Friends, we have a problem. Too many of us spend the majority of our Christian lives “playing church.” We do our duty by attending services once or twice a week. We may even volunteer for in-church programs and activities. But let’s face it: very few allow Christ to actually be Lord of our lives. And even fewer study the Word “to show themselves approved, workmen that need not be ashamed.” If the truth be told, most of us very well OUGHT to be ashamed; and one day, as we stand before our Savior and see Him face to face, we indeed WILL be very ashamed. Not for the things we have DONE; for the things we have NOT done.
Church attendance is at an all time low now. Pastors and Elder boards fret over the shrinking numbers and they can’t figure out how to get more people in the seats; or even get those who USED to attend regularly — but who have dropped out completely — to return. They contemplate changing the style of the service, they consider changing the type of music that is played, the pastor tweaks his sermons to be more “open and affirming” of the growing number of, (shall we say), “diverse” lifestyles. They offer pizza parties, potlucks, and concerts. But still the numbers remain anemic. The “wheat” are walking away from the Establishment Churches, leaving only the “tares” in their place.
I talk to a LOT of serious Christians on a regular basis and I can tell you, they are frustrated. Churches they have attended, in some cases, their WHOLE LIVES, now offer little more than “self-help” talks in place of powerful sermons from the Word of God. In most instances, there is no longer any discipleship taking place. Sin and Repentance is never even mentioned; it’s been entirely replaced with the false modern “love Gospel.” “Praise and Worship” has become an ACTIVITY — a 20 minute segment of the “service,” rather than a way of life. Serious Christians need more than that. And so they are walking away, sheep without a shepherd.
But I’m also finding that even among these SERIOUS Christians there are serious problems. After years of being trained to just “DO church,” they do not have the courage or self confidence to live as Christ commanded. They will seek out opportunities for good, solid spiritual instruction and growth. But they’ve been SO TRAINED to simply SIT AND LISTEN, that’s all they know how to do. They’ve never been discipled to GO OUT and make disciples of their own. When they find a place that offers the uncompromised MEAT of the REAL WORD OF GOD, they are elated, and cannot get enough. Understandably so. The Word of God is SO GOOD. Yet they have been so conditioned to just sit and listen, that that is all they ever do.
We here in America have turned the “Go ye” Gospel into the “Come ye” Gospel. Imagine if Jesus had just sat in one place. Imagine if He simply sat in a house and taught, never leaving the four walls of His “church.” Imagine if He had relied on people COMING IN... But no: Jesus WENT OUT. In Luke 9, we read that Jesus said, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.” If that’s how JESUS ministered, what are we doing just sitting there? How many church-goers EVER step outside, bold enough to admit they even KNOW Jesus, much less tell even their neighbors about Him? And... do your neighbors even know you are a Christian?
We have not been discipled or taught to make disciples. We have been TRAINED to sit quietly and listen. To stand when we are told to stand, to sing when we are told to sing, and to bow our heads when we are told to do that. Then we leave and go back to our normal lives, go out to lunch and then home to watch Sunday Football. Is it any wonder that in these perilous times, so many are finding the activities that take place in the average “church” to be vain and irrelevant?
Now, let me challenge you. I have said before that we have to decide if we are serious about this. I know many of you appreciate my monthly articles here, and I am sincerely grateful for the opportunity to share with you. But if this is just a newspaper column, then that’s all it is, and that would be extremely disappointing. Because that is NOT the point of what I’m trying to accomplish here. I’m trying to MOTIVATE YOU to ACTION. As Christians, we are to be about our Savior’s BUSINESS. We are to occupy until He returns. We only have one life to give in this world, after which comes the judgment. We will have to give an account of all our idle words, and all the missed opportunities, and all the work we refused or chose NOT to do for His Kingdom. And if CHRISTIANS do not stand up and serve, teach and disciple the lost world...WHO, I ask you, is GOING TO?
In Acts 1, Jesus told His disciples, “...you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Let’s look at that statement. WE are to be His witnesses — His MISSIONARIES. And He said, FIRST in Jerusalem, then in Judea and Samaria, and THEN to the ends of the earth. But we don’t do it that way. What is “Jerusalem?” It’s our HOME TOWN! Judea and Samaria? That’s our state or region. THEN, to the ends of the earth. It’s supposed to start in our own local areas — in our home towns. Instead, we send money to overseas missionaries doing mercy ministries in foreign lands. That’s all well and good, but if we are NOT ministering to our home towns first, I believe we have things completely backwards. THIS COUNTRY — AMERICA — is now one of the most LOST, confused, UNSAVED countries in the world. What are we doing about it?
I’ll tell you what we’re doing about it. We’re bringing the UNSAVED WORLD into our church meetings and we’re tailoring our church meetings to accommodate the world. Rather than being salt and light and discipling the lost and perishing, we are ACCEPTING the carnal, worldly lifestyles of the lost and perishing, affirming them in their sin; telling them that God loves them just the way they are. If they believe God loves them just the way they are — and the CHURCH AFFIRMS these lies — why in the world would they ever consider repenting of their sin? “Just walk an aisle, say a few words and you’re good to go.” We are so misled.
And I don’t mean to minimize the work of foreign missions. After all, in Mark 16, Jesus said we are to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” But there are a lot of church groups that take tropical vacations in the middle of winter every year, disguised as “missions trips.” There are even opportunities out there to take tropical CRUISES — yes CRUISES on cruise ships, and when you stop at your ports-of-call, you get off the ship and go sing a song or put on a puppet show at a nursing home or local school, and THAT is called “missions.” I’m sorry, but if you are not FIRST ministering to your home town and those directly around you — your neighborhood, your co-workers, your city — then you have no business going to a tropical vacation and calling it a “Missions Trip.”
