I had a brief moment yesterday, as I pondered Saturday's prayer on friendly churches with Biblically-sound ministry.
Quite simply it came down to this...
How does a church plan to be effective if it is not first, friendly?
How will a church have an efficient ministry, based on something other than the Word of God?
People will have little to no desire in growing and strengthening their faith, in their walk with Jesus Christ if they are not surrounded by people who genuinely care for their well-being. People, in general, don't allow someone to speak into their life with whom they have zero rapport.
Consider this... we will get along better and have more in-depth, meaningful conversations if we both value each other as a person enough to know and share that there is more to life and more in store for them from God. Otherwise, a simple cold-shoulder, let alone anything resembling meanness, rudeness or harsh words will ruin the chance we will be friends.
Similarly, with ministry. What is ministry that isn't Scriptural? How do you point others to Christ? How do you help them discover the plans, purpose and promises of God for their lives? On what do you base principled living? Healthy relationships between God and man?
The passage from Timothy just came to mind, that talks about Scripture being inspired by God and " is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness" The purpose of this, is that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work!
I like how the New Living Translation states it, as its language expounds on those four ideas...
[it] is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.
I shared a statement online a while back of a realization I had regarding a point of frustration in my own life.
Life is like homework. Sometimes you need a friend to help you figure it out
I mention this, because just as I was thinking about what to type next, I thought about how people pick what they like and don't like and correspondingly apply (or don't) to their lives. What happens if you do that with homework? You start skipping sections or subjects altogether and it will kill your grade! How silly of us, to think we can skip and avoid sections and subjects within Scripture and think it won't have an adverse affect on our lives. What's more amazing, are the situations, circumstances and justifications we use to back up our position in trying to prove something has changed regarding the application of Scripture in today's culture.
So, pray this #effectiveSunday, as it bears repeating, for pastors to teach and preach the whole counsel of God. Pray the Holy Spirit move on hearts and lives that we would not be so quick to use Scripture to justify ourselves, but rather continual bring ourselves into alignment with God and what He has said in His Word. Pray for churches that have a culture of friendliness and bible-based ministry... may they not lose that environment, but foster and strengthen their standing for the cause of Christ. Even more, pray for churches struggling... where the environment is tense, critical, cold and frustrated; where Scripture is skipped, over-looked or perhaps rarely examined at all. May the power of God move on the hearts and minds of those involved in these circumstances and bring about change... a drawing unto Himself. May the veil be lifted and revelation come forth; that while it may be hard to receive, the moments of teaching, rebuking, correcting and training are helpful in the long-run for the health and success of the church.
The body of Christ. Functional. Healthy. Complete.
By the power of the Holy Spirit.
For the cause of Jesus Christ
To the glory of God, the Father.
Just a man, attempting to fulfill God's plan. Husband, Dad, Dreamer. Blogger.