Why Churches Die

Why Churches Die

Written by my friend David Padfield

It is entirely possible for a group of God’s people to die. Near the end of the first century our Lord told the church at Sardis, “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead” (Rev. 3:1). Out of the seven churches mentioned in Revelation, only this congregation and the church at Laodicea seem to be lacking in outward foes, but they both had inward trouble to deal with. They were not plagued by emperor worship, the Jews or the Nicolaitans. Viewed externally, the church at Sardis looked peaceful and acceptable, a model church — but from the Lord’s viewpoint it was spiritually dead. The truth is that the church was so lifeless that it was not even worth attacking. Like some that Paul spoke of, they had “a form of godliness but denying its power” (2 Timothy 3:5).

“This church has the reputation of being alive, but the Lord sees it as it actually is — dead. Apparently this church, like the one in Ephesus, had begun with enthusiasm and a burning zeal for Christ and truth, but now it was dying of ‘dry rot,’ an internal deterioration. As the widow who gives herself to pleasure ‘is dead while she liveth’ (1 Tim. 5:6), so this church had sunk into spiritual inactivity, possibly to the level of the world, while yet maintaining an outward impression of love and piety. This describes many churches today that have a reputation of soundness and activity, but inwardly are decaying and dying.” (Homer Hailey, Revelation: An Introduction And Commentary, pp. 144, 145).

There are congregations throughout this country that are every bit as dead as the church at Sardis. Like Sardis, some of them have good reputations and a great past. They assemble every Lord’s Day and observe the “acts of worship” described in the New Testament (Acts 2:42). Sometimes they point back to the past and take pride in the fact that some “great” preachers used to work with them. But, like in The Wizard of Oz, you can pull back the curtain and see them for what they really are: spiritually dead.

In our society when a dead body is found and the cause of death is not immediately known, the county coroner will order an autopsy. An autopsy will not only give the immediate cause of death, but will also list the “contributing causes” of death. In this article we are going to do an autopsy on a dead church and look at the immediate cause of death and some contributing factors.

Over the past twenty years I have had the opportunity to preach in meetings with many different congregations — some of which were dead and did not even know it.

In local congregations seldom is the “cause of death” easy to see. Most of the time it is not a single item that killed a church — it was a combination of several things that brought about their demise. I think of several congregations I know of that used to have large numbers of people assemble together every Lord’s Day, but now struggle to keep the electric bill paid. As an outside observer it seems to me that all of the “dead” churches I know have several things in common, and it is these elements that I want to examine here. Some of these elements might be classified as “causes” and others as “effect.”

Neglect Of Bible Classes

Bible classes are an expedient way to teach the story of the Bible. In Bible classes teachers can adapt the material they present to the age level and understanding of the students in their class.

Preaching from the pulpit can not be as specific, since in the same audience you might have college graduates sitting along side of high school drop-outs, babes in Christ sitting beside well-grounded Christians, those who diligently study their Bibles daily sitting by some who won’t open their Bibles again till the next Sunday.

Some congregations conduct their Bible classes in a hodgepodge manner — teachers are allowed to teach what they want whenever they want. It is not that they are teaching error, but as a whole the students are not being given the “whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27).

Some of the Bible class books brethren use are nothing but fluff, even though they were published by well-known brethren. It is not that they contain false doctrine — they do not contain any doctrine! This is why the brethren here in Zion have invested a great deal of time and money in developing our teaching program. Our teachers prepare all of their own class books and teaching material. The church here owns three copying machines to keep up with the demand for printed matter. Yes, it would be “cheaper” and easier to purchase printed class books, but, as everyone who has ever taught anything knows, the teachers who prepare their own material get the most out of a class. The brethren here believe that saving our children is far more important than saving a few dollars.

When a congregation neglects the Bible class program, it produces untaught Christians. Where will future elders, deacons, preachers and teachers come from, if not from a local congregation? The future of every congregation is in their own hands, not in some college operated by our brethren (cf. 2 Tim. 2:2).

Visitors to our assembly who have children usually want to see our classrooms. If they see nothing but neglect they will go elsewhere (if they care about their children).

