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Be the Envy of Your Friends, Accessorize with God!
In the coming New Year YOU can be the envy of all your conservative friends. Accessorize with God. One color blends with everything and can be easily discarded when He becomes inconvenient.
As the world spirals closer and closer to its final days, why does it seem that more colossal Mega-Churches are appearing on the horizon? More “Family Life Centers,” more “Church Encounter Groups,” more “Valet Parking,” and more gender-specific programs to separate the family? One might think this is a good thing. Isn’t all of this wonderful growth getting more families into Church? Yes … and no. It does get more families involved in Church, but do any of these things provide access to God? (Long pause for effect)
Is God found in the recreational “Family Life Center” … or is He found on the knees? Is God found in “Church Encounter Groups” … or is He found in the tears of true repentance? Do we “Valet Park” God just as easily as we do our cars? Is the Church (just for those “Here’s Your Sign” folks … the Church is not a building; it’s the people) learning how to discard sin and stand against the enemy from listening to Pastors that have five self-motivation books on the “Best Seller” list, but never preach a salvation message? How about Pastors that sit as guests on liberal talk shows and proclaim that Jesus is NOT the only way to God?
God has been delegated to the place of an accessory. Just as one puts on certain clothes to go to work, whether a suit, or a blue-collar shirt, the majority of today’s Christians (and I use that term loosely) have developed the ability to “put on” and “take off” God. Going to Church on Sunday morning? Be sure and put on your “God-tie.” Work on Monday? Oops! Don’t forget to put God back in the closet … you might offend someone and get fired. Meet one of the Church members in the store and can’t duck them? Slip God on real quick, but don’t forget to fold Him back up if one of your fishing buddies comes along. Besides, Jesus isn't the only way to heaven anyway, is He?
Joel Osteen Sidesteps Biblical Truth
Now, isn’t that easy? It’s also horrible, but when the very Pastors they sit under on Sunday morning are the example being followed, how can they be blamed? After all, God isn’t going to hold them accountable for doing just like the Church leaders are doing? Is He? You bet your bottom dollar He is. Had they a Bible just for reading instead of leaving in the pew to hold their seat (you know, the one that only gets dusted off when it’s slid out of the way so they can sit down) they might have stumbled across the passage in Philippians that said “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Don’t know that one? Then you might be one of those that need to dust off the book and find it. I’ll give you a hint … it’s in the second chapter.
In a society where 70% of the population claim … Claim … to be Christians of one sort or another, why is abortion (let me clarify that—the murder of unborn children by the mother) still the legal law of the land, but an assailant who murders a pregnant woman is tried for both her death and the child’s? Why is it illegal to carry a Bible to school, but no one says anything about a child carrying a Koran, or the Teachings of Buddha? Why is it that a country that was founded on the principles and morals of Almighty God finds it most convenient to persecute Christians everywhere from the workplace to the inside of the church? Doesn’t sound like the new face of Christianity is doing much to fill converts with the Holy Spirit. Sounds more like another spirit is in play here, but not necessarily one from God.
But God is still the number one accessory among the elite. Mega Churches have quit allowing access to God and fellowship by the simple act of repentance. Now the new convert is assigned a sponsor, and often subject to a background check to see if that person is worthy to be a member of the congregation. Others require the completion of a “school” to insure loyalty to that church and only that church is maintained. Then you get a lovely certificate (suitable for framing, but not at the office) that identifies you as one of the Frozen Chosen. Oh, and be sure to pay every dime of your tithes to the church … the church secretary knows what you make… or you won’t be allowed a voice in any church business (as if you were in the first place).
Are Mega-Churches Hurting the Spread of the True Gospel
God wants a sanctified people—sanctified to Him and not a man or woman—that will carry the word of Jesus Christ in every walk of life. Offend someone at work because you read your Bible at break? Good! Offend your neighbor because you refuse to say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas?” Even better! Maybe … just maybe … if you keep on offending them long enough they might ask just what you see in all of that drivel. Then it’s your turn.
Of course, if this isn’t the level of commitment you really desire, then hurry and get your God accessory. When the Trumpet blows, the “stock” runs out. Jesus was quick to show us what the “Sunday Morning Christian” would look like. It was easy to find examples in the “church leadership” of the time. Remember Matthew 23? Oh, wait…many of you don’t. You probably never heard it at your church. It’s tough on offerings when the congregation is made to feel bad. Let me educate you on it. I’ll use the God’s Word for the Nations translation that was used by Billy Graham. It’s in simple English so you won’t have to strain to understand it.
"How horrible it will be for you, scribes and Pharisees! You hypocrites! You lock people out of the kingdom of heaven. You don’t enter it yourselves, and you don’t permit others to enter when they try. How horrible it will be for you, scribes and Pharisees! You hypocrites! You cross land and sea to recruit a single follower, and when you do, you make that person twice as fit for hell as you are… How horrible it will be for you, scribes and Pharisees! You hypocrites! You give God one-tenth of your mint, dill, and cumin. But you have neglected justice, mercy, and faithfulness. These are the most important things in Moses’ Teachings. You should have done these things without neglecting the others. How horrible it will be for you, scribes and Pharisees! You hypocrites! You clean the outside of cups and dishes. But inside they are full of greed and uncontrolled desires."(Matthew 23:13, 15, 23, 25)
There’s plenty more in there, but that pretty much gets the idea across. Shall we dissect the passage? Of course, the first group of hypocrites are those spoken of earlier…the ones that ignore the Bible and tell you just being good will get you into God’s kingdom. The second group is those that will work to get the “best” people into their church, you know, the lawyers, corporate heads, judges, etc. Then, of course, it’s back to group one. Sure don’t want those big givers to get mad and leave. And the last two are a lot the same, taking care of things like dress codes, status, attitude, how awful would it be if a drunk or a stinky drug addict came into the church and wanted to get saved. Why, the whole church would be offended!
She Said What?
Isn’t it odd, though, to be told that the Praise and Worship (led by the professional Praise Leader and the salaried musicians) isn’t for God? It’s really for you, because above all else, God wants you happy! Not convicted of your sin and repentant. Not grateful for His grace and mercy. Not thankful for His forgiveness. Just happy! Don’t get me wrong…God wants you to be happy, too, but the abundant life includes a little commitment from us. In his third letter (that would be John III, not the Book of John. It’s farther toward the back of the Bible.) John said, “Dear friend, I know that you are spiritually well. I pray that you’re doing well in every other way and that you’re healthy.” John III 1:2 Notice that the blessing seems to hinge on the spiritual well-being, rather than the status in life, clothes, or, Oh well…let’s leave that alone. It’s probably depressing you and we can’t have that.
But, don’t let the truth get you down. The Pastor already told you that there’s nothing to worry about. Just pay your tithes and offerings…oh, wait, I forgot about that. Tithes aren’t important anymore. We were freed from all of that stuff. But the offering, now that’s important. Somebody has to pay for this wonderful social club we have. The gym, swimming pool, indoor basketball court and track all have a mortgage on them. Oh, and so does the Pastor’s 8,000 square foot house in that posh gated community with its own police force and guards at the entrance. That’s right! I forgot! Some of you live there, too! And don’t forget the Pastor’s car, oh, and his wife’s.
Lifestyle of the Rich and...Uh...Holy?
Just be sure to have God handy for when you need Him. He’s the number one accessory to have in the coming year. Oh, and don’t forget to put him up when you’re through…..