What I Read Today;

Exodus 23-24; Psalm 29; Mark 1; 1 Corinthians 13

People are often offended when they read the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.  In particular, they have a problem with the concept of, what we would call today, ethnic cleansing.  When they see verses like Exodus 23 vs. 31 and see God order his people to remove all the people from the land and wipe out any traces of their gods, it goes against every strain of what we teach today.  Today we favor an approach that allows people to keep their culture and heritage.  If we attempt to preach the good news to those people, frown upon us as intolerant and racist.

Let me ask you a question.  Why is the attendance at our churches dropping?  Why do we see more and more churches closing?

Some say that we aren’t liberal enough.  Others say we aren’t conservative enough.  There are hundreds of books that are being used to show us how to grow our churches.  Yet we are still witnessing a decline in the church in the United States.  Why?

Could it be that our real problem is that we don’t know who the enemy is?  When he arrived, we missed his arrival completely?

Our enemy, Satan, disguised himself. He came cloaked in something that appeared terrific.  He came cloaked in the idea of relativism.  Satan promoted the concept that all religions are equal.

And people bought it.

Today, there are hundreds of expressions of spirituality floating around. While the church withdrew behind its walls and falsely believed that it had the market on all things salvation, Satan quietly crept behind the scenes with attractive ideas wrapped in spirituality.

Satan slowly began poo-pooing the idea that we all need a savior.  He promoted ideas that if you are a good person who seeks God, then you’re going to be OK.  Moral relativism set in.  Those who had been on the fringe of the church left to find a new religion. A religion that didn’t ask them to live a holy life.  We could excuse adultery as no big deal.  We could look the other way while our prison system unfairly targeted the poor who couldn’t afford high priced lawyers.  Corporations could excuse their conduct as they raised prices on things like drugs to a point where people who desperately needed them couldn’t afford them.  We could begin excepting images that were more and more explicit on our TVs.  Images of sex and ever-increasing violence.

All the while, we wonder why violent crime rates are rising.  We can’t understand why our children are having psychological problems as they are shuttled between warring ex-spouses.

We’ve moved further away from Jesus, who saved us.  We’ve turned our backs and gone with the God of pleasure and self-indulgence.

All the while, the church sits back and watches.

So what do we do?

We look for opportunities to reach out to our neighbors.  The church needs to move outside of the walls of our buildings and into the streets of our communities.  We need to show the love of Christ to people who have no real understanding of what that means.  We need to re-focus on the love of God.  We need to show people a better way.  Not by force, instead, we need to show the love of Christ.

We’ve dug a deep hole for ourselves.

The good news is Jesus provides ladders!

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