The Consequences of not Knowing the Bible

 

The Church, as well as the airways, is becoming more and more filled with bad, false teaching from faulty models of biblical interpretation! At the same time, more and more Christians are not delving into the Bible for their spiritual nourishment, rather swapping it for “feel good” books that do not properly instruct and/or turning on the TV for the false teacher crowd—or else doing nothing at all for their spiritual growth. Bible studies, Bible based small groups where God’s Word is sought, delved into, discussed and used as challenge and talking points for a life that is transformed are shrinking and/or missing from most lives of Christians and absent from most church programs and happenings. Endeavors that remain are being attended less and are lacking value and promotion. Additionally, we have the problem of busyness; church leaders—even pastors—are too busy to bother with Bible reading, thus leading from pride and presumption. The people in the pew are so overwhelmed in life, work, family life, and even at church that the Bible, which could solve their problems by showing them their call and God’s precepts, is the last place examined. In many American churches, we have lost our instruction book to the detriment of the Christian community’s spiritual formation, as well as the ability to know and model Christ to the community and world at large, leaving the people in the pew spiritually bankrupt and the neighborhoods with bad models of Christ and thus unreached. 

When we do not garner our spiritual nourishment from God’s Word, the Bible, and instead trade it for our whims and mind-sets, we cheat ourselves and weaken our churches, holding back Christ’s work in us and our church’s life; we neuter God’s potential work to those around us too. 

Thus, we swap what is good, legal tender for that which is counterfeit and thus leave nothing in our spiritual wallets but confederate notes that are worthless and thus of no spiritual or fruitful value to spend for life and ministry. To counteract these evils and stop Bible illiteracy, we must feed from God’s glorious and wondrous buffet of precepts for our faith and knowledge. 

This is actually easy; just take the time to read it through. It just takes minutes a day, less than half of a half-hour TV sitcom, to know our Lord and grow in Him for an effectual, transforming life and to dig out what He plainly and abundantly has for us so we have His spiritual spending power. Our reading of the Bible is not meant to merely learn its trivia; rather, we are to be rehabbed in Christ, be changed, renewed, and transformed. We must take this remarkable currency of His remarkable and astounding precepts and spend it for our spiritual improvement and then for kingdom building. But, what gets in the way of our good buffet and spiritual currency? Simply ignoring God by ignoring or misusing His Word. 

What does Bible illiteracy give us? A failed church and a meaningless life! 

As our churches give what they think are eloquent and edifying discourses, they are, in fact,  delivering empty words and the image of a divine bell hop, not the Holy LORD whom we worship, lean on, and learn from and with whom we discourse. So, shallowness and pretentiousness have taken our churches hostage, leaving our pews filled with ignorant, hurt, disconnected children of God who do not know His love or His ways and who make pathetic faith decisions and bad life choices, creating more dysfunction and stress in their lives and homes, and a church that is inept, dysfunctional, and impotent, with an incapacity to know and glorify the very Lord we are to be all about.

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How BIG of a Problem is Bible Illiteracy in the Church?

 

            These words may be strong, but they are true: From our research and experiences, we have discovered big problems in our churches, the sheepfold of God’s chosen and precious creation. The sheep are skinny and dumb! And, many of the shepherds tend to be merely puffed-up, directionless idiots leading their flock away from the prime pasturelands of our Lord rather to feed on the garbage plies of the world and in turn crafting obtuse sheep with bad nourishment and a lack of proper care. They are ignoring our great Shepherd and instead relying on the way of the wolf and not on the way of our Lord (Heb. 3:12-13.; 4:1-2; 5:11-6:3; James 1:22-25)! 

We are seeking anti-intellectualism at one end of our church spectrum and shallow seeker-ness at the other. We are becoming overly scholarly to the determent of any impact from God’s Word, totally ignoring His precepts and replacing them with ours. 

Both spectrums give mere “sermonettes” that have no substance or effectual teaching. They give no kind of challenge or discipline that is necessary for authentic Christian growth, thus creating small-minded pew sitters who can’t even find their way around the Bible or even know the difference between John the Baptist and John the Disciple. While other churches may say they are Bible and conservative orientated, they too have moved away from the Bible with a fixation on business and consumer models for ministry, seeking a consumer approach to church, relying on strategies for growth instead of the pursuit of love, trust, and obedience to our Lord. Or, they are, as James tells us, merely reading the Word, not doing as it says (James 1:22).

We are seeking anti-intellectualism at one end of our church spectrum and shallow seeker-ness at the other. We are becoming overly scholarly to the determent of any impact from God’s Word, totally ignoring His precepts and replacing them with ours. Both spectrums give mere “sermonettes” that have no substance or effectual teaching. They give no kind of challenge or discipline that is necessary for authentic Christian growth, thus creating small-minded pew sitters who can’t even find their way around the Bible or even know the difference between John the Baptist and John the Disciple. While other churches may say they are Bible and conservative orientated, they too have moved away from the Bible with a fixation on business and consumer models for ministry, seeking a consumer approach to church, relying on strategies for growth instead of the pursuit of love, trust, and obedience to our Lord. Or, they are, as James tells us, merely reading the Word, not doing as it says (James 1:22). 

