We find ourselves in a similar cultural dilemma. As our culture increasingly becomes secular, many in the church try to hold on to both their Christian traditions and the new secular world-view that has little room for God and no room for God’s Word. When Elijah confronted God’s people all he received was silent stares. In the same way those within the church remain silent to the calls from faithful pastors to return to God’s Word and stand on his truth. What America needs is repentance that begins in the church pews. We must choose which side of the line we will stand. You cannot serve two masters. Who is your Lord? Who do you choose to follow?
Wednesday, June 26, 2019
Elijah found himself in a complete cultural revolution. The people of God preferred to worship Baal but still hung on to some of the traditions of worshiping Yahweh. Elijah was seen as a troublemaker by the people, even by Ahab, King of Israel. The people ignored Elijah’s calls of repentance and his warnings of judgment. So, Elijah called for a great demonstration of God’s power at Mount Carmel. 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah gathered to take on the lonely troublemaker, Elijah. As they gathered Elijah addressed the great crowd who came to witness this momentous event. He said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” (1 Kings 18:21). Elijah then challenges the Baal religious leaders to call on Baal to consume the altar with fire. They could not. Elijah then had them pour water on the altar and he called to God and fire consumed the altar.
Wednesday, June 19, 2019
We have learned through the years that the anticipation of children can drive you absolutely crazy. It is good for them to have things they are looking forward to but if you tell them too many months out of something really exciting, they will ask questions about it every day. Sometimes it is just better for the sanity of all to keep those things a secret until closer to the event. However, don’t forget, anticipation is part of the fun. We shouldn’t take all the anticipation away. They will miss some of the magic if they find out where you are going when you walk through the gates at Disney World.
One of the ways the church has changed today compared to my childhood has to do with the anticipation of the coming of Jesus Christ. It was announced immediately after Jesus ascended into heaven, “This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11). Three times at the end of Revelation Jesus declares “I am coming soon.” He makes it clear that we will not know the time but that we are to always to be ready and not to allow it to be a surprise. I believe that for many in the church today if Jesus was to return today it would be a surprise.
The problem with the lack of anticipation is that with it comes apathy. We become apathetic to living holy lives. We become apathetic to sharing the Gospel (we have plenty of time). We get apathetic with our church attendance. It affects every area of our life. Jesus said, “Behold, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed!” (Revelation 16:15). I think all of us could use a little more anticipation in our life. Jesus is coming! Be alert!
Tuesday, June 4, 2019
Research has shown that children who do not read in the summer can lose two to three months of reading skills. Kids who do read tend to gain a month of reading proficiency. If this is true of reading, it is safe to say it affects student’s spiritual growth as well. Taking the summer off from church as a family has a negative impact on the spiritual development of your children. Summer is fun and provides many opportunities for us to travel and experience things that are difficult during the school year. It also takes us out of our routines and makes it easier to stay up late and not get up at a regular time in the morning. So, on the Sundays we are home it is more difficult to get everyone around and make it to LifeGroups and worship. Make sure that you provide spiritual development as part of your summer activities and you will see your children grow closer to Christ this summer.
We slow down for the summer to give our volunteers who work diligently throughout the school year time to rest. But we also provide many opportunities to help your children grow closer to Christ in the summer. Monday, we start Vacation Bible School. It is an intense five days for your children to study God’s Word as they have fun with their friends. Make it a priority for your children and bring their friends with you. You will be surprised how much they learn. For children who have finished third through fifth grade, we have children’s camp July 24-27. Pay attention to our calendar for the summer and you will see many activities on Wednesday night that your children will not want to miss.
The same is true for our youth. Encourage your teenagers to get away from the tv and video games and participate in the many activities designed for them. A variety of locations and activities are planned for Wednesday evenings and there are many opportunities for them to serve. Falls Creek is July 22-27 where they will gather with thousands of teenagers across Oklahoma and surrounding states to have their faith strengthened and build a spiritual foundation that will serve them as they become young adults. It was through summer youth activities that I grew the most spiritually as a teenager and I am sure that your teenagers will as well.
Parents, let us do our part in making sure that our children are closer to Christ in August than they are right now. The only way that will happen is for them to be participating on a regular basis in the life of the church. Have a great summer!
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