http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=jimperdue13&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=1434767957&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr“Are we dependent upon self or are we desperate for His Spirit?” This is a question that every believer in Jesus Christ must answer. It’s a question that every church must answer as well.
It has become very easy in today’s ecclesiological climate to operate the church according to a man-made formula. As long as you have a rocking band, a cool pastor who “connects” with you, a sweet-looking logo and some “relevant” sermon series then you have the makings of a mega-church.
By no means do I want to detract from the genuine move of God in many churches that are growing supernaturally. Nor do I want to sound like a pastor who is jealous of those churches that are “growing.” God has blessed at Crosspointe in a mighty way and we continue to see growth year after year. He alone deserves the credit and receives the glory!
My point is simple, I want to remind us all that the church is not a human invention or creation; it is solely a divine creation. And can we really call it a “church” if it exists without the power of God? We are absolutely, totally and completely dependent upon the Spirit of God for the existence and advancement of the church. Someone once said, “Before Pentecost the disciples found it hard to do easy things; after Pentecost they found it easy to do hard things.”
We have begun a four-part series at Crosspointe entitled “Forgotten God: reversing our tragic neglect of the Holy Spirit.” The title is borrowed from Francis Chan’s excellent book but the content is considerably different. It is my contention that in most churches and in the lives of most believers the Holy Spirit could be absent and we would never even notice.
Is there something considerably different about my life because the Spirit of God dwells in me? Is my church characterized by clever ingenuity, marketing, advertising and catchy slogans? Or it is marked by an overwhelming sense of the supernatural power and presence of God through the indwelling Holy Spirit? He alone brings life!
We are a people that hate to wait and we are a nation that hates to wait. We love our fast food, fast cars, microwaves and interstates. But we must learn to wait patiently on the Lord. God is not obligated to operate according to our timetable. Waiting on the Lord is active, not passive. Someone once said, “Patience is not passive: on the contrary it is active; it is concentrated strength.”
We can wait eagerly on God’s promise because we know that it will come to pass. Part of worship is waiting on God’s promise and receiving God’s promise in His proper time. The prophet writes in Isaiah 40:31, “They who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”
G. Campbell Morgan said, “Waiting for God is not laziness. Waiting for God is not going to sleep. Waiting for God is not the abandonment of effort. Waiting for God means, first, activity under command; second, readiness for any new command that may come; third, the ability to do nothing until the command is given.” Psalms 37:7 says, “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him.”
Now this is a question that every pastor, and every Christian for that matter, must wrestle with at some time or another; “What is the goal of the church?” Of course, we know that Jesus makes the answer to this question very clear in Matthew 28:19-20. The goal of the church is to accomplish the Great Commission; to make disciples of all nations for the glory of God.
Most do not argue about the goal of the church, instead they argue about how to accomplish that goal. For what it’s worth, here’s what I’ve learned in my brief tenure as a pastor.
1. Big events and great entertainment draw a crowd, but they do not build a church.
2. Big events and great entertainment do not make disciples, they make a very dangerous class of “Christian” consumers.
3. Big events and great entertainment set you up for failure in the future. If you’re built on the next big thing, the next thing has to be bigger than the last thing.
4. Big events and great entertainment will wear out your pastors and leaders and leave your people frustrated and disillusioned.
5. Big events and great entertainment leave your people looking for the next big thing. When in fact, the next big thing should be next Sunday.
To my pastor friends, I want to encourage you to resist steadfastly the temptation to entertain the masses. As you look at the ministry of Christ, you’ll notice that He never sought a crowd just for the sake of boasting about His numbers. In fact, you read often of Him retreating from the crowd and other times of the crowd retreating from Him at His harsh words.
The bottom line is this: what you win them with is what you’ll keep them with. Don’t get caught in the trap of entertaining Christians or scheduling events to get the huge crowd to show up. In the end, the church is tasked with the responsibility of making disciples of all nations. Instead of creating “Christian” consumers, we should be making disciples that are disciple-makers.
This summer at Crosspointe, we have been walking through what it means to worship God faithfully and consistently. Here are a few thoughts we’ve covered.
1. Worship is a lifestyle, not an event. Worship on Sunday is an overflow of what God has been doing in your life throughout the week! Worship is a life you live, not a service you attend.
2. Worship is about God’s glory, not my preferences. If I’m concerned more about my preferences than God’s glory then I’m actually not worshipping God, I’m worshipping myself.
3. Worship is a spiritual experience, not an outward show. Who is your audience when you worship? Are you more concerned about what those around you think, or about what God thinks?
4. Worship is about what I put into it, not what I get out of it. It’s not what I get when I come to worship, it’s what I give!
Someone once offered this definition of worship: “Worship is our response to what we value most.” And if worship is our response to what we value most, our faithfulness and participation in corporate worship will reveal the value we place on our personal relationship with Christ.
Let me say it as simply as I can, with grace and love; It is impossible to be a good Christian while voluntarily, consistently and purposefully missing corporate worship. People have a thousand reasons to stay away from church. This is not a new problem. The early Jewish church had a fall-off in attendance due to persecution, ostracism, false-teaching and arrogance. Today, people stay out of church for different reasons. Today, there are all sorts of reasons but every single one of them comes back to a simple philosophy; my wants and desires are more important than God’s directives and commands.
Kent Hughes said, “It is true that a person doesn’t have to “go to church” to be a Christian. Just like you don’t have to go home to be married either. But in both cases, if you don’t, you will have a very poor relationship.” Simply put, it’s possible to be committed to church without being committed to Christ, but it’s impossible to be committed to Christ without being committed to His church!
It was a very eventful weekend around the Perdue house. We had a birthday party Friday night, Dan, Jessica and Rabun came up on Saturday and Judd turned two on Sunday. Judd’s party went great on Friday night, we’ve had a blast with my brother, sister-in-law and niece and Sunday was another great day at Crosspointe.
Then, Sunday night, Judd came down with the vicious stomach virus. He got sick while we were at church (sorry Jody and Stacy), and then again in my office, again on the way home and a few times again at home.
I think he had a good birthday, but not a very good birthnight. Poor kid…who wants to be sick on their birthday!!!
Here he is with his hand over his face. Cute as he can be!