Sunday, July 27, 2008

Do We Live Near The CH Spurgeon Of Our Day?

I had a great time ministering to a young adults group today—wonderful people! Thanks for the prayers! Thank you for the invite Pastors Carl and Everette—enjoyed it. These words and thoughts below ..quickly jotted down ...are on my mind. Of course I have others to thank as well for sowing them into me ...starting with the Lord. I'm just thinking out loud a bit. BTW: this wasn't my message to the young people. What I taught them was from Genesis.

Believers; Lets Wholeheartedly Do This Stuff:

- "Preach the Word" without apology! In Jesus, that will combat the famine in the land (People are famished and hungry for excellent Bible teaching delivered with real anointing and many don't recognize it). Yes, lets return to a hunger and thirst for righteousness in Christ and see Him as our ultimate Source. That calls for full surrender on our part. It calls for full commitment with no love for the things of the world inside. Lets get back to the Bible and live it!

- Stop funding bogus media ministries that don't feed your soul with the word of God! If foolish Christians would simply become discerning and quit sending in their sacrificial love offerings to false and anemic preachers (who keep calling themselves Christian ministers), they would go off the air and stop hurting the spiritual fabric of our land.

- Repent of dead works (leaders and followers) and for not fulfilling our respective callings. With all due respect, many preachers today need to hang a U-turn back to Jesus ...away from all the emergent weirdness and the seeker sensitive entertainment emphasis that leaves some ten minutes for a sermonette that produces christianettes. There is way too much biblical illiteracy in the pews now. Pastors must quit golfing all the time (or whatever time wasting activity they are given to, and get back to what God has called them to do. People come expecting to hear about Christ... expecting to hear the Bible rightly taught. Ministers must admit their laziness, quit faking it, cease with the greedy perfunctory charades in the Name of Jesus ..as they try to make it look like they really care for people. Ministers that fleece the flock don’t care for them at all—they care for themselves! They're the only ones leaving the meetings in a Rolls—Liney and I have seen it too much.. like maybe you have!

- Make the house of God a place that represents its real purpose again—a house of prayer and of worship (to Christ)… a house of teaching all the counsels of God line upon line, precept upon precept, verse by verse, chapter by chapter, book by book unto the glory of Father… a house of evangelism as we go out to tell (not about the preacher or us... the Gospel) and also bringing them in to hear from God.

Swindoll says, “Today's ecclesiastical (church) landscape is strewn with the litter of confusion, neglect, and superficiality. Churches everywhere are struggling to find their identities. Pastors, who once understood their responsibility and the roles they were called to fill, have ignored the scriptural guidelines and chosen to walk a different path. This has left congregations unsure of themselves, biblically illiterate, and starving for spiritual direction. The bold proclamation of God's Word that once characterized influential evangelical pulpits has been replaced with shallow and sometimes silly substitutes designed to entertain listeners rather than convict of sin, feed the soul, and equip the believer for a deeper walk and sacrificial service. It's as if a plague of locusts has invaded, resulting in a famine across the land. It's time to restore the years that the locusts have eaten.”

How does God address these issues today? Well, let's look and respect the words of three bold prophets:

- Ezekiel Speaks to a Fickle Congregation: “…you are to them as a very lovely song of one who has a pleasant voice and can play well on an instrument; for they hear your words, but they do not do them” (see Ezekiel 33:30-33 and the surrounding context).

- Amos Warns of a Coming Famine he said, "..I will send a famine on the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the Lord..” (see Amos 8:11-12).

But there is no time for despair and passivity for those who are in Christ, for He alone can restore what’s been ripped off from the Church. Let's obey him in truth and love.

- Joel Promises a Hopeful Future “I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten” (see Joel 2:21-27). Cheap Christian fads, hype, gimics, falseities along with those who push them—those who use these things to replace the ministry of the Scriptures in church ..among other things can totally distract us away from what's really helpful if we allow them to...like destructive locust they can devour your time and keep our families away from recieving the seed of the Word and leave you starving for the Bread of Life? What's keeping you and yours away from Jesus and real nourishment? Why let your loved ones become spiritually anorexic?

Personally, I have a weird schedule to keep and I've got to get creative in finding fellowship these days. Maybe it's challenging for you too. Keep at it!

Anyways, we had laughter filling up the building as Swindoll was out there mingling with the locals—those gathering to form an audience at Stonebriar in Frisco ..as they were finding their way to their seats (yup, it was him bursting out in laughter, slapping his knee like they used to do back in the day).

There was about ten minutes before his service started (that's always his custom too—approachability ...right up to the "kick off" but it's not the kick off for a game, a circus or a show. Here, I can't really think of anything more weighty and important as what happens in healthy churches across America each week.

I choose not to idolize anyone great or small or act like some kind of suck-up name dropper, but Liney and I live right near the CH Spurgeon of our day and it might help for me to explain things (well sure, Swindoll is a lot like that prince of pulpiteers of yesteryear even though he's also very unique). Who would disagree?

Perhaps you don't know of him. You should. He's pretty tough—he says it like it is. Swindoll was in my wife's office a couple times this week and he is just as real outside the pulpit as he is inside it seven days a week.

In a day when gender is sometimes hard to determine in the marketplace with different ones, in a day when the country seems mixed up about who to vote for and what to do about fuel and illegal aliens who are commiting crimes on our streets, this is one guy not confused about anything. In the first place, he protected our country as a US Marine. Yup, he bleeds red, white and blue, and still has his priorities in proper order. I'm explaining his style a bit. He's no wimp—no feminine bone in his body, but today he fights a different kind of battle. To be frank, he's one of the best communicators worldwide and he lives what he believes to push back darkness and shine Christ's light (do I feel slightly motivated inside after meeting him again? Absolutely. I along with many others am now his Facebook friend too. Funny huh? He snickered when I reminded him of FB activity, but he'll befriend you there as well). Have you ever heard Chuck Swindoll live? I'm grateful for him, for Billy Graham and a handful of others.

Please don't come visit Dallas or Frisco Texas and miss hearing Swindoll, Jack Graham or Tony Evans. There are some others here too, but these guys are hitting home runs and impacting so many thousands of people in the right way.

They are good examples, sound ministers, strong leaders...ones that consistently please the Lord and have never been in the habit of giving the Church a black eye ...as so many have done through immoral lifestyles. The nations best go receive ministry from Swindoll regularly. God has made him a shepherd of shepherds under the Chief Shepherd. You would do well for yourself and your family to find your Bible, Jesus, and Insight for Living by Podcast or on the radio! Hey Kurt, why not pull our your phone and take a few shots or get a really weak cell phone video clip?

Insight for Living

Stonebriar Community Church
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