Discovering Spiritual Truths & Celebrating God's Grace in the Every Day Happenings of Life.
I was up early this morning. No real reason. But when I woke up at 3:00am, I could not fall back asleep. After tossing and turning for a bit, I decided to head down to the couch and watch TV. One of the shows I occasionally get sucked into is called “Mysteries of the Abandoned” on the Discovery Channel. This shows travels the world in search of ignored and neglected ruins. They rediscover all sorts of long-forgotten engineering marvels, decaying cities and empty factories that once stood on the cutting edge of design and construction. Today, these relics are a shell of what they once were. They are rotting and falling apart. In each episode, historians and engineers examine the heyday of these old engineering triumphs. They tell the stories of who originally designed the structure, its historical significance, and why it was ultimately no longer viable. This morning’s story had some local flare; it told of the SS United States—now emptied, abandoned, and anchored in a nearby Philadelphia port. As fascinating as each story is, it is undeniably bittersweet. Sure, it is great to see the pictures and the videos, or the depictions, of when those places were full of life. Yet despite the bustling days of the past, such abandoned structures are now an unavoidable depiction of that site’s current uselessness and demise. Even though these structures were once the talk-of-the-town, they have come to a sad expiration. The stories of their “glory days” are all in the past; that is all they have left. The reality is that these sites are essentially dead.
There is no present.
There is no future.
Thinking about this show on my drive in, I couldn’t help but consider some of the statistics I’ve heard over the years regarding the church in America. It’s been reported that about 3,000 churches close per year in our country. These church buildings are then sold, bulldozed, or now sit abandoned. Additionally, years ago I recall hearing that about 1.2 million people leave the church each year. Each one abandoning their congregation and giving way to faith decay.
We have a God who has promises, “Never will I leave you. Never will I forsake you.” The presence of our God and the love He has for us exists beyond any set time or tangible place. He is reliable and dependable. In Psalm 94:14 the author comforts us with these words, “The Lord will not abandon his people; he will not desert those who belong to him.” What an incredible promise God makes to us! And this promise is not just to us as individuals, but also to us as a church. God will never leave or abandon our congregation.
I believe that knowing our God continues to be with us, and desires to bless our congregation, assures us that we are still on the cusp of our heydays here at King of Kings. Our "glory days" still lie ahead. Because He is present with us, our future is most assuredly bright. This is true of any faithful, Biblical congregation. To be fair, the present state of the Church in America shows us that we have our work cut out for us. There will be tough times; hardships will come. Yet, we forge on. We continue to gather and continue to worship. We continue to study and continue to pray. We continue to reach out and continue to invite others in. The mission of the church is unchanging; we are to seek and save the lost with the beautiful and life-giving Gospel of Jesus Christ. My hope and prayer for this new school year, is that we begin to really engage our neighbors, our friends, and our preschool families. We need to see the hustle and bustle in the Sunday morning walls of our church; it is time for this place to again be filled with the excitement of adults and the energy of children.
Come on back to church this fall! 😊
“God is taking care of you, even when it seems like you’re all alone. Believe me, God is working hard behind the scenes of your life.” (Anonymous)
“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:8)
Pastor Steve Vera