In his message this morning, Pastor Danny Brooks mentioned a Washington Post article (see http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/holy-post/archive/2009/05/22/u-s-congressman-draws-fire-for-year-of-the-bible-pitch.aspx). Essentially, it is an article decrying the attempt of Congressman Paul Broun from Georgia who has sponsored a bill that would name 2010 the year of the Bible. In this article, the writer states, “‘Right now, we’re seeing atheism on such a rise,’ David Silverman, vice president and national spokesman of American Atheists, a group dedicated to fighting for the civil rights of atheists. ‘We are seeing Christianity on such a dramatic decline that we’re not particularly worried about it.'”
So, the question we have to ask is, “What impact are we having anyway?” There are more conferences, church plants, books written, passionate worship, and seemingly more people in churches across American, yet, we have lost completely our status as a “Christian nation.” It is not that we are non-religious, we really are irreligious. So, what is going on in our nation, anyway?
In situations like this, I think you have to look to yourself first and then look at the church as a whole today? We have bought into a type of Christianity that is very man-centered–or honestly, self-centered. This is a type of Christianity that doesn’t look at sacrifice, commitment, or giving to a body as part of the life of a believer. We want the time of services to be when it is convenient to our busy schedules, we want the preaching to dabble in doctrine, but it has to be “my doctrine;” we want to go to church, do church, and then get on with our lives. Be honest with yourself and ask, “When was the last time I really listened to the sermon of my pastor with the goal of letting the Word of God change me?” This kind of approach is what will begin the stir of heart so that the Word of God will have more than just a nice sound to it, but that it will continue to work in us the glory of our Savior. So many hear sermons and seem to live all through the service of worship never impacted in the heart or never seem to change from within. From a pastor’s standpoint, this is a scary thought, because we are supposed to give care for the souls of our people. It shouldn’t be a surprise to us to find many people who are merely doing church. Paul warns Timothy of the last days where there will be many who will not want truth. The truth is, we reject authority, and God’s hand in our very lives–and so we reject the authorities that He outlines in Scripture–including the authority of the church in our lives.
So how is it in your life personally, really? Is God’s Word having a life-changing impact, or are you using it to live out your own “religion” that fits your lifestyle and life choices? Are people around you not really worried about the impact of your life on them? Hmm…what an indictment on the church of Christ today.