) often does not meet reality.
  2. Volumes of survey data from church guests indicate that very few churches are really friendly. Our surveys over a ten-year period indicate that over eight in ten guests did not consider the church they visited to be friendly.
  3. Many church members perceive their church to be friendly because they have established relationships in the church. But church guests typically do not have those relationships in the church. They, thus, see the church differently.
  4. Many church members see their church as friendly because they have a brief stand and greet time in the worship service. This issue has drawn a lot of attention at this blog. I think we can all agree, however, that there is much more to genuine friendliness than a two-minute greeting time.
  5. We found that most guests who think a church is unfriendly never let anyone in the church know. They simply leave and never return.
  6. We found no significant evidence that church members are connecting with unchurched persons and bringing them to a worship service. It would seem that genuine friendliness would result in an influx of non-believers. That just has not happened.

Do you think your church is genuinely friendly? Upon what facts do you base your perception? What can your church do to become friendlier to guests?

Let me hear from you.

Thom S. Rainer This is the link to his blog.

 

 
33 Comments

Posted by on November 9, 2014 in Christianity, Faith, Religion

 

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Love the Church !!!!!!

Love the Church !!!!!!

Thou shalt arise, and have mercy upon Zion: for the time to favor her, yea, the set time, is come. For thy servants take pleasure in her stones, and favor the dust thereof. (Psalm 102:13-14)

Yes, our prayers for the church will be heard. The set time is come. We love the prayer meetings, and the Sunday school, and all the services of the Lord’s house. We are bound in heart to all the people of God and can truly say,

There’s not a lamb in all thy flock

I would disdain to feed

There’s not a foe before whose face

I’d fear thy cause to plead.

If this is the general feeling, we shall soon enjoy times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord. Our assemblies will be filled, saints will be revived, and sinners will be converted. This can only come of the Lord’s mercy; but it will come, and we are called upon to expect it. The time, the set time, is come. Let us bestir ourselves. Let us love every stone of our Zion, even though it may be fallen down. Let us treasure up the least truth, the least ordinance, the least believer, even though some may despise them as only so much dust. When we favor Zion, God is about to favor her. When we take pleasure in the Lord’s work, the Lord Himself will take pleasure in it.

C.H. Spurgeon, Faith’s Checkbook

 

 

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Are Our Service Times Sacred ??????

church

This past Sunday after church (we were visiting), we had lunch with a group of church leaders. Next Sunday will be the final one for the current pastor who is a dear friend of mine. Since I won’t be in town for the next few Sundays I was invited this past Sunday. He suffered a severe heart attack a few months ago and is retiring and moving home to Western Oklahoma where most of his family live.

As I looked out on this congregation I saw a mainly older congregation. They are wonderful people, many that we know well, but there were very few younger people. I have been reading lately a lot of statistics of the lack of church attendance in our young people. I read only last week that between the ages of 18-30 only about 20% of them attend church. The question is why? I’m not here to tell you I know all of the answers, but I have given much thought to it.

I want to share something with you that I experienced in Mexico City in the early 1980s. I took over a fledgling group of people that were assembling from another missionary who was heading back to the States. It was a great group of people who had been meeting for a couple of years  but it was hard to get many of them to congregate on Sunday mornings. As I observed the way people lived in that culture I noticed that the parks were full on Sunday mornings. Families were walking the parks, soccer balls were being  kicked from fathers to sons, and picnics were enjoyed. They had worked hard all week and Sunday was their family time.

As I thought about it, we were trying to get people to change their culture to become what we would call “good Christians” who regularly attended church. I have observed in every country that I have traveled that the missionaries established the same protocol for church that is observed in the U.S.A.; Sunday school at 9:00-9:30am and worship service around 10:30am.

Being the independent thinker that I am, I changed completely the time of our services. I completely eliminated the Sunday morning service. We had our Sunday school at 5:00pm and worship at 6:00pm. What happened because of the simple time change? Our attendance exploded and never stopped. It became a vibrant body that completely sustained itself with it’s own national pastor within only a few months.

By making the above changes I was ridiculed, and even called a heretic, because this is just not the way it was “supposed” to be. I actually took this as a complement. I don’t like to do anything only because that’s the way everybody else does it. It worked in a great way. There is nothing in Scripture that says we must worship at a particular time on the Lord’s day.

As I think about our young people, I think a similar thing is occurring in regards to our culture. Today, almost all women work outside the home, besides all of the regular work that is done at home. Almost all weekend is catch up to prepare for a new week ahead. There is no time allowed for a down time of only a few hours. Come Sunday morning they are completely exhausted and they need some extra rest. The regular times of our church services are like preparing to go to another job instead of to worship the living God.

My kids fit into this same category and have the same struggles. It’s not that they don’t want to worship God and be involved in church, but it is a real struggle; especially when you have 2-3 children. By not being plugged in faithfully every Sunday morning they are then looked upon as 2nd class, or not very spiritual people.

These are my thoughts for today and I shared some of these thoughts with the pastor search committee. This is not the only reason young people don’t regularly attend church today, but I do think it is one of the problems. Things aren’t as they were 30-50 years ago. Our message has never changed. and never should. The way of how and when we proclaim it can, and I think needs to be changed. I could add much to this but I don’t like to have too long of post. Hopefully, this will give you something to think about today..

What are your thoughts? Am I a heretic and gone mad?

 

Until tomorrow, Lord willing,

Levi

 
59 Comments

Posted by on July 8, 2014 in Christianity, Faith, Religion

 

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It Becomes Mutual !!!!!!

I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. (2 Corinthians 6:16)

Here is a mutual interest. Each belongs to each. God is the portion of His people, and the chosen people are the portion of their God. The saints find in God their chief possession, and He reckons them to be His peculiar treasure. What a mine of comfort lies in this fact for each believer!

This happy condition of mutual interest leads to mutual consideration. God will always think of His own people, and they will always think of Him. This day my God will perform all things for me; what can I do for Him? My thoughts ought to run toward Him, for He thinketh upon me. Let me make sure that it is so and not be content with merely admitting that so it ought to be.

This, again, leads to mutual fellowship. God dwells in us, and we dwell in Him; He walks with us, and we walk with God….

Oh, for grace to treat the Lord as my God: to trust Him and to serve Him, as His Godhead deserves! Oh, that I could love, worship, adore, and obey Jehovah in spirit and in truth! This is my heart’s desire. When I shall attain to it, I shall have found my heaven. Lord, help me! Be my God in helping me to know Thee as my God, for Jesus’ sake.

C.H. Spurgeon, Faith’s Checkbook

 

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Morning Coffee / Afternoon Tea

Thanks to all of you who participated yesterday with your great comments. This forum will work only with your participation. Your comments can edify many. We appreciate them all!

Tuesday

 

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Morning Coffee / Afternoon Tea

I would like to thank “aservant” for allowing me to take this forum over. My prayer is that we will build up each other in the faith, and glorify God. Please share with your comments.

Monday

 

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