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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Guard Your Heart (06/08/12)

TITLE: A Message for the Church?


A man stood on the hill overlooking the city before him. He’d been there today, but no one knew it. He’d done what he’d always done when he came to a new city . . . he went to the church. He’d seen a massive building, beautiful and full of people. He smiled. Look what the church had become! He entered the building and watched dumbfounded as people hurried about, trying to make contact with everyone they saw. Others sat at tables and drank a variety of drinks served at a café near the entrance to the sanctuary. There didn’t seem to be a sacredness to their attitude here. Instead, It was so casual and yet, so busy. Conversation in general had nothing to with God, the Bible or church. People talked of work, politics, and more. When the service started, he’d expected praise and worship in a manner that showed devotion and adoration for a Holy God. He’d expected a man of God to open the Bible and preach truth to the people who listened and followed along in their own bibles. Instead, he’d seen and heard something utterly different. Music, if one could call it that, blared loudly as the congregation jumped and danced around, caught up in something he couldn’t understand. No reverence, no awe for God who’d given His only Son to save them from eternity without Him. The scene before him was only chaos and confusion. What was worse, when it came time for the pastor to speak, there was no opening of God’s Word. There was no shepherding the flock and teaching the Holy Scriptures. There was an interview with some local celebrity, a conversation about how one could be successful and they finished up their “talk” with how Jesus wanted everyone to be happy. The man felt sick. He was deeply saddened at the lack of devotion to the Almighty. He was appalled at what was labelled worship and at the man who called himself “pastor.” Mostly, he was anguished at the lack of truth and teaching to a flock that so desperately needed to hear it. He’d wept as he left the so-called church, turning as he did to make sure he hadn’t walked into a bar, a rock concert or some other event. But the large illuminated cross on the roof of the church told him he hadn’t. He’d walked after that, praying and weeping, asking God what had happened to the church they started? His letters hadn’t been heeded. The cross of Christ wasn’t proclaimed. Truth didn’t reign. God was not glorified. Was this what the church had become?
Now, standing in the dark on that hill, he wept once again, shamed at what he’d seen today.
“God in Heaven, is this what has become of your people? Is this what has become of the body of Christ?” he prayed, pain evident in his voice. The church had lost its discernment. It had lost its will to stand for Christ on the truth of the Holy Word. There was no difference between the church and the world. The church had failed to guard itself against the onslaught of ungodly teaching and ideas. What he had written to the Philippians was forgotten and now, this chance to see what the church had become had pained him deeply. As he turned he heard a noise. A young man carrying a bible walked by him, not even knowing he was there. He kneeled down at the spot where Paul had stood and began to pray for the city and for the church. Paul watched amazed. Was there still hope?

Philippians 4:7 says “And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (NASB)

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This article has been read 331 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Laura Manley06/15/12
A very thought-provoking piece written with much passion on the subject. There are a couple of things I think could have made your entry more enjoyable to read; the first is that the first paragraph needs to be broken up into several paragraphs to make it easier for the reader to absorb as he/she should. The second is merely a question re when you said "saved them from eternity." I think you meant "saved from Hell," since none of us can be saved from either eternity; that of Heaven or Hell. Other than that, your entry was well received by this reader.
Sharon Eastman06/16/12
Sad but true - you described it well. very interesting
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 06/18/12
I think this is an amazing take on the topic. It's original and so thought-provoking. Churches do need to find ways to bring the youth in with new songs of praise but it's so easy in the desire to minister to the modern youth to allow things to spiral in the wrong direction. You did a fantastic job with showing that. I wasn't quite sure how Paul came to see a modern church but perhaps it wasn't a modern one after all because People have been making that mistakes for centuries. You wrote a creative and thought-provoking piece.
Allison Egley 06/18/12
This is good. Though I will say the music COULD have still been true worship. :) Though I'll admit, it's not my cup of tea, even though I'm (barely) in the "under 30"age range. ;) I didn't think you meant that loud music, jumping, etc. can't be worshipful, though, so no worries there. Nice job on this.
C D Swanson 06/20/12
Good job with this piece.

So many churches are "caving" into the "easy" way of getting people to enter the doors of the church.

The music of dancing and praising can be honoring the Lord. As David did in Psalms, dancing and singing in priase to God. However, NOT getting into the word, or scriptural reference is what really upsets me.

We should ALL be ONE body of CHRIST...and it is a sad how many are not being "fed" properly. I enjoyed this,and liked the ending. Profound. God Bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 06/21/12
Congratulations for ranking 8th in level one! (The top 15 in level one and the top 20 overall are posted on the message boards after Thurs evening)