No Frills

WOTD (Word of The Day) So what are the gimmicks that we use to keep people coming to church? We have to have great music. And honestly, the preacher has to be a polished speaker that can hold our attention with grand illustrations and even dramas to keep us at the edge of our seats. But what is do we use? How about a beautiful sanctuary? How about a fancy teen center or top notch children’s program? How about a marketing campaign that uses fliers, social media, banners and billboards? And of course, the best churches stick to the unwritten time limit of an hour for their services. In today’s church, we have branded ourselves as fun, fancy, time specific places to learn about God.

Why is it in scripture that we find the exact opposite?

When we read the Bible, what we find is a desperate desire for those who are seeking the knowledge of God. And when you are desperate for something, you don’t care about luxury and entertainment. Practically speaking, when you are wandering in the desert with no water and find a muddy hole infested with flies, you rejoice and dig down in the mud until you can cup your dirty hands in the water to drink. I tell you the truth, we are wandering in the desert of a broken world, and Jesus is still the only water that brings Life.

Lets look to the scriptures to read about what was most likely a 18 hour sermon given by Paul. In Acts 20 we read, 7 On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul began talking to them, intending to leave the next day, and he prolonged his message until midnight. 8 There were many lamps in the upper room where we were gathered together. 9 And there was a young man named Eutychus sitting on the window sill, sinking into a deep sleep; and as Paul kept on talking, he was overcome by sleep and fell down from the third floor and was picked up dead. 10 But Paul went down and fell upon him, and after embracing him, he said, “Do not be troubled, for his life is in him.” 11 When he had gone back up and had broken the bread and eaten, he talked with them a long while until daybreak, and then left. 12 They took away the boy alive, and were greatly comforted.

Here the people desperate for the knowledge of God most likely gathered around lunch time on Saturday and stayed until the beginning of the work day on Sunday. The sermon was so long that someone fell asleep and died. There was no dramas or childcare; no PowerPoints or fancy wall coverings. It scripture reveals to us a people who were desperate for living water.

Where is our desperation? There is a scripture that says something to the effect that we may feel that we are well dressed and well fed; yet, in reality we are naked and starving. So how do we know if we are well fed or starving spiritually? The answer is found in the joy of Christ’s presence. Are we content and happy in our spiritual life as we live out His peace or are we filled with fear, anger, shame, and anxiety?

There was a period of time in American Church History where all of the pastors held to a strict code to only talk to and influence the people that were in their own churches. And because of that code, there is now more Kool-Aid in our (entertainment driving) non-profits than Living Water. And even more tragic is that the flocks that have gotten so accustomed to the cravings of this Kool-Aid that they have kicked out (and destroyed) many of God’s anointed as the Living Water is rejected and replaced with a more palatable gospel.

Praise the Lord that He uses the pains of this world to bring forth His glory. For through covid and the unrest we see in 2020, God is bringing a revival in the hearts of His true followers. He is letting them know that it is OK to leave the churches that no longer provide Living Water, and have given them a desire to seek out His Life once again.

Therefore, I urge us to follow our hearts. If God’s holiness is being replaced by teachings of inclusion, tolerance, and social justice, that means those churches have exchanged living water for something that tastes better. If our churches function more like country clubs and rock concerts than a way to learn the deep Truths of God’s holiness and mercy, we have forsaken our first love.

Let me give you a simple truth. When churches compromise the gospel, it is extremely difficult and almost impossible to bring those religious organizations back to repentance. With all my heart, if you feel that a church is compromising the Gospel and rejecting God’s holiness, after you make a few attempts to correct it, God is giving you permission to leave.

And boy are there some humble pastors waiting for you to find their mud holes. Are you clothed or are you naked? Are you content or are you desperate for the Living Water? We are here. And if you are desperate enough, you will seek us out. And when you come, you will not see fancy ornaments and lights, for we only offer what is needed. Yet He alone is enough…