Is Your Church A Mirage? (Part 2)

Posted: June 4, 2012 in Uncategorized

I hope you were able to pray about part one and honestly assess where we are as a church. I want to assure you this blog is not about beating up the Church in America, but about diagnosing it’s current condition and offering some suggestions for a cure.

I believe and with good reason that the Church in it’s current condition is in a state of emergency. I’ve come to the belief that if the”Church in America” is the hands and feet of Jesus, than He is paralyzed from the neck down.

Having come to this conclusion, it has become my goal, my mission, my very purpose to help facilitate a change in the way the church reaches people that don’t know Christ.

I want to take a moment to share with you some of the statistics I uncovered in my research for my book “Jesus Is A Quadriplegic” so that you can understand the severity of the situation.

* Barna Research Group asked 1000 high school kids if they believed in God. 950 said they did. That’s 95%, not bad. But…

*Campus Life Magazine surveyed teenagers and found that 88% did not attend church regularly. Of the 12% that did, 88% planned to quit when they graduate high school.

* Why should this bother us? Because 95% of all decisions to follow Christ are made before 21 years of age.

* In 1999 10,000 baptist churches surveyed, did not have any conversions among their youth.

* According to World Christian Encyclopedia, 53,000 people a week leave church, never to return. That’s 2,756,000 people a year.

* Josh McDowell calls this the last Christian generation. 4% claim Christ as Savior. 40 years ago that number was 65%.

Do you understand why I say we are in a state of emergency? This should bother us, cause us to lose sleep but more importantly cause us to act!

I don’t even want to think of the consequences if we fail to act.

I want to share some insights with you. Things that God has placed on my heart. Things that are already being done that are making an impact on the lives of young people, but most importantly I want to provoke you to action.

I want to share with you some of the ways I feel, as a church, the Body of Christ, we are missing the mark in reaching people who do not have a relationship with Christ. I want to inspire you to see how the Church can come together to change the world, to turn it upside down, like 12 men did 2000 years ago. Join me on this journey

I want to start with a story you may all be familiar with but I want to share my take on it as God revealed it to me recently. It’s the story of the”Good Samaritan found in the Gospel of Luke.

I have read this story many times and have heard countless sermons based on this passage, but it hit me differently the last time I read it. I felt God was revealing something to me.

The man that was beaten, robbed and left for dead is the person without Christ. The robber that beat the man, robbed him and left him for dead is satan.

The priest that saw the beaten man in his condition and passed by on the other side of the road, is the Church in America today.

The man who stopped and had compassion and mercy on the beaten man is the person Christ called us to be.

I want you to examine your heart and thoughts today. I want you to think about which role you play in this very real senario being played out every day in our own neighborhoods.

Are you the beaten man on the side of the road? Robbed of hope, dead in your sins? You see the church glaring at you with contempt and disgust as they go out of their way to avoid you.

Are you the judgmental priest that does not want to get dirty so you pass by on the other side of the street? You look with contempt at the lost people of this world. The broken dirty drunks, drug and porn addicts, atheists, the teens that dress all in black that smoke and curse. You pray they get what they deserve, forgetting the fact that we all deserve the same.

You pass by at a distance, even though you have the answer to their problems you fail to share the cure with them. You refuse to introduce them to the Great Physician. You don’t invite them to your beautiful church because that would mess up a great thing by bringing these problem people into your perfect sterilized environment. 

So you pass by on the other side of the street and pretend they are not there. That it’s not your problem, they did this to themselves. Besides Jesus didn’t really want you to touch a filthy sinner. We need to stay away from them, seperate ourselves from unbelievers. Hide in the church with other people who are like us.

The problem with avoiding unbelievers is this;

Romans 10:14 says “How can they call on the one thay have not bellieved in? And how can they believe in the one whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them” How?

I want to read a response from a woman my wife was conversing with on Facebook;

“The reason I stopped going to church was the people. They ignored me. They didn’t care. They were so caught up in their “being Christian” that they forgot to be Christian. They did their thing on Sunday morning and hid their everyday sins, pretending they were perfect. Whenever anyone discovered they weren’t perfect, they made a show of handling it “perfectly”. They asked for forgiveness, said they prayed about it and were “convicted” and “repented”. It’s a game. They were playing me. All the time I was trying to keep up, but I wasn’t learning how to be a Christian. I was learning how to look like one.”

Right or wrong, this was her perception.

Here is another: “For many years now I’ve taken to going to church less and less because I find so little of what I hunger for. It is a sense of the presence of God that I hunger for.”

Reggie McNeil makes an alarming observation, “A growing number of people are leaving the institutional church for a new reason, they are not leaving becasue they have lost faith, they are leaving to preserve their faith. Could it be that the “Cultured Church” is spiritually toxic? Houston we have a problem.

If churched people feel this way about the church in America, how do you think unbelievers are going to perceive us?

Let me give you an example you can relate to; If you and I knew each other and you knew me to be a great guy. I showed you love, met your needs and cared for you, (sounds like a great guy right?) Now if I invited you over to my home for a meal would you come? Sure you would.

What would you do if upon arriving you were met at the door by my judgmental, self-righteous wife. All through dinner she pointed out all your faults, made you feel worthless and looked down on you. What if she whispered under her breath about you to my kids?

If I invited you back next Sunday for dinner, would you come? Absolutely not. Even if you were dying of starvation. You’d prbably rather die than subject yourself to that terrible treatment. No matter how nice I was to you, you would never come back because of my wife.

Brace yourself, this is what the Church, the bride of Christ has become. People like Jesus but they can’t stand His bride. They are interested in Jesus, they just don’t want to spend time with his wife. Can you blame them?

I will stop here for now so you can digest some of this and search your heart. I want to leave you with this, I love the Church I just don’t always like the way she behaves. This series will end on a positive note and you will be encouraged to put into practice the methods of evangelism Jesus exemlified for us in the Bible. Til next time, God Bless

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