So my son's challenge will be to submit himself to the authority of the leadership, and listen to God instead of his own sin nature. Feel free to pray for him and the team!
Also, last weekend, we received a letter from our church. Our pastor is resigning. He'd been battling some spiritual warfare issues over the last couple of years, and is healing, but believes God is calling him out of the ministry to heal completely. The time frame was uncertain.
This weekend at church, they announced he would be leaving August 11! Gulp! They are leaving the area and have kids to get into school in their new home. This is a little complicated because our associate pastor is capable and dynamic and thoroughly equipped to lead our church in the interim while we do a pastor search ... except his wife just gave birth to their 4th child ... in 5 years. So his home life is a little bit demanding right now. He has also been the youth pastor. AND August is traditionally when people vacation around here, so there are very few people to help with the transition. Our pastor's wife was in charge of the nursery schedule and had a very sweet way of convincing people to sign up...
On the one hand, I'm concerned. On the other, I'm excited to see what God will do with this little congregation. It has always been small -- around 150 worshiping each Sunday. Some people have been there forever, and others have come and gone -- but it always stays around that number. Why doesn't it grow into a mega-church?
Well, we don't do a lot of entertaining. Our music worship is good, but it's worship, not performance. And the teaching from the pulpit is designed to challenge us to grow in our faith, not make us feel good about having made it to church another Sunday. In other words, teaching TRUTH is not the way to fill the pews. Jesus himself said, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. "Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.' (Matthew 7:22). (Emphasis in original)
And speaking of the last days, Paul told Timothy, "For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear." (2 Timothy 4:3)
Are we in the last days? I don't know, but I sure see/hear a lot of people who are picking and choosing from the Scripture what appeals to them. In essence, they redefine God in the image of their own preferences.
I used to clerk for a judge who was Atticus Finch personified. He lived an example that was a witness of morality and justice. In viewing our political situation, he would say "I fear we are in the last days of the Republic."
Sadly, I agree with him. I fear for our country, because I believe Christ-followers choose compromise over truth. Then we ask the almighty to "shed His grace on thee" in reference to our beloved USA.
When I work with the teens from other nations, many of them post-Christian, I hear and see from their words and actions, what the effect of growing up in that environment creates. They are largely really nice kids, self-directed to enjoy their own life at the expense (largely) of others -- at least others they don't know personally.
So...enough of this. I obviously need to go out and glory in His creation with the amazing weather and the beautiful day.