Pastors Work Hard

August 2, 2014

Pastors Work Hard

            You may think that the pastor of a local church has an easy life.  That isn’t true of pastors who are honestly fulfilling their role.  To help you see what all is involved in the work of a pastor we need to consider the example of the Apostle Paul in the church at Thessalonica.  In      I Thessalonians 2:1-20 we see what Paul invested in the church in the short time he was there.

A pastor’s time is well spent.  In verse one Paul said, “For yourselves, brethren, know our entrance in unto you, that it was not in vain.”  Our entrance in unto you means the time we spent among you.  He said it was not in vain.  Once my wife and I were visiting a church that was forced to close its doors because of financial reasons.  After the pastor preached his last sermon in the church he walked to a back bench that was unoccupied, sat down, and began to shed tears.  I went and sat by him and assured him that his ministry there was not in vain.  I told him he had touched many lives and had left Christians stronger than they would have been if he hadn’t spent time among them.  I told him that these Christians will go to other churches and be used of God in greater measure because of what he had invested in them.

At times a pastor must face contention.  Paul said, in verse two, that there was much contention.  Not everyone appreciates the work a pastor does.  Christianity is under attack.  The servant of God must be bold, as Paul said he was.  Your pastor is defending your right to live the Christian life. It isn’t easy to face contention.  At times pastors reach a breaking point and say, “I can’t take it anymore.”  Some leave the ministry when they come to that point.  For that reason,    you need to pray for your pastor, encourage him, and defend him when others speak against him.

A good pastor doesn’t exalt himself.  Paul said in verse 5 that he didn’t use flattery.  Flattery is an attempt to make people feel good about themselves.  For example, a pastor could tell his people what good Christians they are.  If they were as good as he would like to make them think they are, he wouldn’t need to be there.  A pastor does need to praise the church and express appreciation for what they do, but not to the extent of flattering them.  The motive behind flattery might be covetousness.  Paul said he didn’t use a cloke of covetousness.  A cloke is used to cover up covetousness.

In verse nine he said, “For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God.”  Much of the work a pastor does isn’t seen by others.  A carpenter, for example, has something material to show for the work he has done.  That often isn’t true of the work of a pastor.  No one sees him laboring in his office.  He spends many hours each week praying, reading, writing, and searching for words to express what he wants to say to his people.  If he doesn’t spend that time, his sermons will be shallow.  He will repeat himself.  His people won’t be fed from the Word of God.

Another segment of a pastor’s time is spent working one on one with people, as seen in verse eleven.   “As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children.”  People need individual attention.  A good pastor makes himself available to his people 24/7.  People die at all hours of the day or night.

People call upon their pastor when they are under stress.  That is well and good, but we often overlook the fact that pastors also are often under stress.  Paul says that he exhorted and charged them.  People often need to be exhorted to do more and do better.  It is easy to give into the flesh and be lazy and apathetic.  The flesh is weak and often unwilling.  Some people don’t appreciate it when their pastor tries to motivate them to do something they don’t want to do.  The pastor suffers even more stress when he has to face a believer who has sin in his life.  The pastor has to plead with him to repent and turn from it.  Not all are willing to turn from their idols as the Thessalonians did. “For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.”  People in our day aren’t worshiping idols, but they are letting other things occupy the place God should have in their life.

Another word the Bible uses in speaking of pastors is “elder.” That is the word found in I Timothy 5:17 where it says that those who rule well are worthy of double honor.  “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.”  The words “double honor” can also be translated double remuneration.  A good pastor is worthy of both double pay and double honor. Pastors don’t rule as a king or dictator.  He is a servant of the Lord, but he does occupy a place of leadership in the church.

Be thankful for your pastor.  He watches over you as a shepherd.  He isn’t perfect; neither are you.  His prayer, and the longing of his heart, is that you might grow spiritually and mature.  If he corrects you for something, accept it graciously and thank him for calling it to your attention.  Fortunate are those who have a loving pastor who cares for their soul and to whom they can go for guidance.

Our e-mail address is rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

 

 

 

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The Restoration of Biblical Christianity

            There is always a tendency for religious groups to depart from their pristine purity.  The same things happen with evangelical groups.  Throughout history we read of groups that attempted to make people aware of the reality of apostasy and bring them back to their origins.  These movements are often called “revivals,” “an awakening” and a “reformation.”

