Apathy, in my opinion as a pastor and researcher, is becoming more and more rampant in the American church. At the same time, fewer and fewer people are discussing or admitting that this is a real problem. So, is apathy really a problem? Consider that Christians, as a whole, do not participate in regular Bible studies or small groups. They do not have mentors or people in their lives to encourage and spur them on. Fewer and fewer Christians are...
Principle Scriptures: Matthew 13:25-26;Hosea 13:6; Romans 13;Ephesians 1:13-14; James 5:11-20; 1 John 4: 7-8; Revelation 3:1-6; 14-18
Does this sound like you?
But don't blame me. I didn't do anything. I go to church; the pastor
preaches; I go home. That's what Christianity is to me now.
If so,perhaps you have a problem with apathy.
Apathy, in my opinion as a pastor and researcher, is becoming more and more rampant in the American church. At the same time, fewer and fewer people are discussing or admitting that this is a real problem. So, is apathy really a problem? Consider that Christians, as a whole, do not participate in regular Bible studies or small groups. They do not have mentors or people in their lives toencourage and spur them on. Fewer and fewer Christians are giving or serving with their time, talents, or treasures as compared to ten or twenty years ago, and it gets worse as one goes back to the giving and serving trends of generations past.
These "apathetic" Christians usually are neither involved in the life of their church nor interested in connecting deeper with others around them. In fact, many are not even effectively involved in their own families. And, to further attest to this point, they are not involved much in the local government; they don't even get out and vote in national elections. I was shocked at the fact that some people in my own church did not go out and vote in the last two presidential elections even after all the voter drives and the resources and teachings on that subject.
Looking at the decrease of servant attitude and of volunteers willing to work in many of the churches and ministries these days, coupled with the general lack of concern or willingness for deeper spiritual growth or for playing a part in the life of the church, family, or the world in which we live, the idea has come to my mind that we do indeed have a growing problem!
What Does Apathy Look Like?
Apathy is "unseen," yet rampant in the church. The problems of backslidden mentality-a lack of concern and involvement-are happening in the church. Giving is dramatically down across the board. It is getting harder and harder to find people to serve in leadership positions and even harder to find qualified leaders. When the right people are found, they give little time to their responsibility as compared to years past. Some are too busy or too over-committed, while others do little to nothing except to watch TV and complain.
We can see this problem in most boardrooms of churches these days. People shift blame and become argumentative. Yet, many of these do little to seek solutions or engage in real, authentic prayer. Committees become the ministry in and of themselves, while the members do little to nothing with the actual ministry category to which their meetings are supposed to be ministering. All that seems to result is to have more meetings without any action to them.
A meeting is supposed to be a strategic planning time during which to brainstorm, and then jump in to serve. I cannot count all the many churches I have consulted with in the last fifteen years where the prayers were quick blurbs and the rest of the meeting was a "complaining-fest." After getting to know the complainers, I found that few, if any, had a solution, were willing to be a part of a solution, or were active in service and spirituality. Their only desire seemed to be to spur on the problems. Yes, there are times to stand up and let your voice be heard, but do it prayerfully and have a solution or, at least be willing to be a part of a solution. It is easy to point fingers; it takes faith to take a towel, as our Lord demonstrated, and wholeheartedly serve (John 13:1-5).
Apathy has also been rampant in the family. One family in particular, with whom I have worked over the years, went through a great crisis not too long ago. Their teenage son was in deep sin and had a careless and apathetic attitude about it. The family was in shock and quickly initiated the act of blaming one another, the school, society, the church, and anything else they could think of; at the same time, they were not dealing with the problem.
For years, this young man sat in isolation within a very large family.There were many older brothers and sisters, all of whom were working and involved in their own lives. Each of them assumed that one of the others was talking to him. In fact, no one in the family spent any time in listening or talking, to the point that he gradually began to lash out in rebellion. He figured that no one listened to him anyway.
