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Another “Why Are They Leaving The Church?” Article

August 7, 2013 Leave a comment

Yep, just like my earlier post, here is another why-are-they-leaving-the-Church article, which in turn refers to another why-are-they-leaving-the-Church article. Had enough yet? As Jamie says, “The gospel has power.  Scripture has power. Everything else is simply window dressing.” Maybe this is oversimplifying but I think we spend way to much time, energy and overall hand-wringing in general on window dressing. We simply need to preach Christ and “…preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles” 1 Corinthians 1:23.  A stumbling block and folly to all of us except that we are saved by the Grace of God. We need to earnestly and prayerfully raise our children and show by example, by our behavior, by how we spend our time that we rely on that power of the Gospel and the power of scripture.

“Why Are They Leaving The Church” by Jamie Statema published Aug. 7, 2013 on GoFishGuy.typepad.com

Leave_small_162485884I recently read this article about why kids are leaving the church. I found myself agreeing with a lot of what was said.  However, it wasn’t the article itself that prompted me to write this post, it was many of the comments that were posted after it.

Over and over again angry, bitter adults expressed their frustration at the inaccurate teaching they received as children.  In a nutshell, they were coddled with a kid-friendly, watered-down version of the gospel.  As someone who is passionate about children’s ministry it was heartbreaking to read.  However, it also reminded me why we do what we do!

These comments expose a very real problem in children’s ministry and like many of you, we are trying to use our talents and resources to repair it as quickly as possible for the sake of the gospel.  Whether you choose to use our resources or not, please keep a few things in mind when you choose what curriculum to teach the children you are responsible for.

  • Don’t water down the gospel!  It’s easy to leave out tough topics like sin, judgment, and God’s wrath with children.  However, when you only teach about God’s love, mercy, grace, and forgiveness you’re giving children half the truth.  Jesus made it clear that the world would hate His followers as they hated Him (John 15:18). People who follow Jesus still get cancer, still watch their parents get divorced, and are still subject to ridicule. People, including children, need the bad news in order to appreciate the good news of the gospel.  Jesus didn’t sugarcoat the truth and neither should we (Matthew 18).  There’s no “easy” way to share the offensiveness of the gospel and if a curriculum company tells you there is…run the other way.   Trust the gospel and don’t be ashamed of it. Shoot straight and tell the truth.
  • Let Scripture do the work!  Why do we replace Scripture with platitudes?  Why do we not use Bibles with children?  If we do use them, why do we often read a verse or two and spend the rest of the 20 minute lesson doing magic tricks, object lessons, watching cartoons, and playing games?  These things are fun…I get it. Children learn by being involved…I get it.  I do concerts where we shoot confetti, fire off cryojets, have a live band, dancers, and a big light show…I’m not against entertainment.  However, our best attempts to “grab attention” will never change a life like the truth of Scripture.  Is it “easy” to teach the Bible to a classroom of wiggly first graders?  No.  Is it worth the extra work to avoid the comments I read connected to this article? Absolutely.  The God who created the universe can surely help children understand His Word by the power of the Holy Spirit.  A high view of Scripture leads to a high view of God!

These haven’t always been very popular ideas.  However, we have seen what can happen when these changes are implemented.  The gospel has power.  Scripture has power.  Everything else is simply window dressing.  The church will stand, and even though I can appreciate articles like the one mentioned for bringing important issues to our attention, I am not fearful for the future of the church. Scripture clearly states that the church will remain strong until the end and hell doesn’t have a prayer of standing against it.  This isn’t daycare…this is war.  The souls of our children are worth fighting for!

[see original article at GoFishGuy.typepad.com]

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Why Millennials Are Leaving the Church: A Response to Rachel Held Evans

August 1, 2013 1 comment

Here is an excellent article from Trevin Wax that struck a chord in my heart. I added some emphasis below where I found are some real gems in his text. I want to quote one gem here: regarding Jesus, Trevin says that he sees “…a King who didn’t hold back anything from His people, and who expects His people to hold back nothing from Him…” See earlier post in my WordPress site, or click here for help in holding nothing back from our Lord and Savior: https://willemdax.wordpress.com/2013/07/19/seven-ways-to-pray-for-your-heart/

by Trevin Wax published Aug 1, 2013 on TheGospelCoalition.org

In a recent column for CNN, Rachel Held Evans offers some thoughts on “why millennials are leaving the church.” Her post struck a chord with readers. She is addressing a perennial topic of conversation among church leaders and church goers: what will happen to the next generation.

