Seven Failures of the Modern Church

I thought this was a worthy subject of a poem, and it is based on the incredible teaching we heard last year from my pastor/husband.

 

church-851136_960_720

 

  1. Preaching of a Crossless Christianity

 

A  Christianity without a cross

is preached across some pulpits of our day.

Sacrifice of Calvary is but dross.

From the blood of Jesus we have turned away.

 

A social gospel many do purport.

Your own good works, yes they can do the job.

But preaching of this self-sufficient sort,

the message of Golgotha, it does rob.

 

Some focus on the loaves and the fishes,

the miracles and feelie goodie things.

Heaven we’ll achieve through our good wishes,

but man can’t rise by his own apron strings.

 

Preaching that’s crossless, God will not anoint.

Powerless it is and misses the point.

 

  1. Preaching A No Change Christianity

 

Powerless it is and misses the point,

such doctrine not requiring us to change.

The purpose of God, it does disappoint;

concept in Scripture unknown and quite strange.

 

Jesus came to save us from each dark sin

through His blood and the power of His name.

Soul that embraces this truth should begin

to see that he need not remain the same.

 

Old things passed away, all things are made new

when thru water, Spirit we’re born again.

This teaching is not conveyed to the pew.

Many go on as carnal, unchanged men.

 

Such discourse espousing no about face,

it leaves a man in a state of disgrace.

 

 

  1. Preaching of a No Commitment Christianity

 

 

It leaves a man in a state of disgrace

when it’s not proclaimed, our need to commit.

‘Tis a fickle love, like smoke in God’s face,

spineless profession that has no true grit.

 

Like customers before a smorgasbord

that exercise their right to choose;

some have this disposition toward the Lord.

Take it, leave it attitude is bad news.

 

There’s a definite lack in preaching now

coming down from the pulpit to the pew

of importance in making holy vows,

but it is something we all need to do.

 

When committing to God there is a lack,

we don’t move forward. Our soul does draw back.

 

 

  1. Preaching of a No Compliance Christianity

 

 

We don’t move forward. Our soul does draw back

when to Scripture’s tenets we don’t adhere.

We’re like a train that is on the wrong track.

The derailment of our lives is near.

 

If to worldly practices we’re conformed;

do like everyone and try to fit in.

In our minds renewing, we’re not transformed;

know that we are on the pathway of sin.

 

God’s Word calls people to separation

of the things that are grievous in His sight.

If in this we do come to reparation,

our willful compliance brings Him delight.

 

Preaching void of devotion is hollow.

It is not the course we want to follow.

 

  1. Preaching of a No Cause Christianity

 

 

It is not the course we want to follow,

religion with no lofty, noble goal;

in self-indulgent luxury wallow,

our sinful appetites out of control.

 

We’re not our own, and with a price we’re bought.

However, seldom is it preached, this cause.

Surrender of ourselves, this truth not taught,

and many do not stop and give it pause.

 

A common goal, eat, drink and be merry

in our society does permeate.

Epicurean stance does not carry

Bible truth, nor does it hold any weight.

 

A limp and causeless Christianity,

it’s nothing short of hum drum vanity.

 

 

  1. Preaching of a No Covenant Christianity

 

 

It’s nothing short of hum drum vanity.

A no agreement type relationship

though practiced much among humanity,

for bond ‘tween God and man, it is not hip.

 

Two can’t walk together unless agreed.

On God’s terms is the way we must advance.

To try and make our will to supersede

is nothing more than a song and a dance.

 

So blessed indeed the contract that does bind

the will of creature, Creator in one.

A good end result for sure we will find.

The purpose of God, thru man can be done.

 

If covenant agreement is not preached

God’s desire for man will not be reached.

 

 

  1. Preaching of a No Consecration Christianity

 

God’s desire for man will not be reached

lest we give ourselves to consecration.

Our sacred affinity will be breached

without a whole hearted dedication.

 

Faithfully, daily laboring in prayer

if this Christian race we do want to win.

‘Tis a sign to God that we truly care,

paves the way for more lost sheep to come in.

