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Sunday
Jun102018

The Bottom Line of our Day

I write a lot about our day and how we have been in a spiral downward as a country and as a Church. People do not want to face the reality of where we are going and refuse to admit we are in trouble. They go to church on Sunday and hear messages that are inspirational but not life changing. Christians today want to sway to the music, lift their hands in praise, yet never sense the need to discern our age and see with their eyes and hear with their ears. 

I believe Jesus gave us the bottom line on how every generation lives without God in Matthew 13.

 10 The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”

11 He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 12 Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables:

“Though seeing, they do not see;though hearing, they do not hear or understand.

14 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:

“‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
    you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
15 For this people’s heart has become calloused;they hardly hear with their ears,
    and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,hear with their ears, understand with their heartsand turn, and I would heal them.’

 It is fascinating to me to watch religious communities tell their stories about God and yet their stories don’t represent the God of the Bible. I have written about this repeatedly in this blog on how we have invented a God that is part Bible and part culture. When you look at the message of Jesus, it was about self-reflection, becoming aware of your greatest need, and then pursuing that need without hesitation and without excuse. 

Listen to his message from Matthew 3:2

Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near."

My point is simple, do we have eyes to see what the scriptures tell us to do, and do we have ears to hear God speaking to us about what He wants us to change in our lives? If we are going to church to hear a message of happy endings, and stories that inspire us to be better people, we are clearly blind and deaf. 

To become better people requires that there is a change. It reminds me of what people do as they repaint over an existing paint problem. Scraping and stripping the layers of paint off the object to be painted is the best way to assure that the new paint will take hold and not peal. 

Our lives are similar to old paint, before a new life can successfully begin there needs to be a removal of the old life. This is the message of repentance, removing the old and turning to God for the new. The new life in Christ comes about becomes there is a change in our understanding of life and we accept the offer of the gospel.  Many churches do not teach this and I am seeing this trend even in churches that used to make it a regular theme in their ministry. 

Repentance is the key to opening eyes and ears to God. Seeking Him means you are willing to put your life on the line for what He has for you. There are too many of us that think making a commitment to Christ is enough - but that is only the beginning. Following Him requires that you are willing to change and make adjustments in lifestyle and attitude that are becoming of honoring God. 

Those adjustments as leaders will not be easily made. Some of us have traditions and theology errors that will not be easy to overcome as they hold us back from telling the truth. I was speaking with a preacher today about how many pulpits are governed by the budget. Some preachers are told to inspire people but don’t convict them. Why? The budget is directly tied to the pulpit presentations. If the preacher gets too convicting, people will stop coming. I asked my preacher friend a simple question. “Would the message of the pulpit be any different if the budget of the church/ministry was not at stake?” It was a sobering question, and was not readily answered. Today, there are two aspects of most churches: the teaching and the budget. One feeds the other, and together they need each other. However, if the budget is the bottom line to what is preached, then the eyes are blind and the ears are deaf. 

Some may disagree with me, but I think most leaders who run a church or a non-profit ministry are required to provide a service that people will support with their tithes and offerings. If the truth gets too much in the way, that may not happen, thus a great dilemma arises. 

What do you do?  Good question - that is where eyes that see and ears that hear come into play.  What do you think God says? 

Keeping it honest and truthful…K  

 

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