Now before you call or write me about all the GOOD that takes place on these trips... I UNDERSTAND about “mercy ministries.” I understand and appreciate those who go and dig wells or build houses for the needy in foreign lands. But if the truth be told, there is no REAL true evangelism that takes place on these trips. We go and give people “stuff” because as Americans, we VALUE our stuff, and if we see poor people, we want to give them STUFF. Telling people about Jesus, that’s a lot harder to do — ESPECIALLY here at home.
You see, it’s easier to take a tropical vacation and do a few good deeds. It’s even easier to just write a check to a foreign missionary agency and believe you’ve now done your Christian duty. It’s a lot harder to put YOURSELF out there; as I said, ESPECIALLY among those who know you and speak your language.... ESPECIALLY when you know you will be reviled, attacked, criticized and hated for speaking the truth of God’s Word in public.
Now I’m going to offer you an opportunity to make a change and do something significant. In October, we are hosting a Salt and Light Brigade Spiritual Bootcamp here in Wisconsin. Members of the Salt and Light Brigade are coming in from all over the country to take part in this event. On Thursday, October 26, we will start at the Wisconsin Christian News Ministry Center in Marshfield — my home town. We will have an evening of training on the cultural issues we are facing in America today, and begin instilling COURAGE in the hearts of those who attend. Then on Friday, October 27, we will head to Milwaukee, where the Bootcamp will continue with more training. We have a great lineup of speakers who will train us to be COURAGEOUS CHRISTIANS, Christians who KNOW how to witness one-on-one with those around us, and even to those who hate God. Most importantly, we will be trained to understand that because we have the Spirit of the Living God living INSIDE US, we can BELIEVE what Jesus said: “I will be with you always, even to the end of the age.” We will come to understand — some of us for the very first time — that the same GOD who raised Jesus from the dead goes BEFORE US and is WITH us and is IN us. We need never be afraid.
Then, on Saturday morning, we will go out on the streets at a local abortion clinic, where we will have an opportunity to put what we have learned into action, serving our Savior and witnessing the Word of God to the lost and perishing. I’ve done this before, and I can tell you, it is LIFE-CHANGING. It will dramatically REVOLUTIONIZE your faith when you come to understand YOU REALLY CAN DO THIS! When you REALIZE you no longer have to be afraid or fearful of what the world thinks. You will suddenly find yourself actually SERVING YOUR SAVIOR, who calls us to be HIS WITNESSES! I can honestly say that in all my years, nothing has caused my faith to grow stronger than being a part of these street witnessing outreaches.
So many of us have become timid and cowardly, and like Peter, we tend to deny Jesus when opportunities arise. Why? Because we don’t understand HOW to witness, and we don’t really believe we CAN, even if we would like to. I had someone tell me they would rather just give money to a crisis pregnancy center than go out and face the evil on the streets outside an abortion clinic. Now, it is commendable to support women facing unplanned pregnancies, and to serve and minister to their needs. But it’s something else entirely to go with Jesus to the gates of hell and rescue the perishing!
But you see, because we have only ever been taught to sit and listen quietly in church, never to preach the Word ourselves, or make disciples or teach people to obey all Christ commanded, we don’t believe we are capable. Instead of DOING what the Bible TELLS US we are to be doing, we pray that the lost will COME to US. I have news for you: they ain’t coming. If they are going to hear the TRUTH, it is up to US to take it to them. We must stand in the gap for the orphans and widows, for those being led to slaughter. We must rebuke the hands that shed innocent blood. We must testify and be witnesses of the Word of God to the lost, perishing world around us. And this event we are hosting will show you HOW to do it, and we will go with you and together we will stand — with the Holy Spirit living inside us and Christ going BEFORE us. Yes. We ABSOLUTELY CAN DO THIS!
I’m deadly serious. If all this is here today is a newspaper column, then I have failed you. We have to decide if we’re going to get serious, and time is running out. We will help you. We will teach and disciple you. Most of you have never done anything like this before and we understand. If all you do is stand and observe this first time, that is fine, because before you know it, God will give you the courage to do GREAT THINGS for His kingdom. You’ll find yourself doing significant work with eternal consequences for HIM! And nothing, (and I mean NOTHING), is more satisfying to one’s soul.
In Revelation 21:8 we read that all cowards and unbelievers will have their part in the lake of fire. Note that the cowards are listed first. Unbelievers second. The cowards are listed separately from the unbelievers for a reason. You see, you can be a believer and yet be a coward and your eternal destiny will be the same as the unbeliever’s — (even the DEVIL believes). And it is his greatest thrill to turn believers into cowards. It’s time for that to STOP!
Many who have grown up in the church, who have considered themselves to be “good Christians” all their lives regularly pray Psalm 119:133... “Order my steps in Thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.” That’s a great prayer... if you mean it. But, please friends: don’t ask the Lord to order your steps if you’re not willing to move your feet. Check out our online events calendar HERE: http://www.wisconsinchristiannews.com/events/ for all the details on how you can join us in a few weeks for a mission that will RADICALLY change your heart, mind and life — and rescue the perishing in the process! PLEASE NOTE: you need to PRE-REGISTER for these events by calling me at (715) 486-8066 or by going online to: