It was April Fool’s Day when I moved my office into the church building. My brothers got permission from the board to let me lease a little space for my dwindling real estate business. Plus, I was training and leading a fledgling fellowship of evangelists at the time. I did not realize what was to occur over the next couple of years.
Backing up a few years, I visited the Pastor of my church in his office to discuss the lack of real outreach/evangelism. Through the teaching of Living Waters and Ray Comfort (http://www.livingwaters.com), I had found not only the “forgotten key of evangelism” but the almost complete lack of true evangelism through the local churches. In tears, I shared with him what I had learned and that I was regularly visiting the local harbor to share my faith. He then proceeded to assign one assistant pastor/week to go with me in these endeavors. This led to the formation of a small fellowship of like-minded believers who met to train and plan. Over time, I eventually was invited to intern at the church and did so part-time while supporting my family through my small real estate company.
These were the best of times and the worst of times — best spiritually and worst financially. Finally, the pressures of ministry had become too much on the pastor and his family, leading to a short sabbatical. While on sabbatical, it was determined that he was not to return so the board began the process of considering and interviewing new pastors. The body was called to come together and to pray on Sunday nights, specifically to seek the Lord’s will regarding the new pastor. To make a long story short and in the interest of adding no spin to this part, the board chose to go with an assistant pastor from a local mega-church. This church had successfully “turned around” other churches in our area, instituting all of the latest church growth techniques. This led to an eventual take over as the smaller church was merged into the conglomerate. I am no expert and do not need to renew the efforts of other discernment sites (see right side of this blog for the links). My main concern at the time and still remains: do they preach the true Gospel of Jesus Christ? The initial concern of the staff at the time regarded the “social gospel”, which is no gospel at all. To quote William Booth, the co-founder of the Salvation Army:
The chief danger that confronts the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance,
salvation without regeneration, politics without God, heaven without hell.
Unfortunately, when the question was posed to the prospective pastor, regarding the humanistic, man-centered gospel, he did not understand what we the staff meant. So, I explained it this way: The humanistic gospel starts with man, disillusioned with life and unfulfilled, who is on a quest to know the meaning of life. He turns to the church where he finds a new community that he chums up to and over time comes to know God. The “gospel” is all about him. The Gospel of Jesus Christ starts with God, who is holy, righteous, and good. Mankind is lost and in fact does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts. There is no one who seeks God. God is seeking them. Without Christ, sinful man is hopelessly guilty before God and hell bound. But God has provided a savior for him — Jesus Christ. He took on flesh and as the lamb of God was crucified for sins. He was delivered up for our offenses and raised for our justification. God is patient but commands all men everywhere to repent and believe the gospel. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is all about Him.
My contributions to this blog will concern this true gospel, which has been lost in the weeds of worldliness in many churches. Also, I will discuss the unmanned gates of some churches through which the enemy has entered. The young, new Christian is often the victim of the modern marketing merchandise-making in this new church community. We intend to offer support and direction, to protect the new believer from those who distort the truth and twist the scriptures. We pray that this is done not with the wisdom of words but in a demonstration of the power of the Holy Spirit. God help us! I pray for a renewed hunger and thirst for the pure Word of God. To quote David Hocking “It’s the Bible, the whole Bible, and nothing but the Bible” that we need. Take a break from reading the myriad of books about the Bible and simply read the Bible alone for a time. May you become like Job who said: “…I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food” Job 23:12