Thursday, February 22, 2007
GOD has a will for FBC Alamo. God has a vision...to see his people involved in spiritual reproduction.
You hear about "the vision God has for our congregation" yet nobody mentions those who oppose this alledged vision, those who's objections have been ignored by the church leadership, those who think God has a different "vision...for our congregation." Does God's vision include ignoring long-time members opinions? It certainly seems so.
Everything is presented in the form of "THIS" is God's "overwhelming plan for our future" with no room for facts, no room for scriptural truth (which has not always been presented or followed.) When you talk about praying "hard about the future of our church," why is there a problem with the church actually DOING WHAT JESUS SAID TO DO?!?
Here it is, GOD's WILL for FBC ALAMO:
2) MAKE DISCIPLES
Here it is straight from God's Word:
"Go then and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you..."
God's Plan for FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH of ALAMO is to go first, to make disciples, then to teach those disciples to go and to make disciples and to teach those disciples to go and make disciples and to teach those disciples to...so on and so forth.
Can you see how the plan repeats and the result is spiritual reproduction? THAT is GOD'S PLAN for FBC Alamo. That is God's Vision for First Baptist Church of Alamo.
Why is that so difficult to see?
If you are not GOING and if you are not MAKING DISCIPLES and if you are not TEACHING THEM to reproduce the entire process, how dare you blame God for your own agenda to take a small, non-reproductive congregation into a FOUR-MILLION DOLLAR DEBT!
How dare you blaim your own selfish agenda on God.
THE BAPTIST WAY: Build a Building, give the illusion of spiritual action.
GOD'S WAY: Make disciples.
When First Baptist Church was having 300 and 350 people on Sunday morning, they ran out of space and needed to build. TODAY, with only 170 people on Sunday morning, how can you claim there is a need to build?
When you are GOING as Jesus instructed, when you are MAKING DISCIPLES as Jesus instructed, when you are MAKING DISCIPLES who are REPRODUCING MORE DISCIPLES, only THEN it will be revealed what you should do. When you are having 300 or 350 people on Sunday morning instead of 170, THEN you might need more space.
For now, it is MAN'S PLAN over which you have laid "GOD SAID" which is simply not true, it is a lie.
For now, it is MAN'S VISION to build while the auditorium sits half-empty on Sunday morning.
Remember when I said earlier that anytime someone says "GOD TOLD ME" or something similar that we would be asked for money? Well, it's happening. Ya gotta give to the building fund. Ya gotta admit "that we have not given to the building fund like we could."
Here's an idea: WHY DON'T YOU ADMIT THAT YOU ARE NOT MAKING DISCIPLES?
Why don't you admit that?
Instead of praying "hard about the future of our church" why don't you go out and make some disciples? Instead of all the talk about giving "what God lays on your hearts," why not make some disciples?
ACTION does not replace MAKING DISCIPLES!
A new building does not replace MAKING DISCIPLES!
If we aren't winning souls, if we aren't making new disciples as Jesus taught, we must have ACTION to make it look like we actually ARE doing something spiritual. The Southern Baptist Convention has taught churches that for decades. Unfortunately, it has become habit, the rule of thumb in many SBC churches.
If nothing is happening in your church, then BUILD A BUILDING so it will LOOK LIKE SOMETHING IS HAPPENING!
Yep, when you aren't winning souls for Jesus, blame it on the baby-boomers, blame it on the old folks, blame it on the economy, then build a building and make everyone THINK you are doing something spiritual.
Here's a simple question: Why don't you FIRST Go and Make Disciples? Why don't you do that FIRST?
Why don't you make some disciples and teach them to make disciples THEN you would actually need a building?!?
Why don't you make disciples first??
Inquiring minds want to know!
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Chances are I probably will not remove my words soon, like the previously mentioned poster.
I have discovered that truth was not an issue to most folks. Serious truth is not something most folks will consider. Truth is scary. Truth is often different than what we want to hear.
Unfortunately, many Christians have stopped thinking. Many Christians have stopped "testing the Spirits" regarding virtually any issue presented from the local pulpit or from the television pulpit. Many folks will not "study to show yourself approved" and will believe whatever "God's man" tells them, although the term "God's man" is so often abused.
(Any believer is "God's man" and any believer is allegedly able to receive wisdom from the Holy Spirit and to think for himself.)
