Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> EAGLES' REST: April 2018

Monday, April 23, 2018

We Don't Really Believe it. Apparently.

The biggest "hue and cry" I'm hearing, concerning the upcoming SBC Annual Meeting in Dallas,  is about evangelism, and one or another SBC Presidential candidate's attitude about it.

Once again, we are focusing on symptoms, not on causes. If you would not accept that from your doctor, why are we, as respects SBC matters?

I'll tell you why. If the real problem is one of discipleship and not one of evangelism, that would likely mean that the pastors of the local churches are the most responsible parties. And since most of the delegates to the Annual Meeting are pastors, I think it unlikely they are going to want to deal with that. With their own responsibilities for the current conditions as respects conversions, baptisms, and other numbers we use to diagnose church and denominational health.

What we don't really believe is 1 Corinthians 3:7&8, and the logical outcome of ignoring it.

Quoting: "I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow."

Did you catch that, God makes things grow. I suspect that includes the church itself.

The diagnosis is really simple, to me: The Great Commission is to make disciples. To teach everything Jesus commanded. And with attendance that hovers around 33% of membership ... attendance including visitors, children, and other non-members ... I do not see any way we can claim that we are making disciples of the people God has already sent us.

You may think that those who visit our churches, later to join our churches, are there because our programs have drawn them in. Me, I don't believe I'd say that, in view of the plain statements in 1 Corinthians 3!

The SBC had a hard time passing a call for churches to affirm for themselves that they had a regenerate membership, a few years ago. Again, that would call for pastors to act on the idea that they might have unregenerate members in their local church.

So ... Drs. Hemphill and Greear, please please PLEASE make your focus discipleship ...  not evangelism.

The future of a lot of churches, and of the SBC itself, may just be at stake.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

I Think I Learned Something....

... something important today. And at 79, nearly 80, that's not a common occurrence. Here's what happened:

I climbed the stairs from our garage to the house. 14 of them.

I'd gone downstairs to show the plumber where some stuff was that needed fixin'. And, after, I climbed the 14 stairs up to the "main level" so we could have lunch.

Now, what really surprised me was that I didn't remember climbing them. I chalked that up to my lousy memory, but with the aforementioned age, and arthritis in my hips, back and shoulders, stairs are normally my local personal torture chamber. So I got to wondering why they weren't, about noon today. And .... TADA .... I figured it out!

I wasn't focusing on the stairs! I was thinking of the plumber and the valves and pipes and things! So the climbing was no bother at all!

And THAT got me to thinking about other things. How about ...

  • Giving your personal testimony before others. If you're thinking about speaking in public, you're focusing on the wrong thing! 
  • Going on a mission trip. If you're concerned about heat, dust, witnessing, strange food, or any of the other things with which you're not familiar, you're focusing on the wrong thing!
  • Ministering to others. If you're wondering whether you can help, whether God has equipped you, if your experiences can help the other person, you're focusing on the wrong thing!

I'm sure you can think of some other things, too. But if you're wondering about those things I mentioned above, then you're not thinking about what God can do with what we say and do .... polished and eloquent or not. God says neither the planter nor the waterer produces any results at all. The increase comes exclusively from Him. After all, He started with nothing at all and produced the universe, so when you focus on Him and on what He can do with what you do, then those things you dread may just become like those stairs I climbed today. You won't think of what you are doing, just the outcome.

Just look at Moses. When he stood before the burning bush ... the one burning with the fire of God, which never burns out ... he raised objections to God's planned use of him ... Moses. Well, when God answered his objections, Moses finally asked who God was. Turned his focus from himself to God! After that, Moses became the great leader he was. That God knew about all along.

I recall a girl in Michigan that I used to chat with, some years ago, on the old Prodigy network. She found me on my blog, perhaps 15 years later, and told me that I'd kept her alive by chatting with her! She been suicidal, but I didn't know it.

So be on the lookout for things God puts in your path, even when they might be uncomfortable for you. He may just want to take those ashes and hand you some beauty.

Wouldn't that be just like God?