Come to a church that's FUN. We have a great band and entertaining worship. Make a friend. We only share God's love - no words like "sin" or "hell" used here, ever! Network potential! Your children will win prizes and play in bounce houses! The best coffee and donuts in town! Fulfill your Sunday church obligation in less than an hour.
Jesus-Lite, tastes great - less filling, right?
I am still reeling from a recent church visit last Sunday. (If you don't care to listen to the ramblings of a very sad believer, then now would be the time to move along to another blog.) From the outside it was beautiful. The parking lot was packed. The children's ministry was decorated perfectly. Even I was tempted to hang out in the kids' sanctuary!
When worship began the music was awesome - what gifted and talented people. I almost expected Celine Dion to walk onstage and belt out a few numbers. Not to mention, the plush stadium-seating was fantastic! "Lord, could this be our church home?" I wondered. Then I began to look around. Hundreds of people hearing the same songs of worship I was hearing, yet almost in a trance, they stood up and sat down- like zombies. I have attended women's home Bible studies with more voices lifted up in praise. After almost every song the congregation clapped. Yes. Clapped. It made sense now, few were singing because they thought they were at a concert.
After the fog cleared and I was no longer in my free-donut trance, I began to look around closely. No one had Bibles. Seriously. I counted maybe five people in a crowd of at least a thousand. I leaned over to my husband and whispered, "Paul, no no around us has a Bible, no one." Even my seven-year-old comes to church with his Bible. My heart began to physically hurt for these people. Communion was passed out after a video. No scripture was shared with the people to explain the holy act of taking bread and juice in remembrance of my Jesus.
Even with a very entertaining pastor, I could see through the smoke and mirrors. He shared lots of funny stories. Lots. Of. Them. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE FUNNY, but this was ridiculous. Where was God's Word? Later, he encouraged us to abide in Christ, to draw near to God. Dying of spiritual thirst, I kept my lips pressed together, for fear I would scream out loud, "Tell these precious people HOW to abide in Christ, how to draw near to God! TELL THEM!"
But, he didn't.
There has never been a time I have felt a greater burden to contact a pastor before. This shepherd had the perfect opportunity to feed his flock a bounty of God's Word. Instead, he fed son's and daughter's of our King the spiritual equivalent of a pop-tart and diet-coke. Tears still come to my eyes when I think of the faces of so many malnourished sheep. They gathered on Sunday to hear His Word, to be filled with living water, with His daily bread, and walked away with little more than a concert and a donut.
There is a saying, "What we draw them with, we will draw them to." After experiencing quite a few churches recently, it seems to me that their focus is on numbers and not on the Lord. What is happening? Why do some feel they need to add to God's Word, to fun-up our faith and dumb-down the good news? How many believers are being lulled into spiritual mediocrity as the enemy of our souls wickedly laughs in triumph?
Jesus Christ is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me. I want everyone to know the saving grace that has made me whole again. He is the lover of my soul, my comforter, my rock, my redeemer. He is my ONE and ONLY, my most precious friend and the overwhelming, unexplainable, indescribable joy of my heart.
For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes--Jews first and also Gentiles. Romans 1:16 NLT