How we Survive a Season of Personal Injustice or Unfairness-

 Nothing in all creation is hidden from Gods sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account– Hebrews 4:13 NIV 

Fairness, justice, equity are more than just woke talking points. 

They are a big stinking deal.

They are a big deal in a global sense. Every human being, no matter who they are or where they live wants the world to be fair and just. Civilized people want evil to be punished and good rewarded. No decent person wants anyone to be denied a fair shot at life. All people want the same rules to apply to everyone regardless of gender, race or social status (Proverbs 21:15). It’s simply how humans are wired (Genesis 1:27). 

Fairness, justice and equity are also a big deal in a personal sense.

We all want to know when someone harms us or treats us unfairly some authority somewhere will see to it the wrong is righted and the wrongdoer is punished. We all want to be treated equally and fairly. We want to be judged by the content of our character rather than by our age, the color of our skin, our gender, marital status or job title.

For Christians the longing for fairness, justice and equity goes beyond the global or even the personal. These issues can be so deeply spiritual they impact our view of God as just and fair. We all know we serve a God who is both the architect and the ultimate champion of equity, justice and fairness (Psalm 11:7, Psalm 50:6, Psalm 103:6, Psalm 67:4). As God’s people it is important to know God sees us in a personal way. We want to know He is aware of the wrongs committed against us. Whether we are honest enough to admit we all want God to care enough about us personally to punish those who have sinned against us or caused us harm in some way (Deuteronomy 32:43).  

It’s called being human.

Christians rarely talk much about it, but most go through a season where they struggle to see and experience the goodness of God in a personal way. Due to painful circumstances these folks can’t help but wonder if God really does see them and if He really does care about what they are experiencing. 

Doubt isn’t always simply due to lack of faith. 

Sometimes our doubt is due to what feels like a tardy response from God (2nd Peter 3:8). Times of doubt tend to occur when we really feel the NEED to know God is attentive to our situation and cares about the details of our pain, loss or the oppression we are dealing with. I call these times “seasons of silence”. A season of silence is a time when God feels far away. Because God feels far away our pain or loss feels utterly unbearable.  In order to survive a season of silence a Christian has to have a theology of pain. We have to understand what the Bible says about God so we are not left to rely on our feelings without the guidance of His word (Proverbs 3:5-6, Psalm 119:105).  

Anytime God feels distant and uninterested in our problems it’s critical we remember first and foremost, we are not the only people who have felt the way we feel. Some of God’s best and brightest, including David, Elijah, Daniel, Moses, Mary Magdalene and even Jesus went through an experience or season where they felt God was far away, uninterested in their situation, hadn’t heard their prayers or was simply inattentive at the point of their deepest need (Psalm 22:1, Matthew 27:46, Daniel 10:1-18, Exodus 5:1-19, John 20:11).  We are fortunate to see those stories in the rear-view so we know God has never actually abandoned anyone in their greatest need.  

We also need to remember we live in a world broken by sin (Romans 5:12, Romans 3:23, Ephesians 2:1). On a practical level this means evil, unjust and unfair things happen all the time.  People lie, take advantage of others, oppress people and cover-up their own sin at the expense of others (2nd Timothy 3:1-4). Sometimes it appears God has chosen to overlook the sin of those who willfully do wrong. 

Here’s the thing though:

Justice delayed does not mean justice will be denied indefinitely. God promises there will come a day when every wrong will be righted and every sin punished (Hebrews 12:23, Exodus 32:34, Leviticus 26:27-29, Isaiah 13:11, 1st Thessalonians 4:6). God is so not okay with sin, evil and disobedience He punished the Israelites for their idolatry and sexual sin by sending them into servitude and exile for seventy years in Babylon. God later punished Babylon for the sins committed against Israel while they were in exile (Jeremiah 25:12). Babylon was a very short-lived super-power entirely because God cannot bear to see injustice go unpunished. It is wisdom to remember there is nothing in all of creation that goes unnoticed or undealt with by God (Hebrews 4:13). 