Yet when one objects to the religious establishment, one is told to "get on board or get off" as one poster proclaimed before removing his words. People are not allowed to actually question the establishment, not allowed to publicly question "God's man." FBC Alamo is not the only church in that position. But FBC Alamo has been told that the only way to fix their problem is to go into debt several million dollars and to MOVE away from their strategic location. They have been told THAT is the solution while sitting with a half-empty sanctuary every Sunday morning.
There is a Biblical solution to what some have claimed is a problem at the church. But it is clear that FBC Alamo has NOT been given the Biblical solution to their alleged "problem!"
Truth is still truth, no matter how loudly error is proclaimed from the pulpit or the television set. I think Christians should seek truth and should stop floating along, believing any bit of error tossed to them. Christians, members of FBC Alamo should seek a higher standard for their leadership and a higher standard in their own personal and spiritual life.
One of my favorite atheists, Earl Dogerty, voiced my position far better than I have in the past. Doherty said:
"If Christianity and Christians are to be distinguished from all others as subscribing to the truth, as operating under the aegis of the one true God with all the benefits which ought to be accruing from such a state of affairs, then we should have the right to demand of them a standard of conduct and enlightenment that would set them apart."
To that, I will respond, AMEN and AMEN and AMEN!!!
"Either [non-Christian actions and words of Christians] reflect adversely on the disposition of the Deity himself, or they indicate that having a pipeline to the true God does not prevent one from holding as bigoted and inhuman attitudes towards one's fellow man as anyone else. If the representatives of that Deity, whether priest, televangelist or faith healer, can regularly be found guilty of child abuse, avarice or fraud, then one can hardly tout Christianity as the one effective guide and guarantor of proper moral behavior. Any philosophy, no matter what it may claim for itself in principle, is only as good as it works in practice. Christianity's track record gives us no reason to regard it as occupying a privileged position in regard to divine benefaction."
Allow me to paraphrase Doherty by adding,
"If the representatives of that Deity,whether pastor, choir director, youth director, Sunday School leader, organist, pianist, deacon, elder or any other church member can regularly be found guilty of jealousy, envy, resentment or slander, then one can hardly tout Christianity as the one effective guide and guarantor of proper moral behavior. Any philosophy, no matter what it may claim for itself in principle, is only as good as it works in practice."
Some have said I am holding a grudge because of my criticism of spiritual leaders. That is not true at all. I have made observations of the actions BY "representatives of that Deity" that are most unlike the message that those "representatives" are proclaiming. Truth is truth, error is error, lies are lies, false figures are false figures, misrepresentations are misrepresentations. My motive is irrelevant. The actions of those "representatives" should be examined and "judged" based upon the standard that THEY claim to represent.
As Doherty said above:
"Any philosophy, no matter what it may claim for itself in principle, is only as good as it works in practice."
If you are going to tell your critics to "get on board or get off," then you better be able to support your position from all sides, not just by claiming ""get on board or get off" or by claiming we must take drastic measures. If you are going to expect folks to give you four-million dollars, you can expect your words and actions to be examined and re-examined.
There is a Biblical answer to the perceived problems facing FBC Alamo. But in the past five years, that Biblical answer has not been presented to the congregation. There is a simply and practical Biblical answer to the perceived problems facing FBC Alamo and from what I have seen in church over the past few years, that Biblical answer is not being practiced.
But the church already bought and paid for the land for a soft-ball field.
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Comments were sent regarding the "Instant Evangelism" post. They were good and I thought they deserved more space than on just the comment page. So I decided to respond in a post here. The original comment can be read by clicking on the "comment" link on the post "Instant Evangelism."
THE MEMBER SAID:
I understand the concern about going into debt... believe me, it is a concern for me as well. But when you're sitting in a building that is 80+ years old and falling apart... sometimes you need to take drastic measures.
What drastic measures? Why not fix the problems? Are you saying the problem is too much for FBC to handle?
The Crockett County Court House is over 130 years old and is being used daily. The US Capital building is over 200 years old. Please tell me specifically how the church building is falling apart. What is wrong with the building that can not be repaired? Please be specific. Are the church people incapable of repairing the building? Is the membership so inept that they can not repair the church building? Is the leadership so determined to move that they have convinced the majority that the building can't be repaired?
