And the obvious question that comes after this celebration is...'Well, what should I do now?'
It's a pretty simple, and understandable question to ask-what's next??
I've caught myself sometimes because I go into pastor mode too quickly and unleash this amazing package of Bible readings, our small group schedule, sign them up for our next baptism, schedule a meeting for membership, how they can help, how they can do this and that...
Have you ever read the Bible and the words convict you so much you just sit back and feel embarrassed because there's a good chance you've been doing things wrong?? Or maybe, you've just been doing things with the mentality of 'works'??
If you haven't, you need to read the book of Galatians...TODAY. It's takes 30 minutes to read.
'So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.' (Gal. 2:16)
'I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing.' (Gal. 2:21)
'All who rely on observing the law are under a curse...' (Gal. 3:10)
'The righteous live by faith.' (Gal. 3:11)
The hardest one for a pastor to read, 'If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!' (Gal. 1:9)
I understand that we live in a day of 'self-improvement' or 'self help'. If something is wrong-you fix it. And I personally know good Bible believing Christians who are in the field of counseling that are doing remarkable things. The difference here is that we need to know where the healing comes from. We need to know where our salvation comes from. I believe God can use counselors, teachers, pastors, mentors, etc. to bring about change in our lives, but that's the point-GOD uses them. Let's not praise the process but instead, the source.
And so this may be a hard way to get people more involved in church, or for better attendance, offerings, etc. But everything has to start over. We need to have a church restart. Are we doing things because of Jesus or because we feel good about our own works? I believe that if we start with Jesus, our churches would become healthier. That we become even more obedient through our love for Jesus, rather than trying to love out of obedience.
And so today I will live by faith.