When these are legitimate evangelical groups, their desire is to bring churches back to the original purity of the New Testament.  We take the New Testament as our standard of faith and practice.  It is our authority.  The tendency is to depart from the teaching and practice of the New Testament.

Groups that seek to restore biblical Christianity always have limited success.  Even those that have been most successful have been disappointed after a few years when they see that groups they restored have again begun to slide back into apostasy.  Some have had very limited success because they attempted to restore an entire denomination that had already drifted too far to the left.  Perhaps they succeeded in stopping some of the most flagrant violations, but they didn’t succeed in bringing the denomination back to New Testament faith and practice.  The reformation, under Martin Luther, is a good example.  The reformation made many necessary and beneficial changes, but it fell short of bringing many churches back to biblical Christianity.

What is called “the great awakening,” in the early history of the United States, did much good in the colonies.  That was mostly between the years 1725-1750.  Churches were full of unbelievers and morals had fallen to a low level.  Thousands were converted under the preaching of men like Gilbert Tennete and George Whitefield.  Thousands of churches were started.  However, just as it was with other movements, as the years went by coldness and indifference took their toll.

Some might be tempted to think “It’s hardly worthwhile to attempt a restoration of biblical Christianity if it doesn’t last.” But it is worthwhile because souls are saved and Christians are brought back to God.  It is sometimes said “Every good thing must come to an end.” The fact that the good results won’t last forever doesn’t diminish the value of the good that is done.

We read of a time of revival in the Old Testament in II Chronicles chapter 30.  King Hezekiah called the people to come to Jerusalem to keep the feast of the Passover.  The posts went out with the announcement and the invitation.  Some laughed them to scorn, but a great multitude went and the feast of the Passover was restored after many years of neglect.

In the history of Christianity we read many times of groups of people who broke away from the predominant religions to form new groups so they could have New Testament churches.  Some examples were the Paulicians, the Donatists, the Arnoldists and the Waldeneses.  We aren’t always in agreement with all their beliefs and practices, but it’s edifying to know that there were those who saw the need of attempting a restoration.

When Christians neglect to watch and pray their churches drift away.  We are constantly surrounded by influences that discourage the faithful Christian.  That’s why Jesus said in Mark 14:38, “Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.”  Satan tempts us to depart from biblical teaching.  There are people in the world who think and say that it’s foolish to try to live by the Bible.  They say it is to put oneself in bondage to primitive ignorance.  People around us don’t always share our views.  That’s why we need to watch and pray.

A departure from biblical Christianity is what happens when Christians are negligent in maintaining a good relationship with the Lord.  That’s why we encourage every Christian to set aside time every day to read the Bible, meditate on it, and pray.  If you let your heart get cold, the things of God will have less importance.  That’s another reason why we need to watch and pray.

A prominent philosophy in our day says that it doesn’t matter what your method is as long as you reach your desire end.  That can be interpreted to say, “If you want to get rich quick you may have to lie, cheat and steal.” Such a philosophy encourages us to put aside the moral laws of the Bible.  That’s another reason why we need to watch and pray.

Do your best to stay true to biblical teaching and practice.  Don’t hesitate to speak up when you see your church departing from biblical faith and practice.  Negligence is never a virtue.  Watch and pray.

Our e-mail address is: rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

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The Importance of Church Attendance

            If you aren’t faithfully attending a church, you are missing a tremendous blessing that God has made available to you. It is unfortunate that some believers think they can serve God without a church.  Some who attend a church don’t give it the importance it should have.

Theologians say we are in “the church age.” By that they mean that God is now doing his work in the world by means of churches.  That’s what the Bible teaches.

In Matthew 28:18-20, just before Jesus ascended into heaven, he left his followers with what is called “the great commission.”  “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.   Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:    Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” He left the work he began in the hands of his disciples.  How did they go about carrying out this great commission?  When we read the book of Acts we find them involved in starting churches.  In Acts 2:41 we read “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.” “Ah,” some may say, “It doesn’t say they were added to the church.” That’s true, but if we go on reading to verse 47 it says, “Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”

In I Timothy 3:15 the Apostle Paul wrote that we ought to know how to behave ourselves in God’s house.  He calls it “the pillar and ground of the truth.”  That means that the church should serve in the defense and propagation of the truth.  People in the church should be zealous in the proclamation and defense of what the Bible teaches. To do that, they need to know what the Bible teaches.

