“In the great day, when the muster-roll shall be read, of all those who are converted through fine music, and church decoration, and religious exhibitions and entertainments, they will amount to the tenth part of nothing; but it will always please God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. Keep to your preaching; and if you do anything beside, do not let it throw your preaching into the background. In the first place preach, and in the second place preach, and in the third place preach.
Believe in preaching the love of Christ, believe in preaching the atoning sacrifice, believe in preaching the new birth, believe in preaching the whole counsel of God. The old hammer of the gospel will still break the rock in pieces; the ancient fire of Pentecost will still burn among the multitude. Try nothing new, but go on with preaching, and if we all preach with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven, the results of preaching will astound us.“
– Charles Spurgeon
Are you familiar with the tale of the pied piper?
The story goes that a small German village called Hamelin suffered from a terrible rat infestation. A man calling himself a rat catcher boasted he could rid the town of every single rodent. The villagers promised the man, (known around those parts as the pied piper) a great sum of money for accomplishing this task. He played his flute, mesmerizing the entire colony, leading them to the nearest river, and drowning them all in the rushing waters. However the villagers weren’t as thankful as they ought to have been. Like many of us would do in the midst of a desperate situation, they made a wild promise they could not possibly hope to keep in order to rid the town of its plague. But once they were relieved of their burden they had no intentions of paying the man his due.
After all, the problem wasn’t all that bad in the first place, right? It’s similar to how quickly a sailor’s fear of drowning fades after the storm subsides. The pied piper did not take the villagers’ snub very well, so he plotted revenge. One day, while the adults were all gathered together for church service, he came into town and spellbound all the children with his soulful tunes. He led them away to a dark cave. All of the children entered without hesitation, but none of them ever walked back out. Continue reading
I had arrived at a crisis point in my spiritual life and I just didn’t know what to do. Our church had bowed its knee at the altar of Purpose, worshiping the Church Growth Goddess, who had seductively lured it away to her sinful bed. She had successfully inflamed passion for numerical growth, fame and influence to a fever pitch among our leadership. They had yielded to her will in matters of faith and practice. I strongly felt God’s call to come out of her, that her sins would not be imputed unto me or my family. However, I didn’t know where to go. I felt I needed a well thought out plan before exiting stage left.
I still had not found a church home for us to root ourselves in. After 11 years in a pentecostal\charismatic type church and seeing a lot of goofiness done in the name of God, I was looking to make our home in a more conservative, scripture-saturated atmosphere. I didn’t completely rule out a ‘full-gospel’ church since there are a couple in our town with good reputations, but I honestly couldn’t bring myself to attend them. I have too many questions and concerns about tongues, prophecies, prophets and spirit baptisms to be comfortable in one right now. Most of the other churches I considered have been influenced, to some degree, by Rick Warren. So many choices, so few options. So while I pondered and prayed over our future, we continued to attend services on Sunday morning and on Wednesday nights. Continue reading
“In the early days, when Christianity exercised a dominant influence over American thinking, men and women conceived the world to be a battleground. Our fathers believed in sin and the devil and hell as constituting one force, and they believed in God and righteousness and heaven as the other. By their very nature, these forces were opposed to each other forever in deep, grave, irreconcilable hostility. Humans, our fathers held, had to choose sides-they could not be neutral.
For them it must be life or death, heaven or hell, and if they chose to come out on God’s side they could expect open war with God’s enemies. The fight would be real and deadly and would last as long as life continued here below. People looked forward to heaven as a return from the wars, a laying down of the sword to enjoy in peace the home prepared for them…
How different today. The fact remains the same, but the interpretation has changed completely. People think of the world, not as a battleground, but as a playground. We are not here to fight; we are here to frolic. We are not in a foreign land; we are at home. We are not getting ready to live, but we are already living, and the best we can do is rid ourselves of our inhibitions and our frustrations and live this life to the full.”
– AW Tozer
“Ah, brethren, this is the mark of every true shepherd whom Christ sends – he comes in by the door, that is, the blood of Christ. He speaks of sin, because he has seen its greatness; he speaks of pardon, because he has been forgiven; of blood, because he has felt its power. ‘He that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.’ No other qualification will do. All the learning at colleges will never make a minister. All the eloquence in the world will never make a minister.”
– Robert Murray M’cheyne