Archive for the Weekly Blog Category
Walker Kelly told us the story of the French Empress. It was treated as a crime against the state if any lady presumed to wear a dress of the same pattern as those of the empress in her days. None can receive the newest French fashions before the Empress did. When she died between fifteen and sixteen thousand dresses were found in her wardrobe, some of which had been worn but once and many never; two large chests full of silk stocking, two others of rebrands, some thousand pairs of shoes, and several hundred pieces of French silk, and other rich belongings. These were neither given away nor sold, but left undisturbed until they were spoiled.
Many people will consider these material belongings as blessings from God. Others count material blessings as the sign of pleasing the Lord, or the mark of Divine approval from God. Material blessing according to some is the sign that God is answering their prayers even when though they are not living according to Christian principles and lifestyle. Some are in ‘gospel churches’ because of material blessings. Many songs in the churches are changed to serve God only when He blesses them.
The recent teaching of “seed-sowing” in the churches is eroding the faith of many, and turning them into paying before they get answers to their prayers. In fact the case is so bad that when people come to see the minister for prayer, counseling, and any assistance on pressing issues affecting their lives, they must sow seed before the ‘pastor’ can attend to them. Materialism has become the disease of the priest as well as of the people.
In some mega churches in some countries, you must be wiling to ‘wet’ the hand of the protocol folks before you can be allowed to see the senior pastor. The ‘big pastor’ sometimes responds to the seeker, as fast and fat as their ‘offering’ can be to them and the church. The poor in the congregation are many a times let down as they don’t have the ‘means’ of paying their ticket to see the help of the church. They are invulnerable as they are cut of from reaching their hope.
The problem the church is facing recently is the blockage of spiritual fruit by the materialism as ‘prosperity gospel’ has given wrong perceptive to alleviating the social problem affecting the community. Accumulation of wealth is easily becoming a god in the church and this is leading people astray from the worship of the true God. Yet it is not money itself, but the love of money, which is seen by Scripture as a fundamental cause of evil. The focus of many worshippers is no more on loving God; but on the present and immediate gain and reward. Material prosperity has replaced holistic teaching of Christ. Pastors in many quarters preach ‘leeway gospel’ to desperate folks seeking help to know the true God. Many get ‘mammon’ instead, this in turn increases their appetite for material things and in addition damn the chance of experiencing God.
Scripture warns against valuing wealth too highly. Riches can prevent one from bearing spiritual fruit. If the ministers and the leaders of the church will take time off and adapt the principle of Agur in Proverbs 30:8-9; that prays not to be rich to extent of denying God, this will bring healing to the church and our world. Materialism is the message from the pit of hell that generates godless attitude. It’s turning the material things inward to self instead of God and His kingdom.
Physical possessions of having significant value, such as land, livestock, money, and precious metals, and the practice of valuing such possessions more highly than they ought to be valued is evil cancer in the church. The effect has resulted in the misalignment of ones’ priorities and undermines one’s devotion to God.
In conclusion I like to remind all that at creation God made all things from nothing. He made materials out of nothing. Whatever any one may be having now is from God. God entrusted His wealth on us. God gave humanity dominion over the earth.
In so entrusting them, God appointed humanity as stewards over creation. Everything belongs ultimately to God, whatever one possesses or owns comes as a trust from Him. None can claim the absolute ownership of what he has. The ownership of the property carries significant responsibilities. (We will continue to talk more about materialism next week)
J. LaCour, publisher of Pageant Life, a Sacramento quarterly said and I quote. “The reason for the existence of Pageant is money. If the pageant makes a profit, it will continue. If not, it’s gone tomorrow.” Throughout the country, especially in California and the South, there exists a complex network of Children’s Beauty Pageants held in shopping malls and hotel ballrooms. There are about 3,000 pageants a year in the U.S., 500 of which cater to the preteen-and-under set. Children could compete every weekend, if they and their parents had the energy and resources. Organizers of the larger statewide contests clear at least $100,000 per pageant. The profits come from basic entrance fees, which can run as high as a few hundred dollars. Organizers also sell pageant jewelry and publish journals that earn money through advertising. This tells us the importance we placed on appearance.
Makeup as Webster dictionary states is the way in which parts or the ingredient of something are put together or arranged (composition). Secondly it is the physical, mental, and moral character of a person that makes him up (constitution). Makeups in another sense are the cosmetics used to color and beautify the face or other parts of the body. It includes wigs used in making up for special costumes for a play or part of dressing. It is something that makes up for what is previous omission, failure or deficiency.
Ecclesia makeup going by the definition above are the things introduced to the church for her lost or missing glory; that man’s intention is added as adjustment for the lost. Each church is having problem in keeping members in the church. This has caused many churches to dance between pleasing God and keeping the people.
In days like this many are leaving the church. The makeup is the thing done by church leadership to make the church attractive to the comers. Some resolve to make the church building more attractive, by focusing primarily on the infrastructure and the amenities in the building. Others focus on the mode of worship, singing, timing and even the preaching style. Others focus on ‘faith level’ of say it and have it, this affects the lifestyle of al the members in the public and private. Some even confuse denial for faith manifestation. Part of the makeup is the emphasis the church placed on praying and what they pray for as a church. The way of dressing and social interactions interaction of some of the churches is the resultant effect of Ecclesia Makeup in their church.
Websites, Internet, conferences, radio program, television and books have been good tools in the hands of few. Others depend on ‘spiritual fathers’, who advise them as to what they can do to retain members in the church. Some of the mentors lead astray by leading the mentored to go the makeup way. Other mentors lead the mentored in the right way. This right way is slow and hard, but rewarding.
This ecclesia makeup is not new anyway. In the eighteenth century Scottish theologian William Cunningham said that men, under the pretense of curing the defects and shortcomings in the church, the nakedness and bareness, attaching to ecclesiastical arrangements as set before us in the New Testament, have been constantly proposing innovations and improvements in government and worship. It is discovered then that none of this improvement has actually brought any change except for the negative influence it brought to the church.
The bible does not speak about the church attracting new members by any makeup method. The church is not built with the objective of attracting people but attract the Owner (Jesus Christ). The church from the origin is the holy bride of Christ. The true beauty of the church is in her conjugal chastity of holiness and innocence. Churches are made better by reforming and rebirth the church from all carnal methods that permeates it..
Those who claim to make the church more attractive by turning her away from true doctrine and pure worship are what we could call false beauticians. Under their hands, the church is robbed of her chastity. The current state of the church is alarming, as many have turned off from the foundation laid by the apostles and the prophets, which Christ the chief corner stone. The epidemic of pleasing men is the terrible cancerous disease affecting the 21th Century.
I like to conclude that the only solution the church is having now is go to meet the Lord outside the camp for purification (To continue next blog).