Published by Andy Neckar
P.O. Box J Hico, TX 76457
Vol. 9, Number 5. Sept-Oct, 2003
Editor: Andy Neckar
INSIDE THIS NEWSLETTER -
3-FORGIVING ONE ANOTHER
4-NO EVIDENCE OF CHRISTIANITY GROWTH
5-CHURCH GOING TO THE DOGS
Robert Nowell--Religion News Service)
LONDON (RNS) Unlike Americans, the number of British attending church has been dropping steadily ever since World War II, and today it is merely about 7.5 percent of the population. The editor of the evangelical monthly Christianity + Renewal, John Buckeridge, had the idea of asking two advertising agencies to devise a series of advertisements that would get people to attend. Link ICA went with the slogan "Get a life – go to church." The agency's joint creative director, Jonathan Wilcock said the slogan was because "most people come to a point in their lives when, although they may have a nice car, home, and partner, they feel something is missing." At Khameleon the agency's
managing director, Guy Lupton, said they wanted to steer away from the typical image of church and religion. "We don't think people like to be preached at, and we didn't want traditional images like a picture of Jesus or a cross.” Khameleon's campaign promoted the values of community life at a church, the chance to have a good "sing," hear a good sermon, and have a heart-to-heart chat. So one of their ads read, "You'll always find someone at your local church -- you don't know what you're missing." But both agency men agreed that even the best advertisement would be unlikely to turn around someone who is anti-church or not interested in church.
[Editor] A few comments please. This advertising firm doesn’t want any pictures of Jesus. I say there aren’t any. NO ONE has ever seen a picture of Jesus Christ.
The churches/religious institutions of today are giving the “church goers” what they want. They want their ears tickled, and so the religious institutions comply. They want a willing ear to hear their views of today. They want their hurts healed and their feelings mended and so the religious institutions comply. They offer a “feel good” religion HERE and NOW and TO HELL with the HEREAFTER.
They offer churcheology to the sinner, and that is the closest the sinner will ever get to heaven. They offer a” better feeling” life on this earth; and life on this earth is the only HEAVEN the sinner will ever experience. As for the saint; life on this earth is the only HELL they will ever experience.
We are in the last of the last days, folks. The great falling away is here. (2 Thess 2:3)
You wonder why Mom (wife) and I meet in out home? The last church I attended, (10/26/03) an Independent Baptist church where some of my family still attend, agrees that I can share the Gospel of Christ with others and witness that gospel leading one to Christ. They say I can participate in the passing of the bread and the cup at the Lord’s Supper Remembrance, BUT-- I am not authorized to baptize a new convert that the Holy Ghost, working through my witness, led to Christ.
When these religious institutions baptize 4 year olds, (as close to infant baptism as you can get) and when these youngsters grow older, they rededicate their life to Christ , (as close to the Roman Catholic sacrament of “Confirmation” as you can get) it is a wonder why I even speak to these people occasionally.
They preach/command Old Testament Tithes & Offerings, yet claim the New Testament Believer is not under the Law. When it comes to SIN the New Testament Believer is not under the Law but when it come to “MONEY”, he IS under the Law.
I can share the gospel. I can lead a person to Christ. I can distribute the “ordinance” of the Bread and the Cup, but the “ordinance” of Baptist, I need the authority of “man”. How strange.
I do not wish to be carried away with divers and strange doctrines. (Heb 13:9)
CHURCHEOLOGY and RELIGIOSITY have replaced the CROSS of CHRIST
You cross bearers out there, please hang in there. It won’t be long now. JESUS IS COMING—JESUS IS COMING—soon.
Eph 4:1-3 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, (patience) forbearing (put up with-bear with- endure-tolerate ) one another in love; Endeavouring(making an effort-trying) to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
[Lowliness and meekness.] These virtues can be produced only by the indwelling Spirit of God. They are totally unknown to the flesh and unfortunately rare in the lives of many Christians. Lowliness carries the idea of humility; meekness means gentleness. Longsuffering is preserving an even temperament in the face of adversity and persecution. Endeavoring to keep. God realized that this is not always possible because one person alone cannot keep the unity. Observe that Paul does not request the Christians to make the unity, for only God could make the bond; but it is the responsibility of believers to try to keep it. This is the unity of the Spirit. That is, the unity that has been forged by the Holy Spirit himself, and its bond or connection is a peaceable one.