As his Youth Pastor at the time, I spent as much time as possible with him until the family decided to move away. So, I determined to help them find another church and hook the young man up with a good youth pastor. I wanted to do this because I felt he needed the extra attention. The family refused the help, and chose a church that did not teach or have a youth program; now, there was no one for this young man. He made the decision to get attention for himself in some not so very kind or uplifting ways, and it just got out of control. He knew what he was doing was wrong, but he felt that since no one cared for him, why should he care? When he wanted to stop, he did not know how and said to me, "now, I do not know what to do."
I first noticed this young man headed for trouble a couple of years prior to this time and went to three of his older brothers and told them that they needed to spend more time with him, or at least get him hooked up with someone who would. They all told me, emphatically, that there was no problem or trouble and he had lots of people listening to him. I persisted to no avail; all they did was cut off my contact with him, reiterating that nothing was wrong. This escalated to the point that it may have been too late, and was an example of apathy out of control.
This was a very sad and pathetic situation that could easily have been prevented by someone taking some time and doing some listening-just taking time to be with him. No one did! So, a situation came to pass that should never have happened! It was all caused because no one wanted to take the time from their day and spend it with a family member in need. Each one thought someone else was taking care of it. And, when problems started to develop, they refused to listen or acknowledge that there was a problem until it was too late. The sadder realization for me is that this is not an isolated problem; this family is, in fact, one of three-three families loosely associated with my church at this time who are in this exact situation! And, I cannot count how many times this has played out over the years in different families, from rich ones to poor, from country club to inner-city families!
The question is, are we inadvertently doing this in our own families and churches? Are we so busy we give no time or credence to our first Love, Christ, or our friends and families? In my over twenty years as a Youth Pastor, I have seen that the number one problem in youth is that no one listens or cares for them. That is why rebellion, drugs, and promiscuous sex are on the rise. According to "Focus on the Family," one-fourth of all teens now have a venereal disease, as compared to years ago when I was in high school.
As we back off from listening and caring, we raise kids who are apathetic, who slack-off, and who get into trouble. These are the kind of kids who do those school shootings. Have you considered that possibly, as churches who are disconcerted and families that are apathetic, we are the ones who make the kids turn to drugs, that we may help form the hopelessness mindset that is rampant in young people today because of our refusal to be more involved with love and care? We might as well hand them the gun to use in their suicides, all because we are too busy or we just do not care! Perhaps, your family or church does not have this problem; praise God! But, be on guard and be in prayer!
Why are Christians becoming more indifferent and unconcerned? Perhaps, such people have lived sheltered lives in the church, not realizing their call or God's precepts. Maybe, they think they are not good enough so they do not do anything. Perhaps, most Christians just want to cruise their way though life because it is easier to follow the crowd than make a commitment for themselves. I know; I have been in this mindset. It is hard to get out of it, but we must or we will decay as a Christian and die as a church.
We also have to see how heinous this sin is in our Lord's sight! God has made it clear how He feels about being lukewarm! In Revelation 3:14-22, God is clear; being cold or hot is actually preferable than being apathetic! What does God think of backsliding and apathy? Read the passage for yourself with an attitude of prayer; ask Him, then ask yourself if this is you. If so, the good news is, He still loves you! He will give you grace, but you still have to repent, seek His forgiveness, and the forgiveness of others (Psalms 78:41; Matt. ; Ephesians 1:13-14; James 5:11-20; 1 John 4: 7-8). Then, work on your relationship with Christ, not just as a Friend and Savior; but also as LORD over all! Remember, you are good enough in Him!
Recently, a church near mine, with which I was consulting, had the opportunity to help out an inner-city family by purchasing a car from a member of my church and then giving that car away. Sounds simple and good. But, for a month, the arguments continued on how this might violate the insurance. Some felt that the car was too old or did not work properly. Others said it cost too much money, and still others said we should not be doing this as a church-that it was improper. Phone calls and emails were going back and forth at a rampant pace, all poking holes in this idea, and each one explaining why they would not become involved.