 God sometimes defers justice to wrongdoers simply because He is merciful and good (Genesis 15:16, Exodus 34:6, Nahum 1:3, 2nd Peter 3:9 and he doesn’t want anyone to perish in their sin). Therefore God graciously gives even the worst of the worst time to get their heart right and repent before the consequences train comes rolling into town (Matthew 10:26, Hebrews 4:13).

Our responsibility during a season of silence is to remember the goodness of God, to be merciful like God is merciful and to pray for those who have sinned against us as we wait on God to do what he promises to do (Matthew 5:44). God has a way of rewarding that kind of faith and the reward is always worth the pain. 

Generational Curses in Christian Families-

Riches do not endure forever, and a crown is not secure for all generations– Proverbs 27:24 NIV

Some Christians believe generational curses are nothing more than voodoo or fake news. Others think they’re an excuse weak people use when they don’t want to take responsibility for their own choices. Still others are convinced generational curses are the result of some distant ancestor ticking God off. In His anger God “cursed” the offender and his or her entire family line with a hex dooming them all to generation after generation of sin and misery. Then there are those who believe generational curses are real but they only happen to heathens.  

 Generational curses are real. 

However, they are not really the result of God’s wrath or punishment. They are the logical outcome of human foolishness and spiritual rebellion. A generational sin becomes a family trait when a person chooses to sin and then does not confess their sin or repent of it. Some version of that same sin is then passed down to the succeeding generation in the form of a behavior or attitude many members of the family get stuck in. The most common kinds of generational curses in unsaved families are sexual sin, abuse, alcohol, anger, codependence, drugs, stupidity, anarchy and foolishness. 

Christian families pass on generational curses too. However, generational curses tend to look different in Christian families. Generational curses show up in attitudes and behaviors that dishonor Jesus and hearts that are far from God. Generational curses are the number one reason faith is not passed down from one generation to the next. Following are five of the most common causes of generational curses in Christian families:

We cultivate surface-y goodness-  

Jesus warned repeatedly against cultivating a pretense or façade of goodness and righteousness at the cost of authentic heart transformation and change (Matthew 23, Matthew 25:31-46, Luke 11:37-54, Romans 12). Sadly, it’s not hard to fake righteousness, with everyone except our kids. Our children get a front row seat to the sin we successfully hide from the rest of the world. When we cultivate an illusion of goodness rather than dealing with our sinful junk honestly, we either pass on the horrible generational curse of spiritual fakery (Acts 5:1-10), or our kids develop hearts of rebellion against a religion they assume is either phony or powerless.  Sigh.

We nurse a bitter spirit-

 Because bitterness is almost always the product of actual trauma, suffering and being sinned against, bitterness feels reasonable and justifiable. It’s not. God forbids bitterness because it eventually becomes who we are (Ephesians 4:31). Bitterness saturates our souls, transforms our personality and turns us into an ugly distortion of what God wants us to be. This ruins our Christian testimony and wrecks opportunities for ministry. It also has a defiling effect on our children and grandchildren (Hebrews 12:15). Anytime we choose resentment, anger or bitterness over forgiveness we infect our kids and grandkids with the generational curses of anger and offense. This causes them to become hardhearted towards God and unforgiving towards other people (Proverbs 19:11, Proverbs 18:19).

We indulge in too many “grey area” behaviors- 

Not everything in this life is cut and dried or black and white. This is even true in the Christian life (1st Corinthians 6:12). There are things Christians will not go to hell for doing that also will not help them become better, wiser or godlier people.  The shows we watch, how we treat and talk about people, our church attendance, alcohol use, whether or not we use curse words are all “grey areas”. No one is going to hell for having a beer, spotty church attendance, being rude or saying a naughty word every once in a while.  However, it is also true that how we handle those grey areas will impact how our kids process their faith and live out their Christianity as adults.  If we want to prevent the generational curse of spiritual complacency we must be cautious and prayerful about how we deal with the grey areas of life.  

