Discovering Spiritual Truths & Celebrating God's Grace in the Every Day Happenings of Life.
On Tuesday afternoon I found myself in a position of trying to help someone in need. It was a scary situation, though it thankfully has a happy ending. Still, I found myself, along with many others, trying to give necessary medical care to someone who was completely unresponsive. When the professionals arrive, what is the first thing they do? They check for vital signs—body temperature, oxygen level, blood pressure, pulse rate. Vital Signs help the health professional or the emergency worker know what’s going on and administer the best possible treatment. Thankfully, the young man in need, still had relatively healthy vitals. He was then transported to the hospital to receive the crucial care he needed to completely recover.
So also, there are spiritual vital signs that help us understand what is going on with us spiritually and get the best possible treatment. Yesterday morning, with brother pastors from our NJ district, we sat in conversation over the book, “Autopsy of a Deceased Church.” In this book, we are led to an uncomfortable truth and an unavoidable reality that far too many churches are dying. And so, in looking at churches that have closed, we were given insight on what “vital signs” churches should look for so that they can reverse the trends of decline and begin to see healthy growth again. By looking at deceased churches who have shut their doors for good, we discussed the warning signs and pitfalls. We talked about the ways to keep our churches alive, and move to a place again where we can thrive.
In a similar vein, I would love for you to listen to this sermon/podcast. It was shared with me by Delia, our office administrator. It is 29-minutes long, but it is so worth it. It is by renown pastor and author, John MacArthur, and is entitled Why We Should Love the Church. This message perfectly encapsulates and speaks to something that has been weighing heavy on my heart for many months now. Living in this northeast part of our country, it is undeniable that the majority of the population have become apathetic towards they church. More than disenfranchised, they are simply not interested. They have sports games to attend. Trips to go on. Or beds to stay in and sleep. They have no time in their busy lives for the church. They have enough commitments and enough on their plate already. But it is not just the outsiders, it is on the inside of the church too. Members of God’s congregations have equally distanced themselves from regular interaction and engagement with the church. It is time again for all the reasons MacArthur mentions, to fall in love with the church, the beautiful bride of Christ. Let us fall on our face before God and worship…
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.” (Psalm 103:1-5)
Pastor Steve Vera