For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power. 1 Corinthians 4:20
I will utter dark sayings from of old, things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and His might, and the wonders that He has done. Psalm 78:4
I have been bothered for several months now by a question that has been tumbling around in my mind. It has to do with the local church that I go to. I’ve been noticing that the a large majority of the families’ children grow up and don’t end up walking with the Lord into their adult years. It is something that I have been praying about and quietly analyzing in my brain, wondering what is really missing in our spiritual DNA.
I finally got an “Aha” about it over the last few days. I’ve been talking with a friend and fellow church goer who has an eight year old daughter. She is concerned that her daughter is “bored” at church and Sunday school and we’ve been talking and praying about how to see change in her spiritual attitude. I was telling this friend about this Youtube video that I watched when it hit me.
It was a video from Skywatch TV where Josh Peck and Steve Bancarz were giving their testimonies about how they grew up in church, but then went into New Age practices in their teen-aged years. They got heavily involved for years and then God got a hold of them and they recommitted their lives and are now speaking out about how the New Age practices are infiltrated into the church.
Josh Peck said something that peaked my attention. He said, “I quit going to church when I was 12. I was bored. I had heard all of the stories by then and thought I knew it all. I didn’t, but I thought I did.” Josh told of how he found supernatural power in New Age practices and got involved in astral projecting and other things.
That’s where I really got to pondering. Could it be that others are the same way? They are bored because they are we are giving them a stripped down version of the Bible–what I mean is this: We are teaching the Bible hermeneutically correctly (not violating the principles of interpreting Scripture). But when you don’t include the power and work of the Holy Spirit as a regular, every day, real life experience, you have a ‘boring’ stripped down version of the Christian life.
It is no wonder that when our kids are 18 (or younger) they look else where for ‘real fun,’ like partying, sleeping around, materialism and other thrill chasing. It is because they haven’t found it in Jesus because we haven’t given it them!
This is tragic!!! I have been a self-confessed Holy Spirit chasing, Jesus freak stuck in a Baptist body for decades. It’s kind of an anomaly. Now a-days it’s okay to raise your hands, but if I start talking about how God has spoken to me in a dream, people start edging for the door and saying, “Oh, look at the time,” or saying, “Oh, another one of your dreams.” They don’t take it seriously, like they should maybe hearing from God.
Or when I start a sentence with, “God spoke this to my heart the other day, and I know I need to do —,” it’s as if it’s an alien language. Or even to find more people than a small handful that join our weekly all-church prayer meeting–and then respond to any subtle or less than subtle invitations to join. There are pockets of people that have enjoyed digging deeper into the Word and talking about what God is doing in their lives, but it is difficult to do it as a church body corporately.
And the outcome is…as 2 Timothy 3:5 states, Having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Now that is a scary description. That is supposed to be for the pagans. No, I don’t think they would have an appearance of godliness. That would be for us!
(I do want to say that my husband and I are blessed with a small group Bible study of about eight or so believers that are from all over. Together we are enjoying practicing the gifts of the Spirit and sharing how God is at work in our daily lives. We have seen the power of God in healings, we talk about how God has spoken to us in dreams, etc. and we pray together for boldness to impact the people we are connected with.)
What is the anecdote? How do we avoid making church and Jesus boring? How do we not have an appearance of godliness but deny its power? Here is a start:
- We pray corporately for specific things and then celebrate when those things are answered, so young and old alike can see that God is real, that He cares about us and our daily lives, and that He answers prayer.
- We have more corporate testimonies of how God is at work in our lives, how he has answered prayers, how He is using us, how He has spoken to us–whether it is in prayer, promptings, dreams, or even visions.
- We get out of our comfort zones and go minister in Jesus’ name together. If kids think that they have heard all of the stories before, nothing brings them alive better than telling someone who has never heard them before. That’s where the kingdom of God is not just about words, it is about action. Let’s put our faith into action!
- We start inviting the Holy Spirit into our church in an active way. We don’t just sing songs like, “Holy Spirit you are welcome here.” We must really start teaching about His function and work, and then put those teachings into regular practice. It doesn’t need to be hokey or undoctrinal, just apply Scripture.
And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness. Acts 4:31
Oh God, may that be our church and the church across America. May we not have a stripped down version of You so that others find you boring. May we shake up our church buildings and gathering places because we are filled with the Holy Spirit and with boldness. Fill our hearts with passion–fill my heart with the overflowing joy, peace in believing and the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13). Don’t let me be boring or bored with You and may it catch like fire.