We don’t honor our parents- 

We live in a culture where almost every family is labeled “toxic” in some way. Even some Christians routinely use the thinnest of excuses to cut their parents or in-laws out of their lives (2nd Timothy 3:1-3). Unless there is a really good reason for doing so, disrespect to parents is a terrible sin guaranteed to reap ugly generational consequences. There are parents who are truly toxic, evil or who were genuinely abusive. The Bible does not command anyone to allow abusive parents to move into their homes or give them free and unfettered access to the grandkids (that would be stupid). Christians should exercise wisdom and discernment in all situations. However, contrary to contemporary thinking, it is not abusive for a parent to be dumb, controlling or less than perfectly tuned into their child’s needs. The command for adult children to honor their parents is the only command in the Ten Commandments that comes with the promise of blessing (Exodus 20:12) and there are no qualifiers given. Adult children are to do their best to figure out a way honor their parents. Period. Even if those parents were less than perfect or the situation is complicated.  The number of generational sins we bring on ourselves and our children when we refuse to honor parents is innumerable. 

A generational sin is not difficult to break, in a Christian family.

However.

We do have to recognize the sin and confess it to God. Then we have to be intentional about changing the sinful behavior or attitude. When we do that God graciously steps into our situation with His mercy, grace and transforming power and does more than we can ask or imagine in our lives and in the lives of our children and grandchildren (Ephesians 3:20) 

The Biggest Problem with a lot of Otherwise Good Churches-

 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it– Hebrews 13:1-2 NASB 1995

Let’s be real. 

Church can be tough. 

Even if you’ve attended church forever and totally “get” church. Church can be hard.  Finding a new church is even harder. Meeting new people is hard. Stepping into an environment where you don’t understand all the rules is hard. Putting yourself out there is hard. Knowing out how to fit in is hard. Making new friends is hard.  All of those things are baked into finding a church home.

 Church is also important. 

It really is a nonnegotiable for any serious follower of Jesus.  Church is the place where unbelievers become believers and learn to obey all that Jesus taught .Church was Jesus’ idea (Matthew 16:18, John 3:3). He decided what it should look like (Matthew 5-6, Matthew 18:15-17). He prayed for it (John 17:1-25). He invested in it (Matthew 11:1, Mark 4:33).  He died for it (Matthew 26-27, Mark 15, Luke 23, John 19, Matthew 14:22-33). He rose from the dead to redeem and empower the church (Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20. Then He sent His people out to build the church (Matthew 28:16-20).

All that makes church a biggest of big stinking deals.  

It also makes the following story super sad. I have a friend who is looking for a church. I won’t share the unpleasant details but suffice it to say her reasons for leaving her old church were one-hundred-percent valid.

Anyhoo.

My friend has attended four churches in nine weeks. She realized immediately the first two were a poor doctrinal fit. The third was tiny (not necessarily a problem). However, the pastor was also seriously unprepared (an actual problem). Number four was promising. The size was right, not too big, not too small. It was a healthy mix of age groups (young families, older adults, teens and young adults). The music was beautifully done and doctrinally on point. The sermon was solid and the doctrinal statement was sound. 

One problem. 

No one talked to her. There were greeters and they all smiled politely and made eye contact but did not say anything more significant than “hello” to her. Not once. There was a welcome time prior to the sermon and no one welcomed her. She did all the stuff you’re supposed to do. She showed up early and stayed late. She bathed. She dressed and behaved appropriately. Even with all that, no one, not even a staff member interacted with her.  

Nonetheless.

She soldiered on. A serve day was announced from the pulpit. She knew getting out and serving her community would be a good thing to do. She also knew it would give her a chance to interact with some of the people she was going to church with. 

At the serve day, she was assigned to a team and she tried to engage the other people on the team. She asked good questions, complimented the pastor on the sermon the week before and just generally did her best to be an agreeable, involved and helpful member of the team. To no avail. No one attempted to engage her when she arrived on site. No one asked her questions about herself. No one noticed when she left and went home. 

Two things. 

First.

