Monday, November 27, 2006

Monday rant

** I usually try to keep things "light" here, but had to write this. Any unkind/snarky comments will be promptly deleted. Thanks ;)

There is something that has been bothering me lately. It has stemmed firstly from seeing signs and billboards around town for different churches, and the things they said. Signs for some protestant (and some non denominational) churches that say things and send messages like we'll help you find " your OWN way" or YOUR own particular path to God, and come here so you can feel good about yourself because you are a "good person". I'm not quoting exactly here, but you get the idea. Secondly, it has stemmed from talking to others in the community who are switching to some of these other churches because they are "softer" on sin, and they make them "feel better" about themselves.

This bothers me greatly. Do we serve a God that winks at sin? There is only ONE path to God- there is no such thing as "your particular path". Should we come out of a church service feeling great about ourselves every week? Should we say... I'm really not such a bad person, look at all the things Mr./Mrs. X does? Should only the facets of God's mercy and grace be preached?

By all means NO! We serve a HOLY God and a just God. Our God IS mighty to save, our God IS love, his grace and mercy ARE beyond comprehension.... but we are never to make light of our sin. We must never forget that our sin is what separated us from God, that it is the hideous thing that nailed our Savior to the cross. We are not good. We are depraved sinners in need of a Savior. We are not "good people" that go to church to be affirmed that we are "okay". We go to worship a mighty God. A just God. A holy God that does NOT make light of our sin. Our sin separates us from him, breaks our fellowship from him, and rocks us into complacency... and straight into the arms of the world. I have an acquaintance that left one particular denomination to go to another because they were more accepting of his sinful lifestyle, and he felt "better" about himself.

I love it when I hear sermons that convict me. I NEED to leave church not feeling "great" about myself every week. I need that to grow. I need that to realize that I am totally dependant on Him, and that I need him every hour of every day. I am a sinner in need of a Savior. I am not a good person. No one is good enough to satisfy a holy God. I am not in need of my own particluar, customized path to God. I need the one true path. We all do.

"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." Matthew 7:13-14

Happy Monday and
Much Love,
Jennifer

27 comments:

Shereen said...

Jennifer, I'm sorry to hear that you are getting snarky comments. Thanks for sharing. I know what you mean about the feel good type of churches and sermons. It's sort of sad. One comment that always bugs me as well is God is my copilot. He needs to be our pilot, not copilot. If he's our copilot, that means we are in charge.

Mrs.B. said...

Amen Jennifer! Great post. I agree whole-heartidly!

Kelly said...

Hi! I stumbled upon your blog today and I just wanted to add to your post.
I can identify with those who say that they need to "feel better" about themselves. This stems, I believe, from low self-esteem, and hating oneself.If you already hate yourself and think you're worthless, you will most likely never accept God's love, acceptance or grace. It's a rut; a hole that traps you and keeps you captive. I went through that for 14 YEARS, before finally daring to believe God actually loved ME. You can be taught about grace endlessly, but if you don't accept it, you will continue to try to earn it (which you CAN'T) because you fell so unworthy to accept it. It's a sad, sad, existence which will NOT go AWAY by switching churches, BUT some ministers may be more sensitive to that hurt, and help lead these hurting people to God's open arms.
It's almost like there are two categories for Christians; the whole ones, and the broken ones.
I had to stop listening to some preachers/teachers on TV because I always left feeling MORE worthless than before, like there was yet one MORE thing that I didn't measure up to. It was feelings of GUILT that I felt, not conviction.
Just pray for these people, pray that they would KNOW God's grace, and ACCEPT it. :)
God Bless!

Ivey Elizabeth Sirmans said...

Great post. You pretty much covered it all. There is nothing I could add to this to make it any better!

Dawn said...

Amen!!

Wendy said...

Completely agree! Great post!

I thought of you at Thanksgiving w/your husband gone this year. I'm sure that was hard, but I hope you had a great time w/the rest of your family.

Lindsey @ enjoythejourney said...

Agreed Jennifer. Sometimes church isn't about having a big party.

I think the key is balance. I've been in churches where there is no joy. NO JOY. Just condemnation, hellfire and brimstone, know what I mean?

And then I've been in services at particular churches where it is just a big pep rally. Like you said, sin is something winked at and looked over.

The key is finding a church that is #1---BIBLICAL, and #2 BALANCED. I think we need a good portion of both, not too much of one or the other.

If we follow the Bible exclusively, we'll not get sidetracked. Or at least, that is my take.

BethC said...

I agree completely, well said!

Mississippi Girl said...

