I was talking with my younger sister today who lives in Indiana about church trends and the aging process. Neither of us could believe that we are as old as we are, and neither of us ever thought that we would ever have to deal with the things taking place in many churches today.
One blog I read recently was from a pastor who was heartbroken and ready to resign from ministry lamenting how mean church members can be. Some of his older congregants were contemplating actually leaving the church completely because they said the people out in the world are not nearly as mean as some of the people who regularly attend church.
Having said that, I want to say how thankful Betty and I are to be a part of a church that loves the Lord, loves the Word of God, loves the people of God, loves one another, and loves their pastor and his family. Crossroads is truly a unique church, and I want to see the joy, peace, and tranquility we have celebrated the past 8 years as a body continue until the Lord comes back for us or calls us home.
But good churches like ours don’t just happen. It takes a lot of love, forgiveness, prayer, and watchfulness to keep the devil and his minions at bay. There will always be those satan brings into our midst who will do their best to make their voices heard about what they think needs to be done, when it needs to be done, and how it needs to be done. They never do anything to build the church up, but they sure do and say a lot of things that can tear a church down.
Thom Rainer, president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources and founding dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions and Evangelism, calls these people “Church Bullies.”
He says these people show up at a church already disgruntled with no intention of joining and then they begin to seek out those they consider to be weak in the faith and whom they know will not stand up for themselves or their church, and endeavor to win their friendship. That is where the necessity watchfulness comes in.
Once they have coalesced a small group of people together, then they do their damage before moving on to another church where they will start the whole routine over again by sewing their seeds of disgruntlement in another unsuspecting congregation. My younger sister shared with me today how some of those kinds of people have done tremendous damage in her church in Indiana recently.
One of the best protections we as a church have against that kind of behavior is to be aware of those who sew discord and make sure that we avoid them, while drawing closer to the Lord by staying in love with Him, His Word, and His people, and never letting these kinds of people divide us. And that is exactly what I hope we do as we begin a brand new year of service together for the Lord.
We will be starting two brand new series of sermons tomorrow, January 3rd, the first Sunday of the New Year. Then in about four weeks we will begin a new series of messages on Wednesday night dealing with corporate prayer which is vital to any church’s survival.
Tomorrow morning (Sunday, January 3rd) we are beginning a lengthy study of the one book of the Bible that exalts our Lord and Savior like no other book of the Bible – the book of Revelation. I am so excited about this new study that I can hardly stand it. If Crossroads doesn’t fall in love more with the Lord through this study there is something wrong with us!
Tomorrow evening (Sunday, January 3rd) we will begin a study of the book of Jude, the last general epistle and the last book before the book of Revelation. What a powerful contrast there will be between the teachings of these two books. Jude deals with the spirit of some in the church that will lead to the great falling away from the faith that will ultimately usher in the last days prior to the Tribulation period.
On another note I am also happy to share with you that we have added a new prayer tool to our website that is going to be a vital part of our study on prayer that will begin in a few weeks. You will find a tab called “Prayer List” under the “Members” tab. If you are asked for a password, it is the same password used in all other sections of the website.
The “Prayer List” is a continually updated list of prayers reflecting our printed Wednesday evening prayer sheets. The only difference is you can access it 24/7 and you don’t need to carry a prayer sheet around with you. The list is accessible on your smart phone, tablet, or computer.
Please remember that if you wish to add something to our prayer list there is a “Prayer Request Form” under the “Connect” tab of the website.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the church using the “Email Crossroads” tab under “Connect” tab as well.
Looking forward to seeing you in church tomorrow and am super excited about beginning a new year of loving the Lord, loving the Word, and loving one another together