Not every church is unfriendly. There are churches that do an outstanding job greeting new people and finding creative ways to integrate them into their church family. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. If this were the first story I heard about an otherwise solid church where the congregants appeared to lack basic social skills I would cheerfully write it off as an anomaly. It’s not. This stuff is real. Lots of people have lots of stories just like my friends’ story. 

Second. 

I know this woman. She is a committed and mature Christian. She gets church. She has social skills. She understands reality. She knows relationships are a two-way street. She did not show up at church and expect everyone to do the work for her. She was more than willing to smile, ask good questions, be friendly and get involved in the activities the church was offering. 

However.

My friend is not the only type of person who shows up at churches. Some people who show up at church don’t know Jesus. Some are clueless about how church works. They don’t understand how to get involved or make friends. Some of have poor social skills or a chip on their shoulder. Some are looking for an excuse to reject Jesus. This does not mean they need Jesus any less than anybody else. We give them the excuse they’re looking when we don’t make every effort to engage new people in a meaningful way. 

 Sometimes we become so fearful of rejection we refuse to step outside of our own tiny relational circles.  Or we become so locked into a tight little friend group that we have no room for anyone new. The problem  with letting fear or self-centeredness run the show we give the devil a foothold in someone else’s life and run the risk of running them out of church (Ephesians 4:26-27, 1st Peter 5:8). 

Here’s the thing:

Just because you feel welcome and loved at your church it doesn’t mean everyone who walks through the door feels the same.  Next week when you go to church, say a prayer, look around, let the Holy Spirit to lead you to the person who’s all alone or looks lost. Say hello, ask some questions, maybe invite them to lunch. Love on them. It’s the little things that make the biggest difference for the kingdom. 

The Five Biggest Spiritual Lies of our Generation-

You will know how people ought to conduct themselves in Gods household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth– 1st Timothy 3:15 NIV

Every generation of Christians has made its own unique set of mistakes.

The church in the 1980’s was filled with dramatic personal “testimonies”. Many of which turned out to be crazy-town lies. The church in the 1990’s became consumed with end times prophecy. The unbalanced teaching and lack of humility regarding what we actually know about the end-times left some Christians looking a bit nut-joby. The late 1990’s and 2000’s birthed the well-intended but tragically misguided purity movement. It inadvertently drove Christian dating completely underground and left a whole generation of young people feeling an unhealthy level of shame simply for having natural and entirely normal sexual desires.

Sigh.

 It is critical we understand the spiritual and doctrinal errors of our generation will have a greater impact than those of past generations. Not because we are inherently more important or special than past generations. We’re not.  But because technology has given humanity the ability to spread bad ideas, misinformation, and wrong thinking faster than ever before. This is why the church today is having such a tough time reaching the lost. Thanks to advances in technology the spiritual errors and excesses of the 1980’s, 1990’s and 2000’s had a much deeper reach into the culture than the errors and excesses of previous generations.  Following are five the most dangerous lies Christians are believing and spreading right now.

I can be a Christian and reject everything the Bible teaches- 

Nope. Nope and more nope. No one comes to faith automatically believing the “right way”. We all have to be taught. Growth and learning is a lifelong process. It is true there is some room for disagreement on some of the particulars of what the “right way” is. However, choosing to reject everything God says about Himself as well as what He has to say about sexuality, gender, right and wrong and true justice is basically just rejecting God. A person cannot reject God (and/or everything God says about Himself) and still be a Christian. Period. It just doesn’t work like that.  