The car price was $500. It was almost ten years old, yet it had few miles on it and was worth many times that. Nonetheless, no one in the church would call the insurance company (a member of my church did and there was no problem) or go and look at it (I did and I think I should have bought it for myself-LOL). The only time and expense involved was in the complaining, because no one wanted to be convicted to get off their "rear ends" and help this family in great need.
I asked the pastor if he had a problem of apathy; he said "No." I then asked about these people who were complaining and refused to help. How many of them gave back to the church in some way, with their time, their talents, or their treasures? He said "Few." I then asked if those people were in a small group or Bible study. He said "No." I then asked him if any of them had shown any of the Spiritual Fruit or any spiritual growth since he had known them. He said "None of them." Then, he said "maybe I do have a problem with apathy!" I am not seeking to be judgmental, rather pointing out a problem that I have observed!
When apathy is around, no one may notice because it is self-refuting, as an apathetic person will never admit he or she is apathetic! And, unless the apathetic ones are the vocal complainers, they are unseen in the church or family. A person in sin will not admit he or she is a sinner unless the Spirit intervenes (John , Rom. -25, -27; 2 Cor. ; 1 John 2:1). But, this is not a "new" problem; perhaps it is not even getting worse. Perhaps, I am just getting more sensitive to it.
Consider the Germans in the 1930s. A strong church there decided, for the most part, to ignore politics, withdraw from secular activities, and ignore the mistreatment of their Jewish neighbors. Then, they ignored it when their property and businesses were seized. They did nothing when the trains were carting them off to oblivion. It is very interesting-perhaps appalling-that the same excuses were given then as I hear in some of the boardrooms of churches I consult with today! "I did not want to get involved! "I did not see the problem!" "I am busy!"
What Is Apathy?
What is apathy? The definition is simple; it is the mindset of I don't care! It is caring nothing about others, ministry, spiritual growth, or what God wants of us. It is the misconception of the magnitude of His incredible gifts and His grace to us. And, as a result, we become lukewarm, disinterested, and non-committal!
I believe itis a disease and has three aspects to it. First, apathy can be caused by being over-worked and over-whelmed from all the stresses and struggles in life-school, work, family, friends, media, and such, even in ministry to the point of shrugging our shoulders and giving up, but still going through the motions. Then, we either do not have the time or we coast though life or our ministry uninvolved in it with our passion, interest, or concern.
Second, apathy can be caused by the lack of willingness to move forward in our spiritual formation, perhaps because of fear of what may be ahead or a lack of trust in God, and then even discouraging others from doing so, too! It is not realizing that God has a plan or taking hold of His promises and call into our daily lives.
The third aspect is just laziness, being a "slacker," and not wanting to be convicted or have concern because we do not want to be moved ahead or be involved (Prov. 6:6-11, 9; 10:4-5, 26; 12:24, 27; 13:4; 15:19; 18:9; 19:15, 24; 20:4; 21:21, 22:13; 23:21; 24:30-34; 25; 26:13-17; Eccl. 10:18; Isa 56:10; Matt. 25:26-27; Rom. 12:11; 2 Thess 3:10-12; Heb 6:12). We can clearly see what God has clearly said on this subject!
We are called sometimes to complain, such as to speak out against injustice, and may wish to vent our discontent. But, we must make sure we do not blow it out of proportion or just wallow in it for self-pity sake. All complaining does is stir the stifle (to feel smothered) of strife, increase our stress, irritate others and place the focus where it is not to be. There are times when it is proper to get things off our chest, but it must be to get rid it of, not keep poking at it so the stress sticks around and draws us away from our Christ as Lord. When overwhelmed, you need to seek a pastor or counselor to help you through it; but, don't turn it into problem that has no resolution, because He is our Resolution and Hope, our promise fulfilled. He is at the door; let Him in (James 5: 1-12; Rev. 3:8, 20)
We must realize that apathy, indifference,and laziness are the direct opposites of God's call for us. Apathy can also arise when we are thinking the greatness is in the past, or that it is for others and not "me." The vine becomes withered and there is no desire to impact one's self with Christ. Apathy destroys passion and devotion, and either distorts our direction in life or stops us all together. When there is no effort to impact others, the church will stagnate and eventually die. Our families will become dysfunctional, and our governments will decay to liberalism and discord.
