Tuesday, March, 8, 2016 | 3:57 PM | by June
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom:2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound[a] teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. --2 Timothy 4:1-5
* The groundhog forecast says, “There is no shadow to be cast, an early spring there will be at last.
* March winds.
* March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.
* April showers bring May flowers.
I learned the above sayings up in northeastern Ohio as I was growing up. Even with all of these (absolutely true ☺) statements giving us spring weather guidance, it seemed like I still never really knew what to expect. NOW . . . I live in Alabama. Everything that I believed about spring weather is no longer true.
For all of us that have been in the church for some time, we have come to believe certain methods, techniques, skills, programs (and truths) for accomplishing God’s mission through our local congregation. Many of us have been in the church for decades and are still following the same patterns that worked three or four generations ago. The mission field in the United States has radically changed. It is a new culture. All of the experts are looking at statistics that show the decline of the Christian Church and a shift to a Post Christian season in America.
That being said, God’s mission has not changed. God is calling people to Himself. He uses His Church (His own people) to carry out that mission.
About 20 members of First Lutheran attended an outreach conference at Good Shepherd in Gardendale. There, Eric Johnson talked about the cultural change in the mission field. While I am using a seasons metaphor to describe a cultural change, Eric used a comparison of a National Park (the culture of a few decades ago) and a jungle (today’s culture.)
It is obvious . . . times have changed. It doesn’t matter how you want to describe it, . . . it is a different world. God is calling His Church to re-engage. We have become too comfortable with the way things have been. We have to often turned inward in our focus. We have lost our passion for reaching the lost. God is calling us to repentance.
When I think about it, I am again overwhelmingly grateful that God chooses the re-engaging, uncomfortable, outward action of sending His Son to this world to redeem me. I am so privileged to have been brought into relationship with you . . . other grateful brothers and sisters in Christ. As God calls us, I am excitedly anticipating that God is about to use us as we yield ourselves to Him.
God Be Praised!