Bible knowledge doesn’t matter- 

This unbelievably stupid statement is almost always preceded by a reference to 1st Corinthians 8:1 where the apostle Paul says “knowledge puffs up while love builds up”. Context is key in all Bible study.  A careful reading of the text makes Paul’s intent clear: the apostle Paul wasn’t talking about spiritual or Bible knowledge in general terms. The apostle wasn’t encouraging spiritual ignorance. He certainly wasn’t suggesting Bible reading is somehow spiritually harmful. He was talking specifically about knowledge related to a particular issue: eating meat that had once been sacrificed to a pagan idol (1st Corinthians 8:1-13). There were some arrogant Corinthian church members who had embraced the teaching that meat sacrificed to idols was just meat (which is true) and it was therefore no big deal to eat it. They would openly and pridefully eat this meat in public spaces. Then they would mock Christians who felt it was sinful to have ANYTHING to do with pagan rites and worship. This created all sorts of confusion for less-mature Christians who didn’t understand as long as they did not sacrifice the meat to an idol themselves, then eating the meat someone else had sacrificed and sold in a market at a discounted rate wasn’t a big deal. Some of these less mature Christians had returned to idol worship in response to the freedom they saw other Christians exercising. Here’s the bottom-line: it is positively absurd to think the man who wrote well over half of the New Testament’s instructive passages was somehow opposed to people learning the Bible. It is true that people can become prideful about what they know about the Bible. It is also true people can know a lot without ever really applying any of the biblical truth they “know” to their own lives. However, those unfortunate realities do not make biblical ignorance somehow superior to Bible knowledge (2nd Peter 1:5).      

 Bible knowledge is the most important thing-

It is important, critical even. Those who do not acquire basic biblical knowledge rarely stay believers for very long (Matthew 13:18-23) and if they do they struggle big-time to live a victorious Christian life. That being said, knowledge is not the most important thing. Having our hearts transformed by the Holy Spirit so we become a loving person and a accurate reflection of Jesus is the number one goal and objective of Christianity (1st Corinthians 13, Romans 12:2, 2nd Corinthians 3:18, Colossians 3:1-17). However, even that requires at least rudimentary Bible knowledge. So, there’s that. 

Christians can be spiritually formed outside of spiritual community-  

Individual believers are always at their most healthy when they are living in community with other Christians (Acts 2:42-47). This is because God designed people to be like Him (Genesis 1:27). God is a community within Himself (Genesis 1:26, Isaiah 46:16, Matthew 3:16-17). As a result, we were literally made to need other Christians in order to grow, mature and reach others for Jesus (1st Thessalonians 5:11, Hebrews 3:12, Hebrews 10:24-25). Without healthy community individual Christians either drift away from church altogether or they adopt strange pseudo-biblical beliefs that make it very hard for them to effectively share their faith. 

We don’t need half the Church to make the Church work- 

Men and women were intended to work together to bring about God’s purposes in this world (Genesis 1:26-28, Genesis 2:18). Anytime church leaders think they can do church without the contributions of half the church something valuable and vital will be missing in that church community. That loss will affect the churches ability to effectively reach the lost and disciple Christians God has placed in their care. 

I believe with all my heart the church in the west stands at a crossroads (Jeremiah 6:16). The church can continue to embrace easy-believism and just dance down the path it’s been on for years. If we do, Christians will continue to lose influence and we will see our culture disintegrate into even more moral bedlam. The other option is to do the hard work of correcting the errors we have fallen into and embrace the hard work of holiness and becoming more like Jesus in everything we do and say.   This route will is much more challenging but it will pay dividends that will be felt for generations. 

Seven Idols Christians Worship with wild Abandon-

They mingled with the nations and adopted their customs. They worshiped their idols, which became a snare to them~ Psalm 106:35-36 NIV

Whatever book of the Bible I happen to be reading tends to have a discernible impact on what I write.  Last summer I studied Jeremiah. Looking back, I see that the blogs I wrote during those months tended to be glum, cynical screeds against the evils of the culture. While I was working on a devotional on Galatians I frequently wrote about the wonders of grace and the hazards of legalism, racism, hypocrisy and self-righteousness.

So. 

Recently, I have been reading the book of Hosea. A key theme of Hosea is idolatry. This got me thinking about idolatry in general and how contemporary idolatry tends to differ from the standard bow-down-to-a-creepy-little-statue variety of idolatry we see in the Old Testament. 

As I was reading Hosea, Joshua Harris (author of I Kissed Dating Goodbye)and Marty Sampson (writer for Hillsong) both “came out” as unbelievers (Marty Sampson has since back-peddled a bit). The book of Hosea makes a clear connection between the act of idolatry and the act of apostasy (Hosea 13:2, Zephaniah 1:3, 2nd Kings 17:11-13). Biblically there is not a single case where apostasy occurred in a void. No person or nation just up and decided to stop believing in God.