In Acts 1:8 Jesus says that we have been empowered to be his witnesses.  “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” This is a responsibility that rests on all believers.  If you say you are a Christian, then you are included.

There are many ways to witness. The believer should share the gospel whenever the Lord gives opportunity.  The most effective is by word of mouth.  Another way is by means of literature distribution.  In our day, many people don’t read books but they may read a small pamphlet.  Gospel tracts constitute a convenient way of approaching people.  The first Christians didn’t have access to tracts.  Tracts should be selected with care to be sure they say what needs to be said.  They leave people with something to think about.  Tracts aren’t meant to be an advertising medium for your church, but they should have a stamp on them that gives the readers the address of   a church where they can find spiritual help.

Along with giving out tracts, you should give a personal testimony of what God has done for you and how much he means to you.  Along with your testimony, you can tell them what your church is doing for you and invite them to come too.

It is great if a church can have its own radio or television program.  That way the ministry of the church can be presented.  There are some who are radio and television evangelists.  Their voice reaches far beyond their   church.  In that case, they need to encourage their listeners to see their need of a Bible honoring church.  Listening to Christian radio is good, but it can’t take the place of a local church.

In Hebrews 10:25 God exhorts us to be faithful church attenders.  “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” If you aren’t attending a good   church, you are denying yourself a spiritual resource that you need.  The following are some benefits of being part of a   church:

  1. You will be encouraged in your Christian life.  “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works” ( Hebrews 10:24).
  2. The church will keep you accountable before God.
  3. The church gives you a means of serving God as a team.
  4. You will grow in your knowledge and understanding of God’s Word.
  5. Your church will be like an extended family.  You will have people with whom you can share your joys and sorrows.

Not all churches will meet your needs.  You need a church that preaches and teaches the whole Bible.  Not all do.  Some Christians find it necessary to drive a considerable distance to attend a church that meets their needs.

You need the church and the church needs you.  It is a mutual benefit.

Our e-mail address is rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Christians, Stop and Think

September 30, 2013

 Christians,      Stop and think     

                                                                                           

While we slept the enemy sowed tares.  For a long time now Satan, our enemy, has been sowing tares in the minds of our precious young people.  When children came home from school and told their parents, “They are teaching evolution in the school”, mom and dad thought, “Ah, it’s just a theory.”  Yes, that’s all it is, but the schools have convinced our children that it’s a scientific fact.  It has altered the thinking, attitude and behavior of a generation.  More and more are now thinking that men are just glorified animals.

We have lost a generation of young people.  They tell us “Christianity isn’t relevant.”  Why?  because they have been brainwashed to think that evolution is a scientific fact.  They haven’t examined the evidence.  After hearing it over and over again they accept it as truth without questioning it.

Our children and young people have also been indoctrinated in the humanistic philosophy that man can solve all his problems without the need of God.  My question is, if that’s true, why aren’t they doing it?  We are going from bad to worse.  Instead of seeking wisdom for the Word of God, people are going to psychologists who schedule them for sessions of psychological jargon that doesn’t solve their problems.  To the contrary, those who take heed to biblical principles find solutions to their problems.

Churches are dying because of a lack of leadership.  Mission works are closing for the lack of missionaries. Seminaries are closing for the lack of students.  Christian camps have closed and are up for sale because of the lack of campers.  Fifty years ago we should have foreseen that this day would come but Satan blinded our eyes.  We have a lot of repenting to do.

Where do we go from here? What’s the solution?  How do we get this trend turned around?  There is no easy answer short of a revival of genuine biblical Christianity.

Since we have lost our young people, the bulk of the people attending our churches are retired or reaching retirement age.  Sunday school attendance is down.  One solution would be for churches to make a concerted effort to reach young families.  They are the key to getting this trend turned around.  They can rescue their children from the erroneous indoctrination in the public schools.  To do so, they will need to take a more aggressive roll in their children´s education.

Will it take a generation to retrieve what we have lost?  I hope not.  I would like to challenge pastors to get together to pray and form “think tanks” to look for solutions.  Bible colleges and seminaries need to give serious consideration to changes they need to make in their curriculums to change the situation.  One area of weakness I have detected is that churches aren’t making use of discipleship studies.  Sunday school classes, from children through adults, should be set up as a training class. Perhaps it would be wise to give diplomas to those who pass the course with passing grades.

