Is the church’s single-minded emphasis upon rescuing souls hampering the growth of the church?
For many individuals this will seem like a very controversial question and whom would say that obviously the more souls that are saved, the larger the growth of the church. However, I would like to question that assumption and suggest that this mindset hampers an individual’s spiritual growth.
As a Christian in America, I can easily become distracted from the important things. I’ve been realizing how easily I can forget important principles and truths from Scripture. So, I’ve compiled a quick list of 5 things we Christians often lose sight of and forget:
“My hope is built on nothing less, Than Jesus blood and righteousness, I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly trust in Jesus name” ~ Cornerstone, Hillsong Worship
All too often we put our hope in something other than Christ. I often put my hope in the political outlook or in a candidate. Many people put their hope in finances or in having a good job. Others put their hope in relationships. Let’s remember to put our hope in Christ first. “Israel, put your hope in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love and with him is full redemption.” ~ Psalm 130:7
“The devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” ~ 1Peter 5:8
As human beings, we have a disadvantage of not being able to see the spiritual realm. Because of this, we often forget that there is a spiritual war being fought all around us. God’s angels are valiantly fighting the Devil’s minions in an epic war. Our disadvantage is that we are a part of the war. But, being unable to see it makes it very difficult to participate. We need to be aware that the Devil is trying to destroy us and is constantly out to oppress us with his demons, and to tempt us with sin. We need to take of the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, and use it daily in our fight against evil (Ephesians 6).
“This world is not my home, I’m here for a moment…I’m bound for glory.” ~ Bound for Glory, Vertical Church Band
Those of us who live in the Western world, and in a first world country, probably struggle with this concept more than those who don’t. Jesus said it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven (Matthew 19:27). It is very easy to let the comforts of our lives, and the good gifts God has given us, to become too comfortable for us and for us to trust them for our salvation. We need to remember that we are only here for a short time, and the comforts and joys in heaven will far outweigh what is good here! Let’s fix our eyes on things above (Colossians 3:2)!
Persecution is a Privilege, Suffering is a Given
We are guaranteed to suffer in this life (1Peter 4:12-19). God tells us throughout Scripture that difficult trials that we face are given to us in order to refine us and mold us to be more like Christ. We need to redefine how we think of “good”. Rather than it being what we deem as enjoyable and comfortable, we need to realize “good” means whatever draws us closer to God. We also need to realize that not all of us will be given a chance to experience hardcore persecution. Scripture teaches it is a privilege. Some of us will sigh in relief… But we need to remember that “a good follower of Yesu (Jesus) is like the ox – ready either for the plow or the alter, for service or for sacrifice.” ~ Safely Home, Randy Alcorn pp.347
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood,but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” ~ Ephesians 6:12
The political authorities in this world who are doing evil, the mean kid at school, the bad cop who is racist, all of these people are really just puppets for the Devil. They have souls, and Jesus died for them. Our fight is not with them; it is with the Devil. So let’s pick up our Sword, and our quiver of Prayer, and not spend our time fighting them, but fighting the enemy.
“Every Christian needs to be a pastor. They need to be able to study and teach God’s Word just as well as a pastor does. Not every Christian should be a pastor. What I mean by this is that not every Christian should pursue a pastoral occupation.” – Hudson Farrell
Fathers and Mothers need to especially be able to teach God’s Word to their children. Every person needs to be able to help another believer study the Bible, and should also be able to clearly lay out the Gospel to a non-believer. Are you prepared?
Reading the Bible is our primary way of listening to God… he speaks to us through the Bible. Sometimes He clearly speaks to us while we are reading it, but often he speaks to us later as we are doing our thing. Often He will remind us of something we read. Like if I’m getting angry, He may remind me to dispel an argument with peace and not animosity.
So, you may be praying, but are you listening? Read your Bible. Remember its a relationship and not a religion. And if you aren’t in a relationship you may be more religious than you realize.
“54 Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked. 55 “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? 56 Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” 57 And they took offense at him.
But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home.”
