Something We can’t Label

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Okay, so I am back to quoting John Ragsdale.  On Saturday night (hey a message worth listening to again), John said something in passing that has been echoing in my spirit for a while (even before he said it).  I’ve discussed it with different people.  The Bible says that from the mouth of two or three witness a word is established.  (II Corinthians 13:1)  John said God is going to do something new.  We really will not know what to call it…is it revival or renewing?  Is it rebirth?  And this new thing isn’t going to come through the people who you might think.  It will not come through people who are on television.  It is going to come though  Marys who are living in places like Nazareth; humble servants of the Lord with no creditials and no recognizable name.

I’ve heard so much lately about Christian leaders who are floating in money.  They have expensive cars and golden toilets.  These people have used what God has given them to gain riches for themselves.   When God shows favor to individuals it is to advance His kingdom, not theirs.  God isn’t going to share His glory with anyone.   That is one thing He is not sharing.  Ask Satan…that’s what got him kicked out.

 I want the new thing God is doing.  Don’t expect to see it on TBN or any other Christian television network.  It may show up on 20/20 because whatever God is doing, the world is going to be interested in it.  They are going to be drawn.  Jesus said when we lift Him up, He will draw all men unto Him.   As we get back to Jesus, there is going to be a harvest.

Since I’m airing grievances (in a way), I want to know how churches can possibly plan out every sermon for an entire year.  And another thing…since when do we use movies as the basis for sermons?  This has been bugging me for days.  There is a church advertising in the Austin area about their sermon series based on Christmas movies.  Where is the Holy Spirit in all of this?   One Sunday I was watching a well known church on TV.  The entire message was about being fit…the pastor never even opened his Bible.  I didn’t disagree with anything he said.  I TOTALLY disagreed with the lack of the Word.  Since when does “Christmas Vacation” (the movie with Chevy Chase) related to the Bible??

Bishop Tudor Bismark says, “The greatest peril in America is prayerlessness behind pulpits”.  Combine that with a lack of the Word and you have the church in America (not every church – I am generalizing somewhat).  Most of these guys have been educated in Bible colleges and Seminaries.  The only thing I can think is they either do not believe the Bible or they do not think it is applicable for today.  What are they thinking?  Has quantity (the number of people attending) become more important than quality (the number of people who are hearing and doing the word)?

I think we have learned with the whole Willowcreek  survey (see http://www.revealnow.com/ ) that churches have been developing spiritually weak Christians.   The churches of this nation with their “Media message” have failed to help new believers put down deep roots.  We have created a shallow faith. 

It’s time.  We need for God to do something in this nation that we cannot label.  We don’t know what it is but Jesus Christ is at the center of it.    We need a NEW THING!

   I am the LORD, that is My name;
      And My glory I will not give to another,
      Nor My praise to carved images. 
   Behold, the former things have come to pass,
      And new things I declare;
      Before they spring forth I tell you of them.”

Isaiah 42:8-9

  “ Do not remember the former things,
      Nor consider the things of old. 
  Behold, I will do a new thing,
      Now it shall spring forth;
      Shall you not know it?
      I will even make a road in the wilderness
      And rivers in the desert.
Isaiah 43:18-19

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11 thoughts on “Something We can’t Label

  1. MSC

    You said:
    John said God is going to do something new. We really will not know what to call it…is it revival or renewing? Is it rebirth?

    My thought is that if it is new can it be REvival or REnewing or REbirth? Those 3 words don’t represent new. They represent a part 2. He said new….so it makes me wonder.

    You said:
    And another thing…since when do we use movies as the basis for sermons? This has been bugging me for days. There is a church advertising in the Austin area about their sermon series based on Christmas movies. Where is the Holy Spirit in all of this? One Sunday I was watching a well known church on TV. The entire message was about being fit…the pastor never even opened his Bible. I didn’t disagree with anything he said. I TOTALLY disagreed with the lack of the Word. Since when does “Christmas Vacation” (the movie with Chevy Chase) related to the Bible??

    I have to ask, what is wrong with using movies foras a basis for sermons? Think about it this way. What is something that everyone enjoys going to? Going to movies! It has nothing to do with being a chrisitan or with being white or black or athiest. I believe some pastors and some churches missions are reaching out to unbelievers. How better to reach out than doing something light and fun. It might make someone who would not normally go to church want to check it out. Hopefully once they check the churh out it might prompt them to keep coming back. You ask where is the holy spirit in all this??? Can you see now? Not all churches are the same. In fact the church I attend meets in a movie theatre. The movie theatre is my church. Our pastor does a series once a year called GOD at the Movies in which he parallels the movie with scripture in the bible. It’s pretty Genius to me. My pastor feels his mission is to reach out to the unbelievers in this city by making church seem fun and new and helping them start their journey to christ! You can not think that all people are already believers. Hopefully you can see reaching unbelievers is something we are called to do in Christ and these pastors that do such things are just trying to maybe think outside the box.