Are you saying the ENTIRE church building is falling apart? How strange! FYI, not all of the church is even close to 80 years old, not even close!!!
Why not say it this way,
"We are sitting in a strategic location with a beautiful, 80 year old historic building with roots going to the very founding of Crockett County."
That would be far more accurate (and far more honest) than to condemn a building that is only 80 years old.
THE MEMBER SAID:
However, I also feel that the amount of 4 million is a little inflated.
That is the figure the congregation was given for the new building. I didn't make up that figure.
THE MEMBER SAID:
That is crazy and a foolish notion that FBC Alamo exists ONLY FOR THE PURPOSE OF SERVING ALAMO.
Please be more honest. I did not state nor imply that FBC exists "ONLY FOR THE PURPOSE OF SERVING ALAMO," did I?
Let me ask you, if you are not reaching more than 170 people in Alamo, what makes you think you are suddenly going to become so evangelical that you reach the entire county...if you are not doing that already? Please tell me what is going to be different? If you can't reach more than 170 people in Alamo, how are you planning on reaching 15,000 in the county? How?
THE MEMBER SAID:
The "Fact" that FBC Alamo hasn't been soul winning is also not a valid point. I believe it was just a few weeks ago that we baptized. And just a few weeks before that I believe we baptized then too. Wait a minute... was it just a few months ago... around OCTOBER in a tent revival that 45 people were saved and several families joined our church. That tells me that GOD IS WORKING IN OUR CHURCH!
In the original post, I stated that the membership has become "stagnant" for the past five years. Where are those 45 people? The attendance did not go up even 10 people, much less 45. Who did follow-up on those 45 people? Where are they today?
Don't forget, it was JESUS who gave the evangelism plan that Baptists seem to ignore. Jesus said FIRST to "make disciples," and SECOND, to baptize them, not to baptize them first then lose them.
THE MEMBER SAID:
He might not be working some of the members lives, but HE IS WORKING IN OUR CHURCH! FBC is evangelical
I repeat, the membership has stagnated for the past five years. If you, if the pastor, if even one church member made ONE DISCIPLE per month over the past five years, then the church attendance would be over 230 members as it was even 20 years ago, not the 170 it is today.
THE MEMBER SAID:
... if some people don't think they will become evangelical when the church builds that is fine... but I see the hand of God working in our people and I see the love of God displayed from so many.
That's fine for you and your world. However, when this building program began to be pushed through, some church members began to gravitate towards one side or the other and make it a personal issue. Some members stopped speaking to others who disagreed with the pastor. Those who questioned and opposed the abandonment of the current property were ridiculed and scorned by other members and by the staff. Yes, you may "see the love of God" but some folks were so hurt that they left the church or stopped coming to the preaching services. Perhaps you have not been around long enough. Perhaps you just jumped on board and are still on a spiritual honeymoon. Perhaps you are just not paying attention.
THE MEMBER SAID:
If this church isn't evangelical, then tell me why is there a new Sunday school class for young adults splitting at the seams and most of the attendees of that class were not in our church, or any church before that class came into being.
If you say this church IS evangelical, then please tell me why the membership has been completely flat for the past five years?!? If you say this church IS evangelical, then please tell me where those 45 people are from that revival.
THE MEMBER SAID:
IF MEMBERS IN OUR CHURCH WOULD ACTUALLY LOVE EACH OTHER THE WAY THE BIBLE COMMANDS AND QUIT STIRRING UP TROUBLE, YOU'D SEE MANY MORE PEOPLE COMING TO FBC.
You act like if anyone questions you or questions your position, they are "STIRRING UP TROUBLE." You seem to think that if anyone questions actions by the church leadership, they are "STIRRING UP TROUBLE."
Perhaps that is why you simply think everything is loving and wonderful. You have surrounded yourself with people who agree with you and who agree with your viewpoints. Either you are blind or you don't want to see the problems or you just think YOU ARE RIGHT and everyone else is "STIRRING UP TROUBLE."
THE MEMBER SAID:
I think there are many valid concerns. However, trying to sway the opinion of others is simply wrong.
WHY? YOU are trying to sway the opinion of others when you do not allow any oposing view to be stated. Why is it wrong to offer a different viewpoint? That's what you are doing. That's what was done when this whole fiasco began. Why is it right for you and wrong for me?
