Wednesday, March 28, 2012

When is it...Time to Change Churches? Chapter 1


THE PASTOR AS…

THE ENTERTAINER

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen

to the greatest show on earth!

Be prepared to be dazzled, inspired and knocked out as we present to you

“The Gospel according to us!”

Could this happen in a church? Most definitely can and does far too often. How about an example of a pastor allowing an American Idol kind of performance on his platform? And then to top it off, he allows a man to sing a country western song called, “I’ve got friends in low places.” Where the whiskey drowns and the beer chases my blues away and I’ll be okay. Give me one hour and I’ll be as high as that ivory tower you’re living in. After the song, the pastor stands up and says, let’s all stand now and worship God. They just got done singing a song about the things of Satan and now he wants the people to stand and worship God. It’s all about entertaining people to keep them interested in church and to keep their focus off of the message. The entertainer never has a truly God inspired message to give. Their focus is not on God. It is all about numbers and how can we grow this church bigger.

Here is another example of a pastor that has gone too far. He dresses in jeans that have holes in them (because he feels in order for people to come to church, they must feel “comfortable” before they will listen to a message about God.). He has the status goatee that every “cool” pastor must have and he mocks God in order to get a good laugh. He criticizes “Christians” because they believe it goes against God’s Word to tattoo their body which is the Temple of God. He plays “rock” music so that the hip young crowd will want to come to “his” church. And that is exactly what it is, it is “his” church and not God’s.

So that is only two examples. You say, your church does not do this. How about another church that brought two motorcycles into the sanctuary and drove around the congregation to the song “Born to be wild?” They did jumps on stage to the applause of the people (the same people who came to church looking to be entertained!). To this pastor, God’s Word is not strong enough on its own; it must have some excitement added to it to make it appealing to the people.

Yet, another church plays secular music during their worship time. One church spent six minutes and twenty three seconds playing, “You can’t always get what you want.” Full of electric guitars, drums and high tech visuals to highlight the song, it is completely lacking anything close to resembling a holy worship of God. Instead it looks more like a rock concert. Anything to please the masses!

How about magicians in church? Raffle drawings from the pulpit? Or better yet, see what a mega-church has to offer. Imagine a Starbucks, the beach, a skate park, an art gallery, a gym, and a theater all rolled into one amazing building. That’s what the Refinery is all about and it was designed with you in mind!

And all the while, people will follow the pastors of these churches. They like the modern look and the exciting display of worldly passions all rolled into one building that looks like a church (but in reality is not a church). They like the pastor that is cool, hip, modern and totally not like any other pastor they have ever seen. They want a pastor that will not tell them about their sins and the need for repentance. The entertainer pastor lacks something. Even if he has written books with millions sold, it is not in line with God’s Word. The entertaining pastor will lie and deceive you; and the people will fall for it hook, line and sinker. The entertainer has a way of smiling and entertaining and presenting a gospel message that is not God’s Word (properly exposited), but is actually his own words to promote his own agenda. And what is his personal agenda? To grow the church. Is that a bad thing? No. But when pastors use entertainment, lies and deceit to get the people to come to church, you can be assured that money is the overriding theme.

The entertainer enjoys the thought of being on TV. He wants a high profile in the community as having the church that everyone “wants” to come to. He is constantly asking for money with a promise that you will prosper and receive a “special” blessing. He is a snake oil salesman looking for his next sale. He is a used car salesman that is looking to take advantage of a na├»ve newcomer (this is not true of all used car salesmen!).

The entertainer takes pride in being able to pray in public, to preach in front of hundreds, even thousands of people. It is his chance at stardom. And through it all, it is not God honoring but self-absorption that is driving this man. People are drawn to these entertaining men. They want to feel good when they go to church and these men do not disappoint.

