Why Are Churches Dying?

closed-church

Churches are dying. Some are thriving, but the overwhelming majority are not. Attendance is dwindling. Most are hanging on by a thread. Many will have to shut their doors in as little as one generation.

A lot of this is because we live in a Post-Christian society that embraces the emerging postmodern worldview.

  • Millennials (born ’82-’04) aren’t being reached.
  • Generation X (born ’61-’81) & Y (born ’77-’95) are dropping out.
  • Baby Boomers (born ’46-’64) are ready to pass the torch.
  • The Builders (born ’25-’45) are going home.

Look, people: we are at a tipping point. It is the 4th quarter and we are trailing.

We must re-think, re-tool, and re-frame. We must shift, evolve, and adapt.

If not, we will be mourning church closing after church closing.

“Churches across this country are going out of business, closing their doors, because they’ve lost their relevancy. They chose not to change with the times. They chose to keep people over 60 happy and forget about reaching people under 30. They, like my granddaddy, measured faithfulness by doing things the same way year after year, regardless of the response or the results.” – Edward H. Hammett

Please read that quote again only slower this time.

(I can feel you nodding your head in agreement.)

Traditions are great. But if traditions are only servicing personal preferences, then we need to take a hard look at them.

  • Are we inwardly-focused or outward?
  • If we closed, would the community even notice?
  • Are we a museum for saints or a hospital for sinners?

I know these are tough questions, but they need to be asked and honestly answered.

I’m convinced that people love Jesus, but have lost their love for church. I’m not saying that is correct, I’m just saying that seems to be the trend. The next generation does not see the relevancy church.

How do we reach a new generation for Jesus Christ? How do we help them fall in love with church again?


Ref: Hammett, Edward H. Reaching People under 30 While Keeping People Over 60: Creating Community Across Generations (TCP the Columbia Partnership Leadership Series): TCP Books, 2015.

http://thomrainer.com/2017/08/dying-churches-die/

Christians Are Like Tea Bags

teabag

I heard this saying attributed to either Chip Ingram or Greg Laurie:

“Christians are like TEA BAGS; you don’t know what they’re made of until you put them in hot water.”

Isn’t that about the truth!

Is the heat being turned up in your life?

This is where “the rubber meets the road,” right? Anyone can act nice when everything is going their way, but what seeps out when things aren’t? What comes out of that teabag?

  • Fruit or works (Gal 5)?
  • Fresh water or salt water,
  • Bitter or sweet (James 3:11)?
  • Or… are you like a box of chocolates?

Something you may never have thought of is the fact that teabags are useless without hot water, aren’t they? It’s actually IN the hot water that teabag finds their purpose and usefulness.

Try to remember this the next time you find yourself in proverbial hot water. Pray for me as I pray for you.

If this blessed you, please Like & Share!


Ref: https://www.facebook.com/moodyradio/posts/848812451813491

ttps://www.goodreads.com/quotes/1944-a-woman-is-like-a-tea-bag-you-never-know

Like a Dog Licking Its Master’s Hand

dog licking hand

Jesus commanded us to: Worship the Lord your God, & serve Him only. – Matt. 4:10

In 60 of the 91 occurrences of “worship” in the NT, it is the Greek word proskuneo. It means “to kiss, like a dog licking his master’s hand.” Literally & figuratively, to proskuneo is to fawn over, crouch to, & fall down to kiss the ground before.

Our worship of the Lord is the metaphorical kissing-ground between we (the Bride) and Christ (the Bridegroom).

When my dog, Annie sees me, it doesn’t matter if I’ve been gone for 1 minute or 1 hour – she cannot contain herself! She goes completely spastic: she runs all over the place, she jumps up on me, & yes – she licks my hand. She is so excited, she just about explodes! Just like Olivia Newton John in Grease, Annie is hopelessly devoted to me.

When was the last time we got that excited worshipping our Lord & Savior, Jesus Christ? Are we hopelessly devoted?

– If this post blessed you please like and share!


Ref: http://biblehub.com/greek/4352.htm

Your Sins Have Been FIRED!


Let’s say someone comes up to you, removes your coat, and sends it away. Would you say you still had your coat?

No. It was removed. It was sent away. Literally, the coat is no longer here.

Jesus takes our sins away. (1 John 3:5). When John the Baptist saw Jesus he said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:19)!”

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to FORGIVE US OUR SINS and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. – 1 John 1:9 (Emphasis mine)

Just like that coat; they’re gone. Now, of course we don’t miss the coat or go shopping for new coats, right?

