Making Church an Option

While driving to work last Friday morning, I was listening to K-LOVE and one of the morning DJs, Amy, shared an interesting statistic. She said that one-third of the people polled said that going to church was very important to them. She did not share who conducted the poll nor who was among those polled. Either way the statistic is alarming.

If it was a mix of all Americans, then that statistic is very telling. It means that 2 out of 3 Americans do not consider church an important part of their lives. That alone explains many of the ailments in America. At America’s founding, the large majority of Americans not only considered going to church important, but it was also the central cultural influence in their lives.

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No More Feelgood Sermons

Yesterday during at the beginning of his sermon, our Associate Pastor Rev. Pete Belmain made the following declaration:

“I’m sure there are lots of churches up and down this highway giving feelgood sermons. This nation doesn’t need anymore feelgood sermons.”

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A Matter of the Heart

A stingy Christian is an oxymoron; or at least it should be. If Christians merely obeyed God’s command to tithe, it would radically change the world. Statistics I found online in a Relevant Magazine article show that only ten to twenty-five percent of a normal congregation is made up of tithers. Furthermore, only 1 out of 20 Americans tithe, with 80 percent of them giving only 2 percent. Finally, Christians tithe 2.5 percent in these abundant times, whereas during the Great Depression they gave 3.3 percent.

In his article, Mr. Holmes goes onto to described the impact the church would have if we were to tithed as commanded. He further states that giving is not a money issue; it is a heart issue. When I finally began to tithe as I knew that Lord wanted of me, it changed my heart. However, it didn’t change it about money; it changed my heart about materialism.

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Another Jesus

Try doing a poll on religious beliefs by asking the following question: “To you, who is Jesus Christ?” Now that can be an excellent question if you are trying to witness to someone. However, to gather opinions on who people believe Christ is, that can be very revealing.

The Barna Research Group did a study on the “5 Popular Beliefs About Jesus,” and the findings while somewhat encouraging, overall they are quite disturbing. The encouraging part is 92% of Americans believe Jesus was a real person. However, barely half of adults believe Jesus was God. The most disturbing finding is that 52% of adults believe that Jesus committed sins like other people. Many Americans believe they will go to heaven because of their good deeds.

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Delighting My Soul

People are losing hope. American patriots despair for their country and look at the state of our nation and see no hope. We look to Washington D.C. to voice our complaints and all we get in return are political patronizing pats on the head.

Many are ready to give up on politics altogether. Glenn Beck just announced yesterday that he’s leaving the Republican Party. My friend Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, is considering the same move.

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Walking Away From Jesus

As is the case with most of his sermons, yesterday my pastor pointed something out in Scripture that I’ve completely missed every time I’ve read it. Perhaps its because I’ve been so distracted by something unknowable that I missed what God is trying to show in this passage:

    “And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.” (John 8:8-9)

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Only One God

There is only one God. If this is not true, then the Bible is a lie. People may have their own gods, or be their own god, however it is a lie. Mormons do not worship the same God as I do; neither do Muslims. If they do, then the Bible must be declared a lie, and it was by those two belief systems because they wrote their own religious books. More importantly, they have violated God’s First Commandment. God declares of Himself:

    “And God spoke all these words, saying: ‘I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me.’” (Exodus 20:1-3)

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Worshipping God For Who He Is

I wanted to share something else from Brother Pete’s sermon last Sunday. He encouraged us to “Worship God not for what He’s done for you, but for who He is.” That really struck home with me because outside of church I must confess I rarely do that. Normally my worship of God is in thanksgiving for what He’s done for me. I want to be more like David and worship God for who He is:

    “Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.” (Psalm 29:2)

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Not All in the Family

One of the great lies of liberal theology is that we are all a part of God’s family. Christianity teaches otherwise. The former teaching may seem inclusive and welcoming, while the latter seems exclusive and intolerant. No matter the labels, beliefs and opinions do not trump the Truth, which says:

    “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13)

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Spiritual Victory

So how does the once great Christian America rescue itself from spiritual captivity? Can our nation once again live by the Biblical principles upon which it was founded? We’ll answer the second question first: in a word, yes. The Old Testament tells us:

    “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)

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Feelin’ Good

feeling goodI woke up this morning with an old blues rocker song from Elvin Bishop called “Feelin’ Good” playing in my head. Funny thing is I wasn’t feeling bad when I went to bed. However, my wife and I spent a wonderful day yesterday driving along the Gulf Coast to Panama City Beach and had lunch there. We have great memories there because that is where we honeymooned. Ending a long four-day Independence Day weekend spending time with my bride always makes for “feelin’ good.”

