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This is What Happens When God Has Left the Building

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I have wrestled for weeks over whether or not to post this.Actually,anguish is a far better descriptor than wrestle.I have literally paced the floor over this.I have written it and then rewritten it at least six times.I set it on the shelf hoping it would disappear or somehow delete itself.Which, of course, it didn’t.

It is not my intent to offend,but rather to call attention to an unfolding tragedy.So with that out of the way,and apologies for the length of this post…

Sometimes it seems as though I’m setting in a room watching a movie,or more accurately a horror film,as I watch,listen,and observe our society in action.

From the humble beginnings of a people desperately searching for something better a scant two and a half centuries ago,we have morphed into a society our forefathers would never have imagined.Could never have imagined.

Sometimes I want to scream from the tallest building”what in the world has happened to us!”.

Even the most ardent,forward thinking framers of the Constitution could never have envisioned the nightmare that has now enveloped us.Were it not unfolding right in front of us it would be all but unbelievable.

My ancestors and yours,many of whom risked their lives to come to America,would hardly have thought of making the journey to come here had they envisioned the debacle which is now America.

The greatest symbol of freedom and democracy the world has ever known has been corrupted by it’s own success,and now more closely resembles the tyrannical empires of the past more than the beacon of hope she used to be.

Let’s be honest here,America is out of control. Not “spinning out of control”,which would infer that it is still possible to regain control. No,we are completely out of control.And we are spiraling into an abyss from which there can be no escape lest we repent and return to God.

If you’re like me and wondering how this could have happened,I offer this simple but poignant observation: We have all been willing partakers in this tragedy!

By our own actions,or lack of action,we all must share the blame.The Hell borne efforts to rid this nation of it’s dependence upon God are now firmly entrenched in our culture,so much so that God is a stranger in America today.

All all of us have blood on our hands.

We Christians have not prayed enough.We have not loved enough.We set idly by while millions every day depart this life for an eternity separated from God.Doomed.Damned.And we feel nothing for them! No burden felt for the lost,no empathy for those outside the Ark of safety.Nothing.

Think of all the time,money,and effort that the adversary has been spent on campaigns to reduce God to an afterthought at best.God defying court decisions,every imaginable wickedness and evil in high places. All have played a key part in the systematic overthrow of the conscious of this nation.We are numb.

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The end result is an endless stream of blood in our streets. Murder rages out of control.Unconscionable  violence rarely causes an eyebrow to raise.

We are overwhelmed with a drunken,drug induced society incapable of righting itself in spite of incalculable dollars spent in hopes of rectifying the problems.

Democrats.Republicans.Independents.Two party. Three party.All have promised us that they have the answers.All have failed because at best all they can do is apply limited interventions,or bandaids to spiritual problems encased in darkness.

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We are angry.Our collective voices ring loudly with the sounds of outrage.We rail against our government,this government of the people,by the people,for the people.

Contentment among us is a foreign concept.Divisiveness is the new commonality that binds us!

 

Indeed,implosion seems inevitable.

We have been blinded by the light.Not that Light,but this one: And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light”.    II Cor. 11:14

The god of this world has invaded our homes,our schools,our government,and yes especially our churches.Satan has ripped apart our society right in front of us,and we allowed it to happen with hardly a whimper.

God was declared out of touch with the new reality a long time ago. He became an unfashionable relic from a bygone era that must be dealt with in order for the hip,progressive and destructive agenda Satan devised for America to culminate in the travesty we now see before us.

And we,the church,did next to nothing to stem the tide. In our rush to become more like the world instead of separating ourselves from the world as we are taught in scripture(II Cor. 6:17),we the church are as guilty if not more so than the heathen we love to rail against.

Our pastors and church leaders have bowed the knee to Baal,to the great god compromise

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in order to distance themselves from the stigma of holiness and righteousness.We who sit in the pew each Sunday have clamored for teachers that will tell us stories that appease the conscious,all the while soundly rejecting the Gospel message as too strict and cumbersome.

This Christian way is too strict,they say,echoing the words of our Lord(Matt. 7:13,14). We want an easier path to follow,one that won’t cost us anything.

Considering all that has been said so far,and if you are still reading this,I have an announcement to make.One that I have agonized over for several weeks. One I take no joy in proclaiming and do not wish to make.

God Has Left The Building.

If He hasn’t,then why doesn’t He hear us? Could it be that we have become so used to this new normative of evil that we no longer care enough to cry out to Him? Has our collective conscious been seared with the proverbial hot iron(I Tim. 4:2)? Are we utterly incapable of determining right and wrong?

Has the line between good and evil become so blurred as to be nearly invisible to the masses? Where is the outrage from the church in America? Forget a National Day of Prayer. We are desperately in need of a National Day of Repentance!

Our pastors and church leaders are needed on the front lines of this battle,but they are nowhere to be found.Where are the voices from our pulpits declaring that we have offended a Holy God by our actions? Where is the call for repentance? It would seem that the sheep have been abandoned on the hillside to fend for themselves!

