I agree with what you say Jeff. Last night I was watching the Super Bowl with my family, as is our custom. I was allowing myself to watch things I wouldn't normally watch were it any other event on any other day, but I foolishly made an exception to this, because afterall, it was the Super Bowl.
So, about at half-time, I watched the "artists" perform their shows, and then came Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson. JUstin proceded to air-hump Jackson, or as one cable news network said, "flirtatious dancing." Then comes the end of the song where Timberlake, as far as I'm concerned, deliberately exposed Janet Jackson's right breast at the end of the "dance."
At that point, God broke through me and started dealing with me. I instantly thought... I could be watching all this at the homes of members from my church tonight. Then I thought, I could also be watching it at any number of churches that are having super bowl parties. Then I thought of how many churches in the area canceled Sunday night services, or moved them back, several hours, so they could all watch the toilet-bowl...er Super Bowl.
Then I thought how at my church yesterday morning, we sang "Turn your eyes upon Jesus.... and the things of this world will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace." I wonder for how many fellowships pulled the plug at that point? I wonder how many churches last night decided to have a 4 hour prayer meeting where they gazed upon Jesus instead of some little ball bouncing back and forth from one side of the screen to the other and the erotic dancing that was paraded across stage at half-time.
How carnal are we? Is it no wonder that God is absent from our fellowships? Is it no wonder that we have to come up with every technique in the world to attract people to our large pine boxes? Is it no wonder that people are going after false manifestation after manifestation? Is it no wonder that the family unit is absolutely destroyed? If God is truly with us, then in the words of Gideon, "where are all the miracles?"
How much different will it be one day. Today we allow everything in the world to cause us to take our eyes off Jesus. But one day, and the day is coming, when the dead will rise and stand before Christ in judgment, and in that day, "heaven and earth will flee from His presence." What a glorious day. A day where there will be nothing to keep us from setting our eyes upon the holy and majestic face of the Lamb, for all the things of this world will vanish before His presence. For some this will be a time of rejoicing, for others, a time of dread. It will be a rejoiceful time for those who chose to cast their gaze upon Christ now, but it will be a time of absolute dread for those who have not.
| 2004/2/2 7:07||Profile|
Ravenhill quoted Keith Green, "All roads lead to the judgment seat of Christ.
May the fire burn on!
| 2004/2/2 7:34||Profile|
Santa Clara, CA
I too was appalled at the same things, was shocked and grieved over it.
Sports in and of themselves as far as the 'game' aspects, competiton, athleticism, team work and so forth are not the problem. We have far to many examples in the scriptures alluding to them and not in anyway denouncing them.
I am also aware of the 'fanaticism' associated with all of it as a former fanatic as well as a former gambler. In a sense for a long time they were my 'gods'. But when I was apprehended from above, they lost their appeal and became what was intended "to enjoy all things" in their right perspective. I can take 'em or leave 'em.
If I never saw another Sharks game as long as I live, it wouldn't mean a thing...a couple of years ago you would have caught me speeding to get home in time for the puck to drop.
Unfortunately, this 'essense' of sport has become tainted, ruined better yet, by the influence of all the attachments and broadening erosion of the society at large. The envelope keeps getting pushed, little by little..we all know what is going on here. I did not come to make a defense of t.v. in any way, in fact I am ready to throw my house into a state of upheavel by pulling the plug on this insipid idiot box, the vast majority of it is a cop out on reality, a dumbing down of the God given brains of the masses, a drug to seduce the world to sleep and a feeding ground for immorality.
It is absurd to think that we would be intergrating it into our churches, but it is so in too many cases. The other post's I am in complete agreement.
Like(d) the sports, just not that much...
| 2004/2/2 7:43||Profile|
Valley of Decision
Im sorry, i just can't believe what is being said here.
Is it no wonder that God is absent from our fellowships?
Who said God isn't moving in our churches? I CANNOT believe this!!! just because there are drama teams, lighting effects, pool tables, and worship bands doesn't mean that God is not there. In these youth ministries, lives have been changed and students have been healed.
THESE ARE NOT just the kids that come with their families on Sunday morning, some of these are kids coming from wrecked homes, if homes at all. It's not just a few kids that one would call a "youth group"... these are youth ministries, reaching students instead of staying in our boxes.
| 2004/2/2 10:52||Profile|
Valley of Decision
in the youth ministry that i am a part of specifically, we don't just have one night as a youth night. We have a youth service, where you would find the pool tables, the lighting effects...
then, during the week, we have adult leaders and student leaders leading small groups of students in their homes or at the church. This builds fellowship. Then we also have dicipleship courses that are tought by the youth pastor.
only one youth night, yes, it is hard to build fellowship. That is why we have these small groups and the dicipleship courses.
| 2004/2/2 10:59||Profile|
you have to remember that many of us here have been christians for awhile. when you are growing and maturing in the Lord you should learn to let more of the "world" go- it's a narrow path we walk and it only gets narrower as you go.
we (other posters including myself) should remember that not all poster are long-time (should be mature) christians.