Laziness is also a fear of change, because it requires one to grow beyond his/her comfort level. Resisting change becomes the prerequisite of a heart unwilling and unyielding to the Lord or of one lacking the energy to follow Christ; all it leaves is excuses. So, the diseases of apathy, gossip, pride, legalism, and slander-the list can go on and on-will take the place of the passion of God's plan, precepts, and call!
If you think this does not apply to you, consider this: if you are not helping or being a part of a solution to grow in Christ and help others do so too, then you are in apathy!
The symptom of apathy is thinking that all of your accomplishments are in the past and then worshipping and adoring the past. This is a primary ailment in the church as it causes a church to decline in vitality and in numbers. It dissolves new ideas and passions; Christ is relegated to just a ritual rooted in the past, and the Vine of John 15 withers. We will wither either because we cut ourselves off from the Sap of the Vine, or because we decide not to water or nourish our relationship in Him and our connection to others.
It is our human nature to consider comfort and security a primary concern. There is nothing wrong with that, as long as it does not make us complacent and take us away from the goals and reasons we are Christians, especially if we are in the pulpit or in leadership. If we are too comfortable, we become apathetic, and are not interested in stretching ourselves in our personal walk. This, then, becomes a slippery slope of no desire to stretch the congregation, or being afraid of making any challenges that may offend someone's pride. This disease will produce no growth, no serious discipleship, no serious Bible studies, and no serious teaching from the pulpit; it will be just basic stuff to please and police people.
Christianity requires continual movement and growth; it must not be put on hold. It is not just a belief; it is a relationship. Faith requires the nourishment from His Vine to grow strong and to spread. Just believing in something does not mean you can live it. Faith must be real and invoke a response from within you. It cannot be just academic! People in biblical times, as people today, differentiate others by their words-and more importantly, their actions. What do your actions say about what is in your heart?
For the Jew, confession about God was the essential aspect of what it meant to be a Jew (Duet. 6:4; Mark ). To confess one thing and do another was what Proverbs and the Jew would heartily say was the mark of a fool! Thus, our faith will produce our actions, but our actions will not produce faith. We only respond with our faith to His work and His call. In Deuteronomy 6:4 we find the most recited and quoted verse in Scripture as millions of Jews and some Christians recite it as a mantra every day-sometimes several times a day: Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength (Deut. 6:4-5 NIV). Is it a call of rhetoric or a call of the heart? The answer will determine how you respond to life!
The Cure For Apathy Is To Wake Up!
We need to be on alert for stressful and overwhelming situations, for pride, and for being too comfortable in our situation. When we are not growing and not on guard, we will venture into the land of apathy, and that is one place where no fruit will grow and no glory will be given to the Lord. So, what can we do? As with all relational and spiritual things, grow in your faith! Spend more time in the Word,in prayer, and focusing on Christ rather than your situation or experience.
The character that Christ gives us to help us in this matter is enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is the key for staying focused on Christ and pursuing His precepts and call (Matt: ; Rom. ; Gal. 6:9; Colossians 3:23; 4:7-8). Enthusiasm is interest and passion working together toward a goal. It will enable us to overcome disappointments and setbacks so we can be positive, optimistic, and keep up our interest, attitude, and zeal, even when things are harsh.Enthusiasm is the fuel that empowers the Christian, his/her testimony, and gives him/her the love for the call that he/she has been given. Enthusiasm is the pipe through which flows the earnest endeavor of our work and service. Along with this passion, we will experience the natural desire to do our best for God's glory.
