WHAT IS YOUR BELIEFS? Who or what do you worship? Maybe this question shows more about how and why our nation and society is sliding into the abyss.
There was a meeting of the pastoral council last week in our community. This is where all our denominations gather to discuss common problems and cooperative efforts. It also happened to be the same day that our church had an extended finance committee meeting to discuss our congregations status. It seems that no matter what denomination the problems are the same. This is also true of the rest of the country.
The most obvious is that attendance is dropping, especially among younger members, and income is dropping to support the churches basic needs. It is a universal truth that 30% give and 70% don't. We have a Time, Talent, and Treasure program that allows the Sunday sermons to devote themselves to spiritual topics. When I was young it seemed that there was an inordinate amount of time spent asking for money.
Back years ago we had a pastor that offered to make a bet with any member of the church. He bet that if 10% was tithed that after a year if your circumstances were not better he would refund everything you gave. There was not one family that asked for their tithe back.
Later on another pastor created the Time, Talent, and Treasure program in a formal way and was so successful he presented it all over the nation to congregations.
In today's world we seem to realize that there are more distractions. Especially for the younger generations. But if your faith is focused these distractions can be dealt with. It comes down to what you worship. By seeming to be believers our priorities seem to have slipped and there is worship more of technology, pleasure, hoarding, and all the old sins the biggest being money.
When I was young we played war, cops and robbers, cowboys and indians, and spy (Man From Uncle). We had toy guns and dad had real guns for hunting and self defense. We did not end up shooting kids or theaters. We also did not see 40,000 graphic images of death before we were in high school through movies and games as today.
When a kid had problems in school you did not prescribe drugs to modify behavior. You tried to find out what the problems were and fix them.
The new great religion is the environment and mother earth has taken the place of God. The usage of radical laws and concepts now allow those who are trained and know how to utilize and protect the earth to be dominated by those with an agenda to have more power.
Another religion is technology. There is such an fast paced development of things we never dreamed of that are deemed essential today. The dependence is almost worship. Try taking that i-phone away from the kid and see what they believe in.
At some point you will have to decide if you worship things, ideas, or God. The survival of our nation and world depends on your answer.