I will admit that new christians and people who need the Lord need to be approached sometimes a little differently, especially kids. They need love and support and healing- which any one who is in Christ could do- it doesn't have to be a church's job.
I know that the church I was at for three years- even though 99% of everyone was lukewarm- the Lord still led me from a lukewarm christian to an on -fire growing Christian. It had nothing to do with the that church per se, but I believe the divine appointments He had for me there. It's like something in me "woke up" and I saw through all of the lukewarmness and lies and I tried to tell people there that soemthing was terribly wrong- they did not want to hear about it.
There was a purpose in it for the time being though. It was a stepping stone.
As far as the fellowshiping goes- it is nice to have fellowship- necessary many times- but the churches today get you 'hooked" on a continual "go, go, go" scedule. You feel as like if you aren't with the Church people- then you aren't with God. It begins to be almost an addiction. The most important fellowship we can ever have is with the Father Himself. it doesn't matter where we are, who we're with. I stayed in my home for a few months fellowshipping (accept to do the necessary errands), talking and listening to the Lord and I had never felt such intimacy with the Lord. I grew more in my walk than ever. Fellowshipping with church people is no substitute for getting alone with God. Many times it's just more "busy" work and learning Church traditions that were never meant to exist in the first place.
I am sorry you feel we are so quick to judge. I would definitely approach this whole subject differently with an unsaved person or relative. I think that mostly we are aiming our comments at mature christians who should know better because as we grow we should automatically be letting 'things' like this go.
In Him, Chanin
| 2004/2/2 11:27||Profile|
Who said God isn't moving in our churches?
I've seldom seen Him move in the fellowships I've been involved with. Sometimes, but not much.
I CANNOT believe this!!! just because there are drama teams, lighting effects, pool tables, and worship bands doesn't mean that God is not there. In these youth ministries, lives have been changed and students have been healed.
I have nothing against any of these things in themselves. However, too often these things become the focal points. At best, they should perhaps be the icing on the cake. Christians, especially Christian kids, should do fun activities together. I enjoy doing fun things with other Christians, as that is part of sharing our lives together.
However, if kids or others are simply coming to the church because of this glitter, then they are coming totally for the wrong reasons. I believe these things to have become major distractions at my church, not only for the children, but also for the leadership as well.
If the focus is not on Christ, and leading people into worshipping Him with all their lives, and building up the saints, and winning the lost, then there is a serious problem. We must lead people into encountering Christ, through the fruit of the Spirit, and the gifts of the Spirit.
| 2004/2/2 12:46||Profile|
Oak Ridge, Tennessee
"Fellowshipping with church people is no substitute for getting alone with God. Many times it's just more "busy" work and learning Church traditions that were never meant to exist in the first place".
Yep, been there, done that , got the T-Shirt. Ain't goin' back though. ;-)
Also, you said :
"I am sorry you feel we are so quick to judge".
Okay, we forgive you, but knock it off will you? We ain't got time for all of that. :-D
| 2004/2/2 13:23||Profile|
I want to make myself a little bit more clear. I see that some of you may be misunderstanding my passion in this area. Is there anything wrong with sports? Not in and of themselves. Lights? No. Drama? No, if that were true I'd be in trouble. Worship Teams (contemporary ones even)? Absolutely not, my wife and I do the worship at our church also.
Now let me change things up a bit.
Is there anything wrong with buying a field? NO!
Anything wrong with buying a yoke of oxen? NO!
Anything wrong with taking a wife for ones self? NO!
Yet though there are nothing wrong with these three things we find in the parable of the Great Supper, that these were the very things which kept three men from attending the Masters banquet. They weren't sin necessarily, but at that particular moment they were absurd.
