Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Day 125: Cause Or Effect?

Redbox movie rental kiosks are everywhere now. I remember back when they were just a start-up company in McDonald's restaurants only. I believe this was back in the 2004-2005 date range, but just guessing. I do remember they didn't last very long in the McDonald's that I visited. I actually only remember a kiosk in one out of the four in my hometown.

Now, just a few years later, Blockbuster and Hollywood videos have closed their doors and filed for bankruptcy protection. Also their is now a Redbox located in several locations across the city. I can think of 6 without even trying and I am sure that their are even more that I do not know of.

So, why the big change? Is the growth of Redbox the cause of the other two DVD rental stores' collapse or is Redbox's popularity an effect of those businesses calling it quits? I think consumers are cutting corners everywhere, which led to the demise of the traditional rental stores because of their pricing. Redbox just so happen to be already semi-established and strategically started opening kiosk seemingly everywhere you turn. Multiple locations, low rental rates and ease of renting have made Redbox the primary source of movie rentals for a lot of people.

Just shows you how quickly the landscape can change with businesses. Sadly, this is how a lot of churches change as well. Many churches sit empty or now house businesses or even homes. This is because the Word of God was not spoken in truth. Also people have stopped attending church services and supporting the ministries as much. Is this the same cause and effect or has the spiritual climate made the final turn for the worse? Are we living in the Laodacian days? Has the "church" become mostly apostate which led to changes so often? Or did the changes so often in the message or styles of music played cause the decline?

Churches now want to focus on felt needs or trying to supply things for people instead of actually preaching the Word of God. Whatever draws someone to a church is normally what keeps them there. For example, if a family is taken a box of food they feel obligated to go to that church. They will keep attending that church as long as the food keeps coming. Stop giving them food and they stop coming, because the food was the draw and not God's Word. This is also true with clothing, musical styles and other extra curricular devices like Upwards sports and even certain classes or "teachers"/ preachers.

It is the pragmatic, "Purpose Driven" philosophy that is the norm now. A very man centered message is preached, many man centered programs are taking he time and resources of the people that attend the church. Before I go further, programs to feed and clothe the needy are exceptional ministry opportunities, but how they are initiated and carried out is the problem. More times than not food is taken and a small prayer may be said with the family and the delivery people are gone. They may leave church literature, but not a mention of the gospel or how God is using that particular body to minister. God is not the focus, but the hungry people.

I think this is causing church attendance to wane. Too many programs that focus on man and not on God. The Word of God is not being preached. When their is a sermon it is filled with cute little stories or jokes and not relying on the actual scriptures to convict. Emotionalism and easy believism has taken the place of true biblical messages. God is no longer the focus, but the numbers of converts or attendance.

So, is this the cause of the decline or the effect of it? I'd say it is both. It is the slippery slope that Spurgeon spoke of. The decline started many years ago and the "church" has continued the decline. It will only get worse and I see it getting worse by the day here in the bible belt. Many are chasing after an experience or personal satisfactions and not hungry for God and His Word. These may be the last days after-all.

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