When this building program began, the leadership and a handful did their best "trying to sway the opinion of others" which you now think "is simply wrong." Please tell me why it is OK for them to express an opinion but it is not OK to express a contrary opinion here? Please tell me why it is OK for them to express their opinion in the church but it is not OK for others to express a contrary opinion in the church? Tell me why? Please tell me why?
THE MEMBER SAID:
Let each man decide for himself what God is speaking to his heart. If the decision comes back that the church feels we should go forward with the building... than get on board or get off. Those are the two options you have.
That is a pretty self-righteous answer and an extremely arrogant attitude. "get on board or get off." How pompous of you to say that. So are you saying that YOU have all the answers and nobody is allowed to question you?
Brother, in your arrogant boast "get on board or get off," YOU JUST REVEALED WHY the membership of FBC has been suffocated. Your proud and self-righteous attitude is the reason that church has as many people going out the back door as come in the front. That is not evangelism. That is not discipleship. That is SAD!
And you just demonstrated why with your high, haughty proclamation, "get on board or get off!" I am really sorry that is your attitude.
The "KJV" reads the passage this way:
"Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. "
THE MESSAGE version of the Bible reads it this way:
"My dear friends, don't believe everything you hear. Carefully weigh and examine what people tell you. Not everyone who talks about God comes from God. There are a lot of lying preachers loose in the world. "
1) Don't believe everything you hear.
2) Test, carefully weigh, examine what people tell you.
3) There are a lot of lying preschers loose in the world.
The word translated "TEST" is the Greek term dokimazo.
1) to test, examine, prove, scrutinise (to see whether a thing is genuine or not), as metals
2) to recognise as genuine after examination, to approve, deem worthy
It is interesting that this word has its root in dokimos, a word closely associated with coins and money in particular. For example:
1) accepted, particularly of coins and money.
2) accepted, pleasing, acceptable
Donald Barnhouse made the following comments:
"In the ancient world there was no banking system as we know it today, and no paper money. All money was made from metal, heated until liquid, poured into moulds and allowed to cool. When the coins were cooled, it was necessary to smooth off the uneven edges. The coins were comparatively soft and of course many people shaved them closely. In one century, more than eighty laws were passed in Athens, to stop the practice of shaving down the coins then in circulation. But some money changers were men of integrity, who would accept no counterfeit money. They were men of honour who put only genuine full weighted money into circulation. Such men were called 'dokimos' or 'approved'."
Barnhouse called them "men of honor." "Men of honor"..."genuine" Consider the term "men of honor." Consider the term "genuine."
All too often, we get caught up in a movement, wrapped up in a situation. We repeat what we have heard over and over. We hear the rhetoric and we accept it as truth, depending on the source. All to often we fail to step back and examine the options. All to often we fail to examine the messenger.
All to often we fail to examine the motives of the messenger...a fatal error.
There is a huge church in Jacksonville, Florida with over 20,000 members and with a pastor who came there in June '06. Without even being in that church one full year, that pastor is already attempting to convince that church of "God's vision" for the church, a building program, a vision that will cost them tens of millions of dollars. One member recently said that he is "behind our pastor" and that the pastor will need his support to execute the new vision after he fully explains it.
The "vision" is being leaked a little at a time, like trial baloons. It is an emotionally manipulative technique used by many leaders to "plant the seed" of an idea. By the time the entire plan is revealed, many people are convinced it is "the only way" when in reality, they have not bothered to stop and examine the situation from another viewpoint, to look at options, to consider costs vs results.
Bill Clinton was a master of mass emotional manipulation using this technique. You talk up your idea, your plan. Then you present, often misleading, figures and charts and claims. To top-off the situation, you claim "GOD IS LEADING US TO DO THIS."
Who is gonna argue with God?
1) You repeat the plan again and again,
2) You repeat the plan over a long period of time.
3) You proclaim it loudly and with conviction, real or feigned.
4) You claim "GOD WANTS IT THIS WAY" and "IT'S GODS WILL"
5) You never allow any objectors to speak in a public forum, especially in church.
Hey, hey...ya got it made.
Pretty soon people are convinced that what you say is THE ONLY OPTION! People are convinced that, even when they pray, GOD is going to agree with them. Suddenly, it's God's will.
