A Live Church — Or A Dead One?Written by Stephen Kingery
Have you ever stopped to consider what kind of church your congregation is — alive or dead? Does your congregation put forth sense of one that is alive in its service to and worship of God? Or does your congregation put forth sense that it is just hanging on, waiting for last nail to be driven into "coffin?" I would like to suggest some characteristics of a church that is alive, on fire for God. And then contrast that with characteristics of a church that is dying.
Live churches are constantly changing. They are not changing message in Bible, for that never changes. They do not switch from one new fad doctrine to another every time "spiritual wind" changes. NO, that is not what I mean. However, our society is changing. Anyone who pays any attention at all to world around us knows this is true. In early part of this century church was focal point of family and even of society in many areas. I fully agree that it should be thus today, but fact remains that it is no longer true. For Christian it should be true. But for many of them it is no longer true. People no longer flock to church for that social interaction.
The church must reach out to community and lost. We must learn to leave four corners of our sanctuary and seek out those whom Jesus commanded us to, and do what He said. "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in name of Father and of Son and of Holy Spirit." (Matthew 28:19) That may mean doing things just a little differently than we have in past. It may mean that we take "the church" back into home with small group Bible Study. I may mean that we develop "family circles" with several families that have some things in common so they can relate to each other. It may mean that we start "ministering" to those who have been divorced, are one-parent families, homeless, and yes even homosexuals and other undesirables. It may mean that we not only feed hungry but also minister to them as well.
Changing may also mean that our worship service changes from one which is rigid, always same Sunday after Sunday after Sunday; to one which is more joyous. It may change from one with "stone faces" to one with Christians smiling and singing and praising God. It may mean that our worship services are exciting and full of variety. It may mean that as congregation leaves worship service they have more joy in their hearts and a spring in their step because they know they have been in presence of God!
Dead churches don't have to change. All they have to do to remain a dead church, is NOTHING! Dead churches don't have to improve for future, they just worship their past.
Live churches have lots of noisy kids! After all, kids will be noisy. What do lots of kids indicate? It indicates that church has lots of families that are in child-bearing years - twenty to forty year-olds. Why is this important? If church is to thrive, it must contain a significant proportion of these families. Older families no longer have young children. If church is mostly older families, who will continue as families begin to go on to be with Lord? Dead churches don't have lots of noisy kids, dead churches are fairly quiet!
Live church's expenses will most likely exceed their income. But that is where faith comes in. A church that is alive will seek new ways to minister to people, not regarding cost in money. We must do our part in kingdom. God will provide finances to do that job!
There is a principle in strategic planning called, "Cost - Benefit Analysis." In other words, when a plan of action is under consideration, cost of that plan must be considered in relation to benefits which will be received from that plan of action. In business world and world of education, I agree that this is a good practice. But in church? How can we put a "Cost-Benefit Analysis" to winning of one soul? How much does it cost to win a soul to Christ? Does it matter? Christ certainly did not put that principle in His Great Commission! How much does it cost to minister to one-parent families? Does that matter? How much does it cost to feed poor? Does that matter? Now please don't misunderstand me! I am not suggesting that church go on a spending spree that would put Howard Hughes (if he were still alive) in poor house. Let's be good stewards of money God provides, but let's step out on faith to do His work.
AbortionWritten by Stephen Kingery
"And for next four and a half hours, I felt my son thrash around violently while he was being choked, poisoned, burned and suffocated to death. I didn't know any of that was going to happen. And I remember talking to him and I remember telling him I didn't want to do this, and I wished he could live and that his mommy loved him and that I was sorry. I prayed that he understood and that someday, he would learn to forgive me, if he could! And yet he was dying and there was nothing I could do to save him. I remember my son's very last kick. He had no strength left to fight." (From a letter by Ohio Right To Life Society)
The thoughts of a mother as she experiences brutal and gruesome saline abortion of her son can only begin to show agony of abortion. This mother was having second thoughts, but she was helpless to stop killing. The anguish she must have felt was tremendous. But can you imagine pain that her son was going through? He was literally being scalded to death. This letter from Ohio Right To Life Society continues, "In a saline abortion, a concentrated salt solution is injected into sac of fluid that surrounds and protects baby. The mother can feel baby thrash about for hours as corrosive salt poisons and burns baby alive, inside and out. The mother actually goes into labor and delivers a dead or dying baby."
In America today we, as Christians, wring our hands and shake our heads and agonize over violence we see on television, on our streets and in our schools. Yet, violence in these places is NOTHING compared to violence that goes on day after day in hundreds of abortion clinics all across America. You and I have not only accepted this violence as a way of life (or death for baby) but we sit idly by and watch President of United States FIGHT to make abortion available to everyone (including children) and to be paid for and supported by tax dollars WE send to Washington.
Is it any wonder that so many people in our nation consider life to be cheap. Why would we expect that life of a teacher who is shot and killed in her classroom to be more valuable than that of a helpless baby in "safety" of his mother's womb. Why is it a crime for a person to shoot and kill an abortionist as he leaves his abortion clinic and not a crime for that abortionist to kill eight, ten or more helpless babies each day? Was his life MORE VALUABLE than babies that he killed that day? Now please don't misunderstand me! I do not advocate killing anyone — abortionists included. I simply do not see why we can accept that it IS a crime to kill a person who is an adult and NOT a crime to kill a person just because that person has not had an opportunity to grow in his or her mother's womb to point that he or she can be born. If one is a crime, then other is as well!
The thing that amazes me most is that this crime of abortion has been legalized in America and WE have just accepted it. America is supposed to be a Christian nation. Now I know we are tolerant of other religious beliefs, and I fully support that. Nonetheless, this nation was founded on Christian principles and we have been proud of that fact for over 200 years. But killing innocent unborn babies by millions is not a Christian principle and WE should not sit idly by and watch it happen.
Before you start talking to yourself and saying, "Oh I know it happens in America, but it can't be that bad.", let me give you some statistics which were provided to me by Ohio Right To Life Society.
Abortions in United States
* Over 4,300 abortions performed daily * Over 1,600,000 abortions performed in 1988 * 6,749 teenagers under 15 had abortions in 1989 * 196,112 teenagers 15-19 had abortions in 1989 * Over 28 million abortions from 1973 to 1991 * From 744,600 in 1973 to 1,600,000 in 1991
It's not that bad? EXACTLY how many innocent babies do we have to have killed each year before we Christians will say, "Ok, now it's bad." How many innocent babies must die before we will start saying to our congressmen, senators and presidents "Look, I don't care what your politics are, I WILL NOT VOTE FOR YOU if you support legal abortions!" If Christians in country would stand united, abortion would become a crime (as it should) in very short order.
The abortion issue is not only indication that things have gone awry in America. Below are other statistics provided by Ohio Right To Life Society which show alarming rise in all sorts of evil.