According to a new study by Empty Tomb Inc., a Christian research agency, giving to traditional Protestant and evangelical churches has fallen to the lowest level in decades. The study says this is not due to the poor economy. Rather, it indicates that people are cutting back as they see how their tithes and offerings are typically misused by churches. It seems that folks are fed up with all the money grubbing for ego-buildings, staff who are increasingly detached from real ministry, and life-sucking programs that don’t really advance the Kingdom of God.
Fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride! In this PowerPoint presentation, all that you think of as “church” is about to be challenged so God can woo us back to being, once more, the multi-faceted, wonderful, exciting Body of Christ.
God seems to be laying a foundation for yet another of His periodic, history-changing interventions in the affairs of man. Over the last two thousand years there have been many such paradigm shifts, and it’s naive to think that our current, settled status quo will somehow be exempt from the unsettling but progressive advance of His Kingdom.
This newest paradigm shift is starting with pioneers who realize that God’s primary goal in history is to change not only individuals but also whole cultures and nations — as per the Great Commission.
Likewise, as with all prior interventions in history, His will is being applied to more and more aspects of His creation here on earth, just as it is in heaven — as per the Lord’s Prayer.
We also are coming to realize that the Kingdom of God — His will being done on earth (including all spheres of human endeavor) as it is in heaven — is bigger than the church. Nonetheless, we are beginning to understand that His Kingdom is not going to advance much further unless the church re-discovers her New Testament roots.
Admittedly, there is comfort in the familiar status quo of “church” as we’ve all come to know it. Some, however, are so hungry for God’s Kingdom — as it continues to progressively advance through history — that they’re willing hit to the reboot button and look afresh at God’ s purposes.
Last night, we had one of our best times of “participatory church” as we seamlessly shared a meal, partook of communion, fellowshipped and ministered one with another — and none of it depended on me!
The last several weeks have been very emotionally and physically exhausting for me. On top of my best friend dying, I’ve been struggling to keep up with my various professional and counseling commitments while concurrently experiencing a particularly bad bout of chronic fatigue from my autoimmune condition.
I often get a chuckle from Lark News, and their latest spoof definitely rings all-to-true.
It reminds me of a very large (huge, in fact) evangelical church in town — where the pastor preaches his sermons on a vast stage each Sunday while a smoke machine bellows out measured amounts of awe and mystery in the background. For real!
It’s very good theater, plus the sermons aren’t half bad if you’re into that kind of thing.
This is another YouTube video posted by a friend on Facebook (give credit where credit is due!). It’s a hilarious spoof on worship.
It’s good, sometimes, to laugh even if it’s at ourselves!
I vividly recall leafing through World magazine back in 2006 and reading the unsettling but hardly surprising news that Randall Terry – the firebrand evangelical who formerly headed Operation Rescue and was then financially wiped out following a series of lawsuits by pro-abortionists – had joined the Roman Catholic Church.
“Unsettling,” because it provides further evidence of the growing weariness and disillusionment I’m seeing among spiritual “entrepreneurs” who’ve been laboring within evangelical circles to expand the Kingdom of God in all spheres of life and culture.
“Hardly surprising,” however, as those “on point” for the Kingdom increasingly seek refuge from the prevailing pop-theology (or dare I say lack of theology) and me-focused brand of Christianity that pervades evangelicalism (which includes charismatics and Pentecostals), animates many of our local church and national leaders, and cuts believers off from the great historic doctrines and creeds of our faith.