Hi Kelly-
I am sorry for the things you had to go through with the low self-esteem, etc. I so glad you now know how much God actually does love YOU!! When I was writing about churches that make people "feel better" about themselves, I was particularly talking about churches and pastors that make people "feel good" about their sins or sinful lifestyles... and make them think that these sins really aren't all that bad- what I call "winking" at sin. I totally agree that a church should be loving, and welcome those that are hurting with open arms. I believe that we should hear messages about God's infinite mercy and grace and love. I just don't believe that that is ALL we should hear ALL of the time. We need to be convicted of certain things in our lives, we need to be admonished sometimes.
Thanks for stopping by and commenting and stating your position in such a sweet way.

Hi Wendy!
Yes, Thanksgiving was a little sad without Andy here, but was SO thankful to be surrounded by our wonderful family... made things a little easier. Thanks for thinking of us!

Hi Lindsey-
Yes, I TOTALLY agree that there should be a balance!! I have been in some of the kinds of services you have mentioned (both kinds!), and am SO thankful that we have found a wonderful church home that is VERY biblically based and balanced. We love it.

Blessings!
Jennifer

Anonymous said...

I hear ya! We live in a small town and people will often float between churches depending on who has the "nicest" minister or the shortest sermons etc. It's no wonder churches have trouble operating sometimes if there isn't a committed base of regular tithers to support them.
Great post!

Amy said...

Amen sister! It seems every week I see another church sign that makes me cringe :) You might find the blog "Slice of Laodicea" an interesting, though rather depressing read. I don't agree with everything posted, but there is a lot of excellent commentary on the disturbing direction the North American church seems to be heading in.

Anonymous said...

Well said!!! Mr. U and I just had a very similar conversation the other day. How pathetically SAD that churches are growing more and more "tolerant" of sin because they don't want to "offend" anyone. Sin is sin. Period. It is completely unacceptable to God.

His,
Mrs. U

Mrs. C said...

Amen and amen!

Church isn't about "feeling good." It isn't about a man's opinion on how to live your life and be happy or finding the life that's right for you.

It IS about winning lost souls to Christ. It IS about assembling together and being exhorted in the things of the Lord.

The goal of the local church should be to evangelize the lost and encourage believers. I don't see how people are going to accept Christ as their Saviour without hearing about their sin and need for a Saviour.

(Sounds like a post is developing...)

Blessings,
Mrs. C

Paula said...

Great post. I totally agree.

Anonymous said...

Great post Jennifer. I too have been to the churches where there is no joy, nor were we taught that God was a person to have a personal relationship with; it was all about condemnation, hellfire and brimstone, as one of your other comments stated.

I too am blessed, to now be in a church that has balance biblically and that stands up to sin, whether it “offends” or not.

Anonymous said...

I tagged you hope you don't mind. Don't know if you did this one or not.

Blessings.

Lela said...

Just reading what you have written in your post gets my attention back in the place it should be, on Our Lord and His plan. And that is why we need to hear things like you write and often, because it chips away at our complacency. Our time here is short; our real home is heaven and in order to go there, we must be obedient to His teachings.

Mishel said...

Great post!

Tammy said...

Wow. Sometimes you just have to say the truth in love.
Although God is a merciful God and accepts us as we are if we come to Him, the Bible also says we are to come with a heart of repentence, which means a turning away of sin. We will always fall short, but yet we don't have a license to choose to live any old way we want if it's against what His word says.
Great post!

Anonymous said...

Hi Jennifer I meant to pop over last night, I saw the link on Mrs B's, but I got distracted by some household thing (tut housework getting in the way of blogging!! lol).

Wonderful post Jennifer, I wholeheartedly agree, God disciplines His disciples and corrects our mistakes; He is Holy and will never tolerate sin. I too become angered by some who wish to suggest that there is any other way to Heaven other than by repentance before the throne of Jesus Christ. Unless we know we are sinners how can we repent of that sin?

Jesus never ever condoned sin, but He did show a depth of love and mercy we will never understand until we stand in His light in Heaven. I think that it is the love of Jesus Christ that attracts people to God. It is this pure Holy love that pours light into the darkness of our lives and shows our sin for what it is. At that point we are convicted and cannot help but fall to our knees in repentence. Whilst we were still sinners Christ died for us; I think of His mercy to the thief on the cross and the parable of the prodigal son, and where Paul says that without love we are like clanging cymbals and so many other examples...but I have already rambled on, lol.

Hugs.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post.... I complete agree.

Take Care~

Anonymous said...

A
M
E
N
!

Kate said...

Yes Ma'm! So true, soooo true! I am so with ya on this!

Anonymous said...

Amen! Great Post Jenn!
Love ya,
Andy

Anonymous said...

you go girl! Well said! Amen!

Anonymous said...

I could not agree more-great post!

Julie said...

I'm sorry to hear that you are getting snaky comments.

___________________
Julie
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