"Why are you standing there looking at the sky?"
"And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.
And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them.
They also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven." Acts 1:9-11
My wife and I attended a friend's Church one Saturday evening to hear a guest Evangelist. I had never heard of the man. He started this way:
"How many of you here, tonight, are waiting for the Lord's return?"
Most of the hands in the 'audience' were raised.
"How many of you are excited that He could come back at any time?"
Many hands were raised. There was clapping and shouting.
"How many of you are watching for Him and longing for that day?"
A loud cheer went up and, I thought, pandemonium would break out.
As soon as the cheering subsided, the grin on the Evangelist's face faded and he became serious.
"Well", he paused for a long few seconds.
Then he raised his voice and almost shouted, "JUST STOP IT!!!
"When Jesus ascended to heaven He gave us specific instructions. Standing staring up into heaven or waiting idly for Him to come back or spending much of our time in meetings to learn about His return WERE NOT AMONG THEM.
"He told us to Go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you. And this includes you neighbors, friends and family.
"He said He will be back and He will be back when He gets back. Until then we have a lot of work to do and we need to be about doing His Work until He returns."
It was suddenly very quiet in the auditorium. The Evangelist continued. I heard him and I remember what he said even though it was a couple of years ago.
But, it seems we are still standing there, "gazing up into the sky".
Headlines, Pew Research, October 2019
The Decline of Christianity Continues at Rapid Pace
"The religious landscape of the United States continues to change at a rapid clip. In Pew Research Center telephone surveys conducted in 2018 and 2019, 65% of American adults describe themselves as Christians when asked about their religion, down 12 percentage points over the past decade. Meanwhile, the religiously unaffiliated share of the population, consisting of people who describe their religious identity as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular,” now stands at 26%, up from 17% in 2009."
And, we continue to stand here - gazing.
Oh, don't get me wrong, I believe we are doing a 'great job of doing church'. I mean, look around. There are churches a-aplenty. Complete with all this world has to offer. And, "the decline of Christianity continues at a rapid pace".
Doing the same thing over and over
and getting the same results?
Albert Einstein is widely credited with saying, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”
The things you did yesterday have brought you to the life you have today. If you want something different, you have to do something different today to create a different life tomorrow. There’s no other way to get there.
Likewise, the things our church leaders have been doing have brought us the decline we have today. If we want something different (spell that something, "THE GOSPEL") we have to do something GOSPEL today, in order to be the Church of Jesus - The Bride and Body of Christ - tomorrow. There is not other way to get there.
And, I have to say, what we are doing seems to fit Einstein's description of INSANE. And, "the decline of Christianity continues at a rapid pace".
This is not meant to be critical of
It is meant to be a wake up call.
Let's make some comparisons:
What the Bible Says we must do What we continue to do
And He said to them, "Follow Me, We follow a popular preacher
and I will make you fishers of men." or pastor or an accommodating church
(And we church shop until we find what we want)
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, We gather in buildings, teaching, preaching, baptizing them in the name of the Father to one another, over and over again, in order to
and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe what our denominations tell us to do.
observe all that I command you. And, we evangelize ourselves, again.
Jesus gave His disciples authority over unclean spirits, We give a few the authority to lecture the
to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and congregation (preach) if they complete 4 to
every kind of sickness. 8 years of religious training. (We do not cast
out demons; we do not heal every kind of
disease and sickness)
And with many other words he solemnly testified and We talk about miracles, and bible stories
kept on exhorting them, saying, "Be saved from this current and church events, but we mimic the
perverse generation!" world in our methods.
They were continually devoting themselves to the We assemble in the 'temple'. And we are at
apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of enmity with many of the people. We rarely
bread and to prayer. Day by day continuing with one break bread from house to house, (unless we
mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to like that person in the first place). Few, if any,
house, they were taking their meals together with gladness get saved from our activities.
and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor
with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their
number day by day those who were being saved.
Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders We clap and applaud the choir music or we
and signs were taking place through the apostles. clap and say 'amen' to a sermon. But, there
are no wonder and signs.
Earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. We speak in tongues in the Assembly and
The one who prophesies speaks to men for edification little comes about that is in obedience to the
and exhortation and consolation. If then I do not know Greatest Commandment and the Great
the meaning of the language (tongues), I will be to the Commission.
one who speaks, a barbarian, and the one who speaks
will be a barbarian to me. So also you, since you are
zealous of spiritual gifts, seek to abound for the edification
of the church.
"Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Deny We want the benefits of the Gospel. We
yourself, take up your cross and follow Jesus. want the benefits of heaven. But, we refuse
to leave our former life and ways and we
fail to deny ourselves and follow Jesus in
what He says and does.
The world is watching and
THE DECLINE OF CHRISTIANITY CONTINUES AT A RAPID PACE.
As we gaze up into the sky
What should we co? What can we do? Here are some suggestions, for starters...
1. Watch this video, titled, "WE ARE THE CHURCH" and understand we must BE the Church. The world has been watching us and has grown impatient.
click on these words
2. We must continue Jesus ministry. Discover your Calling and your Spiritual gifts - embrace and employ your Calling and your Spiritual Gifts, as you FOLLOW JESUS doing what He does and what He commands and BE the Church.
by clicking on these words
3. Understand and follow the simple message and plan of the Gospel and let's revive the Church
FOLLOW JESUS' MODEL OF MINISTRY
by clicking on these words
America has been known as a "Christian Nation". That, apparently, is no longer the case. America's decline mirrors the Church's decline. The time for ease and comfort is past. The only way for our Nation and our heritage to continue, then we must be God's Christian soldiers. Ready to give all, for His Cause.
We must Be, The Church - Repentant. We must Be, The Church Militant. We must Be, The Church Victorious .
Please, step us and volunteer. Contact me here.
Your Brother and Friend,
More links on this site about "The Church"
What is God Saying to His Church - You and me