Neglect In The Pulpit

There are some congregations that would be content if the preacher never left the four gospels in his sermons, and sadly, there are some preachers who are willing to comply! There are some passages in the Bible that are very difficult to understand. The epistles of Paul contain doctrines “in which are some things hard to understand, which those who are untaught and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures” (2 Pet. 3:16). The Revelation, one of the most difficult books in the Bible, contains a blessing for the one who “reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it” (Rev. 1:3).

The purpose of our preaching is to explain the Scriptures. In the days of Nehemiah, the Levites “read distinctly from the book, in the Law of God; and they gave the sense, and helped them to understand the reading” (Nehemiah 8:8). As Paul preached the gospel of Christ in Thessalonica, he “reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead” (Acts 17:2-3).

Dead congregations usually have a history of “short-term” preachers, i.e., men who only stay two or three years before moving on. Sometimes this is because the men they asked to work with them are lazy — they have a three year supply of sermons and when that is exhausted they find it easier to move on than to study.

Lazy preachers can get by with just a few hours work a week — they reach into their file cabinet on Saturday night to find out what they will preach in Sunday morning and can spend the rest of the week playing golf or reading USA Today. They never write an article, class book or prepare any original material. Some of these men are great at having tea parties, but they usually do not know the epistles from the apostles.

Sometimes churches have a high turnover of preachers because the church is full of knuckleheads and unrepentant sinners (cf. 3 John 1:9-10). I know of a few congregations who have had five preachers in the past ten years — some men did not even stay a full year. When the truth is taught and the local Diotrephes gets his toes stepped on, the easiest thing to do is to kill the messenger (cf. Acts 7:54-60). Bickering among brethren is an infectious disease (James 3:1-12).

Neglect in the pulpit usually results in a lack of stability in a congregation and no consistency in public teaching. A new preacher does not even get a chance to know the brethren or the town before the moving van pulls up, and brethren end up hearing the same “milk” of the word without ever having the opportunity to savor the “meat” of the word (Heb. 5:12-14).

Lack Of Joy Among The “Saved”

I use the word “saved” in an accommodative sense, for if there is no joy in your life I sincerely doubt if you are really saved to begin with.

Recently one of the children at this congregation showed me a piece of sour candy he had just purchased (the candy even had a warning label on it). When that little boy put the candy in his mouth he made a terrible face that reminded me of some Christians I have known over the years. They sit in the pew as if they are at a funeral and when they leave they stick out their hand and you are not sure whether you should shake it or pray for it. This lack of joy is easy to spot and the “Christianity” they offer no one in their right mind would want.

As churches go, I am not sure if this lack of joy is a “cause” or “effect” of a congregation’s death.

Joy is a part of Christianity. Christ is to be received with joy (Matt. 13:20). “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field” (Matt. 13:44).

After going out on the limited commission, “the seventy returned with joy” (Luke 10:17). Jesus told the apostles, “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11). While on this earth, He told them, “Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full” (John 16:24).

There is joy in heaven over a sinner who repents (Luke 15:7).

After the resurrection of Christ, the disciples worshipped the Lord and “returned to Jerusalem with great joy” (Luke 24:52). When the people of Samaria received the gospel, “there was great joy in that city” (Acts 8:8).

The apostle Paul tells us “the kingdom of God is not food and drink, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17). Joy is a part of the “fruit of the Spirit” (Gal. 5:22). As Christians, we can even “count it all joy” when we “fall into various trials” (Jas. 1:2).

King David had sinned grievously against God by committing adultery and murder. In humble repentance he prayed, “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me with Your generous Spirit” (Psa. 51:12).

What happens to a congregation filled with saints who have lost the “joy of their salvation”? They end up losing their children and scaring away anyone who is even remotely interested in the gospel. Who would want a “religion” that makes people so miserable? In the end, they lose their own soul as well.

Neglect Of The Meetinghouse

This is more an “effect” than a “cause” of death. I realize the meetinghouse is just an expediency, and that we are not even required to have a meetinghouse to assemble in. I also realize the most beautiful building in the world is not a sign of spiritual vitality or the Lord’s approval. However, it has been my observation that “dead” churches usually meet in unkempt or decaying buildings — I am not talking about the cost or size of the building, but how well the brethren maintain it.