It’s time for the people who know God to “be strong and do exploits” (Daniel 11:32).  It’s time to abandon self centered, superficial Christianity.  We need to put on the whole armor of God, that is found in Ephesians 6:10-18, and go out to do battle with the enemy.  Our God is all powerful.  He can give us the power to win victories.  “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong” (I Corinthians 16:13).

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Church Is boring

September 23, 2013

Church Is Boring

            Many times people have reason for saying “church is boring.” It may be the fault of the church, but then it may be because they have the wrong reason for going to church.  Sometimes children and young people find it boring because they go against their will.

It could be the fault of the church if what they get in the worship service is a vain repetition of pious words said in unison.  Some churches use a liturgical almanac that gives them a routine to follow.  Prayers are memorized or read from a prayer book.  Sometimes sermons are little more than pious platitudes.  Some Sunday school teachers read the lesson in class instead of teaching it.  Such churches offer a routine that leaves people feeling “religious” because they completed what they think is expected of them.

We live in a day when people live to be entertained.  Television offers entertainment.  Some find it by renting movies; others in music.  It’s almost as if people are addicted to entertainment.  They are bored if they aren’t being entertained.  Part of the explanation for the fall of the Roman Empire was their addiction to entertainment.  Back then they found entertainment in sports and circuses.

Many today expect to be entertained in church.  Something in their inner being is crying out for entertainment.  Without it they get nervous and uneasy.  They call it boredom.  There is no doubt about it; such people are bored in church.  What then is the solution?

Some churches are trying to solve the problem by making church more entertaining.  There are things churches can do that would be called entertainment.  The men and boys can get together to play ball.  The women and girls can plan a picnic, or get together to play table games. Churches can plan a night out to go bowling or a Sunday afternoon picnic at the park.  Social events can and should be part of the church schedule.

Churches go wrong when they try to make the worship service more entertaining.  There is no justification for making it boring, but it must be dignified and reverent.  Some churches have taken out the pulpit and replaced the preaching with drama.  Sacred hymns are being replaced by frothy little choruses set to rock music.  For the most part, they aren’t succeeding.  There is no way the church can compete with what Hollywood has to offer.

The other, and more biblical solution, is that of changing the mentality of people.  To be sure, it’s a greater challenge, but it is in keeping with the sacred function of the church.  Boredom in church stems from a spiritual problem.  It’s only natural that unsaved people will be bored in church.  That’s why the plan of salvation needs to be regularly presented in clarity.  People need to be challenged to examine their hearts.  What are they looking for?  Is it entertainment, or a closer relationship with God?  God’s people are bored in church because they have let their hearts grow cold.  The preaching and teaching in church needs to be directed to the hearts of the people.  Every Sunday school class and preaching service should fulfill, in some way, what we read in Colossians 3:1-3.  “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.    Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.    For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.”

How do you feel about church?  Is it boring to you?  If so, I would like for you to ask yourself why you go to church.  Is it to be entertained?  If so, you are going to the wrong place in search of entertainment.  You don’t go to the doctor’s office or the dentist to be entertained.  The church is there to meet a spiritual need.  Healthy Christians attend church to worship and praise God.  They also have a hunger for a deeper and closer relationship with God.  A good church can meet those needs.  If you don’t feel like your spiritual needs are being met, maybe you need to request a time when you can meet personally with your pastor to ask for help in developing a closer relationship with God.  Good pastors are glad to help people personally with their spiritual needs.

Don’t let entertainment be your god.  True satisfaction can only be found in the God of heaven.  Psalm 36:7-9 says, “How excellent is thy loving kindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.   They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures.   For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.”

Our e-mail address is: rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

 

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Mistaken Impressions About The Local Church

            It is commendable for a church to desire that the church be, in doctrine and practice, like the churches in the New Testament.  One reason why we study the New Testament is to see what we should believe and do.  Unfortunately, some churches, in their zeal to be “biblical,” try to deny themselves of everything that isn’t mentioned in the Bible

Some say that a church shouldn’t have a building because we don’t read in the Bible that churches had buildings.  In defense of their belief, they may quote Acts 7:48-50.  “Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet,   Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest?    Hath not my hand made all these things?”

It may be that we make a mistake when we call the church building “God’s house.” It’s not that we think that God dwells in our church building.  God doesn’t need a building.  The building just serves as a meeting place for the church.  The only sense in which it can be called “God’s house” is that it belongs to him.