 

Lackadaisical service will not do

in any form or on any level,

from those in the pulpit or those in the pew;

nothing short but a trick of the devil.

 

Hollowed, not hallowed, then we lose the toss

a Christianity without a cross.

 

10/1/17

Advertisements

Good Old Folks

IMG_4651

IMG_4650

I can’t believe I just called these two fine people old. In reality, Bro. and Sis. Halstead are very young at heart. Bro. Halstead still shouts, runs the aisles and praises God like a much younger man. His worship is sincere and encouraging.

The Halsteads are a very important part of our Kids’ Church program. In the first photo, Bro. Halstead is playing Grandpa Jones, a character in our current quarter of The Real Pentecostals. Both Bro. and Sis. Halstead are wonderful teachers, and I have been amazed at some of the creative ways they have come up with to keep the children engaged and teach them the precious Word of God. Brother Halstead also heads up our outreach department and does a great job inspiring us to reach out to those in our community that have not experienced Acts 2:38 salvation.

In the second photo, they are clowning around at a meal we had recently to break a fast that we did together as a church. Earlier that week, Sis. Halstead had sent a photo to me and another sister from our church of a man devouring some chicken drumsticks. She said that was going to be what she would look like when we broke the fast. Hence, I took this photo to represent that moment. 🙂

This faithful couple has been such a blessing to our church in many ways. Getting older has definitely not stopped them from being faithful and working for God with all of their hearts.  They are living out the following verses.

 

“Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God.
They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing;”

Psalm 92:13,14

Just to clarify, I’m not saying that Bro. and Sis. Halstead are fat. This is talking about abundance or a “spiritual fat” that is a good type of fat.(I sure could use more of that type of fat!) I am thankful today for the great big FAT blessing that Bro. and Sis. Halstead have been to Cornerstone Pentecostal Church!

Just What The Doctor Ordered

Our high school Bible class is learning about submission and accountability this week. They were given an assignment by their instructor to write a piece as if they were a doctor giving advice or recommendations to a patient on how to avoid sin in their lives. I know I’m probably weird, but when I was in school, I loved assignments such as this one. I still do, and so I thought I’d give it a try.

clip-art-doctor-with-chart-clipart-1

From: Dr. Ounce O. Prevenshun

To: U.B. Carnal

Doctors Recommendations on How to Avoid Sin

 

The detailed instructions given below if followed, will aid the patient in abstaining from sin.

 

The DO’s

1.       DO have a regular time of prayer each day. Think of prayer as a daily vitamin, vitamin P (See I Thessalonians 5:17, Luke 22:40, Luke 18:1, Ephesians 6:18, Mk. 14:38)

2.       DO read your Bible each day. Think of it as your daily dose of vitamin B. Work on committing some Scriptures to memory, which can help you in times of temptation. (See Psalm 119:11, 2 Timothy 3:15, Proverbs 30:5,Matthew 4:4)

3.       DO make it a priority to be faithful in attending the house of God. (See Hebrews 10:23-26, Psalm 122:1)

4.       DO be submitted to the man of God in your life, aka your pastor. He is watching out for you. (See Hebrews 13:17, Jeremiah 3:15)

5.       DO fast on a regular basis. (Isaiah 58:6). It’s a way of saying no to your flesh, and when it’s coupled with prayer, it will help you draw closer to God. If you have a physical condition that prevents you from fasting, consider fasting an activity you enjoy (electronic games, Internet, going to WalMart, etc.) and spending that time in prayer.

The DON’TS

1.       DON’T put yourself into a place or a position where you know you could be tempted. This is also known as “not making provision for the flesh.” (For example: If you have struggled in the past with drinking alcohol, don’t go to a bar if you want some 7UP.)Even if you stay full of the Holy Ghost, remember this. Your flesh is weaker than you think!( See Romans 8:13, 13:14, Matthew 26:41)

2.       DON’T be lazy or allow yourself too much idle time. (See Proverbs 18:15) You’ve probably heard the saying, “An idle mind is the devil’s playground.” It’s true.  Stay busy with the things of God and working for His kingdom, and you will be less likely to sin.(See also Ecclesiastes 10:18, Proverbs 12:24, Hebrews 6:12)

3.       DON’T let your close friends be those who are not striving to live a godly lifestyle. They can lead you astray. (See I Corinthians 15:33, Exodus 23:2, James 4:4)

 

These recommendations, if followed, will aid you in your endeavors to avoid sin. Choosing not to follow the above instructions can result in a serious heart condition which would require major surgery that is costly. If this be the case, you would be referred to Dr. Pounda Cure, but it is strongly urged that you heed the advice of Dr. Ounce O. Prevenshun.