FORGIVING ONE ANOTHER
A few words on forgiving one another.
When we offend one another, the one offended will often wait on an apology, and when one is not forthcoming, we will many times hear the offender say "you don't know how many times I have repented to GOD."
THIS is what God says.
Luke 17:3-4 Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.
TRESPASS- 264 hamartano (ham-ar-tan'-o); to err, especially (morally) to sin:
If thy brother trespass against thee, (THEE/us- not God), rebuke him/her; (scold-yell at-bawl out-slap on the wrist-give a talking to- haul over the coals -express disapproval -rap across the knuckles- give a warning) and if he repent, (to you) forgive him
Matt 18:21-22 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
Keep in mind that one is not required to forgive unless the erring one (one that does wrong-makes a mistake) repents WILLINGLY from the heart.
Saying I'm sorry does not show true repentance. We are to SHOW repentance. We are to repent in a HUMBLE manner. We should not have to CONVINCE or persuade or argue/fight/bicker/squabble to get the other to repent.
Matt 3:5-8 Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, And were baptized of him (John the Baptist) in Jordan, confessing their sins. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:
We are to show the FRUIT of our repentance. The repentance will SHOW
Other words for fruit are, outgrowth-the end results- appearance. We should be able to SEE the repentance in others.
If we say that the Holy Spirit has not convicted or convinced us of a sin, when God's Word is "very clear on it"; the reason is because of our hard hardiness/harden ones heart. It will be because of pride, and because we are grieving the Holy Spirit of God (Eph 4:30) indwelling our bodies.
Prov 28:13 He that covereth (hide-defend the sin) his sins shall not prosper: (materially or spiritually-mercy will be withheld) but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.
We may be offended and the offender say, "I didn't see anything wrong with what I did" or "what I said", as the case may be. "I don't think it was wrong".
It may nor seem so to you, but we must consider others before we "mouth off" or "do whatever".
We may not think we offend/sin against God either, at times, because of what we say or do. There is a way that seems right to us, as the Bible says in Proverbs 14:12; 16:25.
WE do not judge what is right or wrong/sin. We must go to God's Word to determine this.
Well "I" think, we may say. I say, God doesn't care what WE think.
Isa 55:6-7 Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
Isa 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
You see, out thoughts and our ways do not even come close to God's thoughts and His ways.
We must let God's Holy Spirit search our thoughts to see if we are on track with God's Word. OUR thoughts will deceive us. OUR thoughts will prevent us from repenting to God AND to our fellow men that we offend.
Consider the next verse.
Ps 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
See “When Forgiveness Is a Sin” in the CNV Feb. 1998 News Archives)
NO EVIDENCE OF CHRISTIANITY GROWTH
George Barna is the founder and president of Barna Research Group of Ventura, Calif. He has often been the bearer of bad news, especially for evangelical and born-again Christians. Three years ago, he raised eyebrows with a study showing that people that claimed to be born-again Christians divorced more than non-Christians.
Mr. George Barna talked with Dallas Morning News Staff Writer Berta Delgado. Here are excerpts. (The Dallas Morning News-8-22-03)
QUESTION: Are pastors not providing depth because they don't want to run off the "seekers" who are new to the faith?
ANSWER: That brings up another huge issue - how do you define success in a church? Is it numbers? Numbers of people, programs, staff, square feet in your buildings, dollars in the plate? Or is it a more biblical perspective, which is life transformation
Jesus didn't die on the cross just so we could fill up buildings and have fun events. He died so people's lives could be changed, so they would be more like him, more like God, and live in a more holy and proper way.
That's not always a popular message. It means you have to sacrifice. It means you have to suffer. You have to be very conscious about what you believe and why and how you're living that out.
I think sometimes we're not very good about telling people when they come in that it's not all fun and games, that there's going to be accountability, there are going to be rules - not our rules, God's rules - and if you want to be part of this group, you need to live by them.
That's a hard message for a lot of pastors to give. Frankly, it's a hard message for a lot of Christians to live out as well.
It's hard to see what difference a person's faith makes when you actually observe how a born-again Christian lives.
QUESTION: Dallas has many big churches, many well-known pastors. When you talk about the evangelical community or born-again Christians, is Dallas significant?
