Saturday, September 4, 2010
Day 65: The Trash We Wallow In
Had the opportunity to take a little road trip in to Southern Illinois today wit the family and a dear brother, Joseph Durham. We are always glad to spend time with Joseph and today was no exception.
Chandra met a couple that invited us to come to their church's "Freedom Celebration", which was about a little over an hour drive away. A little more time than that if you count me missing the turnoff and going a few miles past the turn, going back and missing it again and then putting Joseph in charge of navigation to tell me how to get there. The joys of iPhones.
I do not want to comment too heavily on the event itself. The event was billed as a community event and by the size of it I would say that the small Southern Illinois town it was in had a majority in attendance today. They will resume activities tomorrow at 2:00 with food, games and fun. The offerings included free food, drinks, games for the kids, games for adults, food, paintball, archery, face painting, washers, food, a strongman competition, giveaways, food, concerts throughout the day and a generous supply of food.
Am I against these types of events? Not really, unless all they are is a way to pull people into a church, to boost numbers. If used as an evangelism tool, so that the Gospel can be spread, then I am 100% for it. Jesus, Himself, did things like this. He gathered groups together and fed them, broke bread with them and even paid for it out of His and the Apostles purse. What Jesus did t=with the crowd is the key though. He always proclaimed the truth of the Word and of the Gospel. He didn't just bring a group together, feed them and let them go back home still starving spiritually. Did the church do that today? They did have the feeding and drawing a crowd down, but did they proclaim the Gospel and share the Word with the crowd? As of the 2 hours after it started and the 3 or so hours we were there I did not hear a gospel presentation or a call to repent. I am not saying it did not happen, but it did not happen while we were there. The church's praise band was playing when we left and the singer did offer up a prayer and did tell people they needed Jesus and a church to attend, but not a lot more than that.
Anyway, the picture I posted is of a some kids playing in a dumpster to the side of the festivity area. This really reminds me of how we are. We know something pertaining to Jesus is happening near us, but we always seek out the nastiest, dirtiest things to wallow in instead of being with Christ. The dumpster can be a picture of sin that entices us with its aroma of pleasure and then we just dive right in and play around for a while. Of course we hear whats going on around us, but the dumpster and its contents have our attention and we block everything else out. Also, when we finally do get out of the stench and filth of sin, we still carry its smell with us for a while, until we are cleansed and bathed. Not very well stated, but I think you will get the point of that analogy.
I do ask that you pray for this church in Southern Illinois, that they are reaching people for God, that they are not using worldly lusts to pull people in and then having to continue to use these same means to keep them there. Also, that they are not using a bait and switch type thing where they do actually get people to attend, but under false pretenses of supplying worldly things to them and switching to an actual biblical message. Both are very dangerous, but just prove that whatever you use to draw people to your church is what will keep them coming back. Use food and entertainment and then stop supplying that and they will stop coming. Use God's Word in Truth and they will stay if that's what is proclaimed.
Also, please pray for me that I would be more loving to folks, especially those that I live with. I seem to come off harsh at times and no matter how much I try not to I seem to always offend. I think most of the time it is because of my zealousness comes off as arrogance. I am not arrogant, so I know it has to be the tome I inflect. So, I need your prayers that God will grant me grace in this area, that they will see love from me and not just condemnation. Not that I do not want them to feel what I am trying to convey to them, but they will perceive that I am saying it out of love and concern and not arrogance and superiority.