Monday, November 28, 2011

Sunday's Sermon Text for December 4, 2011 (Isaiah 40:1-11)

Isaiah 40:1-11, HCSB

1 "Comfort, comfort My people,"
says your God.

2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and announce to her
that her time of servitude is over,
her iniquity has been pardoned,
and she has received from the LORD's hand
double for all her sins.

3 A voice of one crying out:
Prepare the way of the LORD in the wilderness;
make a straight highway for our God in the desert.

4 Every valley will be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill will be leveled;
the uneven ground will become smooth,
and the rough places a plain.

5 And the glory of the LORD will appear,
and all humanity will see [it] together,
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

6 A voice was saying, "Cry out!"
Another said, "What should I cry out?"
"All humanity is grass,
and all its goodness is like the flower of the field.

7 The grass withers, the flowers fade
when the breath of the LORD blows on them;
indeed, the people are grass.

8 The grass withers, the flowers fade,
but the word of our God remains forever."

9 Zion, herald of good news,
go up on a high mountain.
Jerusalem, herald of good news,
raise your voice loudly.
Raise it, do not be afraid!
Say to the cities of Judah,
"Here is your God!"

10 See, the Lord GOD comes with strength,
and His power establishes His rule.
His reward is with Him,
and His gifts accompany Him.

11 He protects His flock like a shepherd;
He gathers the lambs in His arms
and carries [them] in the fold of His [garment].
He gently leads those that are nursing.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Church Reformation Needed

Sometimes I wonder, “How did God’s church get so far off track?” I mean really, “Does the average church today resemble the church that Jesus founded?” I think not and heaven must be grieving while the Devil is rejoicing. The church today is not so much in danger from people on the outside, it’s in danger of destroying itself, imploding from within by members who have no interest in a truly forming a visible Gospel church. Meanwhile, we make very little impact in our world and don’t seem particularly troubled by it. The angels rejoice over one sinner that repents, and you can’t seem to hardly get a holy whimper out of the average church member. “Where’s the salt of the earth? Where’s the light of the world?” As a popular song states, “If we are his body, why aren’t his hands working?”

Practically speaking the average church has become little more than a Christian social club. Forget carrying out the purpose of the church, to worship the Almighty God, to evangelize our culture outside the four walls of the church building, to disciple those who are brought to faith in Christ so that they will be fully mature and committed followers of Jesus, and to minister to the least among us. Today’s church is much more interested in “churchy” activities designed to meet the needs of the pew sitters and soothe the saints. “Give us programs that will insulate us from the real world, meet our every need, take care of us, recognize and praise us, entertain us, after all, we’re paying for the ‘show.’”

Where’s the holy fear of God? Where’s the reverence for God’s Word, to hear and obey? Where’s the joy of Jesus among God’s people? Where’s the body truly desiring to be the presence of Christ in the world? Where’s the passion for bringing broken people to Jesus? The main thing has ceased to become the main thing. God help us, God help the church that has lost its way, that has forgotten that it’s not about us, it’s about bringing glory to God in every facet of our lives. It’s about bringing broken people to Christ and teaching them all the things that Jesus has commanded. It’s about Him!

I believe a reformation is once again needed and “Lord, let it begin in me.” Will you join me?

Pastor Joe
“Phil. 1:3