There is an interesting phenomenon happening in little leagues all over America. Every player regardless of skill or ability gets a trophy. In baseball if you lead the league in hits, RBIs or home runs and another player sat on the bench the entire season, both will get the same trophy.
The reason is because there is a contingent that frowns upon those who can excel. They believe that when a person shines bright that it makes they others feel bad. The competitive edge which was always used as a benchmark to make us all better has been eliminated so that we are now raise a generation of children who will expect something for nothing.
I bring this up because there are jobs where it doesn’t matter how well you do in the job as long as you meet the standard. And then there are other jobs where you cannot take a chance with mediocrity because there is too much at stake.
No one wants a doctor or dentist that barely made it through school. No one wants the new pilot to fly you to your destination. We don’t even want the new barber or hairstylist.
One area where this principle needs to be applied is in the pulpit. Sadly there are conditions that exist where a church has had 30 members for 30 years with the same pastor or minister and there has never been any significant growth.
The larger problem is that the body of believers of the same faith simply mind their own business regarding this situation. There are some who believe that one preacher is just as good as another and as long as whatever he is saying comes from the bible, it’s fine.
Scholastic ability, style and oratory skills come second or third to a nice guy who doesn’t cause any trouble. In the meantime, the congregation is spiritually dying, the younger generation is absent and God is not glorified.
These little churches should merge with larger sister churches to form one church and honor God together. If you are in one of these little churches you have to ask yourself or those leading, why are we here? What are we trying to accomplish? Is there even a plan?
The goal is never to embarrass anyone, but to bring to the social conscious where we are spiritually. Jesus promised an abundant life, not a mediocre life. It is pretty difficult to see God in the plan when there is no growth and our standard for the pulpit is so low.
So we know that the church is the body of Christ and Christ’s kingdom here on earth.
He reigns supreme in this gathering of believers. Some might call it cultish due to the unfeigned faith each member has for the king.
Throughout the New Testament one can find many examples of how the body of Christ functions and relates to head of the body. And from here its even easier to see how the relationship with the head effects the horizontal relationships throughout the membership.
So, things like service, forgiveness, unconditional love, faithfulness, compassion, truth and longsuffering should abound in such places. There is a definite togetherness and sense of having all things in common among the believers. Judgement has no place here, only encouragement to be the best you can be and assistance when you stumble.
A placebo is a measure designed merely to calm, please or pacify another. It is more for a psychological benefit than for any spiritual effect. A placebo church only exists as a method to control. It is only a form of godliness, but it denies the power there of.
The largest problem with this type of church is there is no spiritual growth, there is no support, there is no fellowship and there is no forgiveness. When trouble comes you are on your own. When Satan attacks you are judged instead of helped.
You stay in this system because it looks right, but it is far from righteousness. So I ask you this day: Is your church a placebo and more importantly why are you still there?
We are consciously aware of the spiritual warfare going on inside of us. The physical world that we live in is a manifestation of that war.
When we see the darkness of this world, it sometimes looks like we are losing the spiritual battle. We see sin reign, hatred in abundance and ego elevated beyond the heights of selfishness.
Somehow we lost sight of God’s plan…or did we ever know it?
Here’s the plan: God wanted to show his goodness to us so he gave us grace and mercy. We were to show our gratitude through imitation of his son and obedience. The model he gave us was the burning bush. If we are doing it correctly then we would be surrounded by the fires of this world, but never consumed. We would remain in this state until he sent his son back to get us.
He would take us from the burning bush to a new tabernacle not made with hands. We would then dwell with him forever. But in the mean time we are to simply let our lights shine bright in the mist of this dark world. We were never supposed to eliminate the darkness but create as much light as we could.
The light would be in the forms of love, justice, forgiveness, service and goodness. Despite the evils of this world, our God wants to see the flourishing beauty he created. He expects for this creation to not conform to the world, but be transformed by a renewed mind. This is creation is precious to him. He called this creation Christians!
This past week saw the taking down of the confederate flag in South Carolina and it was not without its controversies. Highlighted in that week was congressional sparring about the event and a much choosing of sides by political pundits.
There was also a huge buzz on social media where some felt South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley made a decision that would make or break her political career. There was talk about this event thrusting her into the national political scene and perhaps even a vice president bid. Others felt that she had ruined her career and she even received cowardly death threats.
I was not that vested into whether the flag stayed up or came down and I did not even watch it. What turned me off was this: Our country has an acceptance problem. Many of our troubles and struggles come from our inability to accept one another.