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But Wait!

It can’t be that bad can it? Nothing is ever as bad as it seems.It will get better,it always does.Sure, we may have fallen a bit but we’ll turn it around.

After all,we just elected someone who promised to make America great again didn’t we? As if any man or woman can cure what ails this once proud nation.

I know many that maintain that America,  at less than 250 years old, is too young to die.I appreciate that sentiment. I understand where they’re coming from.No one likes to admit what I’m stating here.It’s not popular.It’s not good news.It reeks of despair and uncertainty.I will win exactly zero friends by posting this and no doubt incur the wrath of many.

I would counter the “America is too young to die”outcry with this: America is already dead.In fact,death occurred some time ago when America became “rich and in need of nothing”. She just hasn’t accepted it yet.Or perhaps remains willingly blind to her condition.

Because you say,‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked…”   Rev 3:17

As I stated,we are blinded by the light from the deceiver who has positioned himself as truth.And we have bought it. Hook. Line. And Sinker.

And our silence is deafening.

Surely our decision making abilities (or lack thereof) must cause bewilderment in heaven!

No rational,sane Christian can argue that we are living in the Laodicean age of the church. The age of the great falling away.The age of compromise and rebellion against spiritual authority.Against the Ultimate Authority.

1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:

2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,

3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good,

4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,

5 having a form of godliness but denying its power   II Tim 3:1-5

Dangerous or perilous for who? Certainly for everyone.Specifically for Christians.To the watchful eye,every single one of these traits is evident in America today.And it’s about to get uglier than we ever imagined.

We are beginning to reap what we have sown.

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.Gal 6:7

Serious students of the Bible know full well what has happened to the nation of Israel who,though blessed mightily by God,forsook Him for other gods.Israel,God’s own chosen people,was eventually consumed by the sinful lifestyle they willingly chose to follow after. One hundred percent of them suffered the consequences. No exceptions.No escape.

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This,it pains me to say, is America’s destiny.The destiny that we ourselves have plotted.We have chosen our own path rather than follow the path chosen for us by God Himself.

As terrifying as it sounds,the upcoming acts of this catastrophic drama are soon to play out one by one,and rest assured,there will be a final act.The curtain is going to close on all we hold dear.

How can we be so sure this is going to happen? Because God has done all that He could to restore humanities broken relationship with Himself. And we have counted it as nothing.We have cast the sacrifice of His Son aside and trampled his blood under our feet(Heb. 10:29). God will not remain silent.He never has.

So is there no Hope?

Absolutely! As long as there is breath in us we have hope! God Almighty will see us through every upcoming scene.For the Christian who has placed their trust in the Lord,victory is assured.No matter what happens,God is faithful to His children.

Like many of you,I cling to the promise that He will never leave us nor forsake us(Heb 13:5). As a matter of fact I’m completely dependent upon His faithfulness.I trust Him completely because I have no one else in whom I can place my trust,and He has never violated that sacred trust.

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History has taught us that governments will fail.Societies will crumble.Men have always brought destruction upon themselves by the poor choices they make.It is a seemingly endless cycle.

History has also taught us something more valuable than those things.Perhaps the greatest lesson of all is this:

God may have left the building,but He will never leave YOU!

No Matter What…

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I will remember what you have done for me O God.

I have not forgotten how you spoke peace into my heart when I was at my lowest point so many years ago. Job 38:1,which I had read many times before, suddenly came alive in my heart that day when I realized that you are God even in the midst of the most violent storm. I knew at that moment you were going to rescue my soul from the waters that sought to drown me.

I have never forgotten that “encounter”.

It has sustained me and encouraged me more times than I can remember. It has left an indelible mark upon my heart,as if You knew all along that this would be a defining moment between us.A reference point that I could draw from again and again.

Like I am now.

Your word has been a constant in my life. Is it any wonder the Word of God has been described as “a lamp unto my feet”? Surely there can be no greater road map in this life than your word,a guide that directs us even in the darkest of nights. Like an old familiar friend, it always calls me back to its pages should I become slothful and inattentive to its beckoning voice.

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Through the years I have rejoiced at the transforming power of your word. I have been witness to seeing the hardest hearts melt when confronted with the message of hope and renewal found within its pages. I have seen grown men and women literally run to the alter under the convicting,yet loving wooing of the Holy Spirit.

I often marvel at what some men consider to be miraculous,or at the numbers of people seeking miracles, when by the simple act of a wayward soul repenting of their sins the angels of heaven begin to rejoice. What else can men do here on earth that causes celebration in heaven? Can anything be more miraculous than the Creator reclaiming one of His own?rejoicing-among


As much as I wish it were not so, I have also been witness to my own failures. I have faltered,fallen short on countless occasions,and no doubt disappointed many people. I find that even at this stage of my life there is still much I do not understand about this covenant relationship with our Lord. There are days when I still have more questions than answers. Is this how it is supposed to be? That this sense of wonderment about unanswered questions will serve as our own “thorn in the flesh” to keep us on our knees?

