Church As I Knew It
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  1. #1

    Church As I Knew It

    Wanted: An Old-fashioned Church

    To Whom it May Concern:

    I’m looking for a good Christian church. I don’t want to sing songs off a wall, the same five notes, over and over and over and over again while I am lightheaded from standing so long. There’s a record of the hymns of God’s people that spans 2000 years. Why are we so arrogant as to think we don’t need those wonderful songs any longer? Have we gone through more suffering, more affliction, more pain for Jesus than those who wrote these enduring hymns? Does a semi-secular song writer in Nashville with a multi-million dollar music contract have more to say to us about God and the Christian life than the 17th-century hymn writer who lost four children and his wife during the 30 years War?

    I don’t want to have my eardrums bashed in by the three kids in the “worship band” who can’t be bothered to bathe, shave, dress or comb their hair on Sunday morning. If it’s really all about the God that Scripture describes as ineffably holy, shouldn’t that be reflected in attitude and dress for those who serve in church music?

    I don’t want a vampy “praise and worship” leader who is flaunting her wares at every male within view as she does her worship moves on “stage”. If we are to worship God in spirit and in truth, as Scripture tells us, than what’s all the flesh about? Can we no longer discern the difference?

    I don’t want to see people in beach attire with their backsides peeping out of their shorts because they think that God isn’t worth their best efforts at dressing. “God doesn’t care about clothes, only man”, they say. But the real reason is that it’s just plain easier to cruise into church in jeans or whatever is still lying on the floor from the night before. Dressing up for worship of the Lord would cost them something, however little, and they don’t want to pay it.

    I also don’t want to see all the variations on lovers’ back rubs where Chuck and Sue take turns massaging each other’s neck and shoulders during the sermon so everyone behind them is completely distracted. Behavior affects other people. Are Christians so self-absorbed that they never think about the people behind them trying to hear the message?

    I don’t want to hear announcements during “worship” about the youth group pizza blast and laser tag event next Tuesday night, the need for grills for the upcoming church fun fest or jokes about how Bill burned the wieners last summer at the church picnic. Why can this not be put at the end after our “worship” is completed?

    I don’t want Christian karaoke for “special music”. Screeching females trying to imitate their favorite pop stars belong at the local bar, not a house of prayer.

    Let me tell you what I am looking for in corporate worship of believers.

    I’m looking for a spirit of reverence among God’s people, a sense that we have come to join in with the company of angels, archangels, and the church triumphant who gather before God’s throne in that never ending heavenly worship.

    I’m looking for a service that is founded upon and completely focused on God and His Word. I want to begin the worship with an entrance Psalm, to be reminded that in worship we enter heaven’s gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. I want to hear the name of God invoked at the beginning, opening the worship in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, without which Spirit, we worship in vain.

    I need to confess my sins, receive the comforting assurance that God has forgiven me, and I want to corporately confess my faith with my fellow believers. I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our LORD…

    I need to sing of God’s holiness, His attributes and His greatness through the hymns of the faith that have been handed down through the ages from the pens and the lips of those who have gone before us. Why? Because God is truly “Immortal, Invisible, God only Wise, in light inaccessible, hid from our eyes”. Because God is “Holy, Holy Holy,” our Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come. Because it is right and fitting that our souls should praise the King of Heaven. He is worthy of all our praise because He is “Lord, Enthroned in Heavenly Splendor”. To discard this canon of music of Christ’s church down through time is to turn our backs on our family in the faith. In 21st Century America, we truly do not know better than they.

    I need to hear the Scriptures read out—as much of it as possible. Three Scripture lessons are hardly enough. How often has a passage of Scripture read out spoken to my heart about something? Why is Scripture so often limited to the text of a message, if it’s there at all now? The Old Testament Lesson. The New Testament Lesson. The Gospel Lesson. I need all the lessons that God’s holy Word can provide.

    I need to hear the Scriptures preached from a man of God, who is a man of prayer and personal holiness and who takes seriously his office of under-shepherd. Why do I want preaching? Because faith comes by hearing, the Bible says, and hearing by God’s Word. I need conviction of the Holy Spirit in my own heart and life. I want to be reminded who God is and my duty before Him. I don’t want a pastor who spews vulgarities and crude talk to show how “real” he is, or who feeds on Hollywood so that the only thing that comes out of his mouth is foolishness in his pathetic attempts at cultural relevance. God’s Word is eternally relevant. I can tell where the pastor gets his life food from. It always, always shows. Any pastor who is not a man of the Word and of prayer is no pastor at all.