And you have another feather in your vocational cap, allowing God to call you (if you are a leader) to a new situation, a bigger church with a bigger income and a better retirement plan.
Now, in the church situation above, it is not told that the pastor's vision€€ for his former church was to demolish a fifty-year old, historic building, claiming it wasn't good enough for them. In June '06, his former church had a forty-foot deep hole in the ground that covers an entire city block. In June '06, his former church still owed TEN MILLION DOLLARS on a FORTY-EIGHT MILLION DOLLAR DEBT.
Then ya know what happened?
After his sudden and unexpected exit from his half-finished building program, he said emotionally, “I can’t imagine God bringing me to such a wonderful place like this.” He continued, “But in my heart, I sense this is where God has called me, and with your help, I will do my best to be your pastor."
WAIT!!! STOP THE PRESSES!!!
That's the same thing he said just a few years before, when he convinced another church to demolish a historic building and then ran to Florida, leaving them in debt and leaving a hurt congregation behind!
I submit that many who repeat the rhetoric and platitudes of "God's will" and "let's move to the country" have not examined the situation as thoroughly and as earnestly as they could have. Many who "jumped on the bandwagon" have not considered other options, of which there are plenty.
HERE'S A SPIRITUAL TRUTH not from me, but from God's Word:
1) Don't believe everything you hear.
2) Carefully examine, scrutinise everything you hear.
3) There are a lot of lying preachers in the world.
"Building programs DO NOT REPLACE personal evangelism."
Monday, February 12, 2007
Here are a few questions and something to consider.
Do you believe in truth?
Does truth really matter?
Sometimes it is good to step back from a situation, to consider reality, to consider truth. It is good to consider the truth in a situation. It is not good to get caught up in emotionally driven, holy-sounding rhetoric. Seek truth in all matters, especially when it comes to your Christian life.When someone tells me, "God said to me" or "God is leading me," the first thing I do is check my billfold. It's not gonna be long before the person who said "God is leading me" is going to ask for money.
When someone says, "I think God is leading us to..." you can be sure there is an agenda ahead, and it is usually NOT God's agenda.
Holy-sounding rhetoric? You bet it is. Personal agenda? Indeed.
Sunday, February 11, 2007
Here are a couple of statements that I have found to be true, for the most part:
Many members of First Baptist Church in Alamo equate debt with the will of God.
Many members of First Baptist Church in Alamo believe in sudden, instant evangelism.
Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another
Don't run up debts, except for the huge debt of love you owe each
Keep out of debt and owe no man anything
Owe no man any thing, but to love one another
What part of "owe nothing to anyone" do you not understand? Is that only a generalization? Is that only for certain individuals? Is that a "cultural" command? Is that not for the body of Christ?
How logical is it for 170 people to go into debt $4,000,000 thinking THAT is going to make them suddenly become evangelical?
Each regular attendee of FBC Alamo would owe $23,529.41. And somehow, people have been convinced that THE ACTION of owing $23,529.41 each, THAT ACTION would suddenly motivate them to win souls to God, something that they are NOT doing now.
Even if the debt is only ONE MILLION DOLLARS, that represents almost SIX-THOUSAND DOLLARS owed by every man, every woman, every boy, every girl, every teenager and every infant who regularly attends First Baptist Church.
That's not all. They are convinced that they will miraculously and instantaneously become evangelical AFTER moving out of town, away from their ministry base!
Please show me the logic in that! THAT is what I can NOT understand, how going into debt will suddenly cause non-soul winners to become soul winners. PLEASE tell me exactly how that is gonna work!
INSANITY: Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
CHURCH INSANITY: Moving the building out of town (away from the ministry base) then continuing to do the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
Since starting this fund-raising program a few years ago, the attendance has remained stagnant. And yet, church members are convinced that they will suddenly become evangelical overnight by moving away from their ministry point.
In the past four years, FBC Alamo has not even added one person per month to the church roll. Yet moving out of town is gonna change that?
I don't think so.
Tell me how?
Tell me how you are going to suddenly become evangelical?
Tell me how many members are going to begin witnessing who are not witnessing now?
Go ahead, convince me that First Baptist Church will instantaniously become evangelical when they go into four-million dollars debt!
Convince me that FBC members will suddenly begin winning people to Christ when they move out of town even though they don't do it now. Prove it!! Convince me!