When someone becomes a Christian or when a church is started and grows, one of the primary growing factors is enthusiasm. Consider who the people are who bring in most of the new people in the church? Usually, it is the new Christians because they are enthusiastic about their new life in Christ. Consider the families that are not dysfunctional; usually, they are made up of parents who are involved with love and care, and who listen and spend time with one another and with the kids. A healthy church has leaders who exhibit enthusiasm in all of their dealings. Their joy is contagious, and it is a synergetic factor of that church's growth as it fuels teaching, discipleship, and personal spiritual development.
A well functioning church or family cannot run far or fast without adequate doses of people who are involved and interested! This will come from the joy and vigor that its new members have, and then spread to their friends and neighbors. They experience joy in learning about and serving the Lord and they are compelled to share the growth they are experiencing with those around them. So, they do so! The new Christian is responsible for most of the new converts and that causes the church to grow. When a new church is started and its members lack enthusiasm, it will wither quickly; they will give up, and the church will close. There are many other factors that cause a church to grow or to die, but a big factor in it all is enthusiasm. Without enthusiasm, it is an uphill battle that cannot be won.
Somewhere on the Christian journey, many forget what it is all about. We can forget what is important-the reason and purpose of our relationship with Him. Pastors sometimes think that since their call is a tangible, unyielding, permanent position, they do not need more training or time with our Lord; therefore, the main thing is neglected. They can easily forget their personal disciplines of Bible reading and prayer. When this happens, all aspects of their ministry and relationships will suffer as a result of their neglect. They think they are protected, and since they are pastors, the knowledge and intense training they have gained will carry them through the ministry.
But, it does not. They lose sight of their call because they lose sight of the main thing, just as so many regular (we are all ministers together) Christians do. And, we all need to keep the main thing as the main thing-our main thing being our personal, growing relationship with Christ. Church politics and countless crises have replaced prayer and devotions, so pastors have dried up and burnt out. Once they realize it, it is too late, as they have fallen off the path our Lord had for them. The passion has been lost. This is not just with pastors and church leaders; all Christians can fall prey to apathy. It's just that the leaders have more responsibility; when they fall, they take down many others with them!
Enthusiasm plays a big part in our personal spiritual growth; without it, we are not motivated to read our Bible or spend time in prayer. We end up exercising our spiritual disciplines out of obligation. We become dry, and unable to absorb what we are to learn. Or, we give it up and use all kinds of excuses such as lack of time or fatigue. When our spiritual lives suffer, so does our ability to relate our Christian experience to others, and we become ineffective leaders and partakers in the building of the Kingdom of God.
Enthusiasm fuels our initiative (Proverbs 22:29; Ephesians 5:8-14; Philippians ; -15; Hebrews 10:24-25). Having initiative will help us to take the front position so we can recognize and do what needs to be done before being asked to do it. When we see something undone, we do not wait for someone else-we do it.
Southwest Airlines has this character in their mission: "The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit." "Hire for attitude and train for aptitude" and "Customer Service Ambassadors" are their mottos (Gleaned from their website www.southwest.com). This is demonstrated by the fact that when any of their employees-from a captain to a baggage clerk-sees trash, they pick it up. If they see a person in need, they help them out. If they see a bag left standing alone, they respond and do not wait for the person whose job it is to do something. It is not uncommon to see the captain of the plane helping the baggage handlers load the plane so they can be on time, and it is not uncommon to see off-duty stewards showing a passenger the check-in procedures or helping them with his/her baggage. Southwest is doing well as a business and an airline while others without this mindset are literally going bankrupt! Imagine if, as Christians, we did this (2 Cor. )! Imagine how our relationships and church would vastly improve!
Initiative is a character we are to have and pursue that will help empower us through setbacks, failures, adversities, persecution, oppositions, injustice, ingratitude, and the old excuse, "we have never done it this way before." It is not about being a leader as much as it is motivating one's self to grasp what Christ has for each of us. It is the moving of self and the use of resources and ingenuity to serve. We cannot stand up for Him or move for Him if we do not arise and get off the couch. We must make the move and get on with the life that Christ has given us.