Look again at what Scripture says…

I charge [thee] therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ,who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth,

and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

2 Timothy 4:1-5 KJV

These people who call themselves pastor’s and are only interested in entertaining will most assuredly be missing these three things. REPROVE, REBUKE AND EXHORT. They and the people following them do not understand that their doctrine is not sound and is nothing more than fables. The people who follow these men are guilty of making an eternal mistake…

After their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ear; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 2 Timothy 4:3

To have “itching ears” is to have your ears tickled. It also means that the person is desirous to hear something pleasant. The entertainer pastor tries not to disappoint on this count.

Seriously consider now what kind of pastor do you follow. Does he try to convince you that this kind of entertainment is necessary to bring people to Christ? Don’t believe him. The devil wants nothing more than to get inside the church and to pervert the gospel message.

For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Hebrews 4:12 KJV

To entertain the people when they need to hear the gospel message, the whole gospel message is to be shameful at the least and damning at the most.

If you want to be entertained, then go to the movies or go watch a ballgame. If you want to learn about God, then go to a biblical church.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

when is it time to change churches? read more!

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction
Part 1 – The Pastor
The Entertainer
The Story Teller
The Comedian
The Crier
The Spiritually Undiscerned
The Accepter of all that is False
The Neo-Evangelist
The Lazy Pastor
The Woman

Part 2 – The Teachings
The Purpose of the Church
The Teachings that don’t match the Belief
The False Teacher
The Scripture Twisting
The Idolatry Teachings
The “No need to repent” Teachings
The “I’m scared to teach on tithing” Teachings
The “Church Discipline will Offend People” Teachings

Part 3 – The Church
The Downfall of Many Churches – Board Members
The Purpose of the Church
The Vision of the Church
The Church Committee’s
The Pastor Search Committee
The One Service per Week Church
The Dying Church
The “Me” Church
The “Send in your money” Church
The Satellite Church
The “Youth are put on Hiatus” Church
The Overall Obedience of the Members of the Church

Part 4 – The Decision
The “I’ve Lost Faith in my Pastor” Considerations
The Question – Is it time to change churches?
The Checklist
The Search for a new church
The Desire to change the church I am in
The Blog – Time 2 Change Churches
The Final Word

As this book is finished, I will continue to post more from the book. I have already finished the first 4 chapters and plan to finish the next 5 chapters in the coming week. I am seeking a finish to the book by the middle of April. The notes are in place and it is flowing very well. I am looking forward to getting this book published. Please keep this book in your prayers.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

when is it time to change churches?

Below is just one page of my new book that I am writing! I will post the table of contents in a day or two!

WHEN IS IT…
TIME TO CHANGE CHURCHES?

INTRODUCTION

You drive home from your Sunday morning church service and something is bothering you. You do not feel the Holy Spirit in your church service and you feel like your pastor is missing something. You are not at all comfortable in your church. The problem is, you feel like you are going against God’s Word if you leave your church. You have questions about the who, what, when, where and why’s of changing churches. And finally you have the question of “how” to change churches.

This book will explore several key points for you to consider in your future decisions concerning your church attendance. This book will take an in-depth study of the pastor, the teachings and the church in general that you are currently attending. The final part of this book is called “The Decision.” As you prepare to make your decision, you will be able to look over a checklist and combine it with the appropriate sections of this book in order to make a judgment on your church. Not just a judgment, but a biblical look at your pastor, the teachings and the church in general. The Bible is the standard that we look at.

The authorized version of the bible, the KJV is used in the study of this book. May you be blessed as God’s Word comes alive for you concerning your decision. Pray before, during and after reading this book.
Brian Culver

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?

The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me. Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile! Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee. Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel. Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these. And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man. John 1:43-51

Scripture is full of truths! We can learn so much by studying the Word of God. Verse 43 says, "The day following..." So what happened on the previous day? Verses 35-42 tells us.

Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou? He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour. One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.

God is beginning to do a great work! He is gathering His people to follow Him. Now we see that He has called Philip to follow Him. Let's get a little background from Philip. Philip is from Bethsaida, a city of Andrew and Peter. This city is located just north east of the Sea of Galilee, near Capernaum which is where Peter eventually moved to. This is what Jesus said about Bethsaida...

Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment, than for you. Luke 10:13-14

So before we go any further. Jesus "findeth" Philip. It was not that Philip went looking for Jesus, but rather that Jesus "findeth" Philip! Now, we know a little bit about the city he was from. Their attitude in that city was one of non repentance.

Once Philip has been found by Jesus, what does he do? He goes and findeth Nathanael and saith unto him, we have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.

Let's stop there for a moment. Philip was "found" by Jesus. Philip went and found Nathanael to tell him about Jesus. There are times when Jesus seeks us out and there are times when other people bring us to Christ. God has wonderful ways of bringing His people to Himself. Now, let's look a little closer at what we have seen here. Philip is a "new" follower of Christ and it shows. First off he says, "we have found him!" No, it was the other way around. Jesus found him! Secondly, he calls Him, Jesus of Nazareth. Now, Nathanael knows what the OT Scripture says and he also knows that the prophets proclaimed the Messiah would come from Bethlehem. Jesus was living in Nazareth as a young boy, but He was properly from Bethlehem as Scripture foretold. Next, he says He is the son of Joseph. In actuality, He was not the blood born child of Joseph. But in his zeal to share the news about Jesus, he excitedly, proclaims, "We have found Him!"

With this being said, Nathanael, who knows OT Scripture replies to Philip with, "Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?" He knows that Nazareth is not the place to look for a Messiah. He also knows that Bethsaida has a certain attitude about it and it would be enough to make you wonder...
Does he feel the same about Bethsaida? Can there any good thing come from Bethsaida? He knows Philip and obviously has a friendship with him. He does not just ignore Philip. And to give credit to Philip, a new follower of Christ, he did not try to argue his point to Nathanael. He gives a simple statement. "Come and see." Let Nathanael see for himself that Jesus is who he says he is.

The next verse is equally amazing. Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and said, "behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile." Jesus tells Nathanael two truths here. He is an Israelite indeed. He is not just one outwardly, but is one inwardly as well. He truly desired to do the things that would please God. His heart was in the right place. Not for show like the Pharisees, but he had the attitude of humility, a good person that honestly tried to do what God would have him do. Jesus also said he was a man in whom is no guile. There was nothing false about him. What you see is what you get. A man who honestly desired to please God. He was humble and not self serving. He loved God and it showed towards others.

As we move on in Scripture let's see what happens. Nathanael now speaks to Jesus. Whence knowest thou me? Or to put it in today's language -- How is it that you know me? They had never met personally, how can Jesus make such a statement about him without meeting him face to face prior to now? And Jesus said, "Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee." Now, don't make the mistake of thinking that Nathanael understood this to mean that Jesus saw Nathanael under a tree once before at a distance. No, not at all. The fig tree was a place where people would go to be alone with God. The Pharisees enjoyed being seen by the public saying their long prayers and receiving accolades for being so spiritual. Nathanael at some point in time had been under a fig tree praying to God, his alone time with God. And Jesus heard his prayer. He acknowledged that He had seen him under the tree! That is exciting to think about. When we are alone in our quiet time in prayer, God is listening to us! Praise God! Because of how Jesus responded, Nathanael understood what He said, and his response to Him was, "Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel."

Jesus answered him and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these. In other words, "you ain't seen nothing yet!" Jesus goes on to say, Verily, Verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.

How many people reading this blog right now know what happens next in Scripture? We are now heading into chapter 2 and this is where Jesus is at the wedding and Mary asks Him to get the wine. This is the first recorded miracle by Jesus where He turns water into wine. It was just the beginning for the disciples. They were about to see many many more miracles and to learn some awesome truths about heaven, about God the Father, about the Holy Spirit, about the need to repent of their sins, about the need to go into all the world preaching the gospel to every creature.

Jesus moves quickly! And yet, we will sit here at this computer and spend hours upon hours reading and not doing a thing to bring people to Christ. What are we waiting for? People are dying each and every day, each and every hour, each and every minute. Get up! God calls you to something so much better than you are doing right now. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord! May God bless you all this spring! Go make a difference!