ANSWER: I wouldn't be any harder on Dallas than any other metropolitan area. The key issue is, what are we trying to do? Are we trying to build numbers or are we trying to allow God to transform people?
If that transformation is happening, there ought to be tangible evidence of it. We ought to be able to point to statistics on divorce, abortion, debt, drunkenness, and pornography exposure. All these things should be way low, and we don't see that. We know we're not going to become perfectly holy people. But we should be able to see some discernable progress.
[Editor] AMEN George-AMEN
I actually agree with someone.
CHURCH GOING TO THE DOGS
(Ft. Worth Star Telegram-8-23-03)
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Rover, of course, needs his run in the park. But what about his spiritual needs?
All Saints Episcopal Church in Fort Lauderdale wants to meet those needs -- and those of his owner. The church has started monthly services for pets and their loved ones, even providing doggie treats for Rover at communion time.
Don't worry about an accident during a hymn or prayer. The church keeps a mop and bucket handy.
"There's nothing that can ruin the service," says church staffer Char Vinik, whose family plays guitars during the 6 p.m. contemporary pet service on the third Sunday of the month.
Consider it a way to entice people to church who otherwise might not go. Many people feel guilty about leaving their pets home on the weekend after being away at work Monday through Friday, says the Rev. Roger Allee, associate priest at All Saints. So once a month, the church lets people bring their entire "family," Rover included.
"If they start getting boisterous" -- as in barking or hissing -- "don't worry," Allee reassures about 50 churchgoers at the most recent pet service. "They're praising God as only they know how to do it."
Indeed, church members ignored loud snorts and snores from Rose the pug during the recent service after she climbed into a pew next to owner Dorothy Bowen of Fort Lauderdale.
"People really love their pets and take them seriously," says Allee.
Some Catholic parishes now schedule blessing ceremonies for pets, especially around Oct. 4, the feast day of renowned animal lover St. Francis of Assisi.
"It's not usually during the Mass but afterward," says Mary Ross Agosta, spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Miami. "Everyone is asked to bring their pets, from turtles and iguanas to the usual cats and dogs," she says. "You realize your pet becomes part of the family."
The Rev. Maud Paraison, Episcopal rector of the Church of Intercession, visited All Saints' pet service last month and was charmed by parishioners holding their pooches, singing hymns and participating in the liturgy.
"It's something to look into" for her own church, she says, where "people are close to their pets.
All Saints got the idea for the special pet services because many dog owners bring their pets to run on the church grounds. "We lovingly call them 'the dog people,' " Allee says.
"We thought, why not invite them to church?" Vinik adds.
So far, about 50 or so people show up with about a dozen pets in tow -- mostly dogs, from a dachshund to a Lab mix, and usually one or two cats.
And if you ask them, then yes, they are convinced their pets enjoy the singing, the spiritual message and mixing with other parishioners and their pets.
After all, they will tell you, their pets have souls like humans do.
"Cats are persons -- only they spell it purr-sons," quips member Barbara Slauson of Fort Lauderdale. She brought her cat, Lacey, in a pet carrier.
Don Hayes, who brought Jonesy, his 3-year-old Jack Russell to All Saints, says he is convinced his pooch not only has a soul but will go to heaven.
He says he read a book about near-death experiences and the people talked of meeting their pets on the way to heaven before "returning" to Earth to finish out their lives.
"You just wonder what they are thinking," Hayes says of pets. Of Jonesy, he says, "He's very sensitive to my emotions."
Indeed, spiritual peace seems to spread over the pets during All Saints' service. There are no cat-and-dog fights. Well, maybe there's a rare hiss or a low growl, but nothing too serious. Rather, the animals tend to greet each other warmly.
Maxi, a 1-year-old German shepherd mix, rubbed noses with Henry, an almost 3-year-old Lab mix as their owners, Jennifer Vanderweit and Amy Sammons, sat together in a pew.
"She could use a little church," jokes Vanderweit of the active Maxi, who settled down once the services began. "It benefits us both."
[Editor] So--what did you expect of a denomination from Sodom
We Must Earnestly Contend For The Faith - Jude 1:3
Distributed by CNV News Service, an outreach of Messengers of Christ Ministries.
These articles may be used in any manner to the glory of God, and as an aid in the discernment of the times.
News Item headings (if any) and Editor comments (if any) are mine. - Andy Neckar, CNV News Service