Studies have shown that human wholeness combines spiritual health with physical health. Our emotional and mental states can literally make us ill, so having a healthy spirit makes for overall health wellness.

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Loving The Law

The Law of GodI hear many Christians say that we are no longer under the Law of the Old Testament. Many “churches” reject the Old Testament outright and claim they are “New Testament Only Churches.” If that is true, then might I lighten your load on Sunday and suggest you rip out the first 39 books in your Bible? Or perhaps you can purchase a New Testament all by itself. However, if you do that you’ll miss the poetic beauty of the Psalms and the eternal wisdom of Proverbs. King Solomon left us this little nugget:

    “Keep my commands and live, and my law as the apple of your eye.” (Proverbs 7:2)

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Reflecting On Our Own Ways

backsliderThis past Monday at our Men’s Bible Study, our pastor Brother Dennis taught on “Things I’m Thankful For” and the second point he made really stuck with me. He said we can be thankful because “Jesus’ power breaks sin’s stronghold.” He was referring to the good news found in Romans 8:

    “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:2)

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Taking Pains To Get Wisdom

get wisdomSome people will go through great pains to achieve their goals. Most of these people seek financial riches. Others seek fame and glory through movies, music, sports, or television. All of these, while of themselves are not evil, are temporal at best. When you read Ecclesiastes 2, titled “The Vanity of Pleasure, Solomon lamented at all he sought and acquired because at the end of his life he saw that it was all just wasted time:

    “Therefore I hated life because the work that was done under the sun was distressing to me, for all is vanity and grasping for the wind.” (Ecclesiastes 2:17)

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Plentiful Rain

China DroughtA drought to a farmer is one of his greatest fears and foes. Rainfall can make or break a harvest season. So it is in the spiritual realm. If we neglect our Bibles, then we will cause a spiritual drought in our Christian walk. I know that many of you have began 2014 resolving to read your Bibles more regularly and I pray that you are successful. There is great promise in taking on such an endeavor:

    “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11)

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Divine Favor

prayer-for-divine-favour-of-godDivine favor is another word for God’s grace. Unfortunately when you do a web search for “divine favor,” some disturbing things come up. The first three websites have to do with gaming, magic and witchcraft. Mixed in and out of the choices is an occasional reference to God and Jesus. Such is the state of the world.

When you look at the state of our union, many words have been published as to its ills and the remedies to aright this ship called America. However, every remedy offered presupposes a righteous and virtuous people. So if the key ingredient to returning America back to her original founding is righteousness, should we not turn to the Bible for the answer? Indeed we should!

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Reaping Righteousness

Reaping What You SowThroughout my involvement in politics, particularly in the last six years, I’ve met many a patriot who believes we can return our nation back to its greatness. There is one problem though. Many of these people do not want to deal with the “social issues” and want to concentrate mainly on fiscal issues primarily, and then national security secondly. There is one problem with that; it won’t work the way they envision it. In fact, it’s already been tried (is being tried) and it always fails.

Why is that? Because to reap righteousness, you must sow righteousness. We learned in church last Wednesday of the principle of righteousness. Bro Pete explained that “righteousness is doing what is right in the sight of the Lord.” He gave the Old Testament example of building and keeping a legacy through the lives of King Jehoash (Joash), his son King Amaziah, and his grandson King Uzziah:

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Stamped With God’s Nature

Made In HeavenThe label “Made In America” used to connote high quality and real value. Today the cry for “Made In America” is heard often and the challenge to buy only such products has been going up for some time now. The problem is that stamp no longer represents what it used to. With union spoliation, that label in many cases has come to mean low to average quality, little to no value, and high cost. Things just ain’t what they used to be!

With the label Christian, we declare ourselves “little Christ’s” and so the world has the right for great expectations from us. We should be different and daring. We should never go along to get along if it means violating God’s Word. We should be bold in our obedience to God’s Word to the point of not making sense to a watching world. Remember this?

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Examining Our Consciences

bible-magnifying-glassOne of the greatest ways to protect our consciences is to salve it in pragmatism. We believe because something will work that is it a righteous act. Far too often the opposite is the truth. The late, great lion of the faith Adrian Rogers once said in a sermon that, “It is high time we stop asking will it work and start asking is it right?” Amen Brother Rogers!

We think because we do good that what we do God will bless. God will not bless if we do not do what He wants us to do:

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