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Why Can’t I Hear God Any More?

The above question seems to plague most grown ups at some time in our lives. I have noticed that it seems easier for children to hear from God because they are more open to trust and have fewer inhibitions.

Mike Yaconelli wrote about this in his fantastic book Dangerous Wonder. Yac wrote, “Sadly by the time we are adults, most of us have lost our God hearing. We have decided that listening to God is less important than knowing about God. By the time we are grown up, we have jobs and children; the noise of our lives has increased to such a level that we couldn’t possibly hear God because God rarely shouts – He whispers.”

Can you hear the thin silence of God whispering to you? Consider stopping, unplugging and listening to rediscover the joy of being God’s kid again during this holiday season.

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Unified in Death

Pastor Dave Simiele from MCC spoke about unity in the church last Sunday. I found his comments to be right on the mark. Unity only comes when we set aside our rights and humbly seek to serve others in the name of Christ. This requires us to look beyond ourselves and our own interests. It calls us to really trust God and others we are called to connect with in Christian community.

Pastor Dave said, “Simple unity can only live where humility exists.” I agree. We must realize that everyone has a part to play in the life of a church. This is especially true when it comes to the different generations coming together to celebrate and understand each other. 

Then Dave told a story about how he did something to honor his wife for her birthday even though he generally disliked the activity. It ended up giving them a real good time to further their relationship. Dave said that we must come to realize that “What is death to me can be life to someone else.”

Jesus called His disciples to a radical mission. He said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23).

That is a radical call to live a life greater then your own desires. The question is, “Are we ready to embrace such a radical message?”

Listen to Pastor Dave’s sermon at www.mccag.org.

What We Need Is a Culture Change

The longer that I live in the Christian sub culture, the more I see that those inside the Church are not that different from many people outside of it. This makes sense because we are all in the same boat as fallen people who need a Savior. But shouldn’t we as Christians be different? Shouldn’t our faith show the reality of God’s transforming power? Shouldn’t we have different priorities than those who don’t know Christ?

Unfortunately, I believe that the world largely has done a better job of influencing us than we have of them. Do our churches today reflect more the true heart of God or the sinful, self-focused tendencies of mankind? Why do churches struggle with the basics of discipleship and evangelism when we have so many resources at our finger tips?

I believe that what we really need is a culture change. The first start is repentance. We have to realize we are headed the wrong direction. We have to stop, confess our sin and make a deliberate decision to go in another direction. This starts with church leadership. They have to identify the problem and then suggest that we all go to God for the solution.

What basis do I have for asserting that most American churches resemble the world a lot more than they reflect the glory of God? Well, I don’t have lots of hard facts to show you. But I believe you will find that my experiences reflect a large number of Christians around the country.

Here’s just a few thoughts to consider…

1.) Committed Christians are just as likely to get divorced as those outside of the Church.

2.) Church goers claim they want to connect with others, but they frequently shy away from initmacy with others due to fear of being hurt even worse.

3.) Sunday morning church services remain one of the most racially segregated activities in the country.

4.) Many churches have problems that get swept under the rug instead of dealt with in a timely manner.

5.) Christians are just as likely to remain isolated from neighbors and others in the community as those who don’t regularly go to a church. 

6.) By most modern assessments of church growth, Jesus would have been a failure. He spent most of his time focused on a limited number of people and trusted that they would continue his work. Many people in the crowds rejected Jesus in the end. He never built a big ministry building, wrote a book, traveled far from home, or raised lots of money. Yet, He changed the world like no other person could do.

7.) Churches tend to put more focus on individual ministries and programs than the development of godly people. Ministries and preaching are seen as the vehicle for transformation. But the lack of real discipleship fervor in most churches is an indication that this ministry focus strategy doesn’t work well for most people.

8.) Churches tend to look inward and are reluctant to join forces to work together to achieve common, godly goals.

9.) People in church congregations set expectation for their leaders that are almost impossible to achieve, and then we fire them when they admit their weakness, failure and sin. This goes along with the tendency for Christians to look to their leaders to be the primary driver for their spiritual growth/relationship with God.

10.) Today, it seems that reason trumps faith and that convenience is valued above sacrifice. Doing with less is not something that goes over well with most congregations. Doing more by faith is even scarier proposition for people who are used to relying on their own abilities. Trusting in God is the furthest thing on the minds of many so-called Christians when they face trouble. Going to God seems to be the response of last resort not our first call.

All of the above is a gross generalization. But it is predominantly true in many Christian churches today. The problem is that those things show more of the world’s influence than a focus on God. If the Church doesn’t look different, how will the world know that we have something that they don’t have?