Saturday, February 18, 2006

Response to my brother's e-mail

I got an e-mail from my brother telling me about his church asking a youth lay-leader to step down from his position because they discovered he (not my brother, this lay-leader!) was gay. The church he attended I was able to visit just one time and had a few thoughts about it. It was not what I was used to and I had a lot of concerns when I was there. It is interesting to see now how my concerns were of a true Godly discernment because I should not have known what I discerned that day by just one visit. Here are those thoughts...

ok - here goes... First of all you are so right about teachers, preachers, etc. being held to a higher standard. James 3:1-2 say those in that position will be "judged more strictly". So even if our pastors are doing everything right, their standard is still higher than the best member.

I can only base my thoughts of your church the one time I visited - so really I may not have a right, but since you asked, ha ha. true, it is very different than my hometown southern Baptist church. There were lots of great things about it, but here are few things that kind of made me think "hmm". I noticed the laid back style in dress. Not a huge thing, but I am still of the impression we give God our best on His day. ok, does that mean I need to always wear skirts and stuff, I think one would have an argument, but of course we could take that to legalism. I was a little leery of how dark the auditorium was. there was no way I could have seen my Bible if he asked us to open it up which he did not. that is a thing at my church I don't like as well. we put the scripture on the screen therefore telling the people don't bother bringing your Bible to church because we will make it as easy as we possibly can for you. then as they got started, there was no prayer. the only time they did pray was when the little retarded girl was ushered away. remember he prayed for her to be comforted. I know I am really getting nit picky, but bear with me.

now I know on that day I was there, they were doing a series on sex - I know that made you real comfortable with mom and dad, ha ha - but they started the "time of worship" with a Peter Gabriel or Cetera song or something like that. I don't think that is something that is going to rush the Spirit into the service. In fact I am sure He might have peaked in longing to fill those ready to hear from Him and then certainly fled after the material of sex images were flashed on the screen. There was a much better way to get the point of how society has degraded women and exploited women, and how we view those images as soft porn. I think more than anything the service started off in way that had men thinking about nothing more than the subject he was preaching against.

Matt. 24:12 says that the "love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved". I think your preacher must at one time had a real innocent love for the Lord, but in trying to be a politically correct church - at least in a church sense - He has lost his love and respect for the Lord. WOW - what a judgment, but would you agree, that is if ever had a strong love for God and His word. Matt. 7:15 also states that false "prophets" will come in sheep's clothes. meaning they will come looking very sweet and innocent and loving and unharming (that a word?), but in actuality, they are destroying the flock. Either by malicious acts against the flock - we can do that with the tongue, etc. - or by malicious acts against the Lord.

This church has confused the surrounding area because they look so much like the world and they talk like the world and they in some ways act like the world and they want the world to feel comfortable in the church. Well the problem with wanting you to feel comfortable is that one has to do a lot of watering down of the Word so that everyone feels comfortable. Romans 12:2 says that "we are to no longer conform to the patterns of this world, but be transformed". So it shocked and surprised, I am sure, many when they took this stand on homosexuality. they, those in agreement with homosexuality might have been thinking "where is the love and how could they say this. I have always been so comfortable and have not felt your condemnations, etc." When we go to church, we as people are not the ones to give out condemnation. But we do preach the Word so that the Spirit has the opportunity to convict the heart. those in sin, myself include, at times get confused and think conviction of the Spirit is condemnation of the church because it came out of a human's mouth and hopefully the preacher.

I am coming to a close, I promise... as I grow closer to the Lord, He shows me more and more areas in my life that need realigning with Him. Yes, it is hard to take a stand, even if it is different issues within my family, but He will honor us in obedience. I do not in any way want to look like the world even though it is inevitable at times. This is my whole reason for not drinking personally in my life. I don't want to give anyone the impression or give room for assumptions that I align myself with the ways of the world. is drinking worldly, not in and of itself. but this is just one really easy way that I am able to do this. (there are other issues I am not so sure I know how to stand and therefore give others room for assumptions to be made.) Now I have not known my whole life this is the reason that God has called me to not drink, but I have finally seen the light for my life personally. It is no longer a casting of judgment on my part, it is a stand that He has called me to and therefore I must obey and it has been an easy one to obey. Similarly, this is what I think has happened in this church. They have looked so much like the world that easy assumptions were made on how they stand on subjects. I want others to see my life and make the assumption because of other actions and obvious love for the Lord that hopefully exudes from time to time and commitment to His word and time with Him. Do I do things so that others will see, hopefully not all the time. But I do have 4 set of small eyes watching me looking for standards and a plumbline. I do have those that I speak in front of waiting to get "my take" on things. We are all teachers when it comes down to and will be held to His accountability. I want to aim for the stars in His righteousness. Not leaving others behind, but bringing them with me. 1 Corinthians 8:10-13 has always been a huge verse in my life. Others are watching, am I bringing them closer to Him by my actions or am I causing them to wonder who this God really is??? Am I stumbling block!!

the last bit of scripture I would leave with you is 2 Timothy 4:1-5. This is where Paul is commissioning Timothy or giving him a charge to go preach, but also warnings. He tells him to be careful of those that want you to water down the faith - in some translations it says "tickle the ears". People will turn away from sound doctrine and want their ears tickled, just want to hear what they want to hear. I hope in your search for a church you will look for one that teaches you sound doctrine and doesn't just entertain, you will look closely for the Spirit to be evident, like at Fellowship Church (the few times I was there), and an obvious difference from the real world. I challenge myself the same as we look to the move to Nashville. there will be no perfect church because it is run by imperfect people, but One that looks to exalt the Lord in all things will most likely be safe and in right standing with the Lord.

1 comment:

melanie said...

Amen, sister! I love how you speak the truth in love! melanie