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"BREAK OUR HEARTS FOR WHAT BREAKS YOURS"



Pastor Leonard Ravenhill once said,

"I'd rather have 10 people who want God than 10,000 people who want to play church."



Even before the advancement of social media, there has been a draw to impress others. Jesus taught against it. Paul preached against it. And we still do it today - every day.

It has caused us to lose our witness to the world and, instead, become merchandizers of exactly what hurts the people who Jesus longs to save.



I have been in Ministry since I was 19. Over 20 years. That might not seem like long, but, at this present time, that is over half my lifetime. I have helped pastor a Church for over 3 years and have both assisted in leading and solely led Worship longer than that. I have spearheaded home Bible Studies and I have sat on concrete sidewalks, ministering to those who were too fearful to step foot inside a building full of people that they didn't know or trust.

In all this time, it becomes more evident as each year passes - Church has become more of a status-seeking-performance social club than it is the called-to-be-holy group of fishers of men.


It is a sad state to be in. It is frightening to look around and realize how lukewarm what we call the "body of Christ" has become. I look around and no longer struggle to imagine the Lord spewing us out of His mouth.


This is not a "newer generation" issue.

Per age group, there lies more specific issues. Gossip among the older generations who, with their newfound free time, have learned that the attention of others can still be kept on them as they produce more tantalizing gossip.

Middle-age generations feel the need to capture their youth as best as they can because it is slipping so quickly from their fingers, and they quickly are joining social circles validated under the guise of 'Church Group' that do more mockery of the lost than ministering to them. Middle generations join the social platforms in another attempt to look like the appealing younger crowd and keep up appearances as such, to the best of their ability - often at the risk of their Christian witness.

Each of these elder generations are quick to blame the younger generations without realizing that the mirror reflects what was shown to it. And, in most cases, these age-advanced generations have become too arrogant to acknowledge that they may have had a part in the current state of this world and the decline of Christian values.




"For you yourselves know, brothers, that our coming to you was not in vain.

But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict.

For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive,

but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel,

so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.

For we never came with words of flattery, as you know,

nor with a pretext for greed - God is witness.

Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ.

But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children.

So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.

For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God.

You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers."


SUNDAY MORNINGS...

Truth be told, the majority of "Christians" are not even "Sunday morning Christians" anymore.

"Sunday morning Christians" are people who show up on Sunday morning, worship and pray and stay awake for church, repent and raise their hands, and then Monday they go back to the same sanctimonious, carnal lives as before with no change until the next Sunday - some not as evident as others.

We're not even that anymore.

Instead, we've dipped our toes in a more putrid stream than the stagnant stream we once were bathing in.



We sing songs - beautiful words and a heartfelt cry or rising praise - without paying attention to what we're singing. The most we pay attention to is that we get the words right, so we don't look like idiots. It may sound pretty but there are no meaning to the words. They're just that - words.

If only we meant the words that we sang....


We sing songs like "break our hearts for what breaks Yours" but we are so self-absorbed that most worship leaders and worship team members can't see past their own microphones to see the people directly in front of them for whom their hearts should be breaking.

And many members of the church body aren't much better.

* Those in leadership, however, will be held by the Lord to a higher standard.


"This is not a game! If you will stand in the place of ministry, you will stand responsible before God, Who created the Heavens and the Earth, for what you've done with His people and whether you've handled the Word of God with purity or you've taken it and manipulated it."

- Pedro Israel Orto





Dr. David Jeremiah said it perfectly -

"What's killing the impact of the Church today is men and women who are in the Church who aren't living the faith. They are living two lives. They have their Church life, their religious life, and then the life that they have in the world. And the world sees that. The world's not stupid. The world sees the inaccuracy and the lack of integrity in our lives. Why would they want that? They've got that without Jesus! Why would they need Jesus for that?"

Many Christians have become performers in a world that has enough trouble with pride and idolatry.

Many are toting around the cross of Christ with ease because they're no longer carrying the real thing, but a fake lookalike made of balsa wood rather than cedar.

Because the original made them sweat.


WHERE DOES MY HELP COME FROM?


Our first stop is God. That is truly where our help comes from.

But where do we go for that tangible, one-on-one human help?

The truth is that you will get more support and encouragement when you're going through a hard time from the secular world than you will the church and the church body. Most churches have gotten to the point where they don't deal with anything messy. The secular world, the "non-believers", are the ones that typically come alongside you and love you through the hard times.

And we wonder why some churches are not growing.

We wonder why we're not reaching the current generation.

If it gets hard, most Christians will back out. The Samaritan that helped the man alongside the road is a prime example of what we encounter today. The one who has been beaten and is lying beside the road gets in the way of many church leaders' agendas. Oftentimes, leaders are more interested in covering their heads than righting a wrong or causing friction by being seen with the minority. It's easier to look over the heads of those who are slouching down and hunched over because of the weariness of this world than it is to meet their gaze and I wonder if that is because of the conviction of our hearts.


It's hard to love our neighbor when we pick and choose which doors of our neighborhood we want to knock on. We pick and choose who's convenient or less messy or isn't going to take too much of our time to invest in. And that's if we even take the time to reach out.

A lot of older churches, or churches with older congregations, get onto the kids of this generation but instead of looking down or talking about them - has anyone thought about coming alongside them to see how they can influence them, or realizing that some of these children might be growing up in single-parent households now, unintended, because one of the spouses lacked the integrity of follow-through and backed out?

Do we miss the fact that children are often left alone if the single parent is struggling to make an income and not live off the government? We have members of our churches that are in line at food banks and the church they attend would prefer not to know.

I promise you that if you close your eyes, it doesn't make something go away.

I personally, at this point, hold a very little hope for where the "body of Christ" is headed. We're no longer the hands and feet of Jesus. We're the ones who look the other way.

"Break my heart for what breaks Yours."

Beautiful words.

I heard them sung just over a week ago. But truly more beautiful when we actually mean them.

What do we show the world?
What kind of light are we in a darkening world?

How will God hold us responsible

for the people of our churches that are hurting and beat up but, due to our own personal convenience or the desire to not 'rock the boat', we simply walk on the other side of the road?



If any of this hit home with you - if any of it made you pause and reevaluate your lifestyle in and outside of church. OR if you are in any form of leadership - please reflect on a of couple things (scripture links included):

  • How many ministries are you using to replace the ministering?

  • How many of God's people are you willing to lose for the sake of your convenience or agenda?

  • Are you going to be able to give an account for your decisions?

  • How many people of your congregation of "not been caught" rather than "fallen away"?

  • Do you think that Peter or any of the other fishers of men ever threw a fish back?

  • What legacy are you leaving not just your personal family but those whom God has entrusted you with?

  • What image are you reflecting?

The only time that it is too late to change your lifestyle

or decisions is when you are dead.

1 Peter 4:7-8; Romans 14:7; Acts 20:24



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