November 20, 2017

Pastoral Nuggets: Desperate Times

Brother Aaron“The times are desperate – but we are not …” is a quote from Pastor Anthony Hovey’s Sunday morning sermon that he preached September 7, 2014 at Shoal Creek Baptist Church in LaGrange, Georgia.  If Pastor Hovey never gets anything else right in his life – he got this one right!

As I have watched the news of late I have heard about the deadly Ebola virus reaching epidemic proportions, earthquakes that have left deep trenches for several miles in California, floods of Biblical proportions, wars, rumors of wars, pestilence, terrorist groups such as Isis, beheading Americans, Christians in Iraq and other parts of the world being martyred for their faith, and racial tensions and civil disobedience in America boiling over.

UnGodliness and immorality are rampant.  The family unit is disintegrating while Christianity is being mocked, ridiculed, and blatantly discriminated against.  Indeed, the times are desperate – but we are not.  It reminds me of a scene from the old black and white TV version of the movie Titanic.

Knowing that the ship was sinking, the conductor assembled the orchestra and in full regalia they played “Nearer My God To Thee” as the ship sank. They had surrendered to the inevitability of their fate.  Sadly, all too often, so have we.

Christianity in America has seemingly lost the “sense of urgency” that it once had.  I remember in my lifetime when churches had revivals that lasted as long as necessary for the Holy Spirit of God to work His work in the life of the believers and nonbelievers alike.

These revivals were preceded by times of great and passionate prayer meetings where loved ones would assemble with other believers to intercede in prayer for their lost loved ones.

Old-fashioned altars were stained with the tears of people who were tenacious in their resolve to pray and then do whatever it took to win their loved ones to Jesus.  Because there was a sense of urgency that their loved ones might die and spend eternity in a literal burning place called hell, people were bold to witness, wherever they were, and tell them about Jesus.

Oh!  And preachers would preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, without apology, until the glory of God fell and interrupted and intervened in the lives and affairs of the listeners.  They preached like dying men to dying people – and the people responded.

How do I know we are not desperate about the Spiritual and physical condition of America today?  Because as Dr. Ronnie Floyd said, “When we are desperate, we sense the need is great and respond with extreme urgency.”

Regarding the Southern Baptist Convention, he cited declining membership, declining attendance, worst year of baptisms in 62 years (2013), instability of our financial future, denominational disengagement by many, unhealthy condition of our churches, increasing lostness in America and the world, continuing our slide into cultural immorality, rising global crises, and the lack of passion for Spiritual revival, Spiritual awakening, and the fulfillment of the Great Commission as reasons we must respond urgently and with great conviction with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

And this is just the Southern Baptist Convention I am talking about.  When you add the Methodists, Presbyterians, Pentecostals, Catholics, and other mainline Christian denominations into the mix, you can easily see the need for us Christians to become desperate again about sharing our faith in Jesus to a lost and dying world!

I close this column today with a question:  How long since you have lost sleep or shed tears interceding to God in prayer over a lost friend or loved one?  How long since you have earnestly prayed for your church, your pastor, your country, the world, or those in authority over you?  I’m convinced that prayer is our only hope!

Hey, this Sunday would be a great Sunday to have your family in church with you and to pray!

Yes, the times are desperate – are we?

 

Brother Aaron

 

Comments

  1. Pastor let me first say how much I have enjoyed your column . In my opinion you have taken on a subject that is difficult at best and most likely unappreciated by most. Don’t get me wrong , ” I feel your pain” and like you , I feel the relevantcy of the Church slipping away . But in all honesty I feel the trying times we are facing have nothing to do with declining attendance , lack of professions of salvation , or the health of the Church in general . The times we face today are challenging to say the least , but you can’t honestly say that they can compare with the persecution of early Church history. Or neither are they comparable in latter times such as in the days of Martin Luther or even the Religious Persecutions our Forefathers endured. No I believe the Church has crossed a line , a line that they may never recover from. During the last ten years the Church , including Protestants , have embraced movements for the sole purpose of increasing membership . These Church growth movements have incorporated various “Business Models” that , although they have in certain circumstances provided some temporary growth , have absolutely nothing to do with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Along with these movements in practice the Church has steadily moved from a Faith based Christianity to a Works mentality. I am talking specificly about the “Purpose Driven Life” , ” Seeker Sensitive “, “Government of Twelve” , and “Sherparding Movement” just to name a few. All these movements came in boldly proclaiming that God was “doing a new thing”. They baffled us with new words like “Paradigm” , (a new way of thinking) and in their leadership Manuel’s , actually stated that we were to expect the loss of “Bible Thumpers”. Bible Thumpers as they were termed , were the older members that had learned some of that dirty word called “Doctrine”. Of course the definition of doctrine is ” teaching”. But I think you get the point. I believe the Church has compromised itself and has willingly become as the World. I believe we have reached that point in Revelations where Jesus is outside the Church , calling to anyone inside that can hear his voice . I sincerely hope I am wrong but the Modern Church has fences to mend. They must reach out to those Church member that were hurt by these ungodly movements. But more importantly they must return to their “First Love ” in the person of our Lord and Savior , Jesus Christ.

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