    I want a pastor who prays for his sheep, who understands that we are in a spiritual battle, and that Satan hates us and will do anything he can to try to take our faith from us. I want elders who lead by example with their families. No family is ever perfect. That’s why we need the forgiveness of our Savior daily. But elders should be leading lives that are Christ-honoring in their marriages and in their leadership and training of their children. When the children of an elder are worldly and carnal and disrespectful, it is plain that they are not keeping their homes in order. This kind of leadership no church needs because how will the members learn how to run their own homes and families if no godly example is in view? We are sheep. We need leaders.

    I want a time of serious prayer in church, seeking God for His help and wisdom in these dark times, for the needs of the congregation and for the witness of the fellowship in the community. As we kneel, we’re reminded of our utter helplessness without the Lord.

    I want a benediction at the end of the worship, where the pastor tells us to go in peace, because we have been washed in the blood of the Lamb, have been forgiven for our sins, and have the joyful assurance that God is with us and will take care of us.

    This kind of old-fashioned church might meet in a rented room, a home, a gymnasium, a new, modern building, a vine-covered, old brick traditional church, a little white frame building or anywhere else. It is not the location that matters, it is the content and focus of the worship, and the heart of the leaders of the church.

    Outside of the corporate worship, I want a church that believes in evangelism and outreach. Doctrinal clubs that sit smugly complacent are actually mausoleums. Who wants to worship in a tomb? There is a world out there that needs the message of the Gospel. It is our responsibility to take it to them, and churches should facilitate and train members for this critical mission. Truly saved believers have a burning heart to share it with others. I want to be part of a church that has this burning heart. I want to be part of a church where the young people are not just going on mission trips because they get to have fun in cool places, but because they get to share with those who have never heard the truth that Jesus saves. Social work is fine, but the Gospel message of Jesus must be heard loud and clear in the midst of it.

    If you know of such a church in my area, would you please contact me at the earliest convenience. I would be grateful.

    Sincerely,

    A Christian


  2. #2
    Marine Free Member foxman's Avatar
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    Greensideout, Foxman here-- I don't know where you are located but it sounds like to me that you are looking for a Good Ole Fashion Freewill Baptist Church. That's Independant Freewill not Southern Baptist. One that is run by The Pastor, The Decaons and The Members, not run by The Southern Baptist Convention out of Nashville. The most important thing to remember is that you ain't going to find the Perfect Church and if you did , don't join it. Because as soon as you joined , it wouldn't be perfect anymore. Find a Good Bible Preaching, Bible Teaching Church and get ACTIVE. That sounds to me like the type person you are. I know it has worked for me for the past 36 years and The Longer I Serve Him , The Sweeter it grows. Your In Christ. Foxman


  3. #3
    Squad Leader Free Member Wyoming's Avatar
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    GSO, this one has been copied, pasted and sent out to friends, without permission.

    Thanks anyhoo, it was/is excellent.

    Illegitimi Non Carborundum!!





  4. #4
    I would like to have been the writer of this article as I totally felt all that was conveyed!
    It was written by Ingrid Schlueter.


  5. #5
    Marine Free Member jrhd97's Avatar
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    Any time you add the human element and man's God given free will, things will get messed up. If you talk to each member of the congegation you will find out that there is not a single thing done right. To each person there is something done wrong, or " I would do this ", but those people just won't do a thing.
    I didn't know how messed up our church was untill I became a leader in the church. The more I talk to others the more I'm not doing this or that right.
    Find a church where you are comfortable and you agree much more than less. Pray and seek Gods guidance on where you should attend.
    From personal experience, don't be suprised when his guidance seems a little of the wall, or not at all what you want to hear.


  6. #6
    Greenside, I really enjoyed that. I am like that writer, as I enjoy a reverent type service and good preaching based on scripture and our Savior. I don’t mind a member singing, or at least making a joyful noise, but I also don’t need the rock band stuff that some churches allow today.

