Posted by: pastortomvabeach | January 27, 2016

Thought For The Week January 31, 2016

I was not happy that we were forced by the icy roads to cancel our services last Sunday. That is something that I have great difficulty doing but we felt it was prudent to err on the side of safety rather than potentially have someone skid into a ditch or fall down in the parking lot. Let’s pray that doesn’t happen again.

Being home on Sunday morning is a different kind of experience for me. I got to see some TV preachers for change and watched two in a row. One was a pastor from Philadelphia preaching in Jamaica and following that was Dr. David Jeremiah on Turning Point. What struck me was the topic they covered. Both were talking about evidences of moral decline in the world, one very specific and one general in a way but nonetheless disturbing.

The man speaking in Jamaica was making a strong statement aimed at the government of Jamaica which was having some kind of discussions about gay “marriage”. Jamaica, along with several other Caribbean nations, still holds that marriage is only legal between a man and a woman. In recent years, the United Nations, the United States, and many nations in Europe have lobbied Jamaica to change its laws regarding homosexuality and gay “marriage”. The most recent article I read was a couple of years ago where the head of the government was adamant that they laws would not be changed. I’m not sure if the service I watched was recent or taped from some time ago, but the preacher was talking about how the world is being drawn further and further from God and our morals are hurting our children.

Dr. Jeremiah’s show was the next up and his message was from his book, I Never Thought I’d See The Day. I believe it was entitled When Morality Would Be In Freefall. A major part of his message detailed the decline of morality within the church. He talked about how we as Christians often make moral decisions based on what we want rather than on what God wants. For instance when someone says, “Surely God wouldn’t want me to stay in a marriage where I wasn’t happy.” “We love each other so what’s wrong with having sex before we’re married.” “How can God expect me to forgive her after what she did to me?” “Fudging the books isn’t really cheating, it’s just good business and I know God wants me to succeed.”

At our annual day of prayer our Potomac Network superintendent, Ken Burtram, told us that we are entering a time when the church is coming under extreme spiritual attack. He said, “Satan and his spiritual forces of evil fight for every soul held captive in the dominion of darkness. He binds people in sin, deceives people through false religion and vain philosophy, and seduces people by the tantalizing attractions of the world, leveraging man’s sin nature – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye and the pride of life. Jesus said every time the gospel is preached Satan stands ready to snatch up the seed falling on the hard packed soil of the human heart which hears but does not understand, to destroy through persecution the tender plant of spiritual life which springs up but does not gain root, and to choke out the growing word through the worries of life and the deceitfulness of wealth (Matthew 13:18-22)

All of these men were dismayed at the erosion of morals in our society that is not only bringing serious damage to our culture at large but is infecting the church. If we’re honest, we have to bear some of the responsibility for how things are because we have failed to be salt and light in the world.

Pastor Burtram also said, “The Church is at the center of God’s plan to rescue men and women from the dominion of darkness by spreading the gospel and equipping the servants of Christ. However, some churches are powerless, impotent, more concerned about social ease than about the lost in their assigned portion of the harvest field. Some churches are focused more on ‘the show’ rather than the encounter with the Holy Spirit who can snatch souls from the devil’s grip. Some churches hold excellence as a high value but ‘holiness’ is a poorly defined or lost value. While the church in America struggles to call its adherents to any kind of serious commitment – faithful attendance, giving of a tithe, turning off the game systems for family devotions – Satan is gathering an army around the world, populated by men and women willing to lay down their lives, literally, to destroy the non-believing infidel. If we do not recognize the Church of Jesus Christ is in a war we are ignorant of Scripture and blind to the brutal realities of the world in which we live. We ignore the enemy at our own peril.”

Friends, I was moved to hear not only our superintendent but two separate church leaders saying the same thing that we have been discussing this month. I believe we are at a point in history where the church needs to take seriously what the enemy is doing and join the battle. Pastor Burtram says, “It is time to repent of our wickedness, our self-centeredness, and our laziness. And we must pray on all occasions, with all kinds of prayers and requests, we must be alert, and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people (Ephesians 6:18). The Church must refocus its prayers on the mission rather than on personal needs.”

May I say that our church is committed to helping those far from Christ to meet and trust Him, helping those who know the Lord to grow in their relationship with Him, and encouraging everyone to pursue holiness, without which no man will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14). We want to grow through people coming to Christ and we want excellence in what we do but will never compromise holiness and right relationship with Christ to make it happen.

We will continue to ask the Lord to give us true passion and urgency to pray as one body that there will come a real revival within the church that spills out into a widespread awakening outside. We desire to see men, women, and children turning their hearts to Jesus; being added to the church; and then going back into the community to bring more people to Christ. There’s never been a time when praying is more needed. What have you been hearing?

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