Like Rachel, I’m 32 – right on the border of the millennials, and many of the questions and doubts I hear from the millennial generation resonate with me too. But my analysis differs somewhat from Rachel’s.

Rachel’s Analysis

Rachel thinks millennials are leaving the church due to the perception that evangelicals are

“… too political, too exclusive, old-fashioned, unconcerned with social justice and hostile to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.”

She’s right to decry a vision of Christianity that reduces repentance to a list of do’s and don’ts. I too have noticed that many millennials desire to be involved in mercy ministry and support justice causes. And I couldn’t agree more when she says “we want churches that emphasize an allegiance to the kingdom of God over an allegiance to a single political party or a single nation.”

The Church’s Response

How has the church responded? Rachel sees church leaders trying to update their music or preaching style, and thereby running up against the “highly sensitive BS meters” we millennials have. We’re not fooled by consumerism or performances when churches cater to what they think we want.

Rachel writes:

“What millennials really want from the church is not a change in style but a change in substance.”

I agree with that sentence for the most part, although I would tweak the last line to say “What millennials really want from the church is substance.” Not a change in substance, necessarily, just substance will do.

Too often, our churches have offered a sanitized, spiritualized version of self-help therapy, and Jesus has been missing. And that’s the problem. Like every generation, she says, “deep down we long for Jesus.”

Here’s where Rachel and I part ways – on what communities following Jesus look like in our culture.

The Biblical Jesus

When I read the Gospels, I’m confronted by a Jesus who explodes our categories of righteousness and sin, repentance and forgiveness, and power and purity.

I meet a Jesus who doesn’t do away with the Law of the Old Testament, but ramps up the demands in order to lead us to Himself – the One who calls us to life-altering repentance and faith.

I see a King who makes utterly exclusive claims, and doesn’t seem to care who is offended.

I see a King who didn’t hold back anything from His people, and who expects His people to hold back nothing from Him.

Is the Church Obsessed with Sex, or is it the Culture?

Following Jesus leaves no part of our life unchanged.

That’s why it strikes me as odd that Rachel sees “obsession with sex” as one of the biggest obstacles for contemporary Christianity to overcome. I visit lots of churches, and I find that sexuality is not a frequently discussed subject from most church platforms or Bible studies. In fact, one could make the case that Christians haven’t talked enough about Jesus’ radical zealousness when it comes to sexuality. The fact that cohabitation, premarital sex and pornography are often overlooked among our congregations betrays the vision of sexuality Jesus put forward – a vision of the sacredness of a man and woman’s covenant for life, one that excludes even lustful thoughts from God’s design.

When it comes to sexual obsession, we ought to take a look at pop culture. One can hardly watch a TV show or a popular movie without being assaulted with sexual innuendos, crude jokes, or overt displays of all kinds of sexuality. Pastors and church leaders go on news talk shows and are badgered about their views of sexuality, as if nothing else matters but that the church join in and celebrate our culture’s embrace of Aphrodite in all her warped splendor.

Challenged to Holiness

Rachel says millennials want to be “challenged to holiness,” but the challenge she appears to be advocating is one on our own terms and according to our own preferences. That’s why I find it ironic that she decries the catering churches that alert our “BS meters,” while simultaneously telling church leaders they should do a better job catering to our generation’s whims and wishes. (She has since clarified this as not a list of demands, but desires and dreams.)

Truth be told, I don’t want a church that serves my preferences. I want a church that gives me Jesus and makes me want to serve His

Counting the Cost

One sign of Jesus’ Spirit is He convicts the world of sin (John 16:8). The sign of the spirit of this age is that the world is coddled instead of convicted. And those who marry the spirit of this age will always be widowed in the next.

