When Your Church Leaves You Spiritually Unfulfilled

It can be tough to find a good church. The worship services at many churches are either completely irrelevant and old-fashioned or are too much like a show – flashy, loud, and overproduced. Even if we do find a place where we can really worship, it can be hard to really connect with people, build relationships, and be fed spiritually. Sometimes it seems like churches just don’t get it

Or maybe we are focusing on the wrong thing.

The style of worship and culture of our churches isn’t the problem. We tend to focus too much on finding a church that we can “connect with” or that offers what we are looking for and then blame the Church for being out of touch or irrelevant when we can’t find anything that satisfies us or leaves us feeling fulfilled.The problem isn’t the Church or local churches – it’s us. So many of us are too distracted and lazy to read, study, worship, and build relationships on our own, but unwilling to accept responsibility for our lack of spiritual growth. Everything that takes place at churches should be happening every day, but when it only takes place one day a week, of course we’ll feel unfulfilled.

The focus of a worship service isn’t for us to feel connected and satisfied, it’s to worship God together as one body. We feel frustrated and unfulfilled because of our lack of commitment and inability to accept responsibility – not because the Church isn’t doing a good enough job.

So the next time you are feeling unfulfilled or dissatisfied, don’t blame your church – take a look at yourself and the effort that you are putting in. Until we are willing to take responsibility for our own spiritual growth and stop expecting other people to facilitate it for us, we will always feel frustrated and unfulfilled. Until we are willing to study, worship, pray and build relationships on our own throughout the rest of the week, the study, worship, prayer, and relationships we participate in at church will never be enough.

There is a huge difference between going to church and being the Church. Expecting something we do for 1-2 hours out of a 168 hour week to satisfy all our spiritual needs is like expecting a multivitamin to supply all our dietary needs. When we expect a supplement to supply the majority of what we need to be healthy, we end up feeling weak, sick, and vulnerable. We need to stop whining about not being fed and start feeding ourselves. Only when we have a well-balanced diet will we ever be healthy, growing, and able to reach our full potential.

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It Will Never Be Enough

You know that voice in your head?

The voice that says you are not good enough.
The voice that makes you feel guilty for not praying enough.
The voice that makes you feel bad for not reading the Bible enough.
The voice that tells you that no matter what you do, it will never be enough.
The Voice is right.

No matter what you do, it will never be enough.
No matter how much you read your Bible, it will never be enough.
No matter how much you pray, it will never be enough.
No matter how good you are, you will never be good enough.
The Voice is right.

You need to do more good works if you want to be sure that you’re saved.
You need to pray more if you want to be sure that you’re saved.
You need to read your Bible more if you want to be sure that you’re saved.
You need to try harder if you want to be sure that you’re saved.
The Voice is wrong.

The Voice is telling you the truth and telling you lies at the same time.
The Voice doesn’t care if you do more, pray more, read your Bible more, or try harder.
The Voice just wants to take your focus off what saves you.

Your good works don’t save you.
Your prayers don’t save you.
Your Bible studies don’t save you.
Your best efforts don’t save you.

God’s grace, through faith in Jesus, is the only thing that saves you.

When Jesus defeated sin and death, He defeated the Voice.
Don’t believe the lies the Voice tells you.

Keep trying, but remember that no amount of effort is enough to save you.
Keep reading, but remember that no amount of reading is enough to save you.
Keep praying, but remember that no amount of prayer is enough to save you.
Keep doing good, but remember that no amount of good works is enough to save you.

Whatever you do, never lose faith…

Faith Will Always Be Enough.

How Patriotic Should Christians Be?

Does this not seem strange to anyone else?

According to the United States Flag Code:

When used on a speaker’s platform, the flag, if displayed flat, should be displayed above and behind the speaker. When displayed from a staff in a church or public auditorium, the flag of the United States of America should hold the position of superior prominence, in advance of the audience, and in the position of honor at the clergyman’s or speaker’s right as he faces the audience. Any other flag so displayed should be placed on the left of the clergyman or speaker or to the right of the audience. (emphasis mine)

How about now?

When did Christians become okay with giving more honor to the flag that represents the country they live in than to the flag representing the God we serve?  I’m not a fan of having the United States flag anywhere inside the church, but if you insist on having it in your church, could you at least put it in its proper place?  I realize that flags are just pieces of fabric, but when you display a flag you are expressing your loyalty to whatever that flag represents.  And the flag that you place in the position of prominence and highest honor tells everyone who you are most loyal to.

It drives me nuts when I go into a church or Christian organization and I see the United States flag displayed, especially when it is above the Christian flag or the Christian flag is not present.  By doing this it tells people that your ultimate loyalty is to the United States.  Our loyalty should not be to any country, state, organization, or system, but to God and God alone.  That is why I have issues with flying the United States flag inside church buildings.

It’s also why I struggle with saying the Pledge Of Allegiance.

I pledge allegiance to the flag
of the United States of America,
and to the republic for which it stands,
one nation under God, indivisible,
with liberty and justice for all.

I guess my biggest issue with all this is whether or not it’s possible to profess allegiance and be loyal to both God and the country I live in.  My ultimate loyalty will always be to God, but loyalty to a country can change.  If I were a citizen of Djibouti, would my loyalty and allegiance be to America or Djibouti?  I would probably be okay with pledging my allegiance to the United States above any other country, since it’s where I was born and where I live, but I’m not okay with pledging my allegiance in general to a flag or a country.

I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced this, but not too long ago I was at a function at a church and they had everyone stand up and say the Pledge of Allegiance.  I just couldn’t wrap my head around how they could think that it seemed like a good idea.  It was at a graduation ceremony for a preschool at a church in town and they had the kids singing church songs and patriotic songs, one right after the other.  When did American patriotism become so intertwined with Christianity in this country?  And why do Christians seem so okay with them being so closely bound and get so upset and defensive when other people aren’t as patriotic as they think they should be?

Please don’t misunderstand – I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be appreciative of the rights and freedom that we have as a result of living in America.  We should appreciate and be thankful for the rights and freedom that we are afforded as a result of living where we do.  We should be thankful for, respect, and honor those in the military and public service who have sacrificed their time, effort, energy, and lives to protect us and our freedom.  We should show a certain amount of respect to the flag and what it represents.  What we shouldn’t do is be more devoted to the country in which we live than to the Kingdom to which we belong.

Be patriotic if you want.  Be appreciative and grateful that you live where you do.  Show respect to the country, the flag, and those who have given so much so that you may have something to respect and be appreciative of.  Just don’t forget that God and His Church must take priority over whatever country, state, or city you live in.  Nations will come and go, but the Kingdom of God will reign forever.