  2. I loved what you had to say here and have started to read some of your earlier posts. In fact, I am going to link your Reoccurances post to my blog later today.

    However, after reading THIS post, one phrase keeps going through my mind…

    He makes ALL things new. You, me, ALL things. Everything He touches is new. Each day, each moment is new. Just a thought. I hear what you are saying, and I hear your heart and I agree. All i am saying is sometimes we can look really hard for the “next best thing” or “new thing” and in reality, God is doing it, in us, second by second… season by season.

    Merry Christmas!

  3. What we’re seeing cb is yet another “re-occurring theme” in our entertainment-driven society. Pastors that tend toward carnality will find they need to utilize the ungodly amounts of time they spend watching videos or movies as a springboard for their sermons, because they’ve spent more time watching movies than reading, studying, and getting the mind of the Lord for their messages. Plus, I feel they’re attempting to compete with other mediums out there when God doesn’t feel compelled to compete at all. He’s beyond compare. I have personally used a segment of a movie (Beauty and the Beast) as an example of a hostage sympathizing with their captor, but it was NEVER the originator of my inspiration. The pastors that use movies to get inspiration for sermons take the “foolishness of preaching,” to the wrong extreme! I look at these men more as “performers” than I do “preachers”.

  4. One more thing, I couldn’t agree more with your observation of pastors that plan sermons a year in advance. I don’t see their messages as relevant. Of course, if your messages are watered down and about abstract subjects that have nothing to do with the Bible, let alone the Gospel, I suppose it IS possible.

  5. touchofglory

    I agree – how can we stay in God’s will and how can we possibly be letting the Spirit lead if our sermons are planned out for a year? It’s almost like having a pastor say, “Sorry God, I know you want me to talk about this, but my schedule says I’m supposed to talk about something else today.” Sounds silly, doesn’t it? Thanks for commenting on my blog yesterday – I’m adding you to my blogroll. Melissa H.

  6. I see this topic has generated some discussion. MSC

    1. Point taken, how can “RE” anything be “new”. Which is exactly what John was saying. We are tired of recycling the old…we need something new.

    2. Sermons should not be based off movies. I can concur that occasional use of a movie clip to emphasize a point is okay. But basing messages off of movies…come on. 90% of movie makers are NOT Christian. They are NOT promoting or building the KINGDOM of God. The church has stooped to a mentallity of “just get’em in the door”. Getting people to attend church does not equal salvation. There are many church members that will not make it heaven.

    My dad was became a Christian as an adult. He committed his life to Jesus Christ when a co-worker befriended him and witnessed to him, using the Bible.

    If we are serious about people being saved, we need to invest in their lives. If we want to bring salvation to people we must lift Jesus up.

    John also said that we must re-present Jesus to the world. We need to introduce the lost to Jesus Christ not to a church.

    Until the church is willing to admit that we have programmed the Holy Spirit out of our services we will continue to have cold, powerless religion. I want no part of that…and non-Christians don’t either…oh, they may attend for a while to “feel good” about themselves because they are going to church but they are unlikely to change.

  7. MSC

    I definitely think there is more than 1 road that leads to knowing who Jesus is. I am glad that your dad came to know Christ through a friend but you are wrong to think that someone could not come to know Christ by coming to church. There will be people that come to church to feel good about themselves but like you said…they will eventually stop coming because they are not there for the right reasons. Then there are those that will come to church because say a sermon topic interested them and they will come to know Christ just because they came. How else to learn about Jesus than to belong to something…even maybe before they believe.
    “WE” can not bring salvation to people. Only Jesus can do that. And like you said there are many church “members” that will not make it to heaven. Being a church member does not guarantee Heaven. The only way to Heaven is to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior. There are not acts or deeds that can get you there. You’re not going to get to Heaven just because you talked to someone about Jesus or because you brought someone to church. It’s a gift given to us. It can’t be earned.

    How can you say that 90% of movie makers are not Christian? How do you know that? Christian does not mean everything you do is glorifying GOD. Christian means you believe in Jesus Christ. If you believe that GOD creates eveyone then GOD created those movie makers as well. GOD is in everything…whether it is intentional or not! Even in sermons based off movies that are not glorifying him. If you can turn something that is not intended to glorify GOD into something that does. How can that be bad?
    Did John say we must present or represent Jesus to the world? If he says represent I am afraid we are ALL going to fail because no one can stand up to the Standard of Christ.