    Bless you Foxman. I am a Southern Baptist and I am very comfortable in the church I attend right now in South Texas. I did attend a FWB church when I was in J’ville years ago. I also enjoyed that, but I still feel a Christian cannot loose their salvation, except maybe for apostasy. In that case, they probably were not saved in the first place.

    I know that is the primary difference between our chosen faiths and that we could discuss all this until the cows come home, but I do wholeheartedly agree with your advice to find a good Bible preaching church and get active.



    To me, the SBC is not the big problem some make it. They do not threaten the autonomy of the individual churches. The real threat as I see it today to Baptists is the newly formed NBC, New Baptist Covenant, put together by Jimmy Carter. Yeah, that Jimmy Carter. I knew it had problems when he asked Bill Clinton and Al Gore to help him at the first large gathering they had. Their biggest agenda is to bring diversity into the church. Yeah OK.

    jrhd97, Remember churches are for sick sinners and not perfect people. Folks that are perfect would never see the need for attending. As long as the church is made up of us imperfect people we will make mistakes. Keep the faith and help when you can.

    Off my Box

    S/F
    Finger


  7. #7
    I don’t want to see people in beach attire with their backsides peeping out of their shorts because they think that God isn’t worth their best efforts at dressing. “God doesn’t care about clothes, only man”, they say. But the real reason is that it’s just plain easier to cruise into church in jeans or whatever is still lying on the floor from the night before. Dressing up for worship of the Lord would cost them something, however little, and they don’t want to pay it.

    Since I don't own a suit and sometimes go to church while on a casual vacation, I guess I would NOT be your type of churchgoer now, would I?

    I hope NEVER to go to a church that would look down on me because of my dress because if I did I would instantly know that I was amongst a bunch of hypocrites.

    I want to attend a church that lets everyone share in the word of God, even if they may be a bum off the street or Mr. Buffet, or Mr. Gates.

    The music doesn't matter either because if it is about the glory of God, and for the glory of God then how can it possibly be bad. Do we only have hymns from 2000 years ago, 1000 years ago, or maybe 500 years, or is 100 years the cut off?? Where do you make the cut off and why?

    I am glad I "don't want to pay" for more expensive clothing just to show off to other hypocrites who would judge me based only on what I wear. I want to be around people who have the same frailties that I have, sinners, and the like are fine with me.

    I have been taught and have always believed that the church is a living thing, constantly growing, and changing. As such it tries new things, makes changes, some small, some not so small. As a church tries these new things it finds some acceptable and some not. It will discard the unacceptable and keep the acceptable. Any church that makes absolutely no move to change will soon find it's numbers dwindling and it will dry up and disappear.

    How many churches have we lost because they were unwilling to change and accept new things? How many churches are no longer here because they could not, or would not, find a way to get and keep their younger members involved and bring in new members. How many churches just dried up and blew away to the winds of time because they just did not care?

    I agree with many points you make but I also do NOT agree with many of them because they would stifle what is really needed to bring new life into the church to keep it fresh and new for the new generations to come...


  8. #8
    You say poe-tay-toe .. I say poe-tah-toe... let's call the whole thing off.

    Face it, some people like a relaxed service with the focus on the "joy of the Lord" and praise and worship and no judging from other folks and others like the fact the a holy God deserves some respect and the least a person could do is clean themselves up.

    In the end, if you go to church because of what other people say or think, you got it wrong. Sure, we naturally congregate with people most like ourselves, but nothing in the word of God (in any of it's various translations) call us to wear fancy clothes or jeans, to sing 17th century hymns only or the latest DC Talk single (that's dating myself.. I know).

    It says worship in spirit and in truth. If that's in jeans and ripped t-shirt on a beach with palm trees... have fun. If that means in a cathedral with organ music and liturgy.. go to it.

    The bottom line is that the focus.. shouldn't be on you. It shouldn't be on the person next to you. It should be on our God and his holiness and his will for us. I think that with that as the proper focus of our worship, these other issues will fade.

    Now having said all that, I will say this: we tell our young devil dogs to dress in nice, decent attire when out on liberty because they represent the Marine Corps, and earthly institution albeit a noble one. New job applicants are regularly counselled to put their best foot forward in terms of dress, language, and appearance because first impressions are lasting. If such man-made endeavors are so worthy of our attention (and our care to represent our best to other people), how much more so should our heavenly father rate our best attentions in how we represent HIM?