In the Old Testament God told Moses to build the tabernacle.  It wasn’t meant to be a dwelling place for God.  Exodus 25:8 says, “And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.” This verse is saying that God wanted to dwell among his people, not in the tabernacle.  The tabernacle served as a point of contact between God and his people.  Acts 7:47 says that Salomon built a house for God.  “But Solomon built him an house.”  The building he built was luxurious, because they believed that God deserved their best.  It appears as though God identified with the temple.  He didn’t rebuke Salomon for being too extravagant.  At first they only had the temple, but later on they built synagogues in various places to facilitate the teaching of God’s Word.  We never read that God told them to build synagogues, or that he rebuked them for doing it.

Sometimes people say “It isn’t biblical.” By that they mean that it isn’t mentioned in the Bible.  If we have to deny ourselves of everything that isn’t mentioned in the Bible, we would be without a lot of things that are commonly found in our churches.  Some examples are:

The Sunday school

The pulpit

Hymn books

Benches or pews

A personal Bible

Recordings of messages and music

A piano or organ

Much more could be added to the list.

If the church can’t have a building, the next best thing we can have would be “house churches.” There is nothing wrong with that, but it puts many limits on a church.  If we couldn’t have anything but house churches, we would need a lot more pastors, or they would have to go from house to house preaching to those who were gathered there.  We already have a lack of pastors.  A building makes it possible for a pastor to serve a great number of believers.

Sometimes there is a negative reaction to church buildings because churches have built a bigger or more luxurious building than they needed.  That does happen sometimes.  Sometimes those who criticize do so because, in their opinion, the church built a bigger or better building than they needed.  There are few who would deny that a building greatly facilitates a church in carrying out its functions.

There is no justification in thinking that people who attend a house church are more spiritual or biblically oriented.  If the church meets in a home, are we not justified in asking, “Who owns the house?”  If it belongs to the church, then the congregation has a building.  What hinders them from building a building just for the church?  If the house belongs to someone in the congregation, he or she may have more authority in the church than the others. He or she could throw the church out of their house if they don’t agree with some decision of the church.  If the owner of the house falls into sin, the whole congregation will fall into disgrace.

In an increasing number of countries around the world Christians are suffering persecution.  The only way they can have a church is by means of what is called “an underground church.” That means the church has to meet secretly in homes of the believers.  There is no other alternative.

Don’t let anyone tell you, “You’re not spiritual” if you attend a church that has a building.  If your church has a building, thank God for it and do what you can to maintain it.  If your church is raising money to build a building, be generous in contributing to the building fund.

 

Our e-mail address is rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

 

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Serving Those Who Serve

March 25, 2013

Serving Those Who Serve

“Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things”       (Galatians 6:6).

This verse tells us that we have an obligation to help with the material needs of those who are occupied in the Lord’s service.  The word “communicate” means to share.  God has a plan for carrying out his work by means of his servants.  Some have a spiritual ministry.  Others work to supply the needs of those who are involved in a spiritual ministry.

God’s plan for serving is also found in other places in the Bible.  In the Old Testament God made plans for the priests and Levites.  Numbers 18:8-10 tells us how God provided for the priests by means of the temple offerings.  In the same chapter, in verse 24, he made provision for the Levites.  In our day we don’t have priests and Levites, but God still has his servants and they have material needs.  In I Timothy 5:17-18 we read “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.    For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.”  At times a pastor’s work demands much of him.  He is certainly deserving of his salary.  The Bible says “The laborer is worthy of his reward.”

Being a good servant of the Lord demands that one set aside time to study and prepare.  That often takes four or more years.  We don’t want to place a pastor in the category of a professional, but adequate preparation for the ministry requires that he have just as much educational preparation as many professionals have.  Sometimes a pastor’s family, friends, and his church help him with the expense of his education.  Most often he pays for much of it himself.  To be sure, it’s up to him to put forth the effort to study.

Sometimes pastors serve in churches that aren’t large enough to give him a full salary.  In that case he has to take a part time or full time job.  That greatly hinders him in his ministry.  He doesn’t have sufficient time to dedicate to his church.

Churches can’t function without much volunteer help.  Members voluntarily donate their time to help with things that need to be done in and around the church.  Some teach Sunday school classes.  Others help with the music.  They don’t complain if they don’t get paid for it.  It is their ministry, or what they do to serve the Lord.  All those who are saved are given gifts, or talents by which they can serve the Lord.  Romans 12:6-8 says, “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;    Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;    Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.” Some large churches find it necessary to pay others for work that needs to be done.  Some have assistant pastors.  Others have a full time maintenance man.

