Month: April 2018

Church Hopper or Glued on Pew?

Let’s take a test. Are you a church hopper, glued on pew (will you die in the same church you were born in?), or do you make adjustments as God or your heart leads you?

Here’s a statistic: 13 percent have been attending their current congregation for less than a year. Another 16 percent have been at their current church for one to two years, 11 percent for three to four years, 18 percent for five to nine years, 16 percent for 10 to 19 years, and 26 percent for two decades or longer.

People who are 55 or older are particularly likely to be longtime participants in the same church, with a median length of attendance of 15 years.

Lutheran and Presbyterian denominations are particularly likely to have people attending the same church for years and years; the median length of attendance among Lutherans is 12.5 years, while it is 10.6 years for Presbyterian congregations. Nondenominational churches (median of 3.9 years) and Pentecostal/charismatic denominations (median of 5.0 years) are among those with the shortest time of attendance.

https://baptistcourier.com/2007/02/church-loyalty-reflects-length-of-membership/

The definition of a church-hopper in Urban Dictionary is:  A church-hopper is an attendant of different churches who avoids church accountability groups because of rejectionembarrassment, hostility, and control.

I don’t know if that is totally true. I know people who hop just because they get bored. I do know that most of them say “God led us to another congregation”.  I don’t know why God leads some people to different congregations but I guess it’s possible.

On the other hand, I know people who were born at a church, baptized in the same church, married in the same church and they will die in the same church. Not saying there is anything wrong with that, it just makes me scratch my head at times.  If they are happy and God doesn’t lead them away then I guess they should stay.

Most of us are in the middle. We change churches when we move or get married, change in life – (for example we have children and we want a church that has better children’s ministry), our worship style changes, our church’s worship style changes, leadership changes, etc.

I don’t know if there are any right and wrong answers. I’m just curious. How many times have you changed churches? Looking back, were those changes positive or negative? Would you do them again? Were they for good reasons or bad reasons? Did you change because you were hurt? – oh! there’s a touchy one! I bet you’re angry now! It’s ok. You can vent.

Here’s a bigger question. WWJD. Would Jesus hop churches or stay in one place his whole life? Would he attend yours? Would you leave if he did? Would your elders accept him? Would he accept your elders? Would he be allowed to preach on a Sunday morning? Would he dress right? C’mon. Think about it.

Matthew 21:12
Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves.

 

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Chariots of Fire

It is one of my favorite movies of all time. Imagine my thoughts as I walked out of the theater with a friend who responded, “They could have done without that nude scene.”  I had seen the movie several times and I was in shock. I said, “What nude scene?” and “That’s what you got out of this story?” When I watched it again, I purposely watched for this supposed “nude scene”.  Sure enough, in the blink of an eye, a naked man walked into the shower exposing his rear.

I took away a couple thoughts from this and they have stuck with me for many years:

  1. We see what we want to see. We can see good or evil in almost anything. What we choose to see is often buried in our own hearts.
  2. We can learn a lesson in what we experience or choose to be negative and become critical.
  3. A beautiful story can be made ugly in one second – if we let it.
  4. We simply can’t help some people to see the good.

You will face multiple issues today and the rest of your life. What you choose to see is up to you. How you choose to react is up to you. Remember that those reactions go to the root: Your heart.

There are 725 mentions of ‘heart’ in the Bible. It was hard to choose which one to post here. What is your favorite ‘heart’ verse?

Luke 5:22-23 Jesus knew what they (the Pharisees) were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts?   Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’?

Death

I heard the sirens from several miles away and I knew they were coming to my house. Sirens blare every day, but when they are coming for you or a family member it is very eerie. For years I cringed when I heard sirens thinking they too were coming for my dad having another heart attack. I was only 18 at the time. 19 on the second call. I lived for another 20 years before I had the final call on dad.  Since then, I’ve had to experience the sirens several more times  – sometimes for myself and sometimes for my son. It’s an awful sound.

I’ve faced death more openly than some because of facing it at an early age. Actually, my journey started much earlier with my dad being a pastor. He talked often about death and dying with me. He shared about people fighting death and those who welcomed the next step. Some are at peace. Some aren’t. Some go quickly. Some take a long time. Some are expected. Some are a surprise.

Currently, I’m still recovering from my neighbor Tom dying suddenly. Tom taught a Bible study on a Sunday titled “You have two weeks to live, what will you do?” Exactly two weeks later, Tom died.  He laid down on his bed to take a nap and never woke up.  I found out when the sirens came down our street.

Last week our family said goodbye to our little dog, Sammie. She was 14 and we knew that she was going. We held her as she took her last breath. I buried her in the morning under a tree. Death is a part of living but it sure isn’t the fun part. We live by faith for a new life and home. None of us know the time or circumstance when we will go. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could know we had two weeks left?

What would you do? Who would you see? Where would you go? What is left on your bucket list that needs to be done? Are you ready to go? Is your house in order?

Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
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