So, in our initial relationship with our heavenly Father, we were separated from the commonwealth of God by our sins. It is impossible for us to be accepted by God on our own. Despite many failed attempts over thousands of years, we only proved that we are sinners and lost forever in darkness.
Then, Jesus comes and dies for the sins of the world so that we have the opportunity to be “accepted in the Beloved.” Now, empowered by the Holy Spirit, we who believe live to bring this joyous occasion to others. Acceptance not only says that you belong, but it also says that you belong just the way you are. Acceptance is the bridge that allows the sinner in darkness to fellowship with the light. Without acceptance a connection cannot be made. And it’s in that fellowship that the magic happens. The apostle John wrote that if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another and the blood of Jesus Christ his son cleanses us from all sin — that’s a pretty powerful fellowship! But if I am not accepting, it’s all for naught!
Have you ever felt like you did not belong? Have you ever been in a situation where others have made you to feel that way? It’s a horrible feeling, but do you know we do that whenever we decide that another person does not matter. I don’t have to conform to the way you think to accept you. You don’t have to look like me, live like me or eat the same things I do for me to accept you. I accept you because I have been accepted. And the thought of me cheapening my acceptance or taking it for granted because I don’t accept you, is not an option for me. My acceptance of you is my judgment of you and as for me and my house, we choose to accept.
In 1 John we are told that if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another and the blood of Jesus Christ his son cleanses us from all sin. This is easier said than done.
So to help with this principle God created fellowship. For cleansing of the blood we need fellowship with Christ, but to stay in covenant relationship with Christ we need the fellowship of the saints.
Surrounding ourselves with like minded people who are striving for the same thing and are of the same mind and judgment, is crucial to our souls staying saved.
Sadly, we take for granted this privilege and forsake our coming together. We begin to judge the people coming together as if we have no sin and we try to make a buffet of the people — choosing to be around some and not others. We fail to hold up our end of the fellowship bargain by our bias.
Jesus died that we might try to keep the unity. He wanted us to prefer another over ourselves and he expected us to be known by the love we have one for another.
It is to the point that today saved members of the Lord’s church are starving for the true fellowship of the brotherhood. Saints are searching for a fellowship with real unconditional love instead of conditional clicks. We yearn for a deeper fellowship of believers who are looking to help one another and not hinder. We want a fellowship that encourages and does not discourage. We are hopeful to find this fellowship before Jesus returns.
Is this true fellowship found at your congregation??
We are a society of extremes — and it doesn’t have to be that way. The way things are going we will of course destroy our planet and ourselves.
There seems to be no middle ground that anyone wants to choose. Think about it? We live in a world where people actual starve to death. And then on the other side of the world there are people so obese that they struggle through their lives suffering from degenerative diseases until they die.
We have generations of people in poverty living in conditions that are deplorable and then just a few days journey away, there are people so wealthy that it would take 4 generations to spend it all.
This crazy world has Christians that practice hate, record keeping of wrongdoing and feel murder can be justified, while there are atheist seeking to live in peace and harmony.
There are workoholics who hold down two and three jobs at a time while others can’t seem to find one job.
The question today is what will it take to move us to the center? Get rid of the media? Seek Jesus for real? Eliminate big business? I want to raise our conscious level higher so that we are more sensitive to our fellow man.
Did it work? I would love to hear your feedback.
The abstract has much more depth than the concrete. Yet the only reason that we covet the concrete is because we can see it.
What we see will be destroyed. So why do we covet what we see? We even take beautiful abstract concepts and ruin them by making their focus on the object of the abstract. Let me make this simpler: Some people will love a person and make the thrust or emphasis of their love on the person, instead of the concept of love. So then when the relationship ends or the person being loved does not measure up to the expectations of the one loving, the relationship ends and the person loving says I’m not going to love anymore. Or say two people are madly in love and one dies. The one still alive chooses not to get involved in a love relationship anymore because it’s too painful.
You see, love is not the source of the pain or anger in either case. Failed expectations and grief respectively are the culprits in those cases, but love was blamed. Love never changed in either case. Love can still be developed and should still be resolute. It should be locked and loaded for the next episode. Not tossed aside like a smoking gun that killed the relationship.
So what if we kept this in perspective. Love is for the mature anyway. Most teens and young adults are not mature enough to even use the word properly let alone be in what they would describe as a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship.
We should keep love pure. It was never meant to be conditional. It was never meant for profit and it should never be associated with negative acts. Love is an everlasting stream of God in you. It will never do you any harm and will save you from a lot of hurt. So love freely, love often and love everybody unconditionally — it’s the God in you!