Perhaps that’s why millennials have left the churches that most resemble the type of community described by Rachel at rates far greater than evangelical churches. When the counter-cultural message of Jesus is softened or tweaked, or the raging idols of this age (such as money, sex, and power) are overlooked or ignored, the cost of Christianity disappears. Christianity without a cost is Christianity without the cross. And Christianity without the cross isn’t Christianity at all.

What Kind of Millennial Christian Will We Be?

Some millennials, like many from generations before us, want the church to become a mirror – a reflection of our particular preferences, desires, and dreams. But other millennials want a Christianity that shapes and changes our preferences, desires, and dreams.

We’re eager to pass the gospel on to the next generation, to live in ways that call into question the idolatries of our age, to stand in a long line of believers who have been out of the mainstream, constantly maligned and misrepresented, but who love Jesus, love people, and aren’t afraid to call everyone to repentance.

That’s a Christianity this millennial believes is worth dying for, but also one that’s worth living out in a local church with other believers from all generations.

[see original article at TheGospelCoalition.org]

Sounding an Alarm “Bell”

March 21, 2013 Leave a comment

by Ken Ham Published on March 21, 2013 in Current Issues in the World.

I read this news report a few days ago:

Controversial faith leader Rob Bell spoke over the weekend at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, Calif., where the former pastor openly endorsed gay marriage. When asked about the controversial issue by The Very Rev. Dr. Jane Shaw, who was moderating the event, he offered up a clear and concise response – one that will serve as a surprise to many conservative evangelicals.

“Yes, I am for marriage. I am for fidelity. I am for love,” he said, going on to get more specific. “Whether it’s a man and a woman, a woman and a woman, a man and a man — and I think the ship has sailed and I think the church needs to just — this is the world we’re living in and we need to affirm people wherever they are.” (http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/03/19/which-famed-christian-pastor-just-issued-this-shocking-gay-marriage-endorsement/ )

More and more pastors are jumping on the “gay” marriage bandwagon. However, those pastors who do support same-sex marriage invariably have a low view of Scripture. Rob Bell is a classic example.

First of all, who is Rob Bell?

He is the founder and former pastor of Michigan-based Mars Hill Bible Church. He is known for the NOOMA videos and his highly controversial book Love Wins, in which he teaches a form of universalism and rejects a literal hell…

Read the rest of this article in the Answers In Genesis blog

Your Sin Is No Match For God’s Grace

February 15, 2013 3 comments

by Jon Bloom | February 15, 2013

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The old hymn says it beautifully: “Grace, grace, God’s grace; grace that is greater than all my sin.”

But the grace of God is not only great enough to “pardon and cleanse within.” It is so powerful, as Joseph’s older brothers learned in Genesis 45, that it can turn the most horrible sin you have ever committed against another, or has ever been committed against you, and make it the slave of his mercy.


“What do you mean he’s alive?” Jacob had no place to put Rueben’s words.

“I know it’s unbelievable, Father,” Rueben replied. “We hardly believe it and we saw him with our own eyes. The Egyptian lord—the one who demanded that we bring Benjamin—it’s Joseph. He’s not only alive, he’s…” Reuben stumbled over the strange sentence. “He’s now ruling Egypt for Pharaoh.”

Jacob squinted skeptically. A son dead for two decades is not easily resurrected. “You are cruel to tell me such a thing unless you have no doubt.”

“I have no doubt, Father. It’s going to take hours to tell you everything. But we spoke with him. We ate with him in his house.”

Simeon couldn’t resist: “He sat us around the table in the order of our births! Before any of us knew who he was! We thought he was a magician!”

“And you should have seen how much food he placed before Benjamin!” joked Zebulun, giving Benjamin’s head an affectionate push.

Reuben continued, “He told us himself, Father: ‘I am your brother, Joseph.’ We responded just like you’re doing now. I thought he was tricking us. But after talking to him for hours there’s no doubt. It’s him. And the first thing he wanted to know was, ‘Is my father still alive?’” (Genesis 45:3).

Jacob’s stony expression didn’t change, though his eyes were wet. He moved them from son to son, lingering on Benjamin. Then back to Reuben. “But you showed me his bloody robe. He was attacked by a wild animal. If he survived, why didn’t he ever come home? Why would he go to Egypt? Joseph would never have forsaken me.”

