"If you call me and I come to Oregon, we are going after the lost."
How can I bear this happiness? The LORD has answered your prayers, and, mine. This man sees the lost of this world, like I do! Here is a paraphrase of the things Pastor Mark said, along with my responses interjected to each thought.
He said that we can't just keep doing church for our own pleasure. It isn't enough to have expository preaching in the pulpit; if that's all we have our doors will still close. We need to get to know the culture and speak the language of the lost around us. Praise God! This church could be on its last generation, unless we're willing to be a little uncomfortable and change our priorities. What does it take to make a church grow, you ask? Babies. Babies. They're not all that great. You have to change diapers, you have to watch tv shows that they want to watch.... When you got married you once had a lot of freedom to do the kinds of things you like to do. But once you committed yourself to the responsibility of being a parent, you gave up a lot of freedom so that you could do things with the children. It's the same with the church.
The kinds of people coming to faith in Christ, today, are not the same kinds of people that came to Christ a generation ago. The people of today receiving salvation, are broken. Broken, like you don't want to know all the things they've been through in their life. We expect that when they accept Christ their lifestyle will shortly turn around, but that's just not practical many times. They might go on having multiple abortions, or sleeping with every guy that comes their way.
Praise God for this message!! Thank you!!
Discipleship today is labor-intensive. These new Christians need help all the time. Expect to get a phone call at 3 AM, or four calls in one day as they face their temptations and need encouragement to not stray. How can we expect them to be put together? She can't act like a mature woman because she has no idea what that looks like. Men have no idea what it means to be a father. They will slowly learn it by prayer and patience and faith in God.
Wake up! Wake up! God has been listening and He is ready to bless you and I. He was listening all along, wasn't He?
The pastor-elect said the culture of today is marked by some clear trends:
1 -- they resent and are suspicious of authority
2 -- they don't believe in absolute truth
So just using scripture is not going to win them.
Praise God for this message!
On average it takes about six months of someone coming to church, hearing about Jesus and experiencing love in relationships, before they will --believe-- and receive the gospel. In fact there is a church in Ogden, Utah where the LDS people are coming. For them, give it an additional two months - eight months on average - of them attending. NOT being called out. Not being noticed, or preached to. Just being there and experiencing it, is how they will be prepared to put their faith in Jesus.
Praise God! Wake up, wake up, God is coming near to the broken hearted, the downtrodden, the forsaken. I love you LORD, for doing this in my sight, in the days of MY life!!
He said it isn't enough to win people by having a friendly church. Friendly churches? They're a dime-a-dozen. What the world is hungry for, is a true friend. There is a difference between being friends and being friendly; a world of difference.
What do you do to save the prostitutes in the inner city? You go out there and you go get 'em. You don't need a build a program; you, go!
Yes, Oh, LORD! Send me, with your grace! I believe in You in this way.
What have I been trying to say, I don't know?!? but this person, he just said it for me. He is my advocate. I went up and I told him; I said to him, "You? You are my advocate. You said everything that is important to me. Thank you."
All the people in my world? Family. Neighbors. Other religions. Even "carnal" evangelicals. This is what I've been trying to say all along. Free grace theology read Galatians and Romans to me in the way I needed verification. The gospel should be presented as a true gift of God through faith alone. That was the biggest thing, till now - this is bigger. Why?
Because I think I would rather live my life without being understood or alone according to truth, before, before I would let my church be comfortable turning away from the people I long to see know Christ. I would rather forsake the satisfaction of enjoying my own kind, from even affiliating myself as evangelical, before I would promote another moment of pain and disillusion for those kinds of people who only need a little more effort than what we think they're worth. Too those in the church have frequently dismissed that suggestion for being radical. We, evangelical Christianity and I, we were at odds with each other.
I don't want to choose, God, I always have thought to myself. If I have to choose between those whom You love and the ones who I feel comfortable around, I'll spend the rest of my days with the lost, no regrets.
Doctrine such as the gospel affects who? Mostly it affects me. But everyday I face a world that needs Christ. This is why I felt so little familiarity with evangelical Christianity for this long. Because my friends, my family, my neighbors were alienated by this old (scripture only/first) method of discipleship. And I didn't even have the words to say this, until this week.
Now I know. I will stand up, ready to serve, and bear the infallible scriptures with pride, but now with sanctioned temperance. It is finally best to share the gospel while expending equal effort toward love and presence. The Spirit wants to engage hearts, whole persons, whole lives.
LORD, you have found me and knitted me back into the fold!