“No one who is born of God [deliberately, knowingly, and habitually] practices sin,” – 1 John 3:9 (AMP)

Therefore, if we repent and turn to Him, Jesus forgives our sins (something only God can do, by the way).

The Greek for “forgive” carries the word picture of discharging something so as to leave.
I note it because:

  • It is so much fun to say: aphiémi (af-ee’-ay-mee).
  • Its roots are apó, “away from” and hiēmi, “send.”
  • Properly then, aphiémi means: send away; release (discharge).
  • By forgiving our sins, Jesus removes them and discharges them.

Therefore, because of Jesus’s wonderful Love & Grace, your sins have been:
Let go; fired, dismissed, sacked, axed, laid-off, and canned. They have been given their “pink slip” and “walking papers.” Like Elvis, your sins have left the building.

  • Stop re-living them.
  • Stop obsessing about them.
  • Stop beating yourself up over them.

Brother and sister, they are not even there! (Heb. 8:12, Rom. 11:27, Mic. 7:19, Psa. 103:12)

To pretend otherwise is to act like you still have that coat on that someone removed from you and sent away.

– If this blessed you, please like & share!

Phone Addiction

phone addiction

Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear. Whoever has Twitter to tweet, let them tweet.

We are straight-up addicted to our phones. I mean, seriously: this is going to be a real problem in the not-too-distant future. Think this just… sorta… happened? Google “Brain-Hacking on 60 Minutes.”

Dear children, keep yourselves from phones, errr, I mean – idols. – 1 John 5:21 [Sic]

Anything that takes the place of God is an idol. Have phones taken the place of God?

Well, riddle me this: How many times do YOU touch your phone a day?

(In fact, you are probably reading this from your phone right now.) Are you ready for this:

“The typical cellphone user touches his or her phone 2,617 time every day, according to a study by research firm Dscout. But that’s just the average user: The study found that extreme cellphone users — meaning the top 10% — touch their phones more than 5,400 times daily (July 13, 2016).”

I know I am a tiny minnow swimming up a mightily roaring RIVER here, but: How many times do you touch your Bible a day?

I dare you to compare those numbers. Write them down next to each other: are you crying?

I know this is something we cannot solve right this minute, I know that you know that I am just as guilty as the next person, and of course I know phones can be used for good too, but it is something we should not be ignoring.

What do we do about this?

– If this post blessed you please like and share!


Ref:

Cell Phones Research

Brain-Hacking


Addendum:

Phones make us break the first two commandments:

“You shall have no other gods before Me.

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments. – Exd. 20:3-6

Phones also repeatedly make us break the 3rd commandment: OMG, anyone?

That’s 3/10 right off the bat. And of course, if you break just one, you’ve broken them all (James 2:10).

Is Your Life Out of Order?

Out of Order

Ever go to a machine only to see the dreaded, “Out of Order” sign? Great. This one’s out of commission. Now I have to go look for another. There have been many times where that sign could just as easily been placed on my life.

It is so easy to get things out of order.

It is so easy to get priorities all jumbled up.

Get things out of order & your are left with DIS-ORDER.

Left alone, life will get out of order & jumbled up all by itself. It takes work, discipline, & love to keep your life in order.

  • God, Family, Ministry. • J-esus, O-thers, Y-ourself.

The true order of things must, must, MUST have God at the head (Deut. 6:5, John 13:34; 15:17). Otherwise you are as broke-down as the machine with the sign. And equally unusable by God.

  • Not until the wiring gets re-wired.
  • Not until the programming gets re-programed.
  • Not until the jumbled gets un-jumbled.
  • Until then: Move along. Nothing to see here. Out of Order.

Here’s the silver-lining: the Repairman can fix anything. He can put it in working order!

God can come in & show you how the machine is supposed to work. After all, He made it. He has the manual. He can show you which wire is frayed. He can put in new fuses. He can see… (don’t do it, Pat)… if there is… (can’t help myself)… Hecanseeifthereis a screw loose! (*pants*) Sorry, I tried.

The Repairman repairs. If you let Him.

He isn’t an intruder. He won’t Break & Enter. He requires your consent. Please give it! Show Him the mess only He can fix.

I don’t want to be busted & broke-down any more. I don’t want to be un-usable by God. Do you?

God. Family. Ministry. In that order.

Anything else is: Out of order.


Ref: https://www.gotquestions.org/family-priorities.html

And yes, that image is from Wreck-It Ralph – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wreck-It_Ralph

Pray For Your Pastor!

pexels-photo-273850Don’t forget to pray for your Pastors throughout the week as they wrestle with the message they are preparing just for you. You can start by praying Eph. 1:15-19.