Christ said for us to rise out of our sleep! If not, we engage in the mindsets ofdrudgery, resistance to change,refusing to put forth effort,and laziness. These are the opposites of God's precepts and call! This is another form of apathy! You will not be able to see the goodness you can have; rather, only the work and effort that is required and you will not consider it worth your endeavor. But, if it is good and noble, you must be motivated to go after it or you will miss out on what Christ has for you. You will also cause others to follow your lead into laziness and excuse making!
We also have to be careful in that not all enthusiasm or initiative is good, as these may sometimes lead us well off the path God has for us. We have to be discerning, and determined that our motivations are centered on the values of the Word and are working side by side with the Fruit of the Spirit and the rest of the character traits. If not, we may motivate ourselves in the wrong direction, and rationalize all kinds of excuses for it as we run off into oblivion. Beware: excuses become the horse that pulls the plow of apathy and laziness.
We can all come up with a great set of reasons why we should not do something. Even though discernment and common sense need to come into play, if your excuses are keeping you from being your best for His glory, you have set your path in a jungle of apathy that is full of darkness and despair. Ephesians 5: 8-14 tells us we must see the light, and not darkness, before we can get up. We have to be willing to see what needs to be done for the kingdom and then do it.
The gift of leadership will entail such attitudes along with the ability to motivate others to do a job. However, you still must motivate yourself without needing a leader to grab you and pull you. God's voice and call are usually gentle; we have to quiet the noise of our will to hear Him (Psalm 46:10). He will rarely make you get up; you have to get up by yourself. God motivated Elijah out of his depression directly via an angel, and He also told the man with a withered hand to stretch it out-for him to take the first step (1 Kings 9:5; Matt. ). He gives us the call; it is up to us to respond to it. If you need help-and we all do-ask for it.
When we, as Christians, are not experiencing the wonders of the spiritual life and the Christian experience, we will stagnate. If you are a leader, your ineffectiveness can trickle down to the rest of the body and spread like malignant cancer. We, as fallen human beings, are always looking for excuses not to have to put forth the necessary effort for spiritual growth. I know I can get that way, and every pastor I have ever met sometimes feels that way. Just as we make excuses for not eating right or exercising, perhaps endangering our health, not exercising the spiritual life will endanger our spiritual health, and infect the rest of the congregation because it is tempting and contagious.
What can I do? Partner with others, seek His light, and He will empower you to accomplish the task. We have to arise and eat/awake/get going/shine (Isa. 60:1; Matt.26: 46; John ) to receive His blessings and to bless others. We need to take the responsibility for our spiritual growth and for the exercise of our gifts and call. Do not sleep away your life with excuses and apathy, or let past failures get in your way!
Take great comfort in the fact that God gives us the endurance. Because of His love and empowerment, we have no right or reason to give in or give up. We can have patience with tolerance and fortitude toward others so we can even accept difficult situations from others and God without making demands or conditions(Matthew 27:14; Romans ;James 1:3). Seeking His endurance will help us with the inner strength needed to remain in Christ along with staying power in order to accomplish God's will. Thus, we can have confidence in Him and not be faint with our call or situation. This will enable us to persist and continue to deal with stress in order that we can accomplish that to which God calls us.
We need to realize that we have a purpose; we have a reason to keep going even when we feel like giving up, or feel that we are not wanted or needed. We must continue for Him even in times of dire stress and when all seems lost. Why? Even in our darkest hours, God is there, communicating with us, enabling us to persevere. While we seem to wait, He is at work! While we are down, He is lifting us up! While we fail, He is resetting us to succeed! His blessings come to us in ways we cannot fathom.
