There are many rewards to fellowship with the other church members such as providing for the service of those there, and for those in need when reaching outside of the church. There’s also providing for those who come to the church and have needs in times of great loss, or even great joy. Everyone knows, when becoming part of a church, you gain a church family, and you gain church friends. Many times you will spends so much time with your children at church functions, and other families as well, the mingling pours over into a huge bowl of tag football games, basketball leagues, bible study groups, and not to mention the endless months of birthday parties for kids and adults of all ages.
There is a joy to this friendship, as even:
How many times have you heard, you can never have enough friends? Well, even the Bible says, friends are, or can be a good thing. Although there tends to be varying degrees of friends. There are what my dad called “true-blue friends and fair-weathered friends”, and I do believe, you have more of the latter.
The alarming thing is we are referring to church friends. Shouldn’t these be the people you have the most of? You see them every Sunday, and then midway through the week as well. You see them at all of the activities, and so forth. So why would they not be your truest of bluest friends? If memory serves me correctly, where did Eve find that snake? In the garden of Eden, of all places. Funny how Satan shows up at the most inconspicuous places. He does those things you know, to put us off guard. Never can you be fooled by that snake, not even when he slithers into the church unnoticed. It was mentioned about this suspicion.
Many churches will have scores of football fans, mostly men. Not to say there aren’t female fans, but mostly me. My former leader of church and prayer, Eric Harriman loves nothing more than a Saturday, afternoon getting-together of men and wives, to watch an LSU football game The only thing he prefers to do on a Saturday afternoon is shop for Hot Wheels cars. It isn’t uncommon for him to ask you to meet him and his wife Jodie, and a small group for a football party. That consists of root beer, pizza and big screen TV. What an evening!
Many churches are overrun with women who need mani-pedi on a weekly basis. They love to have their fingers and toes, shined and polished. They also love to splurge for a lunch, maybe a movie. All this depends on the time, since after a week of this and that at work, a day of retail therapy at the mall is in effect. There’s never the same group of ladies, and there is always one, or maybe two ladies who aren’t there. Now, this is the southern region I am referring, so honestly- it is because A) She was invited last time, and she caused some strife; B) She only gets invited to get the gossip, and you have to have a break; C) She is known for her drama, so she has to be invited every few times; and D) She really is sick and can’t be there.
These southern women tend to show up in groups, then sit in smaller groups, and talk in even smaller groups. However, when someone has a birthday, there is going to be a cake, and every lady in the church is going to sign up for that trip. Everyone loves a good southern cake with extra this, that, and some of yes, twice of the special ingredient. So you see how this is different from the boys, correct? Every football get together with the men, will be two teams, man-handling each other for the ball; where with the women, every birthday a party will be two table loads of women, man-handling each other for the cake.
There are times, then and again, when not everyone is so typical. Michael Brown wrote about hearing from a friend who was invited to his pastor’s home for a birthday party. This party was for the pastor’s wife- the friend’s pastor- but not Mr. Brown’s. No one wants to be considered dull, but not everyone is a party person. Some people choose not to go, and some like Brown, have to work and were unable to go. What about when you are faced with the decision to speak up about the party, or not? After all, you weren’t at the party, but is the pastor at your church, “YOUR PASTOR?” Do you have this closeness with him or her, where you say, “Hey, that’s my pastor you are talking about, and I don’t appreciate it?” Do you have that bit of possessiveness about that person?
If that is your prerogative, then let’s consider this:
You have to work, and you tell your best church friend “Hey, bring me a piece of cake on your way home.” (…typical southern gesture)
About three hours later, your friend comes by, no cake, and says, “I am really upset! I can’t begin to tell you about this party.”
She continues, “There were so many people there, and our pastor was the DJ. He played about 20 songs before I left, and these were secular songs. I don’t mind some secular songs, because you know, they talk about getting married, or being in love, but these songs were… well, they were downright profane-celebrating everything he preaches against. At one point, the wife of the Youth Leader, climbed onto a chair, grabbed the ceiling to brace herself, then began to dance like a stripper. I didn’t know what I had walked into for a minute. I was embarrassed one minute, and nauseated the next. These people were acting like animals!”
