Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Attitude Is Everything

I just Facebooked a friend who has helped start a new church. He's not a pastor, but he has been a part of an amazing team that are finally having their first Sunday service this weekend. I asked him what their secret was, and he responds, "Prayer, Faith, and Patience... did I mention prayer?"

Prayer is an action we discussed previously. Faith would fit in to my previous blog, about having vision. Patience? Patience is a virtue.. it's an attitude we need to clothes ourselves with.

"Bigger doesn't necessarily mean better. Not all large churches are healthy. A healthy church is one that brings glory to God through its godly attitudes. Paul identified 3 attitudes by which the Thessalonian church was glorifying God: 'Your work of faith, labor of love, and steadfastness of hope...' (1 Thess. 1:3)... You can't measure them, but they are shown in measurable ways."

A sermon right there! By faith we are saved, firmly grounded in the Gospel. And our attitude about church has to be grounded in faith; we cannot pledge alliegance to anything other than God when it comes to our church... because anything we hold more important that God turns out to be idolatry! But Catt says, "When God begins to move in your midst, it becomes easier to turn from the idols of style, traditions, rules, and regulations. Who needs all that when you have Jesus?"

Laboring in love is the key to growth. We need to love all the members of God's family, and we don't get to pick and choose. We also need to love those outside the church in such a tangible way that they believe our declaration of faith based on a lifestyle of love.

Steadfastness in hope is even harder; it means that while we love everyone, we don't compromise our stance on Scripture or on Jesus to convince them to come in. We stay unmovable in what we believe even if the very people we've loved into the church walk right out.

"Not everyone wants to be a part of a church where the Bible is considered inerrant, the miracles are believed as facts and Jesus is still the only way... Too many ministries seem to be shaky about what they believe. What we really need is to be shaken by what we believe. We still need leaders like Joshua... Elijah... Paul... It's the leader's job to raise the sails and catch the wind of the Spirit, even it makes the fleshly a little seasick. It may be vogue to be vague, but it's not Biblical... Many churches are dying because they wander in the wilderness and refuse to step out and believe God."

I am convinced that if everyone in the congregation truly prayed and sought out God for His vision for our church... and then if we were all willing to unite to that vision and build towards it by faith, labor in it through love, and remain steadfast in hope... Wow. What God can do! And it's the churches that break out of the mold, that let go of their self-imposed doctrine of how to run a church, and that follow this pattern - these are the ones that are growing! Thriving! Leading many souls to Christ! And reaching the world from their hometown.

God, I cannot begin to emphasize how much I'm praying for this life-breathing attitude to permeate our church... It would answer every problem, every obstacle we may seem to have. It would swing the doors open wide for unbelievers to come and repent, and commit to the Lord.

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