The moment had come — the one they had dreaded the whole way home. For 22 years they had kept this festering wound of wickedness concealed from their father. But now God had exposed it. Shame bent the heads of nine sons. Judah was the exception. He had asked to break this news to their father. He had led in their sin. He would lead in owning it. “Joseph didn’t forsake you, Father,” said Judah, stepping forward. “He was forsaken. No, worse, he was betrayed.”

Jacob stared at Judah. “Betrayed by whom?”

“By his own brothers. Brothers who hated him for having his father’s favor. Brothers who hated him for having God’s favor.” Judah pushed hard the heavy words. “We actually talked of killing him, but decided instead to profit from his demise. We sold him to Ishmaelite traders on their way to Egypt. To my lasting shame, Father, that was my idea — to sell my own brother as a slave. The blood on his robe was goat’s blood. We were the wild animals.”

Jacob sat down. Anger and hope churned together in his soul. The silence was long. Then Judah said, “His dream came true.” Jacob looked up again. “Joseph’s dream; it came true. All eleven of us bowed down before him in Egypt. We sold him into slavery because of this dream, never dreaming ourselves that we were helping fulfill it.”

Rueben added, “Joseph holds no bitterness, Father. You know what he told us? ‘God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God’” (Genesis 45:7-8).

“In fact,” said Judah, “he wants us all to come live near him in Egypt to escape the famine. That’s why we’ve brought all these wagons. He said, ‘You must tell my father of all my honor in Egypt, and of all that you have seen. Hurry and bring my father down here’” (Genesis 45:13).

Jacob sat deep in thought for a long time. Then he shook his head and said, “It is enough; Joseph my son is still alive. I will go and see him before I die” (Genesis 45:28).


What Joseph’s ten older brothers did to him was heinous. They made him the merchandise of international human trafficking. They subjected him to slavery and sexual abuse. With no rights or defense, he was thrown into prison to rot. These likely left Joseph with life-long scars.

But note Joseph’s words: “it was not you who sent me here, but God” (Genesis 45:8). Neither treacherous siblings nor a woman’s lust nor the shame of prison nor a cupbearer’s neglect could thwart the purpose of God (Job 42:2) in preserving God’s people (Genesis 45:7) and fulfilling a prophecy given to Abraham (Genesis 15:13). God made evil the slave of his grace.

And he’s doing the same for you. God is doing more good than you can imagine through the most painful experiences of your life.

If you’ve sinned against someone else, do everything in your power to make things right. But know this: your sin is no match for God’s grace.

And if you find yourself in a place you do not want to be as a result of someone else’s sin, take heart. God knows, and he knows what he’s doing. Stay faithful. In time he will show you that he sent you for redemptive reasons you would have never guessed.

[Read the original article at Desiring God.org]

You know you live in a Country run by idiots if…

January 22, 2013 1 comment

You know your Country is run by Idiots if...You know you live in a Country run by idiots if…
You can get arrested for expired tags on your car but not for being in the country illegally.
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You know you live in a Country run by idiots if…
You have to have your parents signature to go on a school field trip but not to get an abortion.
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You know you live in a Country run by idiots if…
An 80 year old woman can be stripped searched by the TSA but a Muslim woman in a burka is only subject to having her neck and head searched.
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You know you live in a Country run by idiots if…
Your government believes that the best way to eradicate trillions of dollars of debt is to spend trillions more of our money.
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You know you live in a Country run by idiots if…
A seven year old boy can be thrown out of school for calling his teacher “cute” but hosting a sexual exploration or diversity class in grade school is perfectly acceptable.
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You know you live in a Country run by idiots if…
The Supreme Court of the United States can rule that lower courts cannot display the 10 Commandments in their courtroom, while sitting in front of a display of the 10 Commandments.
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You know you live in a Country run by idiots if…
Children are forcibly removed from parents who appropriately discipline them while children of “underprivileged” drug addicts are left to rot in filth infested cesspools of a “home”.
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You know you live in a Country run by idiots if…
Hard work and success are rewarded with higher taxes and government intrusion, while some slothful, lazy behavior is rewarded with EBT cards, WIC checks, Medicaid, subsidized housing, and free cell phones.
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You know you live in a Country run by idiots if…
The government’s plan for getting people back to work is to provide 99 weeks of unemployment checks (to not work).
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You know you live in a Country run by idiots if…
Being self-sufficient is considered a threat to the government.
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You know you live in a Country run by idiots if…
Politicians think that stripping away the amendments to the constitution is really protecting the rights of the people.
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You know you live in a Country run by idiots if…
The rights of the Government come before the rights of the individual.
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You know you live in a Country run by idiots if…
You pay your mortgage faithfully, denying yourself the newest big screen TV while your neighbor defaults on his mortgage (while buying iPhones, TV’s and new cars) and the government forgives his debt and reduces his mortgage (with your tax dollars).
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You know you live in a Country run by idiots if…
Being stripped of the ability to defend yourself makes you “safe”.
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You know you live in a Country run by idiots if…
You can write a post like this just by reading the news headlines.