Why is an unkempt meetinghouse a “dead give-away”? The meetinghouse itself was purchased with the Lord’s money, and the way brethren treat the meetinghouse is a reflection of their attitude towards the Lord.

Think of the Old Testament tabernacle and temple — both constructed with the finest materials and put together with the greatest of care. Our meetinghouse is neither a tabernacle nor a temple, but it is a place where God’s people assemble together for spiritual purposes. The building is not “holy” in any way — but it was purchased with “holy” money (i.e., the Lord’s money).

Paul told Titus to “adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things” (Titus 2:10). While this passage is specifically talking about “adorning” the gospel by our lives, it also teaches us to present the gospel in the best light possible.

Several years ago a congregation asked me to come work with them. I drove to their meetinghouse to have a discussion with the elders about the work there. When I pulled into the parking lot I noticed the sign in front of the building was severely damaged, not from a recent storm but from years of neglect. First impressions are lasting. My first impression about this congregation was that the brethren just did not care about how the rest of the world viewed them or the Lord.

Sometimes parents allow little children to mangle some of the free Bible tracts in our tract rack. When I see such disfigured tracts I throw them away — the greatest message in the world deserves a better presentation than we often give it.

What is the harm in allowing the meetinghouse to decay? It shows a lack of appreciation for what we have and a lack of concern for things belonging to our Lord. Like the Jews in the days of Zerubbabel, it shows that we have more interest in our own houses (cf. Hag. 1:1-5).

Conclusion

Is there any hope for a “dead” church? The Lord extended some hope to the church at Sardis, providing they would “hold fast and repent” (Rev. 3:3).

Our victory lies not in the past, but in the future (cf. Rev. 3:1).

The High Road

by F.L. Booth

The road I’ve traveled the past few years
Is broad and easy but full of tears.
It beckons gaily, yet brings no hope
For peace of mind or a way to cope.

It says so subtly, Come follow me,
I’ll take you places you want to see.
The road leads nowhere, and paved with lies,
Deceives the heart and destroys the prize.

Now over yonder there lies a road
That’s built with promise to ease the load.
The way is narrow and sometimes steep
Where mountains rise up from canyons deep.

There’s joy and blessings for those who dare
To tread its pathway each step with care.
The sun shines brightly and flowers bloom,
While birds sing sweetly dispelling gloom.

I’ll pray for courage to change my course,
The Lord forgives and provides the source.
My family beckons and points the way,
Their love will follow my steps each day.

I’ll chart the high road that winds above,
The Lord calls softly with tender love.
I’ll take the hand He holds out to me
And trust His wisdom to set me free.

Unity Based Upon The “Standard” Of God’s Truth

By Mike Riley2/25/2017

How do we know that there are 12 inches in one foot and three feet in one yard? It is because our society has a “standard” of measurement. Webster defines a standard as, “something established by authority, custom, or general consent as a model or example”.

The Need For Standards

In every facet of life, we recognize the need for standards. Go to the fabric shop and ask for a yard of material, they will give you 36 inches. If a shop is not giving a full 36 inches of material, then they are not selling a yard and are cheating their customers. Stop at the gas station to fill up your car and notice the stickers on the pumps signed by the state commissioner of agriculture. Those stickers say the pumps meet the standards of delivering gasoline by the gallon and metering the fractions of gallons correctly. Standards are important. Where no standard exists, confusion reigns. If the designers of a stadium decide to put first down markers every 12 yards instead of every 10, then teams playing in that stadium used to the 10 yard rule are at an extreme disadvantage and may become confused as to how they are doing in the game. If there were no standards for medicines, people would be overdosing or under-dosing, risking possible death. There must be a standard in order to achieve and maintain harmony and unity in our society.

