Monday, February 18, 2008

The Church You've Always Longed For

I was given this 50 Day Spiritual Adventure Bible Study. In keeping with the previous post, I want to share with you an actual study.

On the back page it says, "Dedicated to Revitalizing Christians and Their Churches"
So, what is their idea of how to revitalize Christians and Churches?

The Church You've Always Longed For...
  1. Works at being a caring family
    How to: Learn to listen with the ears of Jesus.
  2. Captures the heart of the community
    How to: Attract others by saying good things about the church
  3. Welcomes all people
    How to: Connect with individuals outside your circle
  4. Empowers each individual
    How to: Help each other become all God wants us to be
  5. Models integrity
    How to: Get rid of personal garbage that pollutes God's church
  6. Serves a broken world
  7. Encounters the living God
  8. Anticipates a great future
So, here is what is expected of the reader heading into week one...
Assignment for this week:
Tell two people what you appreciate about your church
Daily Assignments:
Read the Assigned Scripture passages and answer the questions.
Pray the "Listening with Jesus" prayer.
Write down something you appreciate about your church.

Wow, that's going to revitalize a church? Let's take a look at one day in the lesson.
Read Romans 12:9-16
1. Which of Paul's instructions does your church follow well? If possible, give an example.
2. Which commands do you long to see your church practice more?
3. What is one area where you need to improve to help your church become a more caring family?
4. Have you had someone rejoice or mourn with you recently? How did that make you feel? How good are you at doing that for others? Explain.

Maybe week one was a warm up, let's see what week 2 has to offer...
Assignments for this week
Tell two people what you appreciate about your church
Before the adventure is over
invite someone to church
Daily Assignments
Read the assigned Scripture passages and answer the questions.
Pray the "listening with Jesus" prayer
Write down something you appreciate about your church

I don't like how this is going so far!
okay, let's try another day of getting into God's Word...
Read Matthew 5:13-16
1. How is your church "salt" and "light" to the surrounding community?
2. A little salt and light go a long way. What are some things you personally could do to help your church be salt and light?

I can't go on!!!!!!
Where is the teaching of God's Word?
What does it mean to be "salt" and "light" to the world? Give me some Scriptures that cross reference the meanings so I can truly understand Scriptures. If we are going to teach people the Word of God, let's do it the right way. Let's use the Bible and teach people how they can read it and gain "True" knowledge that comes from God's Word!

I am going to the end of the 50 days to see what we should have learned.
they offer little boxes for you to check so here are the questions...
I have completed most of Days 1-50.
I have prayed the "listening with Jesus" prayer.
I have recorded things I like about my church.
I have told other people what I like about my church.
I have invited someone to church.
I have connected with someone outside my circle.
I have helped someone become all God wants him or her to be.
I have gotten rid of personal garbage.

50 days have gone by, where is the mention of the need to repent? I found it on that last one about garbage.
And I must admit, garbage is the appropriate word to use for this study.
"if your main hindrance is pride or vanity, throw out a picture of yourself or a mirror. If it's greed, throw away a voided check. If you can't think of a symbolic object, simply write down the behavior that is polluting your life. Then take the paper and destroy it in some way." And under directions on Page 18 it says, "Once during the Adventure, evaluate those behaviors, involvements, or attitudes that are polluting your life and God's church. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you identify these things."

Only one time during the whole 50 days is the reader told they need to evaluate the need to repent. The bible tells us to examine ourselves to see that we are in the faith! we need to do this daily!!

Listen, you don't need to throw away items (unless they are exceedingly sinful in and of themselves, like a porno magazine). What you need to do is realize that unless you repent of your sins, you are headed for hell. That should be enough to create a desire in you to repent of your sins. Me throwing away a voided check if my problem is with greed, is not going to change my attitude about being greedy. My attitude will not change until I decide that I will be obedient to God's Word.