UPDATE: More from TheBlaze.com

 If you have to show identification to board an airplane, cash a check, buy liquor or check out a library book, but not to vote on who runs the government, you live in a country run by idiots.

 If the government wants to ban stable, law-abiding citizens from owning gun magazines with more than ten rounds, but gives 20 F-16 fighter jets to the crazy leaders in Egypt, you live in a country run by idiots.

 If, in the largest city, you can buy two 16-ounce sodas, but not a 24-ounce soda because 24 ounces of a sugary drink might make you fat, you live in a country run by idiots.

The Slipperiest Slope of All-Time Part II: Here Comes Pedophilia, Just as Predicted

January 14, 2013 1 comment

This is continuation of my earlier post. I recommend reading that one too. CLICK HERE.

Just like in Part One, this post is basically sharing another couple of articles that I found on the web. I find it very disturbing that not very many people seem to be picking up on this slippery slope that we seem to find ourselves on, as a society. Or maybe more and more people are, but just keeping fairly silent about it.

Anyway the article, by Andrew Kirell that I wanted to share is here from mediaite.com. CLICK HERE.

Similarly another article by Dustin Koellhoffer with the examiner.com. CLICK HERE.

Image from examiner.com article

Image from examiner.com article

Anyway this time. unlike in Part One I don’t really have anything to add other than the fact that my gag reflex is really working overtime again. And I am really hoping more and more people will wake up and realize we need to get off this slippery slope and return to more traditional values and even more traditional relationships. At least can we agree to stop trying to normalize behaviors that should not be accepted as normal or as just another “alternative.”

A Prayer for Living as Good Citizens to God’s Glory

November 8, 2012 Leave a comment

by Scotty Smith on Wednesday, November 7, 2012 at 6:22am ·

Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.      

     Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king. 1 Pet 2:11-17     

     Dear heavenly Father, it’s the morning after we Americans have cast our votes. A president, along with many other public officials, have been elected, or re-elected. For some of us, there is great elation and relief, for others, there is tremendous disappointment, even despair.

For all of us, there is a need to hear from you—to still our hearts and know that you alone are God; to affirm that you are no less sovereign this morning that you were before the polls closed yesterday afternoon; to remember that your purposes will stand, your kingdom will come, your glory, one Day, will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.

Indeed, Father, our confidence is not in horses, chariots or men; nor in political parties, sitting presidents or supreme court justices; nor in the Dow Jones average, lower taxes, or bigger barns; nor in public policy or in private enterprise. Our hope and trust are in you.

In this Scripture, we hear you say, and we affirm, that you’ve called us to live good lives among our neighbors and in our culture—to be commendable citizens, not disengaged cynics; for your sake, to submit to authorities, governors and the king (president), for they are your providential servants (Rom. 13:1); to use our freedom in Christ “to silence the ignorant talk of foolish people,” not to add more godless chatter to the public conversation; to live respectfully of all people, not resentfully of any. By the power of the gospel, help us to do so.

Lastly, Father, may we fear you 1000 times more than we are either excited this morning or are quite disappointed by the outcome of the election. You alone are God; you are in the heavens and you do whatever pleases you. As your servants, may we prove the wonders of Jesus’ love this very day, and tomorrow, and the next, far as the curse is found. So very Amen we pray, in the exalted and triumphant name of Jesus.

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