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Looking to the Future


Greetings CBC! Grace and Peace to you in Jesus!

As I mentioned in one of my previous blog posts... I'm horrible at keeping up with a blog! Ha! It has literally been almost a month since my last post regarding our new online giving. I need to get better at this. Maybe I'll try to make this a Monday thing...

ANYWAY, this morning as I was pouring myself a second cup of liquid go-go juice (i.e. coffee, the elixir of Heaven, etc...) I got the itch to listen to one of my old favorite bands from when I was a teenager. Now, currently I know that most of our church folks would probably HATE my personal taste in music, lol. BUT, I control the blog so you gotta read about it! ;) This band really defined my teenage years and my early Christian years. They were called the O.C. Supertones, they were a Christian ska band (rock, a little rap, with a horn section), and were the best band in the world. Seriously. Anywho, I was listening to a song of theirs called "Forward to the Future" and was really struck by some of the lyrics.

If the Supertones were good at anything (other than dropping some sick tunes) it was in their lyrical skills. Matt, the lead singer, could really drop some amazing biblical truth into a random brass interlude that would leave you floored. And even though most of this stuff is really a product of its time (the late 90s and early 00s), when I find myself stumbling back onto the ska trail, I'm reminded why I still love this group.

In the aforementioned song ("Forward to the Future"), Matt sings this part towards the end of the first verse that really struck me, and I got to thinking about our little church. He sings: "Older yes and wiser some, I am what I have become. But am I becoming what I want to be?" THEN he goes on in the chorus to sing, "Look forward to the future: what you wanna be! Look forward to the future: grace, integrity! Look forward to the future: the things you want to do! Look forward to the future: faith and honesty!"

Where am I going with this? It's this: We've all been shut up in our homes for 2 months due to COVID19. Barring any changes in schedule and plans, we will be gathering, in person, this next Sunday for worship for the first time in 2 months. Where do we want to go? COVID19 has changed and will change plans for the foreseeable future. Things will be off... but let's think about our short history as a church. We'll be 14 this August. We've had a lot of ups and downs as a church. We've had some major wins and some major losses. If anything, all of these experiences and God's leading has made us into the church that we are. As Matt sings, we're "older yes and wiser some" and we are "what we have become." We can't change the past, so there's no reason to try. And you've all heard me say this MULTIPLE times, but we also can't be the bigger churches in town, and we shouldn't try to be. We are Crossroads Baptist Church, and we should lean into that. Our history has made us who we are, but let's ask the question that Matt asks in the next line of the verse, are we "becoming what we want to be?"

If COVID19 has done anything (or at least it SHOULD have done) is to force us to sacrifice some of our personal golden calves on what we think church SHOULD be and instead look at and consider what the church OUGHT to be. We've all been in the church long enough to see plans and programs that have worked in the past and we've also all be in the church long enough to see those same exact plans and programs either produce fruit or not.

So, let's ask the question: did it produce fruit? If not, if we cannot look around and see actual, maturing fruit from things that worked 20, 30, 40 years ago, then we need to allow that golden calf to be destroyed. Even if it had short term fruit, and that fruit withered and died, it wasn't sustainable and should be let go. I'm pretty sure Jesus had a parable about some seeds, a sower, and what actually plants roots and grows (*cough, cough* Matthew 13, *cough* ;) ).

Instead, let's do what Matt suggests in the chorus of this song, let's "look forward to the future: what we wanna be!" Let's consider the biblical way in which the church OUGHT to live and thrive, let's let our golden calves of comfort zones and things that we don't like die. The culture sure won't have grace upon us. It's time to be the church that Jesus commanded us to be. People don't darken the doors of the church like they did 20, 30, 40, or even 50 years ago when it was culturally acceptable to be a Christian. This is even the case in our small town in the deep south where being a "Christian" is still acceptable. Friends, let's be honest, if we want our little church to survive, we ALL have to put forth the effort to see it survive. None of us can be bench warming church goers. If we're content to be complacent, our church will not survive. Either because we have decided to just let the chips fall where they may or because we have become lukewarm and we have been spit out of the mouth of Jesus!

How do we move forward then and look to the future? Honestly, I think it's pretty simple. Let me give you a few ways:

1. Don't be content to let the pastor and leaders do all the work. You have put faith in Jesus, you're called to the Great Commission as much as pastors, teachers, and deacons.

2. Don't hide behind your comfort zones. Do you absolutely hate approaching strangers? Me too! Do it anyway. The church has been called to "Go" not "Sit and wait." Sitting and waiting leads to death. Literally.

3. Don't use the excuse of "calling" to avoid being faithful to Jesus. I've done this in the past myself, I catch myself STILL doing it. Just because you're not comfortable going out and sharing the Gospel with strangers doesn't exempt you from your responsibility given by Jesus himself to do it. Don't be lukewarm. Don't be unfaithful.

4. Bring your children and grandchildren to church! This should be a no brainer. Do you want to see more children in church? You've got to bring them! Sharon and I don't have children or we would bring our own. Don't hide behind a veiled excuse to keep from bringing your children and grandchildren to church... YOU are responsible for them hearing the Gospel, not me. If you want your children and grandchildren to know Christ, you have to tell them about Christ.

5. Finally, building off of #4, don't rely on what your ideal "children's ministry" should be to do the work of evangelizing your children and grandchildren. The Church of Jesus Christ survived for 1917 years without Awana's (est. 1950), 1875 years without Royal Ambassadors (est. 1908), 1861 years without VBS (est. 1894), and 1747 years without Sunday School programs (est. 1780). Are these programs good and have the done a lot of good? YES! Are they necessary to be the church and to raise our children and grandchildren in the fear and instruction of the Lord Jesus? NOT. AT. ALL. Don't rely on what you ASSUME to be proper children's ministries to wait to bring your children and grandchildren to church. Bring them. Let them hear the preaching of the Word. Let them see you worship and take Lord's Supper. Talk to them about Jesus... it will make more of an impact on their lives if it comes from you instead of me. This is right and biblical.

To close on a happy note, let me post a picture of my current view from my back patio. As I've been typing this, the sun is slowly warming the yard, the birds are singing, and doves are literally cooing. As we prepare to discuss the Holy Spirit this next Sunday, this is a beautiful moment of ordinary grace from the Lord.

Think about the things we've discussed here. Think about where you want CBC to go in the next 14 years. Let's discuss them.

May the Lord bless you and keep you. Grace and Peace in Jesus!

- Pastor Nick

 

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