You know how hard I have tried to become one of “them”,to fit in with the crowd. I’ve joined their ranks. Several times. Sat through the classes. Studied their course materials.Taken and passed the exams. Have the sheepskin in the frame. Attended their conferences. Shook hands with the “right people”. Held titles and positions. Yet for all of that, I did not fit in. I could not bring myself to “go along to get along” when my conscious balked at the shallowness of it all. For this I am branded a “what might have been”. I’ve heard “I don’t know what to do with you” more than once.

Still,no matter what,I will remember what you have done for me O God.

I will praise you,for I remember your kindness to me these many years. Though men and denominations have long ago abandoned me,and many others like me by the side of the road,yet you remain faithful to me.Your mercy endures forever.

I confess that I struggle to understand why my phone never rings. Why my inbox remains empty. Why the invitations have all dried up. Why so many that I poured into over the years have forgotten that I exist. Could it be that since I am no longer in a position to help them ascend the ladder,I am of no value to them? The “amens”, the slaps on the back,the firm handshakes of approval,now there is nothing but silence.

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Except from you O God.I hear your voice calling out to me daily.

Actually, I do understand. I am an embarrassment to the Laodicean church of this generation. There is no place for the likes of me in a church that has become so much like the world as to be nearly indistinguishable from it. I speak the truth in love,which means I refuse to soften the message for the sake of men; to do so would be to prostitute your Word.I am an anomaly,a throwback to a long forgotten age, an age before political correctness ensnared the church in its damning choke hold. I know no other way.

I will remember what you have done for me O God.

Where you are leading me I do not know,but time has proven that I can trust you to take me safely there.How I will get there remains a mystery,yet I know that you have it all worked out.

No Matter What.

I will praise You in this storm.

 

 

 

 

Church 2016: it’s all about the numbers

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A typical week finds my email inbox filled with the usual plethora of junk mail,solicitations,the occasional plea for money from a Nigerian princess,and a host of other offers “too good to be true”. email pic

On second thought, it’s just about all junk mail these days.

I have noticed a trend however in the emails I get from various ministries,and that trend involves numbers.Lots and lots of numbers.

Here is a small sampling of what I’m talking about:

“Do you want to see your church attendance grow by 30%“?

Five Reasons Church Announcements Cause Problems”

Seven ways members can actively prepare for sermons”.

Six Components of a Strategic Church Communications Plan”

Ten Sentences That Make Pastors Cringe”

“Avoid These 5 Bad Habits that Kill Church Growth at All Costs”

35 Random Thoughts and Tips on The Reading of Books”

Seven Church Facility Trends”

Five Reasons Why the Large Single Site Church Is Declining”

Umm…I think you get the picture.

Numbers. Apparently that’s what it’s all about.

Lest you think these samples are fictitious let me assure you that they are all from nationally known ministries and various denominations.I’m really not sure why I even get some of these because I sure didn’t subscribe to all of them.Wait…that’s why it’s called spam,right?

I’m not sure what’s behind the church’s fascination with numbers,but I can tell you that it resembles the world’s obsession with growth strategies and expansion planning with an uncanny resemblance.

Coincidence maybe?

I think not. From where I sit on the front row I hear an incessant clamoring for more,more,more.

More people in the pew.

More money in the offering plate.collection-plate-370x280

More and bigger facilities.

More of everything.

Except Jesus and His love.I can’t remember the last time I heard the call go out for more of Jesus.

What’s driving this insatiable appetite for more and bigger everything in the church?

I am of the belief that our carnal,or sin nature is the driving force behind all of this.Our nature is to want more of the things of this life more than the things of God.

It’s a heart issue.

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.    Luke 12:34 NKJV

The church’s treasure is no longer Christ and His glory.It is in showing to the world that it is on equal footing with it’s wealth,opulence, and abundance.

In doing so the church has aligned itself with another church we read about in Revelation chapter three,the church of Laodicea.

Long gone are the humble shepherds who care for the flock God entrusted to them.In their place are PhD’s from the business community who know how to obtain financing and create mammoth structures that reach toward the heavens,yet know precious little about matters of the heart.

I cannot help but wonder how our Lord must grieve over this present generation.He who has given unto the church the words of liberty and life surely must wonder why that is not enough.

Why is the church not satisfied?

Why must the church always have more of everything but God?

I firmly believe in organization and structure in the church.But do we really need someone to tell us how to increase attendance by 30%?

Why isn’t 2% or 4% or even 5% sufficient,especially if the growth is real growth and not yet another bunch of church hoppers looking to have their ears tickled?

Six Components of a Strategic Church Communications Plan”? Really?  How about this for a “strategic growth plan”…

“if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.  2Ch 7:14 NKJV

Sounds to me like there needs to be a return to the old paths and cry aloud to a Holy God who said He would hear from heaven.

That is of course,if you’re all about the numbers….

Ron