Thursday, June 26, 2008

If you are without sin then go ahead and get your stone ready....

*stepping up on soapbox*

I just don't understand why people don't think Christian ministry shouldn't be successful. Why is it that if a church has a lot of members or a huge youth ministry, then many non-Christians judge that as being bad?
This also stretches to the actual church building as well. Some people are automatically against a church with a nice big beautiful building because they feel it is unneccesary and extravagant. Why should God's house...a place where people go to fellowship with other Christians and to worship Him on Sunday mornings...why does it have to be a tiny hole in the wall to be considered "modest" enough for God?
In the Old Testament when Moses first built the tabernacle, the people gave EVERYTHING of value they had to be able to construct the building and its furnishings. Almost all the items built were overlaid with bronze, gold, or made of pure gold.
If nothing else, I would say that people don't give ENOUGH to make a church worthy of God's presense. You can't every say that anything is TOO beautiful or nice or valuable for a place to worship God, in my opinion, because who can put a "value" on the "worthiness" of something for GOD?! Nothing we could EVER construct on this earth could even come close to being worthy, so why not give it all we can?
Why should Christians worship in an ugly building? I am not saying that shouldn't or can't worship anywhere, but why would a nice church be wrong? Why should God have anything less than the best the members of the congregation can provide? I have never once heard anyone criticize the huge beautiful cathedrals in Europe for their "extravagance." And those people had much less to give than we do in the spoiled US.

Why should the children of Christians and church members not have fun activities in fun facilities? The world provides tons of alternatives for them if there is nothing fun to do at church. Why make them go there? I know you can meet with a group of teens or children at the park or at someone's home, but let's be realistic: kids are going to go where their friends are going. So, if there aren't enough friends that think hanging out at church is cool then they are going to go elsewhere, end of story. Therefore, church should be cool for kids. Children and teens have more distractions available than ever. Church can offer a good distraction from all that if the leaders are willing to provide it and if the parents are willing to support it.
Just because the church has a gym doesn't mean they have wasted money that could be spent on other ministries.

The church can't be a powerful influence in the world if their own families and children within the church aren't being spiritually fed and guided so that they can be WORTHY to influence the world for God. Some churches are trying to reach out to the community without minstering to their own families first. Yes, there are bad churches who don't follow Biblical beliefs. But, we can't "fix" churches without fixing families, we can't "fix" families without fixing the individual...we can't "fix" the individual without God.

Just because lots of people attend a church doesn't mean it is bad.
It's not always the minority that have things figured out correctly.
Just because the people who attend a church wear nice clothes and drive nice cars, doesn't mean it is bad.
That is just as ridiculous as judging people who DON'T wear nice clothes or drive nice cars.

Just because the choir at a church doesn't sing songs that you like, doesn't mean it is bad.
Everyone likes different kinds of music. I don't think that God speaks only one language, He speaks every language. Therefore, I don't think that God only likes one kind of music. There isn't a right and wrong way to pray to God as long as it comes from the heart, so I have to believe that praise is accepted in the same way.

Don't even get me started on worship dance. My own daughter does worship dance...David danced for the Lord, Miriam danced in worship....no reason why we can't. Nothing innappropriate of course....but just like singing or playing an instrument, anything can be done for the right or wrong reasons and who has appointed a judge on this earth to see someone's heart? It is just as wrong for a person to get up and sing a song about God when they are living a life of intentional sin as it is for a person to get up and do worship dance when their heart is in the wrong and their life is a lie....but WHO can know? No person can. So, do we cancel all the singing and all the playing of instruments and all the teaching, preaching, reaching out, etc just because we can't be sure who REALLY means it? Absolutely not! Then there would be NO one on this earth to share God with others because who are we to say who is and who is not worthy to do God's work? Anything that a person does on this earth can be done for God. Even washing your family's clothes or making a dessert for a potluck can be done for the right or wrong reasons. God accepts our sacrifices of praise from those who are offering it with a sacrificial and willing heart. We are not to judge.

Just because a church has their outline on a screen for the sermon, doesn't mean they are bad. It shows me they have planned and prepared something meaningful and want everyone to be engaged in the sermon. Like with teens, adults also have many things to distract them that having an outline helps to focus our thoughts on what is being said, to write it down and ponder later for ourselves. You don't have to use it...you don't have to even look at it...especially if you actually bring your own Bible to church!