  8. Good post! We return stateside every four years and we see the change in the American Christian culture. What you said about prayerlessness and the lack of the preaching of the Word is exactly what we’ve noticed- and grieved and prayed over.

    Churches on every corner, and yet some label America “the third largest mission field”.
    God’s people (beginning w their leaders) must dedicate themselves to the Word and to prayer; then we’ll experience ‘radical discipleship’ that brings revival.

  9. MSD,I didn’t say people cannot be saved by going to church and I didn’t say we are saved by works don’t read into it. The bottom line is Jesus never invited anyone to attend church, He invited people to know him. We must take Jesus out into the streets…we can’t lock Him up in church and only serve Him on Sundays. Christianity is an all or nothing deal. We cannot be on the fence.

    Regardless of whether movie makers know Jesus or not, if they do not reflect Jesus Christ in their movies then they are not Christians…John 15 says if we abide in Christ and he abides in us, we will bear fruit. He also said we will know them by their fruit. There are many movie makers, celebrities, actors and actress who know ABOUT Jesus…that doesn’t mean they know him. I know about Brittany Spears, does that make me her friend? No. I don’t know her, I’ve never met her. Come on. You cannot tell me that a movie with all kinds of murder violence, sex outside of marriage, cursing and everything else could possibly hold some truth for the believer?

    I heard a great analogy of this… a guy showed his kids some brownies. They looked perfect…all fudgy and goowey. He told the kids, the brownies had one special ingredient. Just a pinch of something different. He had added just the tinest pinch of dog pooh to the brownies. Would you eat them? Would you take the bad with the good? No way…that’s gross. Do you think God accepts just a pinch of sin? It’s okay if it’s just a little? I don’t think so.

    Additionally, many of these media driven churches are finding out that they are failing to develope what they term “self feeders”. They have been developing Christians that do not know how to read the Bible and gain truth from it. Willowcreek acknowledged recently that they have a congration of people do not self feed. Do you realize what this means? They are not filling their lives with truth…they rely on a person or church to feed them instead of going to the source.

  10. MSC

    There are a few things you said that make me wonder.
    You said:
    Regardless of whether movie makers know Jesus or not, if they do not reflect Jesus Christ in their movies then they are not Christians…

    That is way off base. You can’t say things like that. That would be like saying if you do not reflect jesus christ in movies you watch or songs you listen to then you must not be a Christian. Or if you say cuss words you must not be a christian or if the job you have is not about jesus you must not be a christian. Our actions don’t make us christians. Believing( and accepting Christ) in Jesus makes us Christians. That’s a fact. That does not mean believing in jesus makes us know him instantly. We as Christians are not perfect. Gods greatest command is to love thy neighbor and to treat people as you would like to be treated. Not to judge and point fingers and to have intolerance of different kinds of pastors and what they preach. My whole point of responding to this blog was to try to get you to see that there are different kinds of churches out there and to put one down or to judge one based on the types of sermons they preach goes against what being a Christian is all about. I don’t think Jesus would be offended by a sermon based off a movie and I don’t think it means they are any less better than a church that would not do so.

    There are lots of things to get into that spun off of the original topic but I don’t want to flood your blog with this discussion.You have my email if you would like to discuss things further. Thanks for your responses.

  11. MSC – Jesus made it clear that if we love Him that we will reflect Him. I am not judging the salvation of people by saying if they watch certain movies they are not saved…you are stretching what I am saying. Every Christian makes mistakes occasionally and the result is sin. Sin must be repented of. Living a lifestyle of sin or a life that produces sin (bad fruit) is different. I think the Bible is clear that God is not tolernent of sin…no matter how you spin it. That is one of the problems with churches today. I believe in accepting everyone as they are when they come…but eventually they should leave changed.

    I’ll give you an example. I attended a church that had a girl working for them who was living with a guy she wasn’t married to and actually had two children with that guy. They never said a word to her about this. What kind of pastor is that? Do you honestly believe the woman can live in sin for years and be in right standing with God. And how can a pastor who is suppose to love his flock not go and gentle and lovingly tell her and even help her to remove herself from the situation?

    I recogonize that Christianity is a journey. People grow at different rates. That doesn’t mean we accept their sin. We can love the person without loving what they are doing (the sin). It’s not easy sometimes because sin hurts. Churches should be helping people find Jesus. I don’t think Jesus would have used the movies…He came up with original material. Perhaps He would have made some movies. I’m not sure those movies would have been corruptive to the mind…result in images in our mind that are negative and corrosive.

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