Tag Archives: God

What if My Church isn’t Spiritual Enough?

designIf you’ve been attending a church for any significant length of time, you’ve experienced it: the service where nothing seems to flow. It feels tight. The music isn’t engaging, the sermon is dry, the crowd is down, and it feels like you’re just going through the motions rather than entering into the presence of God. I think this type of experience is inevitable although we should never accept it as OK. But what if this type of service has become the norm? What should one do if the spiritual climate of the local church is tepid at best. Long stretches of dead services are a sign of real trouble for a church. What if my church isn’t spiritual enough for me?

How long has it been since someone came to Christ in your church? How long since there has been a significant move of the Holy Spirit? I am not talking about a “feel good” service where everybody was happy. I mean a time when God was so evidently present that everyone knew it, and responded, and lives were changed. I think a key question that church leaders should ask, without fail, while evaluating the effectiveness of a worship experience is: did the people encounter God? If they did not, it’s time for something to change!

The truth is, too many churches are stuck is a rut of mundaneness. Week after week nothing remarkable occurs. The people have stopped expecting anything to happen. There is no sense of urgency, passion has faded and everything is predictable. We might describe the church as “not anointed”, boring, cold, or, as a former pastor used to say, “dry as cracker juice!”

What if my church isn’t spiritual enough for me? What should we do when this happens?

I would like to approach this topic from the perspective of a church member. Perhaps later I will address church leaders and pastors on the subject.

In my opinion, a key mistake many of us make is to perceive the church as an organization. It can easily appear as another institution. While it may be reasonable to do so, we must see the church as something so much more.

God strategically established the church as an organism; the living breathing Body of Christ. The Apostle Paul goes to great lengths to explain the deep spiritual nature of the church and he utilizes the body metaphor to do so. When we gather on Sundays for corporate worship, it is so much more than another institutional meeting. God has summoned the Body of Christ to gather for the purpose of worshiping Him!

There are many reasons why this body metaphor is important, especially when considering the dry times that we inevitably experience. Among the greatest reason is – we each play a key role in the health of the Body of Christ.

Regarding church services, there is a huge difference between spectators and participants. Worship was never intended to be a “spectator sport.” Of course, ministers play a key role in leading worship services but the Bible identifies little if any distinction between clergy and laity. Everyone in the church should play a key role in church services.

Think of it this way: your spiritual development is not primarily your pastor’s responsibility. While they are to shepherd you, you must assume the responsibility for your own discipleship. This is also true when it comes to worship services. Sure, the pastor leads but if folks don’t follow, it will be a disconnected experience. Everyone has the responsibility to make the church gathering better.

I think some church members require a higher level of spirituality from their church services than they require for themselves. Keep in mind, the “church” is made up of individuals and the church is only as spiritually developed as the individual people are. We are simply a sum of the parts. Of course, Christ is the Head of the Church but we are the various parts of the Body. If each of us will pursue spiritual maturity, our churches will also move closer to God. If we come to church with an attitude of expectation and surrender to the Lord, great things are bound to happen. On the other hand, if we come to services disinterested and apathetic, nothing will happen.

So, rather than feeling as though the church is lagging (and sometimes complaining about it), perhaps we should focus on ourselves. No more, “I’m not being fed” or “I wish we had a more exciting church”. Rather, accept the responsibility to be a positive influencer; make the church better. Do whatever it takes to bring life to the Body of Christ.

We are the Church! Let’s enjoy it.

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Deciding Controversial Issues

controversy1

Big decisions are being made right now. Many people are strongly opinionated about some current issues. Lines are being drawn.

But I wonder how most people arrived at their conclusion.

If you will allow me, I will humbly make some suggestions for anyone who is considering which side of the fence they are on regarding the issues in the news.

Don’t allow the media to influence you. They have an agenda. And they have no interest in your best interest.

Don’t trust the political parties. Once again, they merely use the citizens to get what they want.

Don’t form your opinions based on social media. Most people who voice their positions there have not studied the issues.

Don’t be influenced by celebrities. I heard a quote the other day: “What happens in Hollywood doesn’t stay in Hollywood.” While I wish that were not true, it is. Without being too harsh, we don’t need a bunch of dysfunctional rock stars directing our lives.

Don’t go by polls or popular opinions. These change with the wind.

Don’t make your decisions based on your emotions. These also are subject to change.

Don’t side with what seems right. Like it or not, we are sometimes easily deceived.

Don’t even base your opinions based solely upon the church because the church is made up of imperfect people.

So, where do we go to get the correct guidance when we are making our decisions about controversial topics?

I bet you saw this coming: Go to the Bible. And here is why:

The Bible is here to stay. It has withstood the test of time. It has survived all the scrutiny. It will not change. It takes no regard for what is popular or trendy. It is not influenced by popular vote. It is not even concerned with hurting people’s feelings. It simply is the truth. The reason it is the truth is that is it authored by God. He is the only One who never changes. What He says has always worked and it always will work.

A really good reminder about this is found in Matthew 24:35 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.”

Whether it is gay marriage or abortion or the economy, you just can’t go wrong siding with God. He has never been wrong, and never will be.


some things can’t be fixed

I came across a story recently that is hard for me to shake. My goal is not to make some kind of a spiritual statement. I simply think it is beneficial to sometimes wrestle with uncomfortable issues and unusual social phenomenon. And some things are better left to God.

Bruce Reimer (pictured) was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada on August 22, 1963. He was a healthy male with no remarkable features except that he was an identical twin. His brother Brian was also a normal, healthy baby boy.

When the boys were 7 months old, their parents decided to have them circumcised. In an unthinkable medical disaster, Bruce’s penis was mutilated by the slip of a heated needle.  The damage was irreversible and his parents were told that he would never have sexual relations as an adult. In agony, his parents decided that the best course of action was that the boy should undergo a sex-change operation. Fifteen months, later, doctors castrated him and fashioned a vagina from the skin.  His parents changed his name to Brenda and began to treat Bruce as if he were a girl. Doctors injected Brenda with female hormones.

While Brenda wore girl’s clothes and played with dolls, her brother Brian was a typical little boy. They seemed to have adjusted well to the challenges and were developing normally as brother and sister. It as not until the children reached upper grades in elementary school that trouble began. At that point, Brenda began to insist on playing sports with boys, playing with guns and acting like her brother. Other children in school called her “cavewoman” because she walked and talked like a boy. She insisted on urinating while standing. She got into fights. The experiment began to unravel.

At age 14, Brenda suffered from depression and anxiety and began to contemplate suicide. Her parents felt obligated to inform her of the medical mistake and their resulting decision to perform the operation. This seemed to bring some relief to Brenda. At last, life began to make sense. Brenda made the decision to take testosterone shots and later, had surgery where doctors partially reconstructed a penis. Brenda changed her name to David.  At age 25, he married a woman and adopted her children. In 2004, David’s depression got the best of him and he committed suicide. A strange and tragic life came to end.

Again, there isn’t much of a spiritual point here. It just seems that there are some mistakes that people simply cannot repair.  Think on that for a while.