Look, if you want to be revitalized, here is what you need to do.
Read the Bible daily
Obey what you read.
Believe in Jesus (trust in Him)
Repent of your sins
Reach the lost

Do you want your church to be revitalized?
have them throw out this kind of junk posing as a Bible study!
Have them actually open up the Bible and read it one verse at a time so that the people can truly understand what Scripture is telling us.
Have your pastor stop telling jokes and stories from behind the pulpit and have him start expositing God's Word!
Have your church start practicing church discipline so that false teachings do not invade your church.
Have them practice church discipline so the person who professes to be a Christians and is still living in outward sin, will finally come to a point of repentance.

Please, if you are truly interested in doing a Bible study, I invite you to join us at Open The Bible


Doorman-Priest said...

hfwI liked the original list - apart from no. 2. Your list would be the alternative to the bit about telling people something nice about your church.

With that change I think the original list stands, but not, obviously the tasks, which are wooly.

pastorbrianculver said...

it took me quite a while to figure out what you were saying in this comment. that "hfwl" confused me. Is it possible that it should have been "hfw" and "I" starts the actual sentence?

what does hfw stand for?

Upfront, I could agree with you, but as you look deeper into the book (which I did not post everything from the book) there are many troubling things in there.

1. I agree the church should learn to listen to the needs of others.
2. Just telling people about how good your church is will not revitalize an individual or a church. (they fail on this one)
3. Welcomes all people. Again, I agree. We do not judge people because we are sinners too in need of a Savior. (but in reading the book, the reason for welcoming people outside of your circle is to have them come to church. A revitalized church is not one filled with unbelievers, it is one filled with believers who are obedient to God's Word and are out reaching the lost!)
4. Empowers each individual (here, I thought they would talk about the body of believers being edified by God's Word. Nope! it has to do with telling people they have a gift of being an electrician or a gift of being a good guitar player. No mention of growing in God's Word for being empowered!)
5. getting rid of garbage. They say you only need to do this once. I think we should examine ourselves daily to see that we are in the faith. We should repent of all of our sins. There is no mention of what happens if a person does not repent of their sins. (they fail on this one big time!)
6. Serves a broken world. I agree, we are to be in the world helping those people who are hurting, hurricane victims, flood victims, casualties of war, etc. We should be feeding the hungry and sheltering the homeless. The book says nothing about how to serve a broken world!
7. encounters a living God. Their idea in the book of encountering a living God is by telling people about your church. They think people will encounter the living God that way. Maybe they will. But why wait? Why not help them encounter a living God right now? Tell them the gospel message today. They might die before they come to church!
8. anticipate a great future. Again, this book lacks details on this other than to think your church will grow and prosper by inviting people to come to church. No where in the Bible are we told to bring people to church, we are to preach the gospel to every creature in all the world! It is more important to reach people where they are rather than have them come to a church building. There is enough false teaching in many churches that just having them come will not change anything.

There are things in the book that at first glance look okay. But as you get into the book you see that the direction they are taking is wrong. It lacks substance which is so typical of the modern church today.

If all churches would do the things I posted, it will be revitalized!
Read the Bible daily
Obey what you read.
Believe in Jesus (trust in Him)
Repent of your sins
Reach the lost

pastorbrianculver said...

Wow, that was a long response to a simple statement! sorry about that!

Jessie said...

OOOO! Can you do this on the Purpose Driven Life...? Oh, how I was misled by the teachings of Mr. Warren.

pastorbrianculver said...

not a bad idea, unfortunately, I threw my PDL book away!! I'll have to do a search on the Internet!

Jessie said...

Haha... I have about 3 I could give you... not sure why I have that many, but I just haven't discarded them since I moved out of my parent's house last April.

pastorbrianculver said...

Jessie, didn't I see somewhere that you had gotten rid of anything that was an idol in your house?? hmmm?? ;o)

Doorman-Priest said...

Sorry, Brian. I don't know what hfwl means either. A word processing issue, I suspect. I hope you didn't spend too long on it!

Sorry, I have not read the book, so was just commenting on what you had posted.

pastorbrianculver said...

I spent 6 hours studying it!!! just kidding, not a problem at all!

Jessie said...

Haha... good point, Brian. I need to get rid of them, but hey, if it can help you bring out the deception of the PDL, then I will gladly keep them!

pastorbrianculver said...

you could always use them with your furniture. You never know, you might have one leg shorter than another on a table and you can use it to level the table up!