The Need For A Standard In Religion

A standard must also exist in matters of religion. If there is no standard, any doctrine or practice could be considered legitimate, and that would lead to utter confusion. Many people in the religious world fail to recognize the “standard” God has put forth for pleasing Him. We are not talking about matters of judgment such as what color to paint the meeting place, whether or not to have a drinking fountain, a kitchen facility, or any such thing. What we are talking about is the doctrine which we practice. Paul told Timothy that, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). We know that God is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33), and as such gives man an infallible standard by which to conduct his manner of life (Philippians 1:27). The Corinthian brethren were given the admonition to “speak the same thing” (1 Corinthians 1:10). In this reading, Paul also points out that the result of not speaking the same thing leads to division, which is displeasing to God. The peace of God that is to rule in our hearts unites us in one body (Colossians 3:15) because we have the same standard which we can go by. When one rejects the the inspired standard, strife and division occurs.

Our Plea For Unity Based Upon God’s “Standard”

Often times, members of the church of Christ are accused of being divisive. However, the exact opposite is true. We believe in uniting men under one standard – the Bible. Our plea and prayer is for unity, but unity based upon the “standard” of God’s truth (John 17:17). If individuals will adhere to this inspired standard, peace and unity will reign. God does not base our service to Him on our opinions of what He likes or dislikes. He does not reveal one thing to one and something else to another. Rather, God has given us His “standard” for unity.

Conclusion

Some in the church today cry for unity, but do not accept God’s “standard”. The question is, who causes division when such is opposed? Is the “standard” governed by the one who believes there are 36 inches in a yard, or the one whose yardstick is only 30 inches? Brethren, let’s never stray from the “standard” of God’s inspired and infallible Word (1 Peter 4:11).

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Genesis 2:18-25

By G. E. Watkins2/27/2017

God is the designer of society. He has declared his design to be that man is to be accompanied by a helper. This helper is not to be of the animal kingdom nor is it to be another man. God specially designed the right companion for man. He presented her to man and man called her woman. Verse 24 brings the reader to Moses‘ present. No doubt there were many perversions of human relations that the Israelites had encountered and were yet to. Fornication, adultery, homosexuality, bestiality are all condemned by God here. All these are against God’s plan for man.

On the opposite extreme of loose sexual standards is the excessive shame put on children by some parents, religious leaders and societies. For whatever reason there is the attempt made to make a couple feel that what is good and right in the marriage bed is illicit if for any other reason than to procreate. However, we read here that when God put the first couple together they were naked and were not ashamed. They were under God’s tutelage and God did not teach them to be ashamed.

A Gentle Whisper

I remembering hearing Francis Chan say (at the Tulsa Workshop) that he often wondered and asked God why he didn’t do great things in his life like he did with Elijah on Mt. Carmel.

I often wonder those same things. I believe in and worship the same God as Elijah. What makes him so special that he got the front row seat to an awesome spectacle like he did? I guess there’s probably a lot of answers to that question. Most I probably haven’t thought of.

But I want to change the subject just slightly. Even though I sometimes I feel like God isn’t doing the big stuff in my life, doesn’t mean he’s not doing some stuff in my life. You remember that movie on Mt. Carmel had a sequel. It was set on Mt. Horeb (aka Mt. Sinai). Elijah and God were the main characters again. But the plot was very different. I imagine that Elijah went to Mt. Horeb with some pretty big expectations of God; probably something like he just did on Carmel  or with Moses many years earlier. Instead what he got was God revealing himself through a gentle whisper. Not exactly the pyrotechnics he was looking for.

Still yet, I think there’s a profound message revealed from God in that gentle whisper. “Not only am I present in the big deal stuff that grabs all the headlines and attention. But I’m also here with you as we walk together through life each day.” Right after that God sent Elijah “back the way he came” to go and take care of some stuff that he had called him today.

You know, there’s something peaceful and yet at the same time powerful, to live in the moment with God walking by your side.

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Working with a Brand New Minister

Wade Hodges shared these comments recently on his blog. I appreciate his insight and candor. As a “younger” preacher, I appreciate his thoughts and am so grateful to work with a Church family that loves Christ and shows that love to my family and I every day. I am blessed and fortunate to work with Shepherds that value the little talent I have and have the patience and courage to let me run a little. I realize that some aren’t in the same position. In fact, I’ve been there. So I have a little more sensitivity to this topic. Talented young preachers represent the future growth of the Church. They need to be given the opportunity to serve now while their gifts are developed and sharpened. The congregations that take on this burden are providing a great blessing to the Church. Here’s his thoughts.

