Saturday, November 19, 2005
Praying or Preying
"The church is changing," the cry was heard throughout the land. "Faith has taken on new significance in people's lives!" These are sayings from 1800 years ago, 1500 years ago, 1000 years ago, 100 years ago, and yesterday! "In America we have not seen a revival in the past 50 years," one author writes. It seems that most of us that are believers in Christ are in need of revival, or so some would have you believe. Many say that the state of affairs with the church is the very worst that it has ever been, and they will continue to say it, just as they have since the first "reorganization" of the church. It amazes me that there are so many that want to help us. Here we are on the Great American Desert dying in our pews on Sunday morning because we haven't figured out the true way, the "right" way to worship God. And this is not just here, it's everywhere, and it always has been. My personal opinion is that wherever there is a dollar to be earned with religion you will find someone hawking their own personal version of how to worship God. The radio, the TV, the internet; these days if you just gave a dime to every person that would like to help you get closer to your creator you would soon be out of dimes and more than likely still languishing in a state of being "lost." The Bible teaches us that there is "nothing new under the sun." It also admonishes us not to go chasing rainbows and pretty butterflies that someone has caught up in their net(we usually end up being the ones "caught" in the net). The church is ever changing, this is true, but faith is no different today than it was for the disciples of my Savior 2000 years ago. Beware of those who would "pray" for you and "prey" upon you. They are nothing new. These same people were around in the ministry of my Lord. God's grace is free! Forgiveness cannot be purchased again. Once was sufficient. "People are more in need now than ever before," and if you've heard it once you've got to have heard it several times over. "Times have changed, and we need to change with them." When was the last time you heard that one? It would seem in the ecclesiastical world that there are always those who are more than ready and willing to tell you and I what we need, and then follow that up with an estimate of how much we need to contribute to fill that need. The church is not Walmart, but the selling techniques are used in much the same way. The same folks that put out the commercials for Budweiser work in the advertising campaigns for denominations. That's their job, selling! You cannot buy your way into heaven, nor can you purchase a righteous seat in the congregation of the faithful. That fellow on the TV has fifty people working for him to open your envelope, and if you were to walk up to him on the street(if you could get that close to one of those individuals - they have to hire a lot of protectors)you would be more than a little surprised at the person you met. Not everyone is in ministry for the money, in fact very few are really in it for that reason. Faith is now just as it has always been, and there may be new words to sell, programs to participate in, events to attend, and music to hear, but the true sounds of faith are not heard loudly. They are heard in the quiet moments that take us within ourselves and join us to God as we reach out seeking the truth that is there to be found. It's a simple thing. It's a prayer. And that is how close our God is right now to each of us. "The church is changing," the cry was heard. What they don't hear is "faith is the same, yesterday, today, and forever!" In Christ's Love, Preacher.