It’s not just in the USA! It’s killing the gospel witness of smaller churches who can’t meet the variety of demands.
In his new book, I Will, (B&H Publishing Group) Thom Rainer charts some of the reasons for what he terms the “terrible shift to the preference driven church.” These are some challenging words.
“I can’t put a specific date on it. Smarter people than I have tried to explain it. Somewhere in the twentieth century, believers, particularly in America, began to shift from an attitude of self-sacrificing service to God and worship of God, to consumer-focused, self-serving attitudes.
It has been a terrible shift.
Some blame it on the secularization of our culture. Others point to the degradation of theology in our churches. Still others say local church leaders themselves have taken on corporate models and turned our churches into consumer-focused organizations.
There is probably some truth in all three explanations. But there is one thing we can say with certainty: the focus in too many of our church…
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Don’t evaluate your own ministry based on what “fans” say who only watch the outside stuff.
17. Too many will boast about outward issues in ministry, but God evaluates the heart (2.Cor.5:11-12) God knows what is going on inside the minister of the Gospel. Others will only ever evaluate based on externals since that is what they see. Don’t evaluate your own ministry based on what “fans” say who only watch the outside stuff. They may be impressed, but prayerfully ask God what is going on inside you and you will probably get a clearer glimpse in a few seconds than others see in many months. We must not rely on handshakes, compliments and twitter comments to overshadow the reality of our own hearts.
18. The New Covenant minister is constrained and controlled by the love of Christ (2.Cor.5:13-15) While we may be considered out of our minds for…
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Here follows a list of quotes …
Here follows a list of quotes I’ve collected and compiled from over the last two or so years (my digital quote library is bursting at its edges!). There is no particular form that these quotes take, rather each is from the unqiue story of each former atheist. Where possible, I’ve left links that readers can follow to find out more about each conversion testimony, or articles that they’ve authored. The others are predominantly from books that i’ve read.
Wallace is a cold-case homicide detective, assistant professor of apologetics at Biola University, Christian case maker and author. He was once a vocal atheist.
- “In the end, I came to the conclusion that the gospels were reliable eyewitness accounts that delivered accurate information about Jesus, including His crucifixion and Resurrection. But that created a problem for me. If Jesus really was who He said He was, then Jesus was God Himself. If…
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The Spirit within us stirs courage in our ministry, and He stirs our motivation to please the Lord.
14. The Spirit guarantees our hope, not our circumstances. (2 Cor.5:1-5) God has given us the Spirit as a guarantee of what is to come. This earthly tent is fading (this earthen vessel is being increasingly broken), but the stirring of the Spirit within whispers the dawning of eternal immortality as we anticipate the fuller life that is to come. So in ministry we don’t cling to false promises of easy life now, but we are willing to serve in the midst of groans because there is something far greater to come!
15. We are away from the Lord now, but we are living in anticipation of seeing him (2.Cor.5:6-10) The Spirit within us stirs courage in our ministry, and He stirs our motivation to please the Lord. Why? Because even though we are not…
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the treasure that we have is held in jars of clay. Unimpressive, weak, fragile, often cracked and inadequate
11. We should not expect our lives to match the glory of the gospel in respect to our strength, but rather to manifest the glory of the gospel in our weakness. (2 Cor.4:7-12) Others may look down on us because we are not impressive. We may long for superhero strength in ministry – every spiritual gift, perfect life, abundant tangible blessing, being liked by everyone, etc. But the treasure that we have is held in jars of clay. Unimpressive, weak, fragile, often cracked and inadequate. Life is worked into others as death seems to reign in our experience. These are key verses for us in ministry. How often do we feel afflicted, perplexed, persecuted, struck down, physically weak, struggling to sleep, discouraged from every angle? Yet we are not crushed, driven to despair, forsaken, destroyed…
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There will be many reasons to lose heart, but one main one
7. There will be many reasons to lose heart, but one main one. (2 Cor.4:1-6) With the most exciting news, we will struggle with the apparent lack of response from many. It will seem as if unbelievers have their thinking veiled so that they cannot see what is being offered – and that is exactly what is going on. The god of this age is actively at work in the world, (and in the church), to keep people concerned with other things. The lack of response will tempt us to force the issue . . .
8. New Covenant ministry will always face the temptation to trust something else. (2 Cor.4:1-6) Just as listeners struggle to see the gospel of the glory of Christ, so we will be tempted to force the issue…
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Moses was temporary and fading …………..
Continuing on from the previous thoughts on 2nd Corinthians 3-5:
4. New Covenant ministry should generate boldness. (2 Cor 3:12-18) Moses had to hide what being with God did to him. Not so with us. What happened to Moses was temporary and fading, but what God is doing in us is permanent and increasing. It is so easy to think in terms of this life and fall for the lie of fading glory even today, but what God does in the New Covenant does not fade.
5. We cannot make people see, that is God’s work in Christ. (2 Cor.3:12-18) Israel experienced a hardening and a veil that would keep them from seeing the glory, and it is only by the work of God, through Christ, that it can be taken away. We too minister to people who may still be unable to see the wonder of Christ. We are…
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Glad He didn’t … aren’t you?
I recently upgraded the operating system on my computer. Frustratingly I now have a computer that freezes periodically. The only solution appears to be reaching for the power button for an enforced reboot.
God created humanity and soon saw them corrupted by sin. It was not gradual. We read of the fall into sin in Genesis chapter 3. As soon as sin entered the story we see Adam and Eve hiding and protecting themselves, and when confronted they continued that pattern by blaming each other, and for Adam, even blaming God for what had happened.
In the next chapter we read of one of their sons murdering his brother. Sin’s influence was immediate, and it was devastating to humanity. We were created for loving fellowship with God and with each other. But God watched as humanity spread like cancer across the globe, destructively devouring every opportunity to love in an…
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