1. Please don’t continually remind him of how young he is. He knows this and is sensitive about it. He’s probably trying his hardest to get older every day. Look! It’s working. Starting every compliment with the phrase “For a young preacher” negates the compliment.

2. Please don’t use his age as an excuse to dismiss his ideas. Debate his ideas based on their merit, not his age. Old people have bad ideas too and their age has nothing to do with it.

3. Please don’t hold his age against him. It’s not his fault he’s young. Sometimes older people resent younger people because their energetic idealism reminds them of who they once were. They regret the kind of person they’ve become and they turn their pain on the youngster, taking it upon themselves to break him down. He’s not cynical yet. He’s not broken. He’s not yet been humiliated. Don’t worry, life will take care of this. I don’t think Jesus intended for the church to be the hammer used to beat down young ministers. (By the way, there is a difference between beating down someone and giving them loving feedback that can help him grow. See next point.)

4. Sometimes churches are willing to take a risk on a young preacher because he is a gifted communicator and they’re willing to put up with his youth because they’re mesmerized by his gift. If your young preacher is a gifted communicator, don’t cut him any slack because of his gift. Encourage him to develop the rest of his ministry skill set. The better speaker he is, the more likely he is to think he’ll be able to get by with his silver-tongue alone. He may be right. But trust me on this one, he’ll find long-term ministry more fulfilling if he learns to show love for others in ways beyond preparing and preaching great sermons.

5. It’s unlikely that a young preacher is going to spend his entire career with his first church. He’ll probably only be there for three to five years. Accept this fact without using it as an excuse to resist his ideas. Churches are sometimes hesitant to let a young preacher lead them anywhere because they assume he’s only going to be around for a few years. If that’s the case, then why bother hiring him in the first place? Let him start developing his leadership skills. Give him a chance to make a difference without giving him carte blanche.  What if more churches saw working with a young preacher as an opportunity to help develop a future leader for the good of the Kingdom, rather than just being determined to keep him from doing too much damage while he’s there?

6. Treat him the way you would want someone to treat your son or daughter in a similar situation. He’s got parents too and if you are too mean to him you run the risk of having his mom come and beat you up. (It might do a few churches some good if they had to answer to the parents of the young preachers they’ve mistreated.)

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A Sad Salvation Story

Rick’s salvation story is still being written. But thus far it is sad and disappointing . . . and completely unnecessary. I knew Rick well. He was dating one of the girls in our Church. She came from a strong Christian family. And it was because of her persistence and influence that Rick decided to come to worship and Bible class with her. He even came on a few of our overnight trips to youth rally’s with us. He’s a good kid who had already experienced tragedy in his life. Because of that tragedy, he had a lot of doubts and even more questions. But what he had more than both of those was faith. He knew that there is a God and that this God loved him. But he was still learning to understand what that meant. His faith was growing. He was spending time with the other kids in the youth group and really soaking up our Bible studies. But he still didn’t know what it mean to live what Jesus said in Matthew 22:37, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”

Unfortunately, he wasn’t progressing quickly enough for some of the folks in our Church. They thought he should have been baptized and become a Christian by that point. So on a Wednesday evening one of the Elders pulled him out of Bible class and went into the office to study with Rick. Just as the bell rang and everyone was filing into the auditorium for the devotional time, Rick and the Elder emerged from the office. The Elder happily declared that Rick wanted to be baptized. That evening, Rick was baptized for the forgiveness of sins. And his sins were wiped away by the blood of Jesus Christ . . . I think.

Flash forward six months. Rick and his girlfriend (that was so influential in bringing him to worship) had broken up. It wasn’t silly and dramatic like some teenage break-ups can be. They remained friends. But we saw Rick less and less. Until eventually he had quit coming to Bible study, worship or the youth group events altogether. He would still say hi and take time to talk when I called. But, for the time at least, we had lost him.

