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Pilgrims or Tourist?

October 11, 2007

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In a recent book, “A Western Jesus: the Wayward Americanization of Christ and the Church” (B&H Publishing, 2007), Mike Minter writes:“Conversation in the foyer after the service has more to do with the 12:30 p.m. kickoff than the sermon. People are leaving [church] just as they came in. What about the lost who should have fallen on their faces and said, ‘God is really among you’ (1 Cor. 14:25)? Where was the powerful testifying that you read about in 1 Thess. 1:8-9 regarding the great faith of the believers? Why was the meeting over so quickly? Where was the participation of the body and their gifts? Where was the prayer meeting like what you read about in Acts 12? The seriousness of the gospel you had become familiar with in the New Testament is somehow lacking. There is more of a cavalier attitude and a general sense of a temporal focus. Life went on as usual. ‘These aren’t pilgrims,’ you say to yourself, ‘they’re tourists.'”

This quote reminded me of the first battle of Bull Run. One historian said, “On the day of the battle, carriages filled with spectators eager to see the Confederate defeat flocked from Washington to the battle site.” Many of these spectators’ lives were in peril, and they did not have a clue. Church buildings are filled across this nation each Sunday and the vast majority of those who attend do not realize that we are involved in a war for the souls of men, women and children. They have come to watch, to observe, but not be involved. They don’t realize that the original purpose of the gathering was to worship their KING and be prepared to SERVE in BATTLE. We are at WAR!

Dr. Joe Noe says, “Christians have been seduced…hoodwinked…sold a bill of goods…are operating under a misguided and simplistic interpretation of scripture…. Christianity – the deepest, most meaningful and awe-inspiring religion ever – has been dumbed down…”

Maybe we need to follow the challenge of the prophet Joel to Israel:

 15   “Blow the trumpet in Zion,
       declare a holy fast,
       call a sacred assembly.

 16 Gather the people,
       consecrate the assembly;
       bring together the elders,
       gather the children,
       those nursing at the breast.
       Let the bridegroom leave his room
       and the bride her chamber.

 17 Let the priests, who minister before the LORD,
       weep between the temple porch and the altar.
       Let them say, “Spare your people, O LORD.
       Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn,
       a byword among the nations.
       Why should they say among the peoples,
       ‘Where is their God?’ “

Joel 2:15-17

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2 comments

  1. Smack! That a needed slap in sleepy faces.

    Our timeline has been moved up, Lee. The leadership wants me to conclude my preaching/teaching at lawson Road at the end of the month. They’re going to support us until the end of the year, so pray that I find a decent job that will get us by until, Lord willing, we’ve grown a new family of Christ-followers who can handle my not-so-substantial salary.

    I’ve got lots of time on my hands beginning in November and want to try to raise some short time funds to help us in the event I don’t find a job or that will allow me to perhaps just work part-time. Is there someone I speak to at Madison about our plans? Do you know of other non-sectarian churches in Nashville that might warm to the notion of helping out? (if so send me a note at ben.overby@rochesterchurch.org) Thanks in advance for the prayers.

    Ben


  2. Lee,
    Great post brother.
    Very interesting.
    Keep up the great work & I hope you have a great week.



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