Month: February 2015

6 reasons you shouldn’t give up on church…

dont-give-up

We read of people of all ages that are walking away from church. Maybe you know someone who has or is thinking of walking away from church. Read this article from Charisma Magazine and forward it to them as well, it will be a great encouragement to them. People seem unfulfilled or simply tired of empty religion. That’s why I am SO GLAD to be part of City Church. The unique and fresh approach of just being a family that celebrates Jesus!
Jim Turley
Associate Pastor

Check out the article below:

6 Reasons You Should Never Give Up on Church
J. Lee Grady is the former editor of Charisma

i’ve experienced heaven on earth the past few days. I found it in Durban, South Africa, while visiting one of the most joy-filled congregations I’ve ever encountered in my travels.

It’s called His Church, and this 1,000-member multicultural church has many wonderful qualities: a loving pastor (a brave woman, Fiona Des Fontaine) who is committed to preaching God’s Word without compromise; a powerful outreach to the community; a healthy team of pastors who serve with no signs of competition or ego; and a Bible college where many young leaders are being trained.

I know there are many churches around the world today that have qualities similar to His Church. Yet many Christians—especially in the United States—are giving up on church because they were hurt by pastors or wounded by other Christians, or because they simply decided to “go it alone.” They are knows as “dones”—people who are “done” with church.

“Dones” might watch an occasional church service on television or meet with a few Christian friends over coffee for a casual Starbucks version of “church lite.” They still consider themselves serious Christians, but they want nothing more of pastors, tithing, scheduled meetings or church drama.

If you or someone you love has given up on church, I’m not here to condemn you. I’ve had my share of disappointments in church over the years, including some spiritual abuse. But I want to offer six reasons why you shouldn’t let a bad experience end your connection to God’s people.

1. The church is Christ’s body on earth. With all its flaws, the church is still God’s Plan A. Jesus announced before He went to the cross: “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18). Jesus intends to use the church—even in its weakness—as His primary tool to reach the world with the gospel. Heaven does not have a Plan B. Jesus is the head of his church (see Col. 1:18) and we are His hands and feet. To reject the church is to reject God’s ultimate strategy to bring heaven’s kingdom on earth.

2. The Holy Spirit has called us to work and flow together. When we were born again and baptized, the Bible says we were mystically unified with all other born-again believers and connected to each other by the Holy Spirit. The Lord also connects people in local congregations. This connection is holy and we should never make light of it or damage it. Paul told the Ephesians to “preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” by being in close fellowship with each other (Eph. 4:3). To reject this union of believers is to dishonor the work of the Spirit.

3. God accomplishes more through His corporate people than through isolated individuals. In the Old Testament the Holy Spirit worked primarily through the nation of Israel, and through individuals who had special callings and remarkable courage. But in the age of the New Covenant, the Spirit dwells in every Christian believer, and the corporate church makes a much bigger impact. This is why Jesus told His disciples after He went to the cross that we would do “greater works” than He did on earth (see John 14:12). And because healthy churches can pool resources and organize volunteers, they are able to offer ministry to children, youth, families, singles, the needy and the lost overseas—in a way you could never do while sitting home alone.

4. God’s authority flows through His church, not through “lone ranger” Christians. Some people who’ve been hurt by church leaders feel they can never submit to another pastor again, nor will they honor a person who is called by God to carry the authority of a minister. Yet God has delegated to certain people the task of building up the church (see Eph. 4:11-12). It’s totally acceptable for you to leave an unhealthy church with poor leadership, but you should quickly find a new church where you can be equipped to fulfill your ministry. It was never intended for a Christian to live with a my-way-or-the-highway attitude.

5. It is by living in Christian community that we learn to love and serve. The Book of Hebrews was written to a group of Jewish Christians who were thinking of abandoning their Christian faith because of persecution. Some of them even stopped attending church, but Paul addressed their disillusionment by saying: “And let us consider how to spur one another to love and to good works. Let us not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but let us exhort one another, especially as you see the Day approaching” (Heb. 10:24-25). People who live in isolation find it difficult to develop character, and they often get discouraged; those who walk together in close fellowship inspire each other, and they improve each other just as iron sharpens iron.

6. If you leave the church because of hurt or resentment, you make it more difficult to find healing and reconciliation. It might sound spiritual to say you are pulling away from people to focus on God. But the New Testament says your relationship with God is directly related to how you relate to others. John wrote: “Anyone who claims to live in God’s light and hates a brother or sister is still in the dark” (1 John 2:9, MSG). People may have hurt you, but God will also use people to heal you. Don’t let the hurts of the past paint you into a lonely corner. Choose to forgive. Take a risk and keep loving.

Please don’t check out of church or give up on God’s flawed saints. There is no perfect church—and if there were, it would not be perfect after you joined! There is a place for you in God’s eternal family.

J. Lee Grady is the former editor of Charisma. You can follow him on Twitter @leegrady. He is the author of several books including his latest, The Truth Sets Women Free (Charisma House.) You can learn more about his ministry, The Mordecai Project, at themordecaiproject.org.

Read the full article here: http://www.charismamag.com/blogs/fire-in-my-bones/22520-6-reasons-you-should-never-give-up-on-church

Time for a “change”?

time

I recently came across this story…. 

On July 14th, 2013, Mr. Van Niel, a season-ticket holder for Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Indians, gave up his regular seats for one game at Progressive Field. Van Niel took advantage of a season-ticket exchange, which landed him, his brother, and his two nephews in Section 160 down the third-base line.

Throughout his life as a diehard baseball fan Van Niel had never caught a foul ball. But after changing seats on July 14th and showing up in Section 160, he snagged not one, not two, not three, but an amazing four foul balls. Just to give some perspective, according to ESPN’s Stats & Information, the odds of catching one foul ball in a pro baseball game are about a thousand to one. The odds of one person catching four foul balls in the same game are approximately a trillion to one.

Van Niel offered the following explanation: “Three of them were catches and one was a ball I picked up off the ground. The third one … I think I ended up sprawled across a few rows, and I got some cheese on myself. But the other ones were just a matter of being in the right place at the right time.”

A trillion to one? I looked up the seating capacity for that stadium and it seats 42,241 people. Think about that for a moment. This man regularly attends games and never is able to get a ball while sitting in his old seats; He changes this one time and is able to get four! You may ask yourself; what does that have to do with me? I think it is a teaching moment for us all. We are creatures of habit and we get in a routine and just go and go and go. We therefore get used to the results of our choices.

But, what if YOU changed? What if you did something a little out of your comfort zone?

I am reminded that little kids aren’t afraid to try anything. You walk into an elementary class room and ask a child “can you paint”” they will reply “sure!” How about “play a musical instrument?” Of course! Little kids will merely just try without thinking about the appearance and fear of failure.

I personally think we all can learn from these two analogies. What in our lives do we need to change? How about this one, what do we need to try?

In church we all have our “places.” You know, the “place” where we feel secure and we are used to going. What if…

√  You sat in on a children’s class and just became an encourager?

√ You went and helped out in pre-school and just helped hold a baby?

√  You got to church early one Saturday or Sunday and just said hello to people coming in to church or helped point people to where they could park?

You see Mr. Niel gave up his “place” at the ballpark and received a huge blessing. Just think if YOU took a chance and changed up “YOUR PLACE” at church and tried something different?

Let’s try and see…… Get with me and let me find you a new “Seat.”

Jim Turley
Associate Pastor
City Church Texarkana