58 And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.”
So true isn’t it? How often do we let our ‘picture’ of Jesus get in the way of letting us experience Jesus for who he is. Jesus’ neighbors had a preconceived notion that Jesus was a carpenter’s boy. They let this image get in the way of his ‘new’ identity: the fact that he was (and is) the Christ. They couldn’t mold the deity picture to the carpenter boy picture. If only they had done it backwards it would have worked. If they had seen Christ as a deity first and not as a carpenter first they could have painted the picture together and may have been able to find everlasting life. I wonder how often we cannot accept something because of our lack of perspective and how often we let God be smaller than he really is. I heard someone say that if you do not believe that God could have created the universe (agnostic speaking) then your [idea of] God is too small.
Dilemma for Creationists in First Law of Thermodynamics? I don’t think so. Matter cannot be created or destroyed. It can only change forms.
This would seem like a problem because at some point God must have created matter. However, I like to think about it like this: think of God as an owner of a fish tank. Now imagine that we are fishes. We cannot add to or subtract from the water in the fish tank, we can just help it change forms. However, the owner can because he is outside the tank! He can add more water to the tank or take some out. So it is with God. He is in the spiritual realm, and so, he has the key to our ‘fish tank’. He has the power to add matter or subtract matter from our universe. This is because He is outside our universe physical universe… he is not limited to space or time.
“19 By wisdom the Lord laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place; 20 by his knowledge the watery depths were divided, and the clouds let drop the dew.” – Proverbs 3:19-20
As I mentioned from the previous post on the Oort Cloud there are some scientists who are proposing that the components of life traveled on a comet from somewhere deep in the universe, possibly from the Oort Cloud, and then the comet collided with the earth generating a ton of power, and Bang! life was born. As cool as this sounds, it seems pretty science fictiony to me.
First, science has almost proven that the right kind of oxygen was not readily available in the universe to form life. Second, even if it was, I have a hard time seeing a bunch of precious molecules and atoms riding on the front of the comet surviving. Comets are super cold. Plus they go very near the sun and are exposed to extreme heat (granted if it hit the earth before it started swinging around the sun…). Then if the comet runs into small rocks and such, the life particles may have a hard time avoiding them.
Third, even if they did survive the odds of a comet hitting the earth are super low. One of the most probable rocks in space that could hit the earth is a rock that has a 99.99% chance of missing the earth. And that is one of the few things that will come close to the earth.* It would take billions of years just for a comet to hit the earth let alone for life to evolve…
Finally, if the comet did hit earth how would the life survive the impact? Not only that, but how would the earth respond. Scientists today say that if a large mile wide rock were to hit the earth the results would be devastating. Even if it were smaller (which reduces the odds of it hitting the earth) the result would be a lot greater than the effects of an atom bomb. How would simple life survive these results?
As you can see, I think it a very outlandish idea much similar to Michael Ruse’s explanation that life rode on the back’s of crystals** This is just one of the many ideas that Atheists are having to postulate in order to maintain their belief that there cannot be a God and that life must have originated by spontaneous generation and then evolved.
Although many scientists claim that many comets must come from the Oort cloud (and some even go as far to say that the ingredients of life may have traveled on the front of a comet from the Oort cloud and the comet collided with earth and thus landed life on earth) the Oort cloud itself is an almost completely hypothetical object and origin. Most scientists will have you believe otherwise. As for me… I can see the likely hood of an Oort cloud, however if there is not one I do know that there is a God out there who sits in his Oort cloud (heaven) and is responsible for throwing comets to our galaxy. I almost feel as if its like we’re playing catch in the backyard with our Daddy. He throws us some perfect balls and we get to look at them and study them with awe. Then we ‘throw’ it back to him as the comet returns to where it came from.* Speaking of comets, there is a comet that will pass the earth during December called the ISON. With binoculars you should be able to see it. Or you can look at it on Thanksgiving day as it passes the sun on this website: http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/
*- Of course this is a completely allegorical picture, however, it serves to illuminate the point that Jesus is in control of everything including the stars in the sky