Because we are broken individuals, the church today is broken as well. That’s why I call my blog the Broken Church. It’s not a put down; it’s a signpost of hope. The more we realize our brokeness and our sin, the more God’s grace can be at work in our midst. God likes to take that which is broken and fix it.
I love the church. It has been used in extremely powerful ways in my life over the years. At the same time, I have seen very sad things in the church. Scripture makes clear it is God’s main way to carry out his purposes on earth. Are we as the church up to the task? How can we be more effective? I write to remind and to challenge us to be all we can be.
It’s a sad situation in the church today, isn’t it?
The big news recently has been the amount of abuse in the Catholic Church. Just in the state of Pennsylvania, there have been over 1000 victims of 300 different priests in the last 70 years. Almost all of them were minor boys or girls, many of whom when they tried to tell others were not believed. When it was found to be true, it was covered up and allowed to continue.
Also, recently there have been similar situations in strong evangelical churches. One was the huge Willow Creek Church in the Chicago area, one of the most influential amongst evangelical churches in the United States. Their founding senior pastor who was about to retire, left early under a cloud of accusations from women that he allegedly harassed sexually.
And what has happened to the Colsons, and Falwells? They were respected Bible believing leaders, who were speaking out for the issues of our times. There was no scandal with them, they just lost their ministries to death or old age. But who is rising up to take their place? Certainly, there are a few others speaking up, but they don’t have the influence that their prior generation had.
The political battles haven’t gone our way and we have lost the good reputation we once had. It seems the evangelical movement has decided to just preach the gospel and not worry about the old issues.
But even in the realm of evangelism, we don’t hear of big Billy Graham Crusades any more or even big gatherings of believers like the Promise Keepers Movement. What’s happening to the church these days?
Even in the little corner of the universe of my church, things haven’t been going so well. At one point in the 80’s our congregation was well over 300, now we barely make 20 on a Sunday morning. We’ve seen the decline over the years as people left one or two at a time or in bigger groups because of some divisive issue in the church. It’s easy to throw up our hands and give up.
The evil one has certainly made inroads into the church worldwide. Nowadays there is not much difference between the world and the church, the same problems popping up in both.
But it’s interesting what Jesus says in Matthew 16:18 (ESV), “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” He doesn’t say, “You will build the church on me and it will prevail. No, he says He’s building it on Peter. (Of course, there is a play on his name as “Peter” is close to the original word for “rock.”) Continue reading →
So, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31
“All glory to God,” MVP Quarterback Nick Foles said after being handed the Lombardi trophy for the Eagles Super Bowl win. “I felt calm. We have such a great group of guys, such a great coaching staff,” Foles said. “We’re very blessed.”* That was the climax of the trophy time. Most of the key people before him; head coach Doug Peterson, wide receiver Zach Ertz, and injured starting quarterback Carson Wentz, echoed similar sentiments.
I heard them all, and I was amazed. Right when everyone was watching, right after they had won the World Championship. What a clear testimony! And Folz was their backup quarterback. I remembered one-time mid-season, Wentz had indicated his faith in the Lord, so I looked it up more recently and there was an article on CBNnews.com.
The whole team is amazing! Quite a few others of them are believers and are not shy about it either. They give their testimonies in videos. Some of them have gotten together and released a Bible Study through a Bible app called YouVersion. In another they proclaimed that their unity as a team was due to their faith.
“On every Monday night, we have a couple’s Bible study. We have a Thursday night team Bible study,” Wentz explained in the video. “And then Saturday nights, we actually get together the night before the game and just kind of pray; talk through the Word; what guys have been reading, what they’re struggling with, and just kind of keep it real with each other.”*
Wow, they are doing more than many people in their own churches! Who would have thought faith and football could go together in such a powerful way? What does that say about faith and other places where there are believers? Maybe having neighborhood Bible studies. What about prayer meetings at the local gym?
The biggest thing I think about is places of employment, probably because of my job as a chaplain at a local company. Somebody had the foresight to hire a chaplain to be available i.e. share the faith, at the company I work at. But think about all a company could do itself. Like the Eagles they could do Bible Studies, prayer times or small groups. They could share thoughts with each other via social media. Especially if the company is owned and operated by strong believers, think of the influence they could have.
The company where I work, DAS, has had a big impact on its employees through their giving. In addition to chaplains and counseling, they will supply money to its people who are in unusual need. With its own money it has started up a number of nonprofits to provide for international adoption, chastity promotion and Christian education. And they give to many other non-profits. Each Fall they encourage their employees to do volunteer work for struggling people they know, and then they pay the employees’ favorite charities for their time. It’s pretty amazing!
Faith is certainly not just a Sunday thing or even only at church, but wherever believers gather, Christ can be there with them as they seek to glorify Him.
* Taken from ‘All the Glory Belongs to God’: The Faith of the Super Bowl Winning Philadelphia Eagles, CBNNews.com, Mark Martin and Benjamin Gill, 2-4-18