    It's not about what the people around you think or if the church should grow and move with the times. It's about cultivating that personal relationship with a holy and just God who loves you and me and wants us to be happy with him, to enjoy his fellowship and companionship, and to represent him well with others you may meet, both fellow believers and non-believers. If you feel comfortable doing that in ripped jeans, God bless you. If you'd rather wear a suit, very well.

    But do so out of your regard for your God. That's what matters.


  9. #9
    Marine Free Member FistFu68's Avatar
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    I WAS BAPTISED IN THE PERFUME RIVER,RIGHT OUTSIDE HUE CITY;BY A CATHOLIC CHAPLAIN.EVERYWHERE I'VE EVER WALKED SINCE HAS BEEN MY CHURCH,SOMETIMES WEARING A $500 SUIT,OTHER TIMES ON THE BUM;I TALK TOO THE LORD IN THE WOODS WHEN HUNTING BY MYSELF.OR WHEN I'M IN THE HOUSE OF BLUES IN CHICAGO,WITH A 1000 PEOPLE.WE ALL GOTTA COME CLEAN SOONER OR LATER?LIFE IS MY CHURCH,I'VE BEEN TOO HUNDREDS OF THEM.DIFFERENT STROKES FOR DIFFERENT FOLK'S,"AMEN"!!!


  10. #10
    You tell it Brother Fist! Testify, Brother!!!


  11. #11
    Like I have said before no man should knock another mans church. If it makes a man feel good by worshiping a door knob facing east then by all means don't knock the man or the door knob.


  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by ggyoung
    Like I have said before no man should knock another mans church. If it makes a man feel good by worshiping a door knob facing east then by all means don't knock the man or the door knob.
    So THAT'S what you Mormons believe? Coulda fooled me!


  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by FISTFU68
    I WAS BAPTISED IN THE PERFUME RIVER,RIGHT OUTSIDE HUE CITY;BY A CATHOLIC CHAPLAIN.EVERYWHERE I'VE EVER WALKED SINCE HAS BEEN MY CHURCH,SOMETIMES WEARING A $500 SUIT,OTHER TIMES ON THE BUM;I TALK TOO THE LORD IN THE WOODS WHEN HUNTING BY MYSELF.OR WHEN I'M IN THE HOUSE OF BLUES IN CHICAGO,WITH A 1000 PEOPLE.WE ALL GOTTA COME CLEAN SOONER OR LATER?LIFE IS MY CHURCH,I'VE BEEN TOO HUNDREDS OF THEM.DIFFERENT STROKES FOR DIFFERENT FOLK'S,"AMEN"!!!
    Amen Jack...

    I can and do talk to my Lord whenever I feel the need, be it on my old farm tractor, setting at my desk, trimming the graves at the cemetery or just walking the fence line. The physical structure known as "Church" is really not a necessity for me.

    I do understand that some feel the need to attend gatherings, and that is fine, I will never knock anyones beliefs, it will all be figured out in the end.


  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Camper51
    I have been taught and have always believed that the church is a living thing, constantly growing, and changing. As such it tries new things, makes changes, some small, some not so small. As a church tries these new things it finds some acceptable and some not. It will discard the unacceptable and keep the acceptable. Any church that makes absolutely no move to change will soon find it's numbers dwindling and it will dry up and disappear.

    How many churches have we lost because they were unwilling to change and accept new things? How many churches are no longer here because they could not, or would not, find a way to get and keep their younger members involved and bring in new members. How many churches just dried up and blew away to the winds of time because they just did not care?

    I agree with many points you make but I also do NOT agree with many of them because they would stifle what is really needed to bring new life into the church to keep it fresh and new for the new generations to come...
    If we are to be like Christ, and Hebrews 13:8 says
    "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever."
    then why does the church have to change? God doesn't.

    As far as dress goes, I used to go to church in shorts, and a golf shirt, and think the same way, that God doesn't care about my attire, but when I became saved, I mean truely saved...accepting Jesus as the ONLY way to heaven, I also started to feel guilty about not showing enough respect toward God to wear modest attire in his presence...

    You come to the church I attend dressed any way you want, we will not judge you...but when the Spirit of the Lord works in your life, you might find yourself changing.


  15. #15
    Church is not a building. Never was.

    S/F
    Finger


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