I grew up when Diff'rent Strokes was a popular television show. That's no big deal unless your last name is Willis. To this day I still hear those famous words popularized by Arnold: "Whatchu talkin bout Willis?" Usually they are uttered by someone looking at me as though I may have never heard it before. Yeah, right! Well this blog is what I (Willis) am talkin bout...my thoughts, observations & opinions. Enjoy...

Sunday, September 30, 2007

From my column in the OCC newsletter...

Are you too busy? Perhaps you are too busy with church stuff. Huh? Did the preacher just write that? YES HE DID! I did because I firmly believe that sometimes we are tempted to do more & more church stuff… start more activities… do more things… plan more events and fill the church calendar. Yet, WE MISS THE SIMPLICITY OF BEING A PART OF THE BODY OF CHRIST. Have you ever wondered how the early Christians survived without all the trappings of the modern church? In our current age there is a tremendous pressure to try and do “what the big churches do.” We are deluged with books, magazines, websites, conferences, etc. all trying to tell us how to improve church. This supposed improvement usually requires buying somebody’s ministry programs or products. Some are helpful, but some result in activity without productivity. We erroneously seem to think that busyness is next to godliness. Don’t misunderstand: I’m not suggesting idleness as a preferred lifestyle either! I have, however, seen many well intentioned believers burnout and drop out. It usually starts with intense enthusiasm and energy yet ends with barely a trickle of life. Church leaders aren’t inclined to say “no” especially to people who want to do more stuff “at church” so we often unwittingly let them run full speed into their own demise! Let me illustrate: Someone comes forward with a ministry idea (usually something someone else is doing somewhere else)… he/she reasons that this a MUST FOR US TOO… he/she recruits help… and sells the idea… and takes off with great expectations only to be disappointed in the end. This scenario is frequently accompanied by unrealistically elevated expectations of our brothers and sisters. We end up, in the worse cases, turning on those we were allegedly going to serve. How, you ask? Well, these folks don’t “support” or “participate” like they should. Maybe the leaders (or yours truly) aren’t doing enough either. So we then begin that highly detrimental practice of fault finding in others. It is ironic, but it is predictable. That’s why I share it. Maybe someone will avoid spiritual calamity, maybe not. But, let me close by suggesting some alternative ideas to the present pressure of the current church culture.

Here are some suggestions…

  • Keep it Simple! Clichés are irritating but this one is true & powerful.
  • Remember: Everyone can’t do everything so instead let’s major in majors.
  • Less is more! Sometimes a prayer with a child is better than an elaborate event.
  • Stop evaluating everyone else. Fault finding is only helpful when it is applied to oneself.
  • Read your Bible more than the plethora of authors who roll out the latest & greatest fads.
  • Finally, read the passage below very slowly & prayerfully.
Romans 12:9-17 (NLT): 9 Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. 10 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. 11 Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. 12 Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. 13 When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. 15 Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! 17 Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. 18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.
In Christ,

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