Every time I think about that evening when Rick was baptized I get so frustrated, and sad. That Elder that pulled him out of class has a great heart, a sincere love of Jesus and pure motives – among the best I have ever seen. But he has a bad theology and a poor understanding of the Bible. You see, he treated baptism as the last component of a formula instead of the answer to a question. Here’s what I mean. For some who interpret the Bible with the rational and reasoning methods derived from the Baconian or Lockean influence, baptism is the fifth logical step in the five steps of salvation.

Hear + Believe + Repent + Confess + Baptism = Salvation

And on that evening, Rick completed the formula. The problem is that treating our salvation as something we must accomplish misses the point of grace, mercy and God’s divine plan. It seems to me, from a lot of experience, that we have skewed God’s plan and misplaced our faith. So now, instead of trusting God for our salvation, we trust in ourselves to complete the steps of a plan. That has naturally led us to misplace our focus as well as our faith. So now, instead of faith in God and focus on Christ, we have faith in the plan to save us and our focus on completing all of the steps.

That takes us back to Rick’s story. Instead of teaching him what it means to be a disciple of Christ, we lost our patience, taught him the plan and pushed him to complete it. Well, we ended up completing the plan. But at least for now, we’ve lost the man. Isn’t that what it’s really about – people giving their lives to Christ? It’s clear that, when he was baptized,  Rick hadn’t given his life to Christ. He was just pushed into a decision.

Take a look back at the first converts. Does it sound like they were taught a plan? Or that they had to be pushed into responding to what they heard?

“37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”  38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

They were told about Jesus and they were convicted. Then they wanted to know what they had to do – not the other way around.

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Are You Leaving?

I must pray to God to help me with my negativity. I am realizing after more than 30 years that so much of what I have thought is fundamentally wrong. That’s not to say that I have completely misunderstood everything. But for too long I’ve had a fundamental misunderstanding of what the Scriptures are, and just as importantly, what they are not. In many ways this has left me frustrated and disappointed. I feel like I am just now at a point in my spiritual development that I should have reached years ago. I also find myself frustrated at people who have the same ugly and divisive attitude that I used to have. Here’s some irony for you—some of those attitudes are being directed at me now.

I see many others who are in a similar position to me. They are hurt, upset and frustrated. Unfortunately, many have decided to give up on our heritage and leave the Churches of Christ. It’s not that I necessarily blame them. There’s nothing that is more holy about the Church of Christ. But, as I work through my own frustration, I am beginning to realize that leaving isn’t the answer. In fact, giving up and leaving is rarely the right answer. Love is the answer. Patience is the answer. Mercy is the answer. Grace is the answer. Leading is the answer. Aren’t these some of the things that you think are missing in your Church community; and that have upset you to the point that you’re considering leaving? Before you leave, just think about whether or not you’re ready to withhold from others the very thing you wish they would have more of.

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Christians and the VMA’s

It’s been years (and five kids) since I was hip. And even then . . . probably not so much. That the VMA’s came around without me knowing isn’t that big of a deal. But I digress.

Let me just ask, should Jesus’ followers really be watching that stuff? I mean, what does that do for your witness when you’re participating in the discussion (at work or school the next day) about what Miley Cyrus was wearing (or not wearing); or what Kanye West did or said to get more attention? Isn’t there greater integrity in being able to say, “nah, I didn’t see it. Not my thing.”

Brothers and sisters, at some point we really do need to put our foot in the sand when it comes to upholding the standards of living that brings the most positive attention to Jesus. I mean, that’s really what this is about. Will watching that, doing this, saying that or going there make Jesus look good when people find out that I am one of His? I’ve got to be able to answer that question honestly.

That’s a really good reason to hold yourself to a higher standard. But that’s not the only reason. So let’s say that you watched the VMA’s and whatever crazy outfit Miley Cyrus had on; are you more transformed into the image of Christ because of that? Or was that you conforming yourself to the behaviors and customs of the world?

I’ll leave you to wrestle with Paul. Soak in what he’s saying and maybe even spend a few minutes praying over the scripture. See if the Holy Spirit doesn’t have a word for you.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Romans 12:2

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