Friday, February 12, 2010

Preachin or Practicin'

There is a verse that recently caught my attention. Jeremiah 12:5 "If you have raced with men on foot, and they have wearied you, how will you compete with horses? And if in a safe land you are so trusting, what will you do in the thicket of the Jordan?

"How will you compete with horses?" We've had groups that said they would help support our work but no one ever shows up to work. Others have just out-right made up lies about us and yet the same men will stand in the pulpit and tell their members to "not quit" and yet they have told me to "give it up". Yet when I read this verse in Jeremiah it all makes a great deal of sense to me. The same opposition has been experienced by the heros of the Christian faith long before I was ever called to service for Christ.

Many of the church planter blogs I read have faced the same situations and do they quit, no! They are not called by man, they are called by the Holy Spirit. This doesn't mean that I am above anyone, only that God has called me to a purpose and I won't stop no matter what others say.

When Suzanne and I began our church planting mission we knew of the pit falls of church planting. It was a commitment we both spent much time in prayer about. Early on we made up our minds that our church plant would reach the unchurched, not the "swapped church." Now to qualify this let me explain. Many of the successful church planters that I know, you know, the ones that begin with 50, 100, 200 people. The majority of these members are from another church in the area and not unchurched. The planter mearly swapped people from one church to another. Are they really reaching the unchruched?

Thats the challenge in church planting, if you want to support the work you need people and those people need to tithe to support the staff. Then on the other hand if you are really going to reach to unchurched it will be a challenge to support that new work because people that haven't been raised in church take time to understand what it means to support Gods work. How does a church plant survive? Is a successful church plant a group of rechurched people with 150 each week in attendance or a room with 15 or 20 who have found Jesus, turned their lives around and that now have a personal relationship with their Savior that wasn't there before. The Southern Baptist would rather see 100+ strong with money coming in. How do I know this? It has been said to me.

It's hard with only 15 or 20 people showing up each week, but you know what, those that are showing up are comitted and will tell you their relationship with Jesus is new and strong. That doesn't look good on a monthly report. The Bible I read doesn't teach that, it teaches instead a mission of going to the lost and preaching the good news.

Yeah, we have faced opposition and I have learned that instead of saying "why me?", I say "why not me?". Thats a hard thing to face and even put up with when Christian leaders are the ones causing the opposition. God didn't call me to the paved path, He called me to the wilderness where people are and they need to hear the Good News in a practical way. That's how people come to know Jesus it's through a personal relationship.

Would you like to know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior? You can ask Jesus in to your life right now. First you must admit you are a sinner, sin seperates us from God, ask God to forgive you of your mistakes. Next believe that Jesus is the Son of God and accept the gift He gave us of forgiveness, finally confess your faith in Jesus as your Savior. Ask Him to take up first place in your life. Now call us or email us and let us know of your decision and we will help you on you journey. If you live in Western North Carolina come over and visit with us, we would like to meet you and help you in your personal growth in Christ.

These are challenging times for us all. It helps if we have someone we can turn too, a friend that understands. God will never let you down, He wants to know you and has a plan for your life.