i am currently sitting in my hotel down the orlando florida. the place of mickey mouse and magic, universal and IOA, hard rock and the largest/coolest/most amazing mcdonalds of all time. that is where i am. i am here for a youth pastors summit. we have been able to hear from some amazing men who preach and live the Word. i want to share my thoughts on what francis chan spoke about in a session today.
are we (the church) an unstoppable force? are we truly the church that Christ talks about when He says the gates of hell shall not prevail against it? i am afraid to answer this question. so i plan to just ask questions to you the reader like they have been thrown around in my mind.
if we look at the early church, we notice that they suffered greatly for the cause of Christ. the disciples and leaders were imprisoned, stoned, crucified, etc. then there is the story of the husband and wife who lie to God and the church about how much they were giving to God off of the property they sold. they fell dead when they lied about this. they fell dead because they were lying and stealing from God and the church which he had ordained.(see Acts 5) my whole reason for sharing these examples is because satan tried to tear apart the church. he sent men to lie and bring deceit upon but God would not allow it. satan brought death and the threat of death to the leaders but they were not scared for they were so convinced that what they had in Truth was worth dying for. is the american church and unstoppable force? francis chan said that if we change the service times that might seem to stop the church today. probably a slight exaggeration but there is some truth in that.
think about this story and see which character the church could mostly identify with today. there is a story in I Kings 18 where the prophet Elijah has a “competition” with 450 prophets of the god baal. they would each make an altar for sacrifice and then call on their god or God to bring fire down upon the altar. so the baal prophets went first. (this is where this gets really intriguing) the prophets went through a special ceremony before calling upon baal. they were singing and dancing then cutting their wrists to show their devotion to this god baal. they were doing this for sometime and Elijah actually pokes fun at them for it. he asks them if maybe their god baal had gone to relieve himself (pee) and thats why he was taking so long to answer their cries. then Elijah gets a chance to call on God. he cries out to God and God delivers with a pillar of fire upon the altar. the prophets were in amazement and fell on their knees saying that the God of Elijah is the one true God.
i give that whole story to ask this. has church today become a religous ceremony that we think is showing devotion but no fire from God comes down? do we truly call upon God to send fire? i am afraid to answer this. you see i am am a young man who is often times wrapped up in the ceremony of things. i lose contact with God and become so comfortable that i no longer have true connection with Him. why? i would never get like that with my fiance. never with my friends or family. but the creator of the universe and giver of grace? i pray that my life develops into one where when people come in contact with me they walk away saying the God of Ryan is the one true God.