No More Wimpy Preaching!
By Chris Rathbone
There are many nights that I’m what some would call a “Night Owl”. Often after the family goes to bed I’m wide awake. Though there are times that I really want to sleep, I just can’t. I often work out, run on the treadmill or read and study for a while. Sometimes I often go to bed and doze for a while and suddenly I’m wide awake. After someone has done this for as many nights as I have, you learn to simply get out of bed and use the time for other things (and yes sometimes I just watch TV, don’t hang me!). Prayer, study, and often just sitting quietly in the den and thinking things over and trying to listen to the Lord is what I end up doing.
There have been numerous times that the Lord has used this time to speak to my heart. Sometimes it’s a sermon He wants me to prepare to preach. Sometimes I feel as if He just wants me to read His word, listen, and contemplate for a while. There have also been those times that He wants to straighten out something in my life personally. These times are difficult but I know He loves me and that it is for my benefit.
Last night was a night that I just couldn’t go to sleep. After dozing for a while, I suddenly woke up with a heavy burden on my heart. Without any sugarcoating, I will just share what I feel the Lord flooded my heart with as I lay there in my bed. It was as if I was almost jolted from my dozing with my heart racing and immediately our country was on my mind. My heartfelt as if it was truly going through mourning. There was a sinking and empty feeling in my soul. Please understand that when I write these things that I truly love our nation. However, I am ashamed of the direction that our nation seems to be going. Hearing our president and other leaders speak of same-sex marriage, abortion, etc. as if they are somehow civil rights to be defended or legalized makes me worried for the future of our nation. The TV news, newspaper, and internet are full of stories of how certain legislation is forcing Christians to surrender their personal religious convictions or else pay the penalty! What has happened to our nation?
We haven’t just strayed away; a lot of our nation’s leaders have completely abandoned God and His word. Somehow they have concluded that we can figure this thing out on our own. The only time many of our leaders want God, prayer, or “religion” is when tragedy strikes. We as a society have gradually abandoned God and then blame Him when terrible things happen. I hear the comments all the time. “If God really loves us, why did He let this or that happen?” Folks, there is something that I believe we better be very careful of; and that’s blaming our Holy God with the sinful and ungodly choices that man makes.
We have forsaken God and His word and do exactly the opposite of what it says and then we wonder why our nation is in such shape. Our leaders speak very little of God and how He has made our nation great in the past. What I call “Historical Amnesia” is running rampant in this country. In our schools, we refuse to teach that this country was founded on Judeo-Christian values. Somehow our forefathers were not speaking of freedom of religion but of freedom from religion. The use of the name of Jesus has become pretty well a crime not to mention the reading of or even referencing the Holy Bible. We teach our children and adults that they really evolved from lower forms of life and that we are really just more evolved animals. And we wonder why people have no more respect for human life than to senselessly walk into a building filled with children and just start shooting. After all, aren’t we just animals, according to the school curriculum?
The church has tiptoed around these issues so long that we have really in a sense lost the influence that we should be having in our communities and our country. We have allowed this materialistic, selfish, and godless society to somehow make the church feel that we are not supposed to say anything. “Well, we aren’t supposed to judge, Preacher”, many will say. We aren’t supposed to judge if we are doing the same thing. If we are judging others and we are doing the same thing or worse, the same judgment will be handed down to us. Read the Bible folks! Standing for what is right according to scripture is not wrong.
There are probably pages that I could write about what is going on in our nation that is causing its downfall. But let me get to the burden that God laid on my heart last night; it is for the pastors and preachers in our land. The television is full of messages of prosperity, money, and watered-down gospel preaching. “Send in your seed money and God is going to bless you financially!” they will say. Sermon after sermon is preached on how to feel good, how to be happy, etc., etc. There aren’t many preachers willing to stand and challenge from the Word of God what is going on in our nation. Many churches will dismiss Sunday after Sunday, with a message destitute of eternal truth that has rocked to sleep the congregation. We have listened to this tolerance and acceptance gibberish to extent that we are afraid of challenging issues from the scriptures for fear of being labeled intolerant, judgmental, or a hate-monger. If our nation does not repent from the