If someone believes that the Bible is true...then attending church shouldn't be an issue. Not all people agree on biblical doctrine. I don't believe that heaven will be "baptist" or "methodist" or "church of God"....I believe it will be CHRISTIAN. A Christian is an easy thing to become....but living as one isn't always very easy. Especially when Christians themselves get so caught up in judging their own that they can't look out and see the real purpose....to love the world and bring them in....and disciple them to spread the word of God further. I am so frustrated with people finding things to criticize...it is just a way to disctract themselves from doing what they are supposed to be doing for God. Getting all caught up in the rules or the law or whatever....they will find anything to fuss about or anyone to judge as long as the attention is drawn away from the fact that THEY are the problem.
When I was teaching, there was always "that kid" who, no matter who they were sitting with, no matter whose class they were in, they just "couldn't get along." The parents just couldn't understand why no one liked their child or why everyone kept getting them in trouble.
There is a point where you want to just say, "you know...it may not be EVERYONE else...the common factor here is THAT child!"
Like the Christian who can't find a church that fits all their "needs and requirements." It may not be THE CHURCHES that are the problem here...the common denominator is YOU.
I attend church because I couldn't survive without the fellowship and encouragement of fellow Christians. I need to be taught by those who have studied the Bible intensely to the point of having a degree or even a doctorate in the study of God's word. Today's youth need someone who has studied the Bible inside and out because the questions they get from their educated peers are TOUGH ones...unlike when most people were uneducated and didn't question anything that was from the Bible. Without a mentor who can answer the "logic" thrown from the world at every opportunity a Christian can easily become convinced that their belief is folly. I attend church because I want to serve God. I attend church because I want to be a part of something that is reaching out to the community to get people to a place of peace. I attend church because my children will value the things that I show value to. I attend church because I want my children to have a Christian family through their fellow church members. I want it to be a place where they have fun and feel loved, but where they can also receive truth to apply to their lives. I realize that there are some people who don't feel the need to attend church to be close to God. That is all fine, they must be better Christians than I am, because I couldn't begin to understand the Bible on my own. I couldn't handle the onslaught of attacks against what we believe without a briefing in Apologetics every so often. I wouldn't be very likely to worship God all day every day and am happy to have the time and place set aside just for Him every week. I am after all, only human, and life happens. Giving God Sunday morning is the least I can do. Going to hear wisdom from someone that God has placed as a teacher is the least I can do to learn more about the Bible on Wednesdays at church. "Study to show thyself approved."
If someone can do all that on their own and maintain a daily relationship with God, then they must be a super Christian. God established the church...because He knew we would need it.

But, before He established the church He established the family....and family is what has brought me to the point where I am right now. I want my children to have a relationship with God. I want my children to have a heritage....a church family, ....I want them to pick their friends at church....I want them to pick their spouse at church....I want them to make church a priority, so therefore it must be a priority to me. I want them to have respect for me and their dad, and if you truly respect someone and admire the way they have lived their lives then you are likely to try to do what they did so you can have the same...and so on and so on down the generations. That's what I want for my family. It doesn't matter if we attend a tiny one room church or a huge church with lots of instruments a huge choir and a youth game room. Neither are perfect nor can they ever be so. As long as the members of that church are DOING something for God, then I am happy. I am happy to participate. I am happy for my children to participate. I am happy that they can use my money to reach places that I don't even know about. I am happy that I can contribute to helping them sponser an even so that my teens are at church on Friday instead of at a party. I am happy to obey God by giving my tithe to the storehouse to do God's work in my community. I am happy to donate my time, my abilities, my offerings...because when it is all said and done, what is going to last? The only things that will last will be the things that have been done to build God's kingdom...the one that actually WILL be perfect.

For anyone who has persevered through this entire blog:
If you happen to be looking for a perfect church...a perfect pastor, a perfect ministry, a perfect worship leader, a perfect sunday school teacher, a perfect youth minister, or anything.....you can just STOP RIGHT NOW. There is no such thing. Perfection will never be reached on this earth. No one is made perfect by becoming a Christian, though we can be called perfect because we have an advocate....someone covering for us....all we can do is strive. Humans just strive. We strive and we fail. Your pastor will make mistakes. Your parents will tell you something that isn't true. Your best friend will betray you, your spouse will disappoint you, your children will disobey....and they all may attend your church. No one on this earth is capable of being 100% faithful, if we were, then we wouldn't have even needed Jesus to die. We could have obeyed all the rules on our own...we could have worked hard enough and achieved perfection on our own. It doesn't mean we shouldn't try 100% all the time, because not trying is not obedience, but that is not my area of expertise to explain (which is why I go to church)

When someone answers a calling on their life to pastor a church or teach a class, there is no ceremony where God bestows upon them "perfection" and they can now do everything right. There is such a thing as praying for God to reveal what He wants you to do...and doing it to the best of your human ability.
Criticizing a church is criticizing God...and I wouldn't want to have that on my head! You can say that God isn't with a church, and how are you to know? Are you God?!

I know I probably have not said all of things things in a perfect way. I apologize if I have sounded like I am on a rant, but hey, I am! ha ha!

I just get so frustrated....because people feel the need to criticize the way Christians conduct their work on earth, when those who are criticizing aren't really doing anything themselves. Either make a decision to live a life for God and do what you can to help, or go home and SHUT UP! (well that was kind of confrontational wasn't it?)

I know someone could say "well you are being very critical yourself there." Well, yeah.....but....it's my blog...so there. I just happen to need to vent about this particular subject and defend God on this one.

okay, I have said all I wanted to say. Feeling much relieved to stand up and say it, I will stop now. I kind of considered deleting this post since it is so "flaming." but, I don't think I will.

*stepping off of soapbox*

3 comments:

Karen said...

Amen, daughter! Preach on...

andysbethy said...

Wow! That might be the longest blog I have ever read, and I read a lot of them. Good job. I think you expressed yourself very clearly, and fairly calmly.
I will say something in defense of some people who criticize "fancy" churches. Most people who speak against a big fancy church simply think that God might have better uses for the money. I know I have been guilty of thinking that. However, that is not always true. Some people would not find God without the big fancy church. God uses absolutely every way imaginable to reach people. I need to be reminded sometimes that just because God has impressed upon me foreign missions, and the importance of my money going that direction, it does not mean he has impressed that on everyone. There are plenty of people right here in America who need Jesus, and may need a beautiful awe inspiring building in order to see him. So thanks for the reminder.

mom0ktdid said...

Thank you for that comment! You are awesome!