80s Christian Metal Blessings!Hey man, Pastor Brad here.
REO Speedwagon has a song called Roll With The Changes. I've been thinking about that a lot lately. A year ago a tornado ravaged my city of Cookeville Tennessee. A couple of weeks later we were all hit with covid-19. Our entire world has been thrust into a blender of change. Churches all around the world are working and praying and striving to ADAPT to the many changes occurring all around them.
I got to thinking about church history and I actually took the time to briefly study each century. What I discovered is AWESOME! The church has been Rolling With The Changes and ROCKING whatever challenges come their way for 2,000 years! Here's a quick taste of some of what the church has faced and victoriously ROCKED for Jesus!
In the first century, Jesus brought massive change. First he brought a new way of relating with God, by grace through faith! As Messiah, He was the once for all-time, FINAL, Passover lamb of God. He called us to love in a brand new way as he loves us. He called us to reach the world in a brand new way. The Pharisees had always practiced a come and see model. "Hey, we have synagogue on Saturdays. We sing songs and teach lessons about God. We open our doors at 10:00 am. If you want to know God, COME TO OUR BUILDING and we'll teach you about Him."
Jesus BLEW THAT UP! He called His disciples to "GO & TELL!" (Mat. 28:19-20) Jesus said you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you and you'll be my witnesses in Jerusalem and Judea Samarian to the ends of the earth.
In Acts 2 The Spirit came and filled the disciples and they went out into the streets and proclaimed the gospel and 3,000 people joined the church on day one! Talk about CHANGE!? How would your church respond if 3,000 NEW people joined it this Sunday?!
And then Paul hit the road and all of a sudden GENTILES are coming into the church! That totally FREAKED some of the Jews out, but the church dealt with it, adapted to it, rolled with it, in Acts 15!
And on and on---through the second & third century the church faced two deadly pandemics with amazing FAITH and COURAGEOUS LOVE & COMPASSION for the sick! By the fourth century the first Roman Emporer, Constantine, BECAME A CHRISTIAN! Unfortunately, this shift of the church becoming "mainstream" was not all positive. The church is at her best when she's under fire. When "all is well" we have a tendency to grow complacent and our "self-interests" begin to come out---and that's exactly what happened to the church as she slid into the DARK AGES (500-1500), a millennia of popes coluding with kings and corrupt church policies driven by fleshly greed!
BUT THROUGH IT ALL--There were many, humble, parish priests who served the "peasants" out in the villages, etc., who LOVED God and People! These priests ROCKED IT! The used art, creeds, rituals, etc., to teach biblical truths & the gospel to this illiterate segment of society who DID NOT OWN BIBLES. As a result a faithful remnant was preserved!
Dude, I don't want to make this too long---let me see if I can condense this down. In EVERY Century--The church has face CHALLENGES, Cultural, Technological, Scientific, Economic, Political, etc. CHANGES that changed the way people lived--and thus required the church to ADAPT and Roll... AND THEY DID---Every time! Our MESSAGE never changes, but our METHODS have to---so we can continue to REACH a lost world with the Good News about Jesus!
TODAY: We are facing one of the GREATEST cultural changes in history. SEVERAL FACTORS are driving it. Three of them are MASSIVE for the Church: 1) The Family is not doing well in our culture. 2) The Church, in many respects has lost sight of Jesus call to GO & TELL. We think more in terms of "How can we get people to come to our building?" And 3) The Internet---has changed everything. You can watch AWESOME preaching, and teaching, and worship ONLINE--ANYWHERE! The Church has to ADAPT to, Roll with, and make the most of (as Paul says in Eph. 5:16) the changes in our culture! COVID did not CAUSE any of this---but it sure poured gas on it! Our church and I hope yours, is facing this head-on. We're embracing online worship and teaching. We're developing a culture of Small Groups and encouraging them to use resources on the web to help them worship and grow together wherever and whenever the Holy Spirit leads them to. We NOT doing mid-week Kids programs any longer--we're encouraging families with children to engage in FAMILY SMALL GROUPS where Moms & Dads & Kids ALL worship, pray and grow TOGETHER!
The Devil loves to throw lemons at the church---but He never seems to learn that we are MORE THAN CONQUERORS IN CHRIST! There is ALWAYS a way for the church to turn the LEMONS thrown at it into LEMONADE for Jesus! Every challenge, hardship, struggle, threat, etc. only reveals HOW AWESOME & DESPARATELY NEEDED THE GOSPEL IS!
If your pastor is leading your church to ADAPT---pray for them, support them and ask how you can help! We stand on the shoulders of all of the generations of Christians past, who rolled with the changes and preserved and CREATIVELY Proclaimed the gospel to their world. May we take that mantle and faithully pass it on to those who come after us!
Until next time, fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith!