What's Wrong With The Church?
Churches are too cultural – you know, they look too
much like the world by using technology and lights and sound and
computers and striving for an excellent presentation of the gospel.
Pretty soon it will be a Disney production. Heaven help the folks who
can’t just meet in a park.
The young people are leaving! The young people are leaving!
– by land, by sea; all those dad-gum millennial are gravitating to
steeple churches with pews showing us how messed up the church is.
Because it is truly unprecedented to have young people challenging the
system of their parents. I guess no one has ever done that in history.
Weird. Young people are still coming in droves where I worship and
showing great leadership skills.
Churches are trying too hard to be relevant – by
engaging the culture, they are looking too much like the folks around
them. They are too consumer minded; wasting all that money on
air-conditioning and plastic cups. Pretty soon we won’t be able to tell a
church from…a coffee shop or a university or something.
The church is just too flippin’ big – if we were
really making a difference, we could fit everyone in our community
around the kitchen table. And if no one ever asks to join us, I guess
that indicates spiritual depth and an unwillingness to compromise.
Because everyone coming to listen to an engaging preacher might like him
too much and give him the big head. And then he might write a book and
get famous and that’s when we will know he didn’t really love Jesus.
This kind of reading is much more fun, I suppose. Don’t get me wrong,
I think we should always weigh what we experience in a church community
against what we read in the Bible and understand from the Holy Spirit.
But we like to publish exposés. The drama is just too inviting.
IS IT JUST ME OR HAS IT ALWAYS BEEN TRENDY TO CRITICIZE THE CHURCH?
Or anything really. If we can point out all the weaknesses or
potential pitfalls of something, then we elevate ourselves by displaying
our intellectual prowess. And if we possess the articulation to couple
that with sarcastic, witty and pithy sentiments (complete with oxford
commas), we might even get published.
I DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU BUT I AM TIRED OF IT.
This applies to our current political debate as well.
My news-feed is filled with folks who can’t tell me one single thing
they are for. If they support something—shoot, anything, have a original
idea, or a positive direction we should go as a country, etc.—I
certainly can’t figure it out. Rather their posts and tweets are nothing but a tirade
against their least favorite candidate and by extension anyone who
dares to vote for such monsters. Basically, I have been threatened by
several of my own social media acquaintances that I should consider
myself “unfriended” if I should dare to vote for their particular
nemesis. And if I have any character at all, I will take the initiative
by “unfriending” them, because they are very proud to claim they don’t
know “anyone” with an opposing view whom they respect. Well, I wasn’t
really planning to post a pic inside my voting booth next fall (is that
even legal?), but I guess if they want to follow me in there and have a
go at judging me, then have at it.
“I know it is easier to criticize than it is to celebrate what God is doing in our midst.”
I AM PRETTY SURE I KNOW, LOVE, ADMIRE AND APPRECIATE FOLKS WHO SEE THINGS DIFFERENTLY THAN ME.
I grew up in a monochromatic world where we lived in community with
folks who looked and believed like us, complete with a dress code. And
I’m kind of done with that. Thankfully, they introduced me to Jesus and I
had a father who exhibited revolutionary tolerance for “others,”
showing me how to love those who don’t see the world like me. I say
tolerance rather than acceptance to explain that we didn’t lose our
beliefs by engaging those on the other side of the fence or aisle or
whatever. In fact I learned to think critically; to actually understand
and evaluate where my own faith and beliefs were grounded. Where my
faith was shallow and unfounded, it showed quickly, forcing me to go
THIS KIND OF ENGAGEMENT OF “OTHERS” IS WHAT JESUS DID AND HE WAS CHALLENGED FOR IT.
“You are hanging with the wrong people, drinking the wrong drink,
loving the wrong race.” And yet Jesus didn’t compromise any part of his
ministry to do it. And those who were with him didn’t fall away in poor
association either. They learned to imitate his love for the lost.
I THINK IT IS HIGH TIME WE ENCOURAGE EACH OTHER IN OUR MINISTRIES.
If you are making disciples, teaching people about Jesus, baptizing new believers and loving the lost,
then bless you and your efforts. I really don’t care where you meet,
how you sing, or what your cultural preference and expression is.
Certainly, I have my ideas about what methods are effective in my
mission field, but I will not waste my time fussing at you, especially
if you are producing fruit.
I KNOW IT IS EASIER TO CRITICIZE THAN IT IS TO CELEBRATE WHAT GOD IS DOING IN OUR MIDST.
But I wonder what God thinks about that.
• Do you have godly leaders who proclaim the word clearly?
• Is everyone encouraged to use their spiritual gifts and live out their faith?
• Is the church engaged in community, actively serving and inviting the lost?
• Is there a strong system of discipleship and small groups?
• Are people surrendering their lives to Jesus?
Then let’s celebrate that and throw our weight behind it.
On Easter Sunday our staff met together to pray for all the services
ahead of us and we were thinking of all the extra hours we logged on
Easter week to be ready. I was suddenly struck by the thought of every
other church in town. I bet their pastors and staff also put in extra
blood, sweat and tears preparing for the highest and holiest holiday in
Christendom. I found myself praying that their efforts as well as ours
would be magnified and that God would draw people to himself in all
these different places and communities.
I hope you are in a great church. If not, get in one. There are plenty
Temporary and Immediate Financial Help is Available
If you are in need of temporary financial help, there are many programs that can help you, starting today!
There are times in life where many people find themselves needing temporary financial help. Fortunately, in America, there are many programs available for for those families who are in need of short-term financial support. Unfortunately, there are also many scam artists who prey upon the desperation of people for their own financial gain. In this article, we discuss various governmental programs who aid families in need; at the same token, we also discuss the best tips to recognize whether you are getting scammed.
There are a variety of temporary options that exist for families who are in need of food assistance. You can first start by checking your local area for community food pantries, churches, and organizations who donate food to people who are struggling in their communities. Usually, these organizations do not have any specific requirements, and will freely give away food until they run out.
Most importantly, you can also check your particular state for an application for food stamps. The food stamp program is federally funded but ran by state or local agencies. The people who qualify are low-income families and are in need of temporary financial help. On average, SNAP households currently receive about $255 a month. The average SNAP benefit per person is about $126 per month, which works out to about $1.40 per person per meal. and up to $1,008 for a family of eight. If you would like to find out whether your family is eligible, you can visit the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
Although each state has different requirements and criteria for what is considered “low-income", regardless of the state, everyone must meet the following conditions:
Must have a Social Security Card.
If you don't have a Social Security Card, you must have applied for one, as well as provide proof of your application.
You must be a U.S. Citizen, a U.S. National, or a Qualified Alien.
With the rising cost of housing, people can apply for rental assistance from a program commonly referred to as Section 8 Housing. It is also a federally funded program which subsidizes housing for low-income families. This program pays a portion of the monthly rent, and the remaining portion is paid by the family. The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) also works closely with the Veterans Administration to help provide safe and affordable housing for homeless US armed forces veterans. Nonetheless, in order to become eligible, families must meet the following criteria:
House for rent
Must be a U.S. Citizen.
Non-Citizen who has eligible immigration status.
Family's income can not exceed 50% of median income for the country or their metropolitan area.
Most importantly, median income levels are published by HUD and will vary according to location. For more information, or to locate your local office, visit www.hud.gov.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is a program that provides temporary financial help benefits to families who are in Money on a pan need. The requirements under this program vary widely according to state, as each state is responsible for developing their own criteria. However, more than 1/3 of the states have income requirements which require that families must have income of less than 50% of the federal poverty level in order to qualify for TANF. On the other hand, some states require that the family's exceed 100% of the federal poverty level. You must check your particular state for income requirements. For more information, you may contact your local office or visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
There are many scammers out there who are pretending to help families in need. Unfortunately,there are no limits to the frauds being perpetuated today. Most commonly, people experience situations where fraudsters are requesting personal information to steal their identities. Scammers may also request that the victim pay an application fee first, before they are eligible for immediate financial help. Whatever the case, there are usually four “red flags" that would alert you that a fraud is occurring and that you are in the process of being scammed, says the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER). They are:
You are being promised something that is “too good to be true".
The scammer(s) exhibits a sense of urgency, usually communicating to you that you need to “act now" for immediate financial help.
The scammer(s) are using high-pressure sales tactics.
The fraudster does not want you to scrutinize or question the deal.
If you are going through a difficult time in your life, don't be afraid to seek temporary financial help. There are organizations, churches, and governmental programs that are available for people who need assistance, just like you. However, if you are going to enroll in a program that offers immediate financial help, make sure it is reputable and you know who they are.
You might find these temporary financial help programs useful as well:
Money on a Frying Pan - Boaz Yiftach
Who Can Help Pay Rent
The Salvation Army. Local Salvation Army chapters offer one-time assistance to help you cover rent payments. ...
Catholic Charities. Catholic Charities offers emergency assistance grants, which you can use to pay your rent. ...
Modest Needs. ...
Society of St. Vincent De Paul. ...