Many churches are started by missionary pastors.  They are men who are supported by other churches and individuals.  Their goal is to bring the church to the point where it is big enough to be able to support a full time pastor.  Since missionary pastors are supported by other churches, they don’t need to receive a salary from the church where they are serving.  For that reason, there is often an awkward transition for the church when it’s time for the church to start supporting their own pastor.  The problem is solved in a number of ways.

All of us should appreciate our pastor and look for ways to show our appreciation.  We should give generously to the church so that his salary can be paid.  If he doesn’t receive a full time salary maybe God would have you help him out monetarily at times.  Sometimes help can be given in commodities like groceries or a new tire for his car.

We can also serve God’s servants by giving to missionaries.  Many of them are serving without having all the support they need.  God always rewards a cheerful giver.  “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).  “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom, for with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again” (Luke 6:38). Don’t deprive yourself of the joy of giving when you have an opportunity to help one of Gods servants.

 

Our e-mail address is rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

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A Healthy Attitude Toward The Church

            Some church leaders have bought into the philosophy that the best way to promote church growth is to give people what they want.  Back some years ago church leaders went door to door conducting a survey asking people what they would like for the church to offer.  The following are some suggestions people gave for making church more appealing to them.

  1.  Some suggested that they would like for the church to offer classes in weight loss, exercise, and martial arts
  2. Some said they would like for the church to be more contemporary in their music, Bible translations, and dress standards.
  3. Others said the pastor needed to be more dramatic in his preaching.  A lecture is boring.
  4. Some wanted the church to include more social activities like parties, game nights and coffee and donuts before and after Sunday school.

Perhaps there was nothing wrong with some of their suggestions, but the problem is that people in the world have little understanding of what the function of a church should be.  To many of them, it’s more like a social club and a gathering place for community activities.  Even some professing Christians are willing to sacrifice the spiritual, if by so doing it’s possible to get more people to come to church.  To them, I believe the Apostle Paul would say what he said to the believers in the Corinthian church.  “Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse” (I Corinthians 11:17).

What should be the function of a local church?  To answer that question we need to look at the churches in the book of Acts in the Bible.  The first churches didn’t have church buildings, but they did meet together.  I Corinthians 11:18 says “For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.” To know something about what they did when they met together we can go to Acts 2:41-42.  “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.  And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” It doesn’t mention preaching, but no doubt it was included in the “apostle’s doctrine.” Preaching is mentioned numerous times in the book of Acts and the epistles of the Apostle Paul.  By reading the epistles of Paul we learn a lot about the function of the churches.  God’s desire for us as believers is spelled out in Colossians 3:16-17.  “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.   And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.  Faithful church attendance facilitates us in doing that.

It has been said, “What brings people to church is what will keep them there.” In general, that’s true.  If they go to church in search of spiritual nourishment and to worship God, they will stay there if the church meets that need.  If they go to church because it is a social outlet or because they like the music, they will stay for that reason.  If they go to a church because they have some good friends in the church, they may leave if their friends leave the church.  I have known boys who made a profession of salvation and started attending church because they had a special interest in a young lady in the church.  However, when she made it clear that she had no interest in him, he never came back to church.

People of the world are most attracted to a church full of people.  Even the godly Christians are thrilled if their church is filled.  However, it’s a serious mistake if the church modifies its divine mission to get people inside the doors.  Churches can make modifications in their program to get more people to attend.  They can schedule a weekly visitation time and motivate the members to participate.  Certain people can be designated each week as greeters to stand at the door and welcome visitors.  Visitors can be given special recognition from the pulpit.  There are other things that can be done.  Churches are defeating their purpose if they lower their standards, or curtail their spiritual ministry in order to attract people.  The function of a church is not to give people what they want.  It is to give people what they need.

If you are attending a church, ask yourself why.  If it isn’t for spiritual nourishment and a means of worshiping God, your motives are wrong.  If it is for these motives, but the church isn’t meeting your need, you need to seek a church that will serve you better.  If you are a child of God, but you aren’t attending a church faithfully you are one of God’s disobedient children.  God wants all of his children to be in church.  Hebrews 10:25 says “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”

 

Our e-mail address is rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

 

 

 

 

 

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Diagnosis Technique to Determine Whether You Have Sunday Sickness

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This is a simple convenient way to determine whether you have Sunday sickness.  It is a sickness that attacks believers on Sunday morning and hinders them from being in Sunday school and church.  Here is how it works.

