Last week my daughter’s best friend had her father commit suicide.
When someone you know chooses to end their life it hits hard. People take their lives when they lose hope and buy into the lie that the only way out for them is to kill themselves. I’ve been in a dangerous place like that years ago and know from personal experience how intense those battles are.
When my daughter’s friend lost her father it reminded me that we are a church at war and losing way too many battles.
* An annual church profile showed that the SBC (Southern Baptists) lost 435,000 members in 2020.
* A new survey from Barna Group showed that 6% of Americans have a biblical worldview.
* Another study showed that 43% of millennials stated they don’t know, don’t care or don’t believe God exists. Only 16% of millennials believe they will go to Heaven only because they confessed their sins and accepted Jesus as their savior.
* Weekly, if not daily, men in trusted leadership positions in church, including pastors, are arrested for possession of illegal pornography.
* The Drudge Report recently featured an article on “Why women are becoming witches.” The occult is now mainstream. Just last weekend I was at a grocery store and spotted a teenage daughter with her mom. The daughter was wearing a black shirt with a pentagram on it and had her head buried in her phone. We’re losing our youth.
Francis Chan recently said the following:
I am seeing so many people, friends of mine who were in ministry, who are just saying they don’t believe, or they’re walking away; “I don’t know if I believe that anymore,” And I just think that’s crazy. We’re seeing people that we look up to- leaders-fall. We’re seeing the world look at evangelical Christianity as an absolute joke right now … it’s every day you can just jump on Instagram … and someone is saying, ‘I’m not a Christian anymore.
Satan plays for keeps; his mission is to destroy every life he can any way he can. His dark army is quickly taking new ground at will, and our churches are… well, what are they doing? “Let’s turn up the volume of the worship band a little louder, then… Back to our verse by verse study of… this morning.” Zzzzzzz. Someone please tell me, where is the sense of urgency?! I haven’t even mentioned those who come to us for help whose lives and marriages are being torn apart by pornography or some other kind of sexual sin.
Please don’t give me a line about “God gives us the victory.” He sure does at the end, but for now we’re getting sifted. We don’t need cheap clichés, we need action.
Sometimes it feels like there’s a bizarre disconnect from reality in church. The whole thing is fracturing, and lives are being destroyed yet it hardly registers from most pulpits.
I offer the answers to “why?” in my book The Rogue Christian. For the purposes of this email I’ll say that our churches are not houses of prayer and they’re not equipping people to be overcomers. Without a deep prayer life there is no passion and fire, and without a passionate love relationship with the Lord where we hear His voice and are following Him the chances are high we’ll resort to doing church and the Christian life the way we’ve always done it before, which is exactly what’s happening. You can’t have God’s heart, strength, and wisdom without spending significant time with Him.
I encourage you to consider the following.
You, your marriage, your family and your church are at war. The enemy will do anything he can to keep you bound in isolation, defeat, discouragement, fear, bondage to sin, strife with others, prayerlessness, choked with busyness, or wallowing in apathy and the pleasure and entertainment of this world.
You must go against the grain of status quo Christianity and be connected with other believers every week, have a deep, consistent prayer life, filter out the things that choke your walk with God, and be determined to live a life that counts for eternity. This required action, not just Bible study. Many Christians are choked with entertainment, smartphones, and other distractions. Busyness is an easy go-to in Satan’s arsenal; “keep them going and distracted so they’re of no use in the spiritual battle.” Along the way we lose our heart; then it’s a matter of time before we stumble or fall.
If you want to live a life that counts for eternity you’ll have to spend more time in prayer and less with other things. We’ve gone way overboard with freaking out if someone challenges us to live a life of holiness and labelling them as a legalist. We have to start challenging and encouraging each other to take our walk with God to a higher level.
You have the spiritual weapons to break strongholds, shut down the enemy, and spear your flesh, one day at a time. You will need to use them daily. Become a prayer warrior, and pray with others at least once a week. If you’re stuck and want help, contact us.
We have a free Zoom prayer meeting that meets Wednesday mornings at 9:00AM US Central time that is open to everyone. If you don’t have a group of believers you can pray with, join us. Contact us if you want to participate.
If you haven’t already, I encourage you to read The Rogue Christian. The book will equip you on how to be the overcomer God calls every believer to be. If money is a problem, we’ll send you a copy free of charge. Just contact us with your address.
Picture: Ilkin Quliyev