Posts Tagged ‘Bible study’

Call 911 – The Church Needs CPR!

            Many years ago when I heard God calling me back to the church I remember thinking that there just seemed like there was something wrong with the church. I thought, “Who am I to have such a thought? After all the church has been around for hundreds of years, they must know what they are doing”. At the time, my wife, two children and I belonged to a very small mainline denominational church. We had been attending for a few years but other interests seem to pull us away. Even after we returned, the years clicked by and nothing seemed to happen. No one ever came to the saving grace of God; it was certainly devoid of the miraculous, in fact no one ever seemed to change. The Sunday message was some sort of flowery, biblical sounding digression that was almost absent of any meaningful content. I did not know it at the time but we were attending a church that was in dire need of resuscitation, CPR to be exact, “Christ, Prayer and Repentance”.

          Unfortunately this is a scene that is repeated over and over again in some fashion, or another all across our nation. People wander into churches on Sunday throughout our land, showing up with all their baggage; hurts, hang-ups and addictions. Then after an hour or so they tote all their problems back home and nothing has changed. Christianity has been reduced to doing a duty, namely, showing up at church. It is far from the abundant life promised by Jesus, far from being a lifestyle. So what’s wrong with the church?

          Perhaps the first course correction needed is for God’s people to wake up and realize that they “ARE” the church. The church isn’t the building; it’s a people for God’s own possession, a people who have surrendered their all to Jesus. We are to be led by His spirit, seeking Him in prayer and repenting of all the things that keep us apart from Him, Christ, Prayer and Repentance, CPR for the church. No one but God can breathe life back into the church and we desperately need to seek Him with all our hearts.

          Secondly, God’s people need read the Bible. I have found that many if not most Christians do not regularly (daily) read or study God’s word. How can we possibly have a personal relationship with our Savior if we don’t even study God’s scripture? How can we know of His loving promises if we do not read them for ourselves? When we come to Him in prayer we need to be grounded on His word and we need to be assured of His nature which can only happen through the study of His inspired word. Biblical illiteracy plagues our country and many are suffering because of it.

          If you have ever been apart of a church like the one I described, you cannot help but wonder what damage has been done? Not only in the lives of the congregation but also in the lives of those who came in contact with the church and saw nothing different than the world around them and found no power for life changing transformation. The dead churches of our culture have poisoned so many against the cause of Christ because many have failed to see the abundant life promised by Jesus alive in the members of the church. Real Christianity is caught not taught. The time is right for church to catch a fresh breath of life and to gain a contagious spirit.

Are You Prepared to Climb the Mountain?

          “The record is one thing, but standing on top of the world is just the best feeling you could ever imagine.” This was the recent quote from Jordan Romero, age 13, who recently became the youngest climber to ever scale Mt. Everest. The feeling of being unique, accomplishing the unbelievable and the realization of a dream come true must be an experience that he will never forget.

          I have heard many times the description from Christian teachers and preachers of mountaintop experiences associated with spiritual moments. Mountaintops in our spiritual walk tend to be places we can visit but not reside. Much like Jordan Romero’s description, spiritual mountaintops provide for us “the best feeling you could ever imagine.” These are times of close proximity with our Creator. At these moments all of our doubts and fears seem to fade away and we know that God is God, and at last we find peace. Have you had such an experience? Are they fairly rare in your Christian walk? If so, you may need to ask yourself if you are prepared.

          If you look at the laundry list of items required to scale to the summit of Mt. Everest you will find that a considerable amount of equipment is required. The list pertaining to just footwear alone is quite extensive. The needed equipment is designed to provide protection, comfort, necessities of life, tools to accomplish the climb, shelter and the items necessary to travel with and move all of this gear. These are just the material items needed. In addition the climber must be physically and mentally equipped to withstand the harsh conditions of the climb. So it is with the life of a Christian.

          As a follower of Christ we must be equipped for the journey God has designed for us. He offers all that we need for protection, security, comfort, the necessities of life and the tools needed to accomplish our goal. His great plan includes other believers around us who have also been equipped by Him to help us in our walk. The real challenge lies in the effort we make to appropriate what we need. This effort includes time alone with God, reading and studying His word. Then we must pray, submitting our requests to Him, asking for His guidance and petitioning that He will instruct us regarding areas in our life needing surrender. We cannot ascend a spiritual mountain with our own strength, it cannot be done. Each challenge encountered on the way up the mountain must be met in reliance upon His power otherwise we will not succeed. Israel wandered in the desert for forty years and an entire generation perished because they did not accept God’s view. Paradise awaited them on the other side of the river but they could not move past their fear. What a tragedy that so many Christians today really are not living in total reliance upon Him. Anyone that has received the gift of salvation but fails to persevere through spiritual preparation misses the best that God has for them. It’s comparable to wandering in the desert and perishing from this life never knowing the abundant life promised by our Savior. You just plain miss “the best feeling you could ever imagine,” the “peace that passes all understanding.”