Our Plans and Programs are not the Problem we face but our Philosophy of Attitude and Thinking.
An expression I saw recently caused me to ruminate for a while whilst waiting for friends with whom I was having lunch. It’s an expression thats especially probing in its implications. It goes “hand in hand” with a similar expression such as – “It’s not a head and hand issue in reality it’s a heart and soul issue” and in any corporate gathering of Gods people where there are no new births of the lost this is totally the point in hand.
If this is true of any of us, in any of our church groups, then the reality is that there was a point in our journey where we have lost our soul and in turn are contributing to the numbers of the lost that form our – friends, colleagues, children, and even our own family members.
Jesus said in “Matthew 22:37” – “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” None of us would argue with this truth but we should not forget what follows in “Verse 38” where we read – “And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”
However, what does that really mean? – sure we like to be “kind”, but God isn’t calling us to be kind but to be good and being good is looking to the needs of the world around us yes! but more importantly to the real and vital need – that of salvation.
The two verses declare an intimate partnership one is yes subservient to the other, but both are inseparable from one another – To try to divide them is a they say “a dog that won’t hunt.”
How can we tell when we have – “lost our way?” – How can we tell that we have an “inherent cultural problem?” – How can we tell we “have lost site of the real reason God formed a Bride for His Son?” The very best sign is when those who were once committed to His mission as declared in “Matthew 28” and were with us and those who formed our foundation start leaving. That’s what portrays itself as the litmus paper of the real situation we find ourselves in.
It could be said “Oh! People will always be restless. People will always be dissatisfied. People will always want something – different, better, and more exciting. This is all true, but when it is a regular event and eventually all that is left are the non-engaged (except for a faithful few who stay to initiate the changes needed) and those who enjoy an emotional euphoria which is what the “flesh loves” instead of doctrinal foundation’s then something is distinctly wrong. Its at this point that its time to look take a good hard look at what is wrong and to recognise that it’s not the planning and program that needs attention but personal repentance along with the culture and philosophy needing repentance.
In the business world of commerce when what has been said previously is looked at honestly what happens is that those in charge start to strengthen the programs and organisation, they add multiple layers to the management levels and it’s no different when it’s the Church organisations we are in.
We start new programs. We start new ideas. We start trying to increase the Church profile – we say – we need to be more friendly or loving or more involved in social activities – where in reality – their is a need to be more engaged in “Matthew 22:37-38” and “Matthew 28:19-20” that’s why the Church is here. It is not “The Great Suggestion.” No! It’s “The Great Commission.” The Lord has commanded his followers from every generation to put our faith into action and to go make disciples. It’s not a social club or a meeting place for those that are religious minded – No! It’s an army of disciples carrying and waving the Gospel Flag and ringing the Gospel bell.
All the things mentioned before such as (such as starting new programs bringing in new ideas, trying to increase the Church profile, being more friendly, loving and more involved in social activities) are not bad in themselves but they do not answer for us the most important question – Why are souls not coming to Christ and why are those well grounded in the faith leaving our church groups.
There are two intrinsic bedfellows that are always found together, and they are “our philosophy and results”.
Today I want to say that we do not have our lives written by the Holy Spirit with words alone. No! Our lives are written with actions. It’s not especially what we think that’s important but what we do – especially with the good news of the Gospel. Take a moment to consider “When did I last actually speak to someone about my faith in Christ and invite them to surrender their life to Jesus? When in my journey of faith did I personally or as a result of my interaction with others actually see any fruit in those being saved – Jesus did not say for nought “By their fruits will they be known” – “Matthew 7:16.” I recognise that in context its talking about “False Prophets and Teachers” and boy! don’t we have loads of those around us at this time infecting the Church and diluting the message of the Gospel. But, in our lives, every word and every action is fruit from our hearts.
Sinners sin because that’s what is in their hearts. Thieves steal, rapists attack, and adulterers cheat because those sins are the fruit being produced from an evil heart. Bad hearts produce bad fruit. When Jesus said, “You will know them by their fruit” He was pointing to a unavoidable fundemental and giving us a guide.
As we contemplate these few musings let’s remember that the opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference – we live in a world of indfference – From the world in the Biblical sense we can expect nothing less – But Children of God, Church Leaders, Pastors we are not of this World and indifference to the plight of those lost and on route for a Christless eternity should not be seen in any way, shape or form as that fruit in our lives.
In doing so let’s take to heart what Anne Frank said, “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”
Let’s make now the moment when we improve the world, change our culture and thinking for that really desired by our Saviour.