Two years ago I read the August 31 issue of “Time” and came across an interview with Beverly Johnson.
My great friend Janice Lundquist (Jane and I served with her at what was then Golden Plains Teens For Christ – now “TFC Connection in Phillipsburg, KS – for a couple years and still work together every other year or so at camp) wrote a great, sort-of-gentle-kick-in-the-rear article for her ministry alumni letter a couple years ago that many 20/30 somethings (and other ages too, I suppose) need to hear and heed…Here it is:
From my first week in college and every week there-after until my dad passed away, he would ask me every Sunday afternoon…”Did you go to church today?” Honest … for almost 30 years, I never outgrew that question of accountability. I often laughed when he asked, and sometimes, I’d listen to him sputter as I’d teasingly say “no” just for the fun of it! But the truth was, I knew I was going to have to answer that question – and I knew what I needed to do each week so I could give the answer he longed to hear! You see my dad loved the Church. He loved the church because Christ loves the church, and he wanted me doing the things that Jesus loved! I thankfully grew up knowing (and believing) it was “the Lord’s day” and not my day – and that community worship with the body of Christ, really left no other option!
So what does this bit of my personal life trivia have to do with you? Well, I want to ask you…”Did you go to church this week?” Oh – I know the church is broken, hypocrites go there, and maybe you get nothing out of it! But hmmm… we are talking about the bride of Christ here, maybe we should rethink that! Maybe the church is broken – because we aren’t there doing anything to help it. Maybe it’s missing a hypocrite or two (eeek!) Maybe – just maybe we go thinking, I’m going to “get ” something from worship – not “give” my worship! If you’re missing church – and not involved in Bible-believing, preaching & worship, I can almost hear Ken say, with the same kind of sadness I feel, “We didn’t train them this way … where are our disciple makers in the church?”
So BOOM .. there you go! That’s what I’m thinking! And it’s because we love Jesus and we love the church. And we love you and want you loving the things that Jesus loves! So here’s the challenge… BE IN CHURCH NEXT SUNDAY! You need the church – and the church needs you. And by the way – if you have children – and you aren’t taking them to church…well shame on you – that’s all I have to say about that! Those kiddos need to be around more than just your spiritual impact! Fall is a great time to “start again” – so if you are flaky going to church – or you just need a restart – do it! If you’re a college student – make this a part of your life now. And we know many of you never had a “home church” in your past… now is a great time to find one! Your life and your faith will be different if you are there!
So please don’t think I’m bugging into your business and please don’t unsubscribe from this email list (because I will know who you are!) 🙂. It’s really just a heart thing, only spoken in love to you who might need a kick in the pants! 🙂 We’ll love you no matter what – you know that! So go ahead, ask Jesus to give you that heart that longs to love the things He loves … starting with His Bride – the church! (And if you’re a parent of a college student — go ahead ask those kiddos if they went to church EVERY Sunday…they will never forget it!)
“The glum, sour faces of many Christians: They rather give the impression that, instead of coming from the Father’s joyful banquet, they have just come from the Sheriff who has auctioned off their sins and now are sorry they can’t get them back again.”
The buzzard searches for rotting meat, and finds it
The hummingbird searches for sweet nectar.
And finds it.
We all do.
So I can find history…even rotten history…in a statue.
Someone else can find offense.
Because we always find what we’re looking for.
Well, not everyone, according to this classic:
I’ve been doing camp ministry since 1978. The Lord has allowed me to spend over four years (adding up all the weeks) as a camp speaker. God could use a donkey; there are some similarities..but for whatever reason He opened and keeps open this door of service.
As I’m wrapping up my 28th consecutive year of preaching at Pioneers For Christ (“Korean Kamp”) in Zionsville, Pa; and thus wrapping up yet another summer of camp ministry, I shake my head in gratitude and awe that I get to do what I get to do.
For decades I’ve tried to include a “question-and-answer” session as part of the week’s programming.
Yesterday morning was “q and a” time at “Korean Kamp.”
I give the campers the opportunity to either ask their questions orally or to write them down.
What questions do I get?
Here’s a sampling from yesterdays written querys:
- “If a newborn child dies, does the child go to heaven or hell?”
- “When it comes to homosexuality, is it a sin to date the same gender or is it only sex?”
- “Is it a sin to be transgender even though it is a mental disorder? If they are mentally ill how can they be blamed for their condition?”
- “Is being gay a sin?” (underlying in original)
- “How do you feel about the transgender military ban?”
- “If a woman is raped is it bad for her to have an abortion?”