The Blessing Of Distance

A few years ago at Pacific Coast Camp, I heard Pastor Ray Brown preach an excellent message on overcoming temptations. One of the things I remember was that he likened temptation to a magnet. If something that is attracted to a magnet gets too close to the magnet, well……………………………….. you know what happens. Likewise, if we get too close to the thing that is a source of temptation, we are setting ourselves up for a fall. If we know something is a temptation for us, the wisest course is to stay as far away from the thing as possible.

While musing on this one day, God inspired me with a poem. I’m so thankful that through the power of the Holy Ghost and keeping our distance, we can be overcomers!

 

Keep Your Distance!

 

The tempter is a master of persistence

desiring you to stumble and to fall

but from the things he offers, keep your distance

and you will overcome and still stand tall.

 

Do pray, into the snares you won’t be led

strive to please the Master every day

rebuke bad thoughts that come into your head

from enticements quickly run away.

 

Allurements, like a magnet, they can be

ungodly source that’s pulling at your soul

put space between the hankering and thee

the magnet’s pull will not win the control.

 

Joseph, day by day, he was provoked

Potiphar’s wife tempting him to sin

Running, the response by him evoked

Sometimes that’s what it takes to not give in.

 

To follow his example, we’d be wise

when by sin charmed, we must put up resistance

don’t’ let temptation lead to your demise

between it and yourself, just put some distance.

 

11-30-16

 

Matthew 6:9-13  After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

 

2Corinthians 10:5  Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

 

 

Genesis 39:7-12  And it came to pass after these things, that his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me.

But he refused, and said unto his master’s wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand;

There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?

And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her.

And it came to pass about this time, that Joseph went into the house to do his business; and there was none of the men of the house there within.

And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out.

 

James 4:7  Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

 

 

 

 

 

You Might Be On An Extended Fast If…..

You’re at work and 3 people graciously decide on the same day to bring donuts for everyone.

 

The food in the dog bowl is actually looking and smelling pretty good.

 

You’re a woman going through menopause, and you suddenly start having “cold flashes.”

 

The refrigerator is on lock down.

 

Hot water is what you’re drinking just to keep warm.

 

While at a client’s house, you smell something sumptuous cooking in the oven.

 

Your baby face suddenly starts to disappear.

 

And the list goes on .On the more serious side, our church just recently completed an extended fast(for those who were physically able to do it)coupled with prayer, and God is already blessing the sacrifice. We know the Bible has a lot to say about the subject of fasting, but I also found some insightful quotes about fasting too, that I will share here. Believe me, fasting is not one of my favorite things to do, but I know it does make a difference for me personally, and I have seen in the past after a season of prayer and fasting how God has given us spiritual breakthroughs that we desperately needed. I’m thankful that God honors the sacrifice  of prayer and fasting!

 

Fasting confirms our utter dependence upon God by finding in Him a source of sustenance beyond food.

Dallas Willard

 

Is fasting ever a bribe to get God to pay more attention to the petitions ? No, a thousand times no. It is simply a way to make clear that we sufficiently reverence the amazing opportunity to ask help from the everlasting God, the Creator of the universe, to choose to put everything else aside and concentrate on worshiping, asking forgiveness, and making our requests known-considering His help more important than anything we could do ourselves in our own strength and with our own ideas.

Edith Schaeffer

 

Prayer is reaching out after the unseen; fasting is letting go of all that is seen and temporal. Fasting helps express, deepen, confirm the resolution that we are ready to sacrifice anything, even ourselves to attain what we seek for the kingdom of God.

Andrew Murray

 

Prayer is reaching out after the unseen; fasting is letting go of all that is seen and temporal. Fasting helps express, deepen, confirm the resolution that we are ready to sacrifice anything, even ourselves to attain what we seek for the kingdom of God.

Andrew Murray

 

In Shansi I found Chinese Christians who were accustomed to spend time in fasting and prayer. They recognized that this fasting, which so many dislike, which requires faith in God, since it makes one feel weak and poorly, is really a Divinely appointed means of grace. Perhaps the greatest hindrance to our work is our own imagined strength; and in fasting we learn what poor, weak creatures we are – dependent on a meal of meat for the little strength which we are so apt to lean upon.

James Hudson Taylor

 

Our greatest victories are won on our knees and with empty stomachs.

Julio C. Ruibal

 

When the devil, the foe and the tyrant, sees a man bearing this weapon [fasting], he is straight-away frightened and he recollects and considers that defeat which he suffered in the wilderness at the hands of the Saviour; at once his strength is shattered and the very sight of this weapon, given us by our Commander-in-chief, burns him.

Isaac of Syria

 

Do you have a hunger for God? If we don’t feel strong desires for the manifestation of the glory of God, it is not because we have drunk deeply and are satisfied. It is because we have nibbled so long at the table of the world. Our soul is stuffed with small things, and there is no room for the great. If we are full of what the world offers, then perhaps a fast might express, or even increase, our soul’s appetite for God. Between the dangers of self-denial and self-indulgence is the path of pleasant pain called fasting.

John Piper

 

Make It A Lifestyle

Regret for my sins, a godly remorse

Effect is that I start to change my course

Penitent over my sinful infractions

Elicits modification of my actions

Needing God’s grace, my ways to amend

Trusting the Lord, His help He will send

Avowing to turn my back upon sin

Now a fresh start, I can begin

Confessing my wrongs and them forsaking

Ever the path I need to be taking.

 

10/14/16

 

2Corinthians 7:10  For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.

 

Luke 19:1-8  And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho.

And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich.

And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature.

And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way.

And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house.

And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully.

And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner.

And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. 

 

Proverbs 28:13  He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.

 

 

 

Others May, You Cannot

I posted this several years ago, but it has been on my mind lately. It’s definitely worthy of a reprint.

 

If God has called you to be really like Christ in all your spirit, He will draw you into a life of crucifixion and humility and put on you such demands of obedience, that He will not allow you to follow other Christians, and in many ways He will seem to let other good people do things which He will not let you do.

Others can brag on themselves, and their work, on their success, on their writings, but the Holy Spirit will not allow you to do any such thing, and if you begin it, He will lead you into some deep mortification that will make you despise yourself and all you good works.

The Lord will let others be honored and put forward, and keep you hid away in obscurity because He wants to produce some choice fragrant fruit for His glory, which can be produced only in the shade.

Others will be allowed to succeed in making money, but it is likely God will keep you poor because he wants you to have something far better than gold and that is a helpless dependence on Him; that He may have the privilege of supplying your needs day by day – out of an unseen treasury.

God will let others be great, but He will keep you small. He will let others do a great work for Him and get credit for it, but He will make you work and toil on without knowing how much you are doing; and then to make your work still more precious, He will let others get the credit for the work you have done, and this will make your reward ten times greater when He comes.

The Holy Spirit will put strict watch over you, with a jealous love, and will rebuke you for little words and feelings, or for wasting your time, which other Christians never seem distressed over.

So make up your mind that God is an infinite Sovereign, and has a right to do what He pleases with His own, and He will not explain to you a thousand things which may puzzle your reason in His dealing with you. He will wrap you up in a jealous love, and let other people say and do many things that you cannot do or say.

Settle it forever, that you are to deal directly with the Holy Spirit, and that He is to have the privilege of tying your tongue, or chaining your hand, or closing your eyes, in ways that others are not dealt with.

Now, when you are so possessed with the Living God that you are, in your secret heart, pleased and delighted over this particular personal, private, jealous guardianship and management of the Holy Spirit over your life, you will have found the vestibule of heaven.

–G. D. Watson