FIRE UP THE CHURCH!

12 10 2017

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There are no gimmicks when it comes to building and being part of a healthy church. I know there are tons of marketing strategies being published every day trying to sell Christians proven and easy “steps” to amazing growth.  But I have come to know that a church is a church to celebrate truly when it’s a church carried to God by those who take seriously their privilege and honor to offer up unceasing prayers on the behalf of one another. The people we share meeting together with to celebrate our common faith must be committed to the priority of praying! Prayer is the engine that should be driving everything the Body of Christ does. If not, then we will only see accomplishments that are done in man’s strength, forfeiting the supernatural power of God in our midst.

 There is nothing worse than a Preacher without conviction or a Leader without a commitment to the subject they are imparting to others. On a Website entitled “The Friendly Atheist,” they posed this question to Ministers: “What Should Pastors Do, When They Don’t Believe What They Preach?” The quotations from the pastors are heartbreaking. In some cases, they’ve been entrenched in their position for so long that they don’t know what else to do. As one pastor puts it, “It’s like trying to switch your major when you’re so close to graduating. Why not just finish up what you started? Once you’re locked into the role, it’s very difficult to leave.”

Here’s what another minister said: “Here’s how I’m handling my job on Sunday mornings. I view it as play acting. I kind of see myself as taking on a role of a believer in a worship service, and performing. I know what to say. I know how to pray publicly. I can lead singing. I love singing. I don’t believe what I’m saying anymore in some of these songs. But I see it as taking on the role and performing. Maybe that’s what it takes for me to get myself through this, but that’s what I’m doing.”

He calls it acting. I call it being a hypocrite. He’s lying to himself and everyone in his church. And to be quite frank, God is not blessing that clergyman or congregation in any way! When I do my midday Radio Show on Fridays on 106.3 The Shore, I have already made this stipulation about my role in advertising on the program. If I can’t be honestly excited about what I am supposedly selling, don’t ask me to push it on others! I am a Pastor and not a salesman and no they are not one and the same!

This past summer, I gave away gift certificates from the Italian Kitchen Express in Wildwood every day at lunchtime. The owner expressed deep gratitude to me because business was the best that it had been in a long time. Some asked me, what was my secret? I simply answered, I loved their cannolis! I affectionately called it, “Cannoli Heaven!” Listeners caught my enthusiasm and wanted to taste what I had already deemed delicious. I was preaching the “Good News of Desserts” and it made others hungry! How much more important it is to invite others to dig in to experience “The Bread Of Life!”                  

I don’t do what I do because I need a job. I am just as passionate about my love for Jesus today because after everything my wife Terri and I have experienced over the last 35 years, if I didn’t own a real and vibrant faith, I surely would not be here! Church is not just sitting through an interesting lecture.  It’s so much more than just singing and a sermon. I always envision Pastors, Elders, Teachers and Leaders as so much more than just another impersonal delivery service. The Good News of the Gospel doesn’t come that way to Believers. It’s not academic. It’s not dry.  It’s not going through the motions. Receiving the Good News, Jesus comes to dwell in us in the power of the Holy Spirit. It is similar to allowing divine dynamite to shake your soul.  And the real way that you can tell whether a church is part of a move from God is that when it is the Lord, you see transformation. When it is just about religious routine, it is nothing more than being given information. And most of us have been around long enough to have heard the difference, haven’t we? 

 It’s a tragic thing that so many times the Bible is discussed and talked about and lectured on and preached on and it is missing the Holy Spirit’s power. If your life isn’t right and you’re not walking in the Spirit and you can’t get excited about the Word of God and preach it in the power of the Spirit of God, then don’t preach the Bible because it’s the ultimate crime to bore people with the Word of God.  Preach something else. The Bible should come in the power of the Spirit or not come at all.

 Charles Spurgeon, when he went to preach on Sundays, always had the same routine. He’d climb those stairs to his pulpit, it was up high, and on every step he’d say, “I believe in the Holy Spirit, I believe in the Holy Spirit, I believe in the Holy Spirit, I believe in the Holy Spirit, I believe in the Holy Spirit.”  And when he got to the top, he knew he believed in the Holy Spirit.  And he preached in the power of the Holy Spirit, energized, and committed to the Spirit. What the world needs now, and what the church needs more than ever is Spirit-filled Pastors, Leaders, Elders and Teachers who are filled by God before they are spilled with God. When God cleanses a vessel, He uses it. When the instrument is pure and the call is clear and the Word is rightly divided, the message comes forth with power, passion, and personal conviction.  And that’s cause for celebration because you’re hearing God speak to you and through you in the power of the Holy Spirit.

 The most effective praying and the most effective proclaiming comes from those who live their passions out. They are the message in human flesh. And the reason we’re so grateful to God for our churches and the reason we will witness God’s blessing is because we pray and then proclaim the Word and set the pattern to be followed.


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