Saturday, March 23, 2013

But it's all about relationship brother !!!!!

Not to be boastful, but I have read the bible cover to cover more times than I can count. I have spent the time to look up every word in the old testiment in the strong's as well as the Brown Driver Briggs and done looked up every word in the new testiment in the Strongs and most of them in the thayers as well.
Again I say this not to be boastful or to seek aproval for my use of snowed in winters up in the woods north of spokane and other cold miserable places, but to add weight to the following point.
    The word "relationship" is rarely used when talking about how man is to relate to God in The Bible.
Words like "obey", "follow", "listen", and "sacrifice" are however used often.  So one might wonder why we hear phrases like "It's all about relationship" so often in western European and American churches. Statistics are not my strong point as I always hated algebra and solving for "x" However a quick glance at google tells me that most of the surveys they have done point to a better than 60% female population in churches.
     Back in the 1800s this resulted in the women's temperance movement and got the communion wine replaced with grape juice as men rather than going to church were getting drunk and shooting up the town. Had The Church been primarily men we would most likely have more beer, sporting events, fishing and hunting in our churches. However instead of the gospel according to Bud Lite we have endless drivel about relationship, church plays, bake sales, and the like.
     To a certain extent any of these things is not evil in itself, but the problem is like many things of the world they have a tendency to distract from the true purpose of the regular gathering of the saints, and unfortunately in many cases weave there way into the teaching of The Word.
     A good example of this is the situation I find myself in this weekend. tomorrow is Easter and I am currently camping outside the town of quartzsite AZ. I know that any church I am likely to visit tomorrow will have eggs, bunnies and other trappings of the pagan spring fertility rituals.
      Because most western churches are "all about relationship" and have little to do with God's Word or the truth they will value the relationships between people more than the COMMANDMENTS in The Word of God. I can hear the same cries I hear around December of "but it's all for the children" already. To which I always reply with Mark 9:42 and ask if they have a millstone handy. Teaching kids to celebrate paganism and lying to them about mythical bunnies and fat elves could land a person in a hot place (rev 21:8).
     When we place "relationship" as the primary goal of the church we more often than not sacrifice things like obedience to God's word and truth on it's altar. The fear of offending people or causing a stir in the group become more important than offending an almighty God.
    So while it is important that we Know God, and we remain his faithful bride, it is not all about relationship. It is however about obedience to his commands, faithfulness, and surrender to HIS will. He commands us to lay down our lives and die to our own desires. He commands that we turn from the things of this world and back to him (aka repentance).
      If there is any relationship that is most important it would have to be the one between God and man. What kind of relationship could there possibly be between a holy God and a man who would place social acceptance, domestic harmony, and financial gain before the maker heaven and earth other than Judge and condemned.
     As for the pastors who should know better (Titus 1: 9) and continue to condone and even encourage the celebration of pagan holidays in your churches. Is the added revenue from the tithes of those seeking tickled ears and feel good messages worth the eternal fires of hell? Read James 3:1 and consider that there just might be a little bit hotter section of hell reserved for teachers that would lead God's people astray ( Yes God's not yours in spite of your continued bragging on the head count).
    When you step into the pulpit and begin to teach God's word do you even feel the weight and conviction of The Holy Spirit anymore? Are you even remotely aware the magnitude of the responsibility of leading poorly or deceitfully for financial gain? It is not to late repent and confess your sin to your congregation tomorrow morning before they chase after bunnies and eggs. before one more child you must give account of before God is lead astray or adult is taught that compromise with the world is acceptable.
      I do not envy the Job of most pastors. I remember my time working in community churches and around boards. I still get a tick from time to time when the words "board" and "meeting" are mentioned in the same sentence. The amount of times I prayed the prayer of moses ("if I have found favor in your sight kill me now") before a board meeting. The temptation is to try to become the politician rather than the mouth piece of God (1 pet 4:11).
     I often think at times God sent me to minister to a Taliban controlled village in south west Kazakhstan in response to my prayers before church board meetings. God has a sense of humor and delivered me from both board meetings and certain death and for this reason I can say with confidence you can rely on him when placing his commands over relationships in the church. Love those around you, but place obedience to God and his will 1st in all things. Original recipe is much better than extra crispy and if you really love them you should be more concerned with their eternal destination than their momentary irritation with you for banning the bunny.
      May the Lord greet you with "well done good and faithful servant" when he comes.
Yours in Christ,
Donald C Phinney