Excellent piece today from Jared Moore. Take some time to read it.
The SBC is Hemorrhaging.
We, being those of the SBC, are doing nothing about it. Replacing the proclamation of the word of God with dramatic thematic shows. But those who hold a dear view of expository preaching, and yes, I do mean preaching Christ crucified, and making the point the main point (thank you John Piper), would rather not ruffle the feathers of the those who clamor for more entertainment. Sunday morning worship begins and ends with our musical (um, choir) presentations.
I’m not at all advocating Sunday morning worship without music, or singing lustily (thank you Charles Wesley) unto the Lord. But I would much rather sing to the Lord than to be sung to.
We have determined that we can’t worship God when our children are beside us in the pew. Maybe they are a distraction. Maybe their behavior makes us as adults look bad. Whatever the case it is time to ask why? I read this interesting article by Scott Brown. In it Scott points out that many churches see a problem with children in the worship service. They are a distraction. I can’t worship God with a distraction.
It was several Sundays ago when I told my five year old to stay in her seat when the announcement would eventually come, “Children are dismissed for children’s worship.” By also playing the role as a usher, I had to leave my seat and I trusted both my nine year old and five year old to be obedient. My five year old was talked into leaving by her friends, so after the offering was collected, I had to run to the back to fetch my daughter so she could worship with me. Returning to my seat I was met with disdain by a scoffer sitting immediately to my rear. Now it was difficult to worship with that thought as the sermon was being preached.
Two things I took away from this article and I quote Mr. Brown below:
We care more about our concentration, than we care about passing the precious promises of God to the next generation. We narcissistically care more for our comforts than we do about the difficult task of training a mighty army of saints who would be willing to go to their death for their Savior.
Tragically, America is suffocating from the effects of day care raised children, latchkey children and fathers leaving their families in greater numbers than any time in history. We are experiencing the death of fatherhood as 40% of the children in America will go to sleep tonight without a father in the home. Parents will admit unashamedly that they would not have any more children because of the time required. Teenage pregnancy, divorce and abortion are some of the results of this “social experiment” with the family.
We, church, need to be at polar opposites of the world. We do not dilute ourselves by trying to entertain as the world does, nor do we treat our children as an afterthought.
“For every southern boy fourteen years old, not once but whenever he wants it, there is the instant when it’s still not yet two o’clock on that July afternoon in 1863, the brigades are in position behind the rail fence, the guns are laid and ready in the woods and the furled flags are already loosened to break out and Pickett himself with his long oiled ringlets and his hat in one hand probably and his sword in the other looking up the hill waiting for Longstreet to give the word and it’s all in the balance, it hasn’t happened yet, it hasn’t even begun yet, it not only hasn’t begun yet but there is still time for it not to begin against that position and those circumstances . . . that moment doesn’t need even a fourteen year-old boy to think This time. Maybe this time with all this much to lose and all this much to gain: Pennsylvania, Maryland, the world, the gold dome of Washington itself . . .”
William Faulkner, Intruder in the Dust
As disciples of Jesus we must look upward and outward, not inward. If we become insular we will die. The Dead Sea holds a great lesson for us. Nothing lives in the Dead Sea except bacteria and other organisms. Yet there are 153 rivers and streams of fresh water flowing into it, including the Jordan River. All that fresh water and life flows into it and dies, because it has nowhere to go. The Dead Sea doesn’t have a single outlet. This is a lesson for every denomination, church, and Christian. Without an active and effective outlet for your faith you too will become stagnant and die. – Paul Hattaway
This is a great wake up call. Inward focus and not outward focus will pollute our souls and we will die. Wake up church!
When discussion comes about pertaining to mission fields, and who and where to reach with the gospel, it should be considered first and foremost that “I” (that is “me” or the one make the declaration of reaching others with the gospel) is the first and primary mission field to be reached. It really does no good for anyone to even expand outward if there is not an effort being made to reach ourselves with the gospel. It means being intentional. It means having a vision. It means making the effort to get up at dawn with your Bible, dig into the living word and seek His guidance in your desire to build yourself up in the most holy faith (Jude 1:20). Pray, for diligence and pray for steadfastness and unwavering effort.