What would you say to your friend? What would the Lord want you to say to your friend? Is there a difference between the two? Would you confront your pastor about this information, and how this made you feel as a member of his congregation? Would you return to the church? There are a lot of what ifs, and how would you feel here? There are several questions to be answered, but these are answers that should rest in your heart, not for me, if you were my friend, I would say to you:
“I am so sorry for the betrayal you must feel right now. I am sorry for the pain you feel, and the concern of how you feel, since having your trust broken is one thing, but when it is the one person you would go to for all of your questions? It just seems too much.”
Our Two Cents:
- Would you be angry? Brown mentioned, “How to speak against sin TODAY, is to be ‘JUDGMENTAL’.”
- Would you be sad? Brown stated, “How to call for holiness TODAY, is to be ‘LEGALISTIC’.”
- Would you be amused? Brown specified, “How to live differently than the world TODAY, is to be ‘RELIGIOUS.’”
TODAY, it seems as if everything is a battle with someone. YESTERDAY, Christians were being put down:
- Because of our position on abortion;
- Before that, it was because of our position on man and woman as husband and wife;
- Before that it was—— do you see a pattern? And you know what? TOMORROW, is here too.
- A Coach in Washington, walked by himself, as he has for the last seven years, to an open field to praise God for a good night of football, with a good game, even though they lost the game, safe trips home, thankful for the guys on the team, his and the opposing team, and the opposing team, not his team, the opposing team joined him. The opposing team’s coach- joined him. So this wasn’t about the Bradenton School, this was about the right to pray when and where you want. Were all of those kids Christian? No, but they took a knee and took a moment to be at peace with themselves.
The controversial talk show, The View, once again was caught up on the subject. Their question was,
“Isn’t he violating the federal law that bans prayer in schools?”
Their newest addition, co-host, Candace Cameron Bure, who came aboard after the show slammed nurses everywhere a few weeks back; they added Ms. Bure and they better keep her, because she does have more than common sense. It seems she has book sense too: She cleared that up quickly asserting because our Constitution, separates church and state, does not mean that we cannot pray publicly. It actually guarantees our free exercise of religion so that, if it is voluntary, we are allowed to pray wherever we would like to. (Smith, 2015)
It was her co-host Raven Symone, who continued asking questions not pertaining to the situation, for instance, she wanted to understand, why have prayer in schools, especially if someone like her does not want to pray. She claimed it is not fair for somebody who doesn’t pray. (Smith, 2015)
Symone is right, if she doesn’t want to pray, the she shouldn’t be made to. Which again is the whole point of prayer being voluntary- which Bure explained at an elementary length. It seemed Symone was more concerned about professing her lack of faith, and her obvious indecision in any faith, that made it seem as everything she said was more argumentative than informative. Maybe she was being belligerent, and felt she could bully this new co-host into a corner, or maybe she felt she would challenge her to profess her faith too much, and that too would be enough, to have the new co-host removed. I’m unsure exactly what this lady’s intention was, but it did not seem all that pure at heart. (Smith, 2015)
Brown mentioned his thoughts:
- How it is one thing to show mercy to believers who fall, reaching out to them with compassion and gently leading them back to restoration;
- It is also one thing to preach against legalism, which I define as externally imposed religion, meaning, laws without love, rules without relationship, and standards without a Savior.
- And it’s one thing to extol God’s grace, recognizing that He loves on our good days and our bad days and that our relationship with Jesus is not measured by our latest spiritual accomplishment.
- But it’s another thing entirely to be polluted by the world in the name of liberty and to exalt the flesh in the name of freedom. (Brown, 2015)
Agreeing with Brown, I feel before we do anything, we should all examine our own lives, sit in judgement of ourselves, and pray first. Then pray for this pastor, his family, and our pastor and friends, as we are all children of the Father~