  •  Blow hard on the circle above
  • If the circle turns red you should go to the doctor as soon as possible.
  • If the circle disappears completely you should schedule an appointment with your optometrist.
  • If the circle turns gray or black you should take a bath.
  • If the circle turns brown you should stay in bed and ask someone to bring you a tall glass of hot lemon juice with honey.
  • If nothing happens it’s an indication that you have good health and that you should get up and get ready to go to Sunday school and church

Our e-mail address is rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

 

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You Need to be in Church

January 2, 2013

You Need to be in Church

            It’s unfortunate that there are many who claim to be Christians, but they don’t see the need of being active in a local church.  There are some who are members of a church but they don’t attend regularly.  Others aren’t even members.

Theologians tell us that we are in what is called “the church age.” The church age includes two important Biblical truths.  One is that God is presently forming his body which is sometimes called the church.  We read about this in Ephesians 5:30-32.

The second meaning of the church age is that God is presently doing his work in the world by means of local churches.  In Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus left his disciples with what is often called “the great commission.” “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Just a few days after he gave this commission he went to heaven.  How did his disciples carry out this commandment?  In the book of Acts we find his disciples occupied in starting churches.  Acts 2:41 says, “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.” Some may say “Ah, but it doesn’t say they were added to the church.” But go on reading through verse 47.  There it says, “Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”

In I Timothy 3:15 the Apostle Paul wrote that we should know how we should behave ourselves in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.  The people in the church should be valiant defenders of the truth of the Bible.  It is being twisted and used to teach what the Bible doesn’t teach.  To be good defenders of the Bible we need to have a good knowledge of what it says.

The local church should also be involved in spreading the good news of salvation to everyone in the community. It’s God’s plan that all his people be his witnesses.  Acts 1:8 says, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” There are many ways of spreading the gospel.  Churches can organize methods of witnessing to their community. We can do that by passing out gospel tracts to people we meet.  We can also do it by going door to door, making a friendly visit, leaving some literature, and giving them a cordial invitation to visit the church.

Our first priority should be that of encouraging people to put their faith and trust in Christ for salvation.  As soon as they do, we should strongly urge them to be a part of a local church.  New believers need the nurture and encouragement of a local church.  It they aren’t attending a good church faithfully it’s doubtful that they will make much spiritual growth.

Some think they can stay at home and listen to Christian radio or watch church services on television.  There is nothing wrong with Christian radio and television, but it shouldn’t be a substitute for church because it’s impersonal.  You need fellowship with other believers.  Your local church is like an extended family.

A good local church offers us what the Bible calls “fellowship.” I John 1:3 says, “That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.” Romans 12:15 says, “Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.”  A few weeks ago we attended a funeral for a man who passed away.  He and his wife were faithful members of a good local church.  Their church did a great service in providing for the bereaved.  They provided a dinner for everyone after the funeral.  Some of the members opened their homes to provide accommodations for out of town relatives.  The lady who lost her husband was surrounded by loving, caring people who gave her comfort and strength. I’m sure they went on caring for her needs in the days and weeks after the funeral.  How unfortunate are those who lose a loved one and don’t have the comfort and support of a good local church.

In Hebrews 10:24-25 the Bible exhorts us with these words “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” God knows that his people need the fellowship of other believers.  If you aren’t attending faithfully a good local church you are denying yourself of something that God has graciously provided for you.

The local church has a teaching ministry.  Ephesians 4:11-13 says “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:    Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.”  All believers have one or more gifts.  These are talents with which we can serve others.  We read about them in Romans 12:5-8.   “So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.  Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;    Or ministry, letus wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;    Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation:   he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.”  God also wants us to be fruitful.  By means of our gifts we can do that.  John 15:16 says, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.”

If you are a child of God then it’s his will that you attend and participate in a local church.  You need the church and the church needs you.  You are out of place until you find your place in a good church.  Don’t choose just any church.  Look for one that seeks to teach and apply the truths of the Bible.  Don’t expect to find a perfect church.  There aren’t any.  As someone once said, “If you find a perfect church don’t join it because it won’t be perfect after that.” If you aren’t already attending a good church may God help you find one and take an active part of it.

 

Our e-mail address is rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

 

 

 

 

 

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