What a wonderful day in the Lord we had this weekend! We hosted our annual Community Cook-Out this Sunday, and it was great not only because the weather was perfect (which it was), and the food was outstanding (special kudos for those pork chops, guys), and the fellowship was awesome (as usual), but particularly because we were able to welcome a couple of new, non-FCC families as well. We’d had the good fortune of being able to host the summer registration for Great Oaks Camp on Saturday, and that meant that we could invite those families who’d registered to join us for lunch the next day. Please pray that those who don’t already have a church home might consider coming to First Covenant and worshiping with us...
For that matter, let me encourage you to continue praying for those all around you to consider nestling into a church home -- whether it’s First Covenant or any other solid, Bible-believing church family. The point of reaching out should never be to grow our own church numbers, but rather to save lost and drowning souls (like each of us was, at one point in our lives) and help draw them to the Lord’s safe haven.
Actually, we chatted about that a bit in our message this week, as we continued our look at the Book of Judges (this time, looking at chapter 2). An amazing number of churches will see their numbers dwindling since they’d spent decades just comfortably hanging out in their building on Sunday mornings with no personal sense of a need for reaching out -- at which point, in desperation, they throw themselves into evangelism and growing their church’s numbers. And if that ends up working, they again get comfortable (what with dodging that bullet) and nestle into hanging out in their building on Sunday mornings with no personal sense of a need for reaching out.
So what would happen if -- instead of viewing evangelism as a crisis management tool -- we saw reaching the lost as every single Christian’s personal mission in life, every day? What if, instead of seeing outreach as a way to keep our foundering churches afloat, we saw it as a way to keep drowning people afloat? What if we viewed it the way that Jesus did, instead of they way that we too often do today?
But more to the point in Judges, we -- like the early Israelites -- tend to get into cycles in life where we feel so comfortable with where we’re at that we no longer feel the motivation to do what we know that we probably need to do (in our churches, in our marriages, in our nation, etc.). Then we experience hardships... and if we feel enough hardship, then we slip into crisis management mode, do what we were supposed to be doing in the first place, get our heads above water, start to feel comfortable again, and then no longer feel the motivation to do what we know that we probably need to do...
My mechanic tells me that with cars, maintenance is always cheaper than repair. I’ve got to think that the same is true of our relationships, of our families, of our nation, etc. And how much more crucially important is it to work on that maintenance in our faith, or in our walk with God?
So let me encourage you to take a moment today and take stock of your life (at least just a smidgey bit). Are there things in your marriage, or things with your children, or things with your job, or things with your finances, or with your personal health, or with your relationship with God that you’re treating as crisis management issues, to be dealt with seriously only when things seem to be falling apart? How many of those issues and situations would run so much better and smoother and healthier if you just worked on them -- even just a little bit -- every day?