Hello and welcome back!
If you missed the last post why not scroll down and read it first? I would like your honest opinion about it.
This post, I decided to write about a phenomenon that is sweeping through many churches in America today. Pastors are talking about it on various blogs, websites – even books.
What is it they are talking about?
We will get into it in a moment, but first, I want to ask you to consider something? When we boil it right down to what is the most important thing Jesus asked of the church, what as it? He said many things but there is one thing that stands out among all the rest.
Need a hint?
That one thing is – love.
Yep! Love is the glue that holds the church together, causes it to grow, and sets the stage for discipleship, service, and perseverance.
This is what I want you to think about as you read the rest of this post. That work for you? Great!
Let’s take a look at what Jesus has to say about love below:
Matthew 22:35-40 (NASB)
35 One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him,
36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”
37 And He said to him, ” ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’
38 “This is the great and foremost commandment.
39 “The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’
40 “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”
This is a very important topic to Jesus, this topic of love, isn’t it? If it is important to Jesus then it should be important to us. If Jesus says it is the greatest commandment, we need to take it seriously, don’t we?
Let’s take a trip together. Let me go to church with you. As we walk in the sanctuary, let’s both take a look at what takes place.
People are filing in. Some people are in a small group, talking. A few children are trying to run in the hall and an adult is shouting, “Stop running! One of you will fall and get hurt!”
Ok it’s time to start taking notes.
We are going to consider the three mistakes this post is about.
- A couple walk in holding hands. They have a look of confusion on their faces. Looking around, they take the bulletin from the greeter’s hand and walk on when they feel the impatience of the person behind them.They look around and find a couple empty seats. As they approach and start to sit down, a lady tells them that this is where her family sits and points towards them towards thefront of the sanctuary. They find a couple seats on the periphery and sit down uncomfortably. No one notices but you and me. When the sermon is over, everyone begins to shake hands. A couple of people shake hands with the new couple but they don’t introduce themselves or ask the couple their names. When they approach the preacher at last to shake hands, he says, “It’s nice to see you again!” He then smiles and turns to the people behind the new couple, who have never been to the church before.
Are you taking notes?
Do you see the lack of genuine love for the new couple who just visited your church?
- During the announcements, the pastor’s wife makes the announcement that she needs two volunteers to help in the thrift store the coming week. The two regular volunteers are unable to come and it is too much action for her alone. She states that volunteers can fill out the form at the back of the sanctuary after church. You and I watch that sign-up sheet after church. It lays there, completely ignored. Makes you wonder if it lays there forgotten or ignored, doesn’t it?
Where’s the love in that?
Love is the most important thing to Jesus. We are supposed to show this love as Christ shows it to the church. Isn’t the preacher’s wife worthy of receiving a little of it when she is in a bind?
Let’s move back to the sermon we just listened to.
- Oh, by the way, your preacher preaches a very good sermon! He is Biblically sound and has a great presentation. I really enjoyed it. Don’t you? What did you say? You don’t remember what it is about? Well, I’m not surprised. You must have sent at least 5 texts during it. I noticed several people getting up from their seats, leaving the sanctuary. Some returned, some didn’t. What’s up with that? A trip to the bathroom is sometimes necessary, but twice during a one hour service? Your preacher gave an excellent sermon of stewardship. Oh, you remember now, huh? That’s great! What did he teach about stewardship? I see. You don’t quite remember that part but it was a great sermon because you could tell by the sound of his voice?
I think you get the drift of why I asked you to take me to church with you and allow me to observe the service with you. Do you think that your pastor noticed all the distractions going around the sanctuary during his sermon?
Maybe you didn’t but I sure did.
I could tell he was not encouraged by it.
He probably thought, “I wonder if I am where God wants me to be or should I pray about moving on to where I can serve God better.”
Could discouraging the pastor by not giving the word of God proper attention by the congregation be construed as a lack of love for the pastor the word of God, or both?
Thanks for taking me to church with you. I hope that I was helpful.
Until next time!
QUESTION: Do any of these mistakes look familiar to you in your church? Could your church culture use a Holy Spirit face lift in the expressed love department?