June 29, 2008

Church Today

Today is Sunday, and here I am sitting at home with no plans of going to church. Why don't I have any plans for a Sunday? Frankly, I'm tired of churches and what they've become. All the churches I've gone to recently seem to be about the religion of church instead of the encouragement of the saints. It's not for the edification and preparation of believers. It's not a place where believers go and are encouraged and trained in how to live lives that glorify God. Some places don't even seem to use the Bible.

As far back as I can remember, my family has always been involved in one capacity or another in the church. Whether it was helping with music, teaching, or leadership, we've all been participants in our churches. But church really didn't seem like religion to me until a few years ago. I realized I was starting to go because I was "supposed to go". I would play the piano or the drums but not really be involved to glorify God. Participation became more about the use of my talents than about my own spiritual growth. There hasn't been a good sermon, a solid leader, a mature group of believers in my life for a some time now.

In fact, I can't remember being challenged by a fellow believer in probably 8 years. Why is that? What is wrong with the church today? Why is it that God allows so many churches to "pop" up, claiming allegiance to Him as "Christians churches", but so often not even knowing Him or His Word? Why are places like these "seeker friendly" churches so prevalent in our society? How can so many people be okay with mediocrity? Others teach a themes that allow for sin or weakness or failure in our lives. Grace is taught as the forgiveness of sins to the point where "Christian liberty" is turned into freedom to sin and freedom to fit in with the world. This is unacceptable.

Church today is leading people into a false sense of security. "If I go to church and feel good about the message, I'll be fine on judgment day." NO YOU WON'T! The relationship with God is not there. The truth and the true understanding of God is not there. There is a complete lack of the realization of what God DEMANDS from our lives. We can't live day to day in sin and think we are going to be okay because we are church going people who "believe" in God. If you don't know Him you can't believe in Him. And grace covers a multitude of sin, yes; but a life of sin is not a life that is lived with an understanding of who God is and what He demands, what His wrath will destroy. Our sin has eliminated our access to Heaven. Salvation provides the only access for us after that. Salvation takes faith in God. Faith in God requires a knowledge of the true God. Without knowing God, we have no hope.

The Bible needs to be the center teaching point in a church. But not just part of the Word of God, all of it. Not just the love of God, but the wrath too. And I'm really writing this blog entry out of frustration. The frustration I have is over the wide selection of places and the lack of selection. What I mean is, there are a lot of churches out there that don't teach God's Word correctly, if at all. Today, the realization of my own needs has come to a head. I, for the first time in 32 years, realized I don't have a church body or a prospective church body or a place I can even go to corporately worship God. HOW HORRIBLE IS THIS!? Instead of too many places to chose from, I'm faces with too many places not to chose.

For now, I continue to listen to Piper and other great teachers online. I am going to begin to pray for a church that is led first by men who desire to know the truth of God, who study all week to bring together a clear and complete picture of who God is and how He requires us to please Him. I'm going to continue to study diligently on my own, to better understand my God through His word. I'm going to continue to write my thoughts to allow others to add input and correction and encouragement to me and my walk. But I'm going to pray today that God will be glorified through the correction of the path of His church here in my county and then in my country and then in the world; that He will be taught better and more accurately, that true salvation will be realized by the so called "Christians" of the world. I am going to pray that God reveals His true self to us.

May God be glorified in all things. May He be praised through my life, that I turn each day over to Him for strength, boldness, wisdom, faithfulness, kindness, love, truth, and righteousness. May He grant me understanding beyond my own abilities, that I may witness to the unbelievers and the unsaved and the confused misled masses. May God give me a wisdom that only He can provide, and a knowledge only His Word can bring. And may His church be matured by the teaching of His Word and the faithfulness to the truth of the whole of scripture.

Praise God for His Provision. Praise the unchanging God, for He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)