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"For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” - Luke 19:10 (ESV)

It was one of the most amazing scenes I had ever witnessed up to that point in my life.

One of my friends from church had asked me to spend the night at their farm. Being a city boy, I was continuously amazed and mentally stimulated as I learned about and experienced the day to day life of my good friend living on a farm. The chores were...well...different...feeding cattle was amazing, I mean, I knew what it was to feed my half and half mix of Chihuahua and Fox Terrier dog every day, Teddy, but to feed what seemed like hundreds of huge cattle was fascinating.

The whole week end was full of one new and exciting lesson after another. But when lunch time rolled around I was taken to the barn and asked to pick out dinner for the night. That’s right...dinner...and I was looking a group of chickens and they didn’t look anything like Kentucky Fried Chicken...anyway, we made our choice and then it happened...kind of suddenly and without explanation. Jon’s mom took the chicken to a tree stump...she had a little axe in her hand...and without hesitation she quickly and efficiently separated the head from the rest of the chicken. I was shocked and then amazed...and yes, I will admit it, a little scared, maybe a lot scared...because she let go of the chicken and it started running around the yard, without its head. He didn’t run too long or too far really, but run he did. They thought it was all so funny...because I started running too... away from the chicken, even though my head was still attached...proved by the sound barrier breaking screams coming out of my mouth. AMAZING...didn’t see that one coming!

After the entire family clan, who had ventured out for the event without my having noticed, finished their hooting and hollering, and it subsided from seeing my immediate and expected reaction...real funny, I thought. Then they explained that the chicken was dead...everything was okay...he wasn’t going to hurt me...he was dead and he just didn’t know it yet. You know, since that day I’ve learned that if you chop the head off a chicken they can run around for a few seconds because of a neural network in the spinal cord that is pre-programmed to direct the muscles in frequently used movement patterns such as running. The chickens are already dead...they just don’t know it.

That can happen in the life...and death...of a church. Here you have a church in the beginning of its life, started by a group of outward looking outward...meaning, they have the desire to fulfill the Great Commission and seek and save the lost...they have the heart and passion of the Lord for lost people and they are driven to grow and mature and fellowship and become complete in Christ that they might let Christ live through them and when He does that He is always seeking and saving the lost...and boy a church like that, well, is it alive...the people are looking outward...trying to reach as many people as they can with the gospel and then bring them into the fellowship of the church. The Great Commission is emphasized and the church has the heart and passion of the Lord to seek and to save the lost.

"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" - Matthew 28:19 (ESV)

Then, that local church begins to get a little larger and if they are not careful the church begins to look inward, mostly...and all they really care about when you get down to it, is... themselves...what they are learning...what they are receiving in fellowship...what their buildings and transportation and ministries can do for them and over a period of time the church begins to slide down the slippery slope of death. It becomes a “Me” church because it’s about what’s in it for me and my family. The goal revealed in the Great Commission, and the heart of sacrifice, to seek and save the lost which was demonstrated by Christ on the Cross, become distant, unimportant thoughts and are largely ignored. And that kind of church will eventually die. America’s landscape is becoming littered with empty buildings that use to house the church of the Living God.

After all... the buildings and the teaching and the preaching and the people are gathered together for the purpose of fulfilling the Great Commission and reaching out to those who have never heard of Christ or trusted Him as their Savior...and then bring them into the family of God where they grow spiritually, to maturity in Christ so that Christ will live through them and get and save the lost.

Unfortunately, in fact, there are many churches that are “dead” and they don’t even know it yet...they’ll be able to run around for a while...they’re used to being engaged in frequent movement patterns and rituals...just like the chicken...but they are on their way out because they turned inward.

Yes, according to Smokey the Bear, it’s true; you can help prevent forest fires, by not lighting a match and throwing it down in the forest. But more importantly, you can help prevent the death of a church...for people are the are the church... and by asking yourself if you are doing everything the Lord wants you to do to reach out with the good news of Jesus Christ you can help prevent our death.

Some churches are dead and they don’t even know it. Pray it never happens here.

... they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also"-  Acts 17:6 (ESV)

Posted by Ralph Sawyer with
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   At FBCW we have a special ministry that the Lord called me to initiate about in the 1980's.  We asked for volunteers who would agree to become part of a team that would pray when called upon for those in emergency situations.  We have seen this ministry grow through the years and have witnessed miracles. We now have a Prayer Team of over 40 faithful people who are notified when one of our fellowship is in need of prayer. We praise the Lord for their faithfulness and commitment to pray.

   What a marvelous gift we have been given from the Lord.  In His word, He tells us to call upon Him and He will hear and answer our prayers.  He also says in James that we have not because we ask not.  In Thessalonians, we are told to pray continually or always be in an attitude of prayer.  This is God's plan for us to be able to communicate with our Heavenly Father.  Just stop and think -as lowly humans- we have the blessed privilege to speak to the King and Ruler of this universe, just by calling out to Him, saying, "Father" and He hears us and will answer according to His will and purpose.  God longs for us to fellowship with Him through prayer.

   We were reminded of how much God wants to work through us by means of prayer in 2017.  11 Chronicles 7 :14 tells us how much He wants to use us when He said, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land."  Through the ministry of Franklin Graham thousands of people gather in each of the 50 state capitols to pray for America and the coming election.  We saw God work through those prayers and we have a President who is seeking to bring America back to the godly principles that we were founded upon.  This Christmas we were encouraged to once again say "Merry Christmas” and nativity scenes were once again on display in the White House.  Congressman are gathering every Monday morning for Bible study. God is giving American one more chance to turn back to Him.  Praise the Lord.

   Taking time to call upon the Lord is spoken about in Psalm 46, He says, "Be still and know that I am God." That calls us all to make time in this fast-paced world, to get quiet before the Lord and communicate with Him in prayer.  When we learn to do this, we find that His peace will abide with us.  It pleases the Lord when we call upon Him in prayer and trust Him to guide us day by day.

   My life verse is Proverbs 3:5-6, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.

Keep praying and trusting,
Karen Gibbs

Posted by Karen Gibbs with

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