Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Weeds Are Coming! The Weeds Are Coming!!

oh wait, they are already here!

Wow, this has been a hot dry summer. I don't know why, but here in Easley SC it seems like every time any rain comes to the area this year, it either: (1) Falls apart before it gets to us (2) Goes around us or (3) Falls apart before it gets to us, Gets below us, Re-forms and takes off again moving away from us.
60% chance of rain Sunday. Dark clouds on the horizon. Thunder booming all around us. Not one drop of rain. Temps flirting with 100, makes for a hot and dry day.
What does this have to do with anything about Christianity? Just wait, it's coming!
I love gardening. Especially flowers. They are all over my front and back yard and deck. So I have been watering them most mornings, yet the heat has been so bad, the flowers are still often droopy from the heat by afternoon. I feel so sorry for them that I want to gather them all up and take them inside where we have central a/c.
But the WEEDS are really getting on my nerves. While I'm steadily trying to keep the flowers alive, the weeds are THRIVING! They are sprouting everywhere in my beds. I put down a fabric underneath the mulch and plants, and now they have found a way to poke thru them. EGADS. So today I had to spend quite some time pulling them. It looks like a bomb was dropped from high above and plants lie scattered around. While pulling weeds, a thought hit me. This is just like church.
Churches have weeds. YES, weeds. They are the ones who are always seeming to prosper in position, while causing a bunch of consternation to everyone. You know, the person who gabs about everyone, never truly likes anyone, yet is trying to be better than everyone. They tend to run people off. They will hurt your feelings, either indirectly or directly, and they won't care. They take over committees and run them with their own agenda, choking off the ideas of anyone who doesn't agree with them. defines a weed as:
'any undesirable or troublesome plant, especially one that grows profusely where it is not wanted.'
Any undesirable (why do you let people whom everyone knows is not good for the betterment of your congregation run your church) or troublesome (do you really want troublemakers/problem creators in your church?)  plant (reckon Satan has placed them there, either known or unbeknownst to them?), especially (wow, that is a word that has strong meaning) one that grows profusely (read what i said earlier about the takeover) where it is not wanted.
How does it happen?
I blame pastors and congregations alike. People are too worried about being too politically correct for one thing. They don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. It is too hard to get people to church nowadays (and after reading so far, you wonder why????) and they do not want to lose membership/attendance so that they can boast of how big they are.
Pastors! Preach the word. Create a congregation that is strong in the word. Not a congregation that shows up, listens to you carry on for a while, then goes home, never fully understanding why they were there in the first place. You need to show people why they should even be there in the first place. Get their attention back to what matters. That is what Upside Down Christianity is all about. Shake out the bad, the poorly rooted, and put your church (WHICH IS GOD'S HOUSE) back in order.
(don't know how to do it, contact me, I'll come help!)
"Well, I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings," is what I hear. Bologna. I'm not saying go and be mean. But confront them. Gather your elders (although a lot of the time a good bit of them are the problem!!!!!) or people who you can trust and will back you. Go to them. Explain to them what they are doing and why it is hurting the ministry of the church. Then give them a choice. Quit doing whatever or you will call them out and ask for their resignation. (notice I did not say throw them out of the church, they still need the word of God!!!!!!!)
"But that will leave me with so few people to work with. The problem children are the only ones who will do anything."
Then get to preaching. And teaching. And PRAY! Ask the Holy Spirit to convict their hearts that they will want to SERVE God, not just Attend Church! (read the earlier blogs (May 2011) on how to have a successful church)
THE WEEDS ARE GOING TO CHOKE YOUR CHURCH!! Then when all you will have is a church with a bad name and a bad reputation (the church I grew up in became known as a problem church because a family ran it, and no one would even come to be an interim, let alone a pastor) and you have no one to preach to eventually (the weeds aren't going to listen, and you will soon realize the spiritual level of the church is dead.)
Once the weeds are all pulled, then the church can begin to grow. It will take your church some time to regroup and start a true growth, (it took my former church almost 2 years), but it will happen, and you, your congregation and your community will be better for it.
NOTE: Are you a member of a congregation where you see this happening all around you? Go to your pastor, tell him what you see, agree to be a part of the solution. But if he refuses to see the problem, then you need to decide what other course needs to be done (change churches/new pastor/etc). DO NOT just sit there and say, "Oh well, I tried but there is nothing I can do about it." THERE IS! And you just may be the one that God will use to do it! END NOTE
Zephaniah 2:9
Therefore, as surely as I live,” declares the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, “surely Moab will become like Sodom, the Ammonites like Gomorrah— a place of weeds and salt pits, a wasteland forever. The remnant of my people will plunder them; the survivors of my nation will inherit their land.” NIV 1984v
Matthew 13:
 24 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.
   27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’
   28 “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.
   “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
   29 “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”
(the above further explained by Jesus later on in the chapter)
36 Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”
 37 He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.
   40 “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42 They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear.

Now, I ask you, do you want the weeds to take over your church? Do you want to have to let them grow until Jesus has to weed them out for you?
Take care of God's house now. If you see a weed, pluck it before it can grow. Preach the word so that people will know and recognize a weed when they see one.
Stop the weeds before they can start. Let your "wheat" be able to help you keep the "weeds" in check. Then you can have a successful ministry and your church will truly prosper.
May God bless you in the days to come!

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