Apostasy always follows a lifestyle of idolatry. 

Some idols we worship today are unique to our generation. Some modern-day idols are without question more of an issue among Christian leaders while other idols affect most Christians in some way. The idols we worship are directly related to the apostasy we see in the Church. When the church gets a handle on the idolatry problem we will see fewer people leaving the church.  

 Our most beloved Christian idols are:

 Ambition- 

This is definitely a leadership idol that can easily spin out of control in a pastor’s life. Ambition is not sinful until it becomes THE primary motivating force in our lives. If ambition is not kept in check it swiftly mutates into covetousness.  Covetousness then becomes an all-consuming focus on whatever it is we long for.  Ambition is particularly dangerous in the church world because unbridled ambition often disguises itself in Christians and Christian leaders as a healthy desire to see churches grow. However, sometimes ambition for church growth is really just a ravenous appetite for recognition.    

Success-

Christians have merged worldly measures of success with Christianity. Being wealthy, sought after and liked is perceived to be success in our Christian culture. Even though biblical standards for success are vastly different (Isaiah 66:2, Matthew 22:36-40, Hebrews 11:36-38).  A person who has made success into an idol will do anything to hang on to the attention, money and adulation that comes with success. This includes compromising what they believe or even renouncing their faith in Christ so they can increase the size of their audience and number of followers. 

Grace- 

 God is insanely complex. He is good, merciful and kind. However, God is also unapologetically judgmental. God judges anyone who refuses to humbly repent and embrace Him as the sovereign Lord of everything (1st Corinthians 6:8-10, Jude 14:16-18, Revelation 20:13). When we insist on making God out to be all sunshine and good vibes we aren’t really worshipping God anymore. We are worshipping the grace God offers only to those who choose to repent (Matthew 4:17, Acts 3:19, Acts 17:29-31). We know grace has become an idol when we buy the lie that a loving God cannot or will not judge people who refuse to play by His rules.   

Judgment- 

There are Christians who really, really want God to smite the daylights out of anyone who has committed certain acts of wickedness. They also want Him to do it without so much as a smidgen of mercy. If the notion that God would withhold judgment from someone just because they have repented bothers you; you just might worship the judgment and wrath of God rather than the God of the Bible (Ezekiel 18:23). 

Marriage-

In Mark 2:23-27 the Pharisees chastised Jesus and his disciples for picking grain on the Sabbath. This was a technical violation of Exodus 16:23. Jesus informed the Pharisees that the Sabbath was intended to be an institution that benefited and blessed people rather than an institution people became a slave to. I am not “soft” on divorce. I believe marriage is critically important and that most marriages could be saved if both people in the marriage would simply stop sinning. That said, I also believe many contemporary Christians make the same mistake with marriage that the Pharisees made with the Sabbath. We worship marriage when we put the institution of marriage above of the welfare of the people in the marriage. 

Freedom-

Freedom (especially where sexuality is concerned) is an idol that has been worshipped with wild abandon in Western culture for decades.  In recent years Christians have followed suit. Those who worship freedom do not believe even God Himself has the right to tell anyone that old-fashioned ideas about gender, sexuality and marriage are true and that some behaviors are simply unacceptable. 

Youth- 

In 1st Timothy 3:6 the apostle Paul cautions Church leaders against placing new Christians in positions of leadership. He had observed that when new converts become leaders they also become prideful and unteachable. Sometimes these leaders become so swollen with pride that they begin to believe that they have more wisdom and insight than other older more mature Christians. Sometimes they begin to think they know more than even God. Truth-be-told a twenty-year-old is by the nature of their age a new convert (even if he or she was raised in the church). Joshua Harris was nineteen when he wrote I Kissed Dating Goodbye and twenty-one when the greater Christian community dubbed him a leader. Marty Sampson was barely out of his teens when he began leading worship and writing music for Hillsong.  In one sense it is not surprising that these men have decided that they have moved beyond Christianity.  Until churches stop elevating every young kid with talent or a good idea into “a leader” we will continue to have problems with those leaders as they age. 