So, we need to realize that God is, indeed, good and in control. He is there for us! He has a plan for us! He does not bring harm to us; rather, He helps lead us out and away from sin and harm. He will take us out of our distractions and apathy and turn them into His great glory. Because of this, we will wear an inconceivable crown all through eternity. Therefore, since God is good and we have a reason to go through what we go through, then we can resist apathy. In fact, we can stop blaming God and others and take responsibility for our actions or inactions. Then, we can come to a place where the comforts of complacency will no longer interest us! Why? Because Christ is formed in us, and He becomes greater than our desires (John ; ; Gal. ; James 1).
We can trust that God is indeed in control. He will not lead us astray or direct malevolence toward us. The Israelites did not cause God to sin or lead Him to it. Rather, He led them-with their apathy, sin, and their malevolence-out of their slavery and the desert and into the Promised Land-as He will with you! As a loving God, He is testing you to see what you know and to further teach you. He does not tempt us, as in lead us to succumb to our situation. God is not affected by our actions or sin; rather, He is hurt that we choose to disobey and destroy, preventing ourselves from building and being better.
God does judge; He has, and will cause destruction (Amos 6:4-11). In these cases, the situation was hopeless and the people remained in their apathy and would not, nor did they ever, repent; so, this was the best way to prevent others from being taken in by sin. But, even in such dire cases, God listened to human pleas and saved whomever was willing to be saved (Gen. 18:22-32; Ex. 32:10-13). For us, we now have grace!
Allow your faith to remain in Him regardless of what is going on outside of your self or inside with your feelings. He will give you all you need; He will water, cultivate, and harvest, and give you the mercy and tenderness to go on. We must allow our faith to build so it does not bring us down or motivate others negatively. The great Hope is still to come; He is coming back. And, when He does, our suffering will be ended and it will not have been in vain. We will see the purpose and marvel at it as it will have made us better. So, let us keep our focus on Him as the farmer looks to rain; He is our hope and reason, and He will carry us on.
Our hope: "`Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security." (Jeremiah 33:6)
·Here are positive examples from Scripture (Gen. 1-2, 2 Sam. 6:12-15; 1 Kings 9:10-28; Neh. 2; Matt. 14:22-33; Mark 2:1-5; John 2:13-17; Phil. 3:4-14)
·Here are negative examples from Scripture (1 Kings 19:4-10; Matt. 16:21-23; 25:14-30; Luke 9:51-56; 16:1-9; John 19:1-16; Rom. 10:1-4; 2 Thess. 3:6-13)
Do not allow apathy in your Christian life or in your church!
Richard Joseph Krejcir is the Founder and Director of Into Thy Word Ministries, a missions and discipling ministry. He is the author of several books including Into Thy Word, A Field Guide to Healthy Relationships and Net-Work. He is also a pastor, teacher, and speaker. He is a graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California (M.Div.) and holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Practical Theology from London (Ph.D). He has garnered over 20 years of pastoral ministry experience, mostly in youth ministry, including serving as a Church Growth Consultant.
What is Assurance? First, there is the assurance of salvation, which feeds into the assurance of hope that gives us trust, which in turn gives us our confidence, purpose, and motive for Christian living. This assurance is our certainty that we are saved because "God calls us;" we do not call on Him for our salvation. We receive it only as an act of undeserving grace that we cannot get on our own by merit or birthright. The Holy Spirit gives us testimony and empowers us; we are then to receive our faith and persevere in it.
Remember we do not deserve His love and grace, yet it is given to us anyway.
Hypocrisy and judgmental attitudes cause some of the biggest problems in the Church, and spill over to others outside her walls whose concept of a Church is what they observe. These attitudes also cause severe danger to the growth and comfort of the Church. Comfort is in a place to call home, to feel safe, and be willing to be taught and led, and to serve. This is one of the main reasons, if not the main reason, that keeps people away! Effective spiritual growth, maturity, and outreach cannot happen when...
A Bible reading checklist in "Excel" that keeps track of your progress with all kinds of cool graphs and tracking features along with stats on words, verses, encouraging facts, etc. This is also a fund-raising opportunity for us that we think could be a successful addition to your church or ministry spiritual arsenal.