- “When my parents were renting out our apartment, they refused to rent it to a gay couple. Is that wrong?”
- “Are you still glad that Trump beat Hillary?”
- “What happens to genuinely good people who are not of faith?”
- “What can I do…I cannot move churches but I know my current church is depleting my faith?”
- “How should you have a relationship around Christ? How do you keep it a Christ-centered relationship with all the temptations?”
- “Can you explain our free will relating to God’s predestined one?”
- “Can I lose my relationship with Christ?”
- “Is it necessary to speak in tongues?”
- “How can I know all the Bible is true?”
- “Is America a Christian nation and, if not, has it ever been?”
This is just a sampling.
I’ll not post my replies (if you’re really curious, ask).
But I thought some of you, particularly those who are ministry partners (Jane and I continue to subsist solely on missionary support as staff members of Midland), might be interested…
“I’m better than you because I’m (fill in the blank).”
Whatever you put in the blank, you are wrong.
You are horribly wrong if you put in “white,” “black,” “asian,” etc.
You are despicably wrong if you put in a race and at the same time call yourself a Christian. I’d place you right in the “Westboro Baptist ‘Church'” ranks.
Yeah, you might say I’m very prejudiced against prejudiced people.
A couple days ago I posted a version of this classic DC Talk song on Facebook and challenged “friends” to share it, especially in view of the disaster in Charlottesville.
Very few did.
I recognize that just because I post something on Facebook does not mean it will show up on everyone’s feed; I also recognize that some of my almost 4,000 “friends” are people who heard me at camp or somewhere else and friended me and basically forgot about me; or are people who just don’t use facebook anymore.
But I also have a couple hundred “followers” which may indicate a certain level of attentiveness.
So why wasn’t it reposted more?
Could it be that people are concerned that they might offend one of their “friends.”
Maybe because it’s DC Talk (who rock) and some Christians confuse preferences with convictions?
Maybe because they just don’t repost anything?
Or it is maybe because for whatever reason they just don’t want to take a public stand on racism?
I certainly the “reason” isn’t the latter sentence.
I think it is true that Christians are notorious for almost saying something.
So I’ll just share another version of the song here…and if you want to share, that would be fine with me. If you have a reason not to share, I’d be interested in knowing that reasoning.
Here you go:
What gets to me almost as bad as musicians who cover the Gettys’ “In Christ Alone” but drop the verse that speaks of God’s wrath being satisfied???
My blood pressure (unjustly) rises when someone, on meeting my bride, says something like, “Oh, you’re Jack’s wife!”
Though I think (hope?) Jane is blessed to be my bride (of almost 35 years); she is not “Jack’s wife.” Your pastors’ spouse is not your pastors’ spouse.
Jane is Jane. Your our pastor’s wife is whatever-her-name-is.
Jane has an identity of her own; she does not draw her “worth” or her position from being my bride.
I trust people don’t mean anything negative when they say “oh, you’re Jack’s wife,” but that doesn’t negate the feeling I get.
Jane has unique talents, giftings, passions, skills etc that are in no way dependent on me.
Her ministry skills are far different, and draw nothing from me (except, hopefully, encouragement).
May I especially ask you to be cautious in addressing/referring to your pastor’s family?
She is not “the pastor’s wife;” they are not “the pastors’ kids;” they are individuals created in His image.
End of mini rant.
I enjoy and learn from the writings of Martyn Lloyd-Jones (even though I am somewhat adverse to people with hyphenated names). He died in 1981, so I can’t ask him what he mean. t in this quote…
A bit of research reveals this is from his book Spiritual Depression. I recall reading the book years ago…before I was diagnosed with what appears to be seasonal depression.
I unashamedly take a medication for the issue; and even bought a “sun lamp” to help…and it seems to help during late fall and winter.
There may be those professing believers who are against medicine of any type and would counsel me to “claim the victory,” “plead the blood,” or whatever. Well…
But please don’t, however unintentionally, beat up Christians who deal with depression. You’ve not walked in those shoes, so my counsel is zip thy lip and pray.
Oh, and if you don’t suffer from depression, and somehow think it is a mark of immaturity or lack of faith, perhaps you should quit shaking your head and read the Psalms? There is some pretty depressing stuff there…
It’s called being human.
Loving Jesus, saved by Jesus (by the way, that’s what “by His stripes we are healed” refers to – that passage has zero to do with physical healing), trusting Jesus…
But trapped in an earthsuit that is susceptible to all kinds of junk…
Looking forward to ultimate healing…