Idols must be cast down. The only way to cast these particular idols down is a return to humble obedience that can only be born out of pure love for God rather than the blessings He gives. Getting there will require ruthless self-examination and honest prayer. 

Four Internal Problems the Church must Solve to make a Difference in the World-

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace~ Acts 20:24 NIV

 This last week I happened upon a social media post from a friend who is not a Christian. Truth-be-told, my friend is loud and proud about not being a Christian. This person frequently posts things critical of Christianity. Occasionally their posts are annoyingly insightful.

 This was one of those posts.

 I will not share exactly what was said in the post (it was far too foul). That being said, I will tell you that it was a critique of the church that although undeniably obscene was sadly spot-on. The post reminded me (for the millionth time) that the church is not impacting our culture with the message of Christianity (Matthew 28:18-20). It also reminded me that Christians have (at least to some degree) become a sad caricature of what we were intended to be.  Here’s why we aren’t getting the job done or seeing God’s blessing on Western Christianity:

 We are not dealing decisively with our corporate sin-

 I am not a Catholic. However, I do believe that when one segment of Christianity has a problem it affects all of Christianity (1st Corinthians 12:26). The Catholic church has a huge problem that really is a problem for the entire body of Christ.  There is a huge scandal in the Catholic church regarding children, sex and gay priests. The sin that has gone on for years in some Catholic churches is simply heartbreaking (on every level). Alas, most evangelical Christians are either apathetic towards the issue or entirely ignorant of the problem. On top of all that most Christians appear to care more about the silly antics of movie stars than they do about the thousands of kids who were raped by or pressured into sex by their spiritual leaders. Christianity is in a sorry state when the body of Christ gets more worked-up over a social media post than we do about the long-term implications of the countless sex scandals that have plagued Catholic and Evangelical churches in recent years. Christians of all denominations should be praying for justice and insisting we deal with the sin in our camp before anyone else gets hurt.

 We have forgotten the point and purpose of church-

 I do not believe Church was ever meant to be a place where unbelievers go to get evangelized. Church was intended to be a place where Christians go to learn the Bible and grow in their faith, so they can evangelize their friends, coworkers and family members (Ephesians 4:11-16).  Churches ought to be sensitive to the feelings and needs of non-Christians when planning their services (1stCorinthians 14:22-23). That being said, services should never be planned primarily around the spiritual needs or personal preferences of unbelievers because Church is not really about them.   

 We butcher the Bible to get it say what we want it to say-

 This is the one that could ultimately be the ruin of the modern church. Too many pastors and Bible teachers search the Bible looking for verses to back-up what they think about an issue or want to say rather than going to the Bible and doing the study necessary to find out what it actually says about a given subject. This has created a situation where there is almost a Medieval level of biblical ignorance in some Christian circles. Christians and non-Christians are not really learning what the Bible actually says about much of anything. Instead, they are learning the opinions of people and quite frankly we don’t really need to learn each other’s opinions. We need to learn God’s opinion on a every subject (1st Peter 2:2, Hebrews 5:11-14).

 We are weirdly infatuated by celebrity-

 Over the course of the last four decades there have been innumerable scandals (mostly over sex) in the Evangelical Christian community among “celebrity” pastors. The Church in America has come to the pathetic place where a guy who can put butts in the seats and bucks in the offering plate can get away with almost anything.  Sadly, too many otherwise intelligent people will completely overlook sloppy doctrine, weak preaching and even catastrophic moral failure if it keeps their Churches growing numerically.  Because we have become enamored with superstar pastors many newer Christians have looked to celebrities to be their spiritual examples rather than their pastors or the faithful men and women in their own congregations (1stCorinthians 11:1, Philippians 3:17, Titus 2:2-4). This has created a state of moral illiteracy in the church that hurts everyone.

 Sadly, we will continue to get more of the same until we come to place where we expect better from our leaders and ourselves.