Even though there is nothing wrong with marriage, (for he who findeth a wife findeth a good thing), yet in Joel 2, set in the context of national disaster and depravity the LORD says to call a soelmn assembly and in verse 16 He instruct the bride and the bridgroom to come out of their chambers. What is wrong with a bride and a groom being together? Nothing at all, but see the times had grown more urgent, and what was good and acceptable 5 minutes ago is now absurd. Again Paul says to the Corinthians, that because OF THE TIMES, he that is married should live as though he is not. (he is not to be tied down with the affairs of this life.) See there are many things that are not sinful, yet in light of the times we're living in they have become absurdities. I read just the other day in Revival Praying by brother Ravenhill an example he gives on this matter. He gives the example of a father playing with his little girl on their front lawn. Nothing sinful here right? In fact this is a pleasant thought in a day of fatherless homes. However, this man happens to be a fireman, in fact he drives the truck. He has just received a message that there is an out of control blaze in town and they need him there ASAP. Now if he, ignores the alarm thinking someone else can take care of it today, I'm playing with my little girl, he becomes a neglegent criminal. What was right five minutes ago, suddenly becomes a crime. Now lets go back to the matter at hand. THere is nothing technically wrong with smoke and lights and video games (although thats a stretch). However, considering the urgency of our times, having a gathering of youth (or adults) together and do nothing but play games, read a few verses of scripture, socialize and go home is absolutely IMMORAL in these times. The day of slumber is over my friends. 20 years ago these things may have been at least passable, but in these times friends it is time for a voice to cry out in the wilderness. It is time to take our youth deeper in the things of God. (not into the swimming pool) We must raise up an army of Young Prophets and Revivalists. We must raise up intercessors and soul winners. We must raise up martyrs for Jesus. I condemn no man for doing things another way, all I'm saying is that I do not see the long term effectiveness of it. For instance we have 2 very large seeker-sensitive style youth ministries in our area. Their services are filled with all of the above, games, secular music, lights etc... They both run high in attendance as well. Yet some time ago I went personally to one of these to check them out and a young man (and attender I might add) was standing at the front door selling drugs. Now I know people who were saved and touched there as well. However, the long term effectiveness is lacking sadly when matched up with what I read about in the Bible and Church History. Do you remember the story of Hannah in 1 Samuel? Do you remember that Elkanah had 2 wives not just Hannah? There was also Peninnah, and the scriptures tell us that she was fruitful. According to scriptures she had both daughters and sons. Hannah however, was barren. One looked much more fruitful and effective than the other. But do you know something interesting? We really never hear from Penninahs children. I'm sure they were significant in their own right, but for the most part they had no significant impact on history. However, Hannah, the barren one, fell on her face before the Lord and cried out for a manchild. She not only in the course of time received this, she also received a Prophet, Priest, and Ruler whoes name was Samuel. Penninah appeared more fruitful, yet her children were historically insignificant. Hannah, however, took much longer to produce but because it was done through the power of the Spirit and not through the flesh, her son finds a place in Hebrews 11 with the heroes of our faith. Friends there are (I believe) 2 segments in the church today, those who are contented with being Penninahs, and producing quickly yet only producing average children, and then there are the Hannahs. These recognize their own barrenness. These know the power of the Spirit is the only answer. These know tears, intercession, holiness, prayer are the only answer. These I believe will be the ones whom God will use to birth His Sameul (Revival) in the earth.
Friends let us strive to be Hannahs and not just Penninahs. Penninahs means "Jewel" or "Precious". This segment of the body is still precious to God. Hannah, however, means "Favored". May we strive to be the favored of God. May we say with Paul, "I count all things as dung that I may win Christ." (speaking of His favor)
Blessings and Fire on all of you,
| 2004/2/2 14:57||Profile|
Valley of Decision
sorry... i was gettin a little crazy there.
I'll be honest. (1/10 of my story)
a few years back (i was in Jr. High), there was a guy who was talking to four guys in our youth ministry about how his life was before he was saved. he was hooked on a couple of things, and he was a slave to movies, video-games, secular music, rpg's... That night he shared (Romans 6:14) with us, and explained what he did on the night he turned his life around. He went through his house and tore up his books, destroyed his games and R-rated videos (and he was an avid collector), and instead of giving them away, he threw everything out so that no one else would suffer by them.
that week, i went through all of my stuff. I scratched all of my PC games and threw them out. (i never had any secular music though)
Then a little while later, there was a card game that had been consuming all of my time. I got rid of the cards. I used to play in local soccer programs and at my school, and I used to be part of my school's ROTC program, but when these things got in the way of my serving at church they had to get out of the way. I used to be a football fan, but then i realized that football was just an advertising outlet. I can go on, and on, and on...
God started to move in my life. I got a hold of a book by E.M. Bounds called Power through Prayer, and a devotional by Oswald Chambers,
[u]My Utmost for His Highest[/u]. (I was then entering High School)
It was after all of this that the change began to happen. Now it's two years later and the most amazing things have happened.
i understand that we must give up our idols, because i have. but others don't understand.
i love it when i go to church and all we do is worship all night, but others don't understand yet. that is why we don't just pray and worship all night. i still [b]have[/b] to go to school and live amongst students who don't understand.
all i can do is pray and reach out to these students through the youth outreaches, because they really don't want God. and they remind me every day. some actually do things just to please themselves, with the motive of trying to hurt God, they try to show Him that they don't want Him. then there are those who think they know Him, but they have no clue. They keep on sinning, because they think Jesus doesn't actually want us to live like Him. (That is what religion does, it brainwashes children. But God gives us freedom.) (blah, blah, blah, i can keep on going.)
It's tough, and my heart is constantly broken. I see people conforming all the time.
But Christ reigns.
| 2004/2/2 17:45||Profile|