What does Bible illiteracy give us? A failed church and a meaningless life! It creates shallow Christians and pretentious, incompetent leaders. This is not about knowing Bible trivia, rather applying God precepts to our lives and church!

 

 The result? Shallow people and a faithless church, moving away from the Bible and embracing anything but Him and His Word. I am not talking about liberalism, although this is a problem too. Rather, I allude to conservative and Reformed churches moving away from the centrality of Scripture and the disciplines to learn and grow, substituting cheap stories without substance, shallow messages without challenge, and pride replacing love and fruit to be the icing on the cake of pretentiousness.

As our churches give what they think are eloquent and edifying discourses, they are, in fact, delivering empty words and the image of a divine bell hop, not the Holy LORD whom we worship, lean on, and learn from and with whom we discourse. So, shallowness and pretentiousness have taken our churches hostage, leaving our pews filled with ignorant, hurt, disconnected children of God who do not know His love or His ways and who make pathetic faith decisions and bad life choices, creating more dysfunction and stress in their lives and homes, and a church that is inept, dysfunctional, and impotent, with an incapacity to know and glorify the very Lord we are to be all about.

The Problem of Eisegesis

One of the great tragedies of the church today is “bad teaching,” not just false teaching form the TV preacher crowd, but sloppy teaching and eisegesis from the Conservative and Evangelical even Reformed pulpits. That fewer and fewer pastors are using and reading the Bible. Fewer and fewer Christians are living the life of a disciple of Jesus Christ than ever before. As Christians living in America today, we tend to be more concerned with who is coming to our church—and how many are coming—and less concerned with making disciples, which we are called first and foremost to do.

The Problem of Eisegesis

http://www.churchleadership.org/apps/articles/default.asp?articleid=67933&columnid=4624

I believe that the lack of Bible study and Bible knowledge is one of the root causes of the problems that most Christians face, because without this knowledge, we are unable to make healthy and wise decisions. It is also one of the root problems that our churches face. Our churches are riddled with conflict and strife thereby pushing people away when we are called to be a light in darkness, salt to a flavorless world, and a haven of rest. Yet, we choose to ignore our call and rather place our focus upon our selfish needs and quests, with “sermonettes for Christianettes” when it needs to be upon the foot of the cross, who Christ is, and what He did for us as revealed in His Word.

Goals are very important to setting up objectives!

It’s that time of the church year were staff are struggling to come up with and mange programs and budgets…here are some time test tips that work! 

Goals are also are crucial fortargeting opportunities and action plans, and strategizing on going from one point to another in personal life as well as ministry. Goals are tools to assist growth and to better our call to Christ and our service to one another. However, goals are not the focus, nor are they the ministry. Too many churches put all of the “eggs in the one basket” of goals, ignoring everything else in ministry care and love. Concentrating on goals as the principle endeavor causes them to become an idol of worship, not the tool they should be. Guard against allowing goals to cause myopia so that everything and everyone else is ignored! At the same time, make sure the plans are not so loose that there is no direction or purpose. Either situation is counterproductive!

These are basic goal setting exercises, which can be used in all phases and aspects of the church, from the mission statements of the Pastor and elders, to those of the nursery workers.

Ask questions and listen carefully. Will Rogers once said, “The greatest compliment you can pay a person is to ask them a question and then listen to their response.” The key is to be a good listener and build relationships, and, after listening, to make sure something will be done about it. Do not just listen and walk away. If there is a problem, find a solution!

List all the goals that come to mind, and then start to prioritize those goals.

Plan for a year!

1.Use your annual church calendar for your planning cycle.

2.The leadership of the church needs to set aside time to plan the entire year, listing all the major activities. This will show the big picture. Provide a good daily management tool for the church, such as a controlling calendar that creates clear church communication of events, resources, programs, and facilities.

3.Involve as many as possible in the planning! Conduct surveys, have a church meeting, have each committee submit its input, randomly ask questions by calling and visiting members. Do not ignore anyone–have an “open door policy.”

4.The typical church is made up of factions with opposing philosophies, loyalties, turf conflicts, differing perspectives, and agendas. Identify and listen to the key “opinionated people” in your church in each faction. The leadership of the church is not always in charge or on the board! Know whom the real movers and leaders in your church are by observing that they have followers and others who listen to them. Leaders function as either movers or blockers. Sometimes members do not have the time to serve officially, or they have the “gift” of dissention and strife. Alternatively, they may be too shy or humble to be in leadership. Whatever the reason, be sensitive and listen, build relationships and bridges! You goal is to get them on board in a Godly direction, to let them see the big picture, and to get their input and then strategize on how to work tighter, together.

5.Make sure you find and listen to the people who have left the church because they usually have key information. Do not just go to them just for information, but try to build a bridge and solve the issues to bring them back! If you wait more than three months after a person or family leaves, it may be too late to bring them back but not too late to listen to them!

…more tips here:

http://www.churchleadership.org/articles_view.asp?articleid=41898&columnid=4540

What are the best interests for your church?

