Saved at a young age (approximately 10 years old)
Attended church off and on (taken by my aunt)
"Church" consisted of:
Sunday School, which consisted of:
a prepackaged curriculum lesson, that lasted 30 minutes IF everyone showed up on time
followed by a main service, or "big church" as some kids call it.
This service consisted of:
- Singing a few traditional hymns
- Listening to a choir special while an "offering" was taken
- Listening to a sermon (which lasted for about 30-45 minutes)
- Waiting through an "invitation" (or a call to respond to the sermon)
- Going home
This is the pattern I have followed for the vast majority of my Christian walk. The only thing that has changed is the style of music, and that, since my teen years, I have for the most part attended services on Wednesday nights that follow the same basic pattern, only on a more casual (for lack of a better word) level. There were periods of Wednesday nights consisting of "prayer meetings", which is for another blog post!
Before I continue, I want to address the quotation marks that I have used. Please do not think that this post is an attack on the Bride of Christ, because as I have stated before, that is never my intent. I love Jesus too much to ever want to attack His Bride! What I hope comes through these typed-out words is a challenge to examine ourselves and the Scripture, to see whether or not the what and how we are doing things line up with one another.
I do not pretend to have reached complete understanding of the Scriptures. I don't think that any person will ever be able to reach that this side of Heaven. What I am saying is that I would like to see all followers of Christ come together and examine the Scriptures to see if what we have been taught is true, just as the Bereans did (see Acts 17).
"Isn't that what we are doing already?", one might ask. I would simply reply, "No." If you go back and re-read the format I shared above, you will see that there isn't any time for an in-depth examining of the Scriptures. Most of what we did and are still doing today is observing and listening. Time has become our enemy!
Again, I'm not attacking, condemning or even criticizing what takes place in most church services today. I am simply asking, "Is it working? Is it even Scriptural?"
These are questions that I have had for several years now. I have seen these questions addressed by several friends. In fact, it was because of some very close friends raising these questions first that I began asking them as well.
A.D.D. MOMENT: I fear that this post will be too lengthy to keep the average reader's attention. I place myself in the "average" cateogry, so don't be offended! But please bear with me.
A.D.D. MOMENT OVER
The thing about asking questions is that sometimes it come across more like poking a hornet's nest. We don't want to upset things, so we don't ask the questions. And for those who do ask questions, well, unfortunately they often get stung.
So, back to what I mentioned earlier about time. Why do I say that "time has become our enemy"? Well, because how many of us can honestly say that we have more time than we know what to do with? I know I don't. Truthfully, it's not that we don't have time, we're just not making time to follow the New Testament model. Take Acts 2:42-47, for example:
"They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved." (emphasis mine)
I would imagine that after meeting together every day, the New Testament Church grew to know one another very well. In fact, the above passage states that "they had everything in common". WOW! Can you imagine having "everything" in common with a group of people? I'm sitting here shaking my head "no" because I can't! However, with God all things are possible! (Matthew 19:26)
I long for that. I crave to be like Acts 2:42-47 describes. I yearn for the Body to function as Christ intended. Not only with meeting together, examining the Scriptures, praising God, but also in the exercising of spiritual gifts, where everyone has one and knows how to use it! (see Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12-14, Ephesians 4, 1 Peter 4) And what would be the result? According to the passage in Acts: "And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved."
With all of that being said, this is what I think God is trying to say (at least to me), "If you aren't going to make the time, I will remove for you those things that are consuming it." Christian, I believe that a shaking is about to hit! Hebrews 12:26-28 tells us:
"At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, 'Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.' The words 'once more' indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe."
Jesus made it clear that we are to seek first God's kingdom and His righteousness (see Matthew 6). Seeking His kingdom, from my understanding of Scripture, is:
- frequently meeting with other believers
- devoting ourselves to prayer
- examining the Scriptures
- and then doing as the Scriptures say (see the Book of James)
God's ways, even His very thoughts, are so far above ours (see Isaiah 55:9)! We truly have no idea how huge God is! We say we do, but our actions don't show it. That is why I believe God is going to shake things up! He must be glorified! Jesus died so that everyone can be reconciled to the Father! If we, His children, are not going to live in such a way that demonstrates this truth, then He will do whatever it takes to get our attention.
So, Church, let's not be caught unaware! Let's start now, acting like God's chosen people. Let's devote ourselves to prayer and examine the Scriptures to see if what we are being taught is true. And if we aren't being taught the truth, let's get the truth out there and do it!
Thank you for giving of your time in reading this post. I know how valuable it is!