Do you remember having open book tests in school? Do you remember how amazing they were, and how you knew they would be a breeze to ace? I mean, if you were to fail an open book exam – well, you would be an idiot! Right?!
The reason I say this is because I sat through an entire church service recently without ever reaching for my bible or reading a single scripture during that hour of so called “service”. That seemed like a dis-service to me. Even astute teachers have to open their textbooks to teach from them. Pastors should be no different than the most esteemed professors of today. Students, if you went to your classes without your textbooks, you know that are setting yourself up to fail. Christians, if you go to church without your bibles, you better know you setting yourself up to fail. How many sermons have we all listened to and never really heard a word? However, the living word – once opened – can reveal a truth to you personally. We have to read that book! The bible.
There are bad teachers and bad preachers. They both went to school, and attained the degree to teach – but it doesn’t automatically make them the most qualified for the job. This is YOUR life here.. Don’t you want to make certain the facts you are told?
Where did the scripture based churches go? These worldly churches that preach the “stories” of the bible, and accent their “preaching” with cartoon slideshows and quotes by CS Lewis, but don’t give the word of God a minutes glance. You don’t just paraphrase the bible and give the ‘gist’ of it. Uh- uh.. No sir! How did this happen?! I understand going to church to be fed, but it’s not just about the moment of feasting.. In order to feast you have to have the groceries! That bible has all the groceries you need.. Even if you have to feed yourself. Do it.
2 John 1:9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.
While in this church, God was telling me that these half in – half out churches and preachers need to be identified and examined. That is what leads to dead churches and an even deader congregation. How can lives change without the living words of God? These congregations aren’t seeking out the word of God. Afterall, their pastor has never placed an importance on bringing the bible to church anyway. (some anyway) These lost souls are relying on their pastor to tell them the truth, and will accept anything he says (mostly). My question is, how do you know if his teachings are correct if you don’t research it? Bring your bibles to church and follow along! If you go see your physician, and he tells you that you have a rare cancer – don’t you go home immediately and research it until you know everything he knows about it? Yes!! So why is your church pastor any different? He is preparing you for the school of life, the test of your life, the test where you pass or fail eternally. Do you want to fail because you have half truths? Or maybe he is preaching his opinions instead.. Hmm…. it happens guys…Just letting you in on a little secret. I have “church hopped” (as they call it) enough in my life to know when there is a dead church and dead preaching. Half of the congregations in the world are confused. They won’t listen to the real truths, and maybe were never told the real truths. Just maybe it’s because they never took a bible to church and opened it. Some of these preachers are scared to preach the hard messages because they might lose those precious-pew-filling-tither’s. C’mon guys, people want the meat and potatoes!
We have heard the story of Christmas over and over. It’s not just another story to tell. It becomes folklore without scripture. An old wives tale without the facts. The facts are written in the bible. Do yourselves and the world a favor – DONT let anyone get away with improv that stands in the pulpit or at the alter. God said to rise up and feed the people. He must have given me boldness for a reason. When God speaks, I listen. Afterall, why would god listen to you or I if we won’t listen to him? Let’s pass this open book test. Open the book.