 

We usually do not like to submit in American culture; we think it is against our best interests. But, think this through a bit. In Scripture, the wife is in submission as a response to the husband’s love for her, his provision, and his having her best interest and care at heart. It is like our response of the fruit of our service to Christ because of His love for us and because of His free gift of grace. We do not earn salvation for our service; rather, it is a fruit of our gratitude. In the same way, this is how submission works. It is not to be forced, but offered freely in response to love. It is something we replicate as we respond in kindness, so our response to one another fuels the other’s response, and so forth. In this way, we are escalating love and kindness instead of repression and dysfunction. In like manner, we are to run our churches this way; the context of the Ephesians passage indicates the Church. 

Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:19-20 

Christ and the church are the prime models for us in a lifelong commitment of a monogamous marriage. So, the Church needs to be that model, monogamous in Christ; He is to be our One Mate. If our church breaks down in its fruit production, so will our families and then so will our society. Remember, Jesus did not give up on us when things went from bad to worse. His grace, forgiveness, and perseverance came through. It is the model relationship for the home, for loving of children, and for the fellowships and relationships we are to have. The church is the bride of Christ, and He loves her. Your church will either fall or grow depending on how you and the leaders model righteousness, love, commitment, and holiness. These fruits are to be practiced and exercised in the best and fullest way possible!

How is your churches compassion, care?

 

The theme of submission to God is understating His love that covers and protects and in turn helps us relate to others more harmoniously. Real submission brings about closeness when it is formed from love. If it is subjugated, such a barrier to God is formed that, according to Peter, even our prayers will not be heard. Thus, compassion, care, and love pave the way to effective, relational harmony and blessing from God. Pride and our strong-willed attitudes set up a barrier, making all we do ineffective, destructive, and meaningless while also creating distrust and suspicion that breeds disharmony and creates gossip. If we want God to be attentive to us, we must do our part by being attentive to others without iniquity. Harmony in Scripture means to show peace in all situations. It is sympathetic, meaning we understand and identify with another person, putting ourselves in their shoes so we can have real compassion. We are called to bless and do good to those who do not like us; when we pay someone back to get even, we only end up escalating the issue and thus hurting ourselves and usurping God’s authority to judge. This does not mean we are to endure abuse or unlawful actions; rather, it has to do with our attitude. It is a balance between the exercise of the Fruit of the Spirit and the setting up of boundaries to protect us. 

Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Ephesians 5:18 

The bottom line is this: be considerate in all that you do, to whomever is in your life, showing love as if they have forgotten what Christ and the Fruit of the Spirit are all about. We must see gossip as the antithesis of who Christ is and what Christian living is all about. If we are healthy in Christ, let us show it by demonstrating the work that He did in us. To make this point in part of the Ephesians passage, “Husbands, love your wives,” the verb for “love” (Greek: agapete) designates a continuous routine of action all of the time, not just when one feels like it. Christ loved the church not because it was holy, but in order to make it holy! Thus, we are not only called to know Him more and build our relationship in Him, but also to work at keeping our relationship with others within those parameters of love, submission, and commitment. Even if you make mistakes, misuse your words, and/or manipulate others through impatience, wrong thinking, desires, and/or sin, you still have the call and opportunity to make it right so the church can be better!

Is the Love of Christ in your Church?

 

If you want to be successful as a church you must be willing and able to love! And… real love takes us beyond ourselves!  

How many of us have ever ventured into a church that was filled with unkindness, where we were ignored or even mistreated? As a pastor, I engage in a tough battle to make sure my flock behaves so that Christ would be pleased. I can try my best to set an example and I can try to teach them to behave by showing them and doing my best to model the words of our Lord, but I cannot force them to behave. Real, authentic, Christian love only comes from our real, authentic, Christian formation, which comes from genuine discipleship. Why is this important? If someone is not growing in the Lord, then they are not willing or able to treat others with love and respect. Care, compassion, and love will be moot, and the church will become that annoying noise of 1 Corinthians 13, modeling what love is not rather that what it is. That church will become a club of stubborn pride, devoid of harmony and brotherly love.I do not believe any of us really want that. 

How loving are we?  

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:1-2

The problem tends to be that we come across as unloving people! Even a good church is not always as loving and a caring as it should be. This comes down to a spiritual problem, a disconnect between what we are practicing and what we profess to believe. We may say and believe His precepts of love and care, but has His Truth transformed and renewed us deeply, on both the inside and out? If your church is having problems (and all do at times), it comes down to the fact of our faith. We will only obey God to the point that we trust Him. When we know He is faithful with us, we can be faith-worthy in Him to do a better job at being a steward of His Church. The solution is to be more loving. And, we do this by further growing in Him, then modeling so others can catch on to what they should be—Christians functioning in Him and from Him. 

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.  Ephesians 5:15-17

When we are unloving, it is because we are unsubmissive. Submission is respect, and the honoring of the will of God and righteousness. As an example, submission is never an excuse to batter or put one’s spouse down in any way. In the Ephesians passage, the directive to husbands is even more daunting than the one given to the wives. Husbands are called to love, which is much greater in importance and prominence than submission! Love is what sets the tone and standard for the relationship—our relationship with God, with family, and with others in the church too.