The cook presents the finished meal.

What he doesn’t present is the stack of old cookbooks he sifted through to find just the right recipe. He doesn’t mention the multiple trips to the market to find just the right ingredients. He doesn’t show you all the burnt attempts that didn’t work out quite right. He doesn’t bring out the shiny new mixer he is so very proud of that has all the bright new features.

No, the cook presents the finished meal.

The cook knows he is just the cook. Its the Farmer who produces the food (John 15:1). Its the Husbandman who gave the cook something to cook. It’s the Vine-dresser who raised the crop. And from sunrise to sunset, the divine Creator seeks to create fruit through us as we abide in Christ (1 John 2:5-6).

For He satisfies the longing soul, And fills the hungry soul with goodness. – Psa. 107:9

No, the cook doesn’t do any of this. He just presents the finished meal to the best of his ability and prays you brought your appetite.

Bon Appétit. Who wants seconds?

Jesus Makes All the Difference

Metamorphosis

The Pharisees said, “If you change, you can join us.”

Jesus said, “You can join Me. You will be changed.”

That’s a big difference.

May God’s Love be with you

Ever Look For Your Car Keys in the Freezer?

man-looking-in-freezer-face-obscured-by-door-side-view-200455254-001-57c5ecff5f9b5855e50428d8We are all looking for something, aren’t we? What is it that you looking for? Wisdom (experience, career)? Knowledge (facts, degrees)? Happiness (marriage, relationships)? Peace (also marriage and relationships… just kidding)? Riches (security, comfort)? Whatever it is, ALL is found in Jesus.

All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Him – Col. 2:3

If you are looking anywhere else, then you are barking up the wrong tree. You know, that is a pretty funny expression now that I am actually thinking about it; the dog has chased a cat up a tree and is now barking at it, but the cat is in another tree? Silly dog. However, that is what I want you to envision if you are looking for…. lets say, self-fulfillment, in any other place than in Jesus. Yep, you are that silly dog barking up the wrong the tree. Come on, dog! Ya got the wrong tree!

If I were looking for something in the wrong place, I would want someone to tell me. Constantly searching sounds too exhausting. I would much rather rest. Its like looking for the car keys in the refrigerator. They probably aren’t there. If I were rummaging through the freezer looking for my keys and you knew where they were – I would want you to tell me.

If you are not looking to Jesus, then you are looking in the freezer for your car keys.

ALL treasures are found in Him. Satisfaction for your heart? In Him. Satisfaction for your mind? In Him. Satisfaction for your bones? ALL are found in Him. I promise you: Jesus doesn’t come up short. Jesus doesn’t disappoint. Jesus doesn’t leave you holding the check. Jesus doesn’t promise, and then not deliver. In fact, He over-delivers. He exceeds. He excels.

Now to Him who is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], – Eph. 3:20a (AMP)

Anything worth knowing, is known in Him. Anything worth finding, is found in Him. Anything worth discovering is discovered in Him. Think about that: All the secret riches that can potentially come out of all intelligence and understanding is revealed in Christ! That’s why Paul calls it treasure. Treasure is priceless, precious, and rare. The closest to finding treasure I ever got was using a metal detector at the beach one summer. Man, you never saw a kid more excited over a quarter. You would have thought I found the Heart of the Ocean or something. Jesus is talking about FOR REAL treasure. Not some rusty old quarter! Life treasure. Soul treasure. Eternal Treasure. True fortune.

Treasures are hidden, aren’t they? They are buried. They require some digging. They must be unearthed.  You have to remove the dirt to find the treasure. We have a lot of dirt piled up in our lives. We are buried in it! Jesus can remove the dirt – if you will let Him. He wants to unearth the potential underneath all the guck and grime.

The most worthwhile treasure you can ever possess is knowing the Lord Jesus Christ. It may take some digging, but it is well worth it.

God Will Take You By the Hand

hands-1432278Throughout Mark there is a sweet phrase that jumps off the page and touches my heart; Jesus taking people “by the hand.”

Again and again, the Savior took people “aside privately” hand in hand. Just He and them, secluded and close –  then He would heal them.

There is something so tender about this; something so intimate and dear. Jesus could have healed in any way He desired; from across the way, by thought, or by will. However, He purposely held their hand.

I am, as I always am, reminded of my girls: I cherish taking them by their tiny hands. When they comply (which they don’t always!) and allow me to lead them by the hand, it fills my heart with such indescribable joy.

Jesus longs to take you by the hand and He adores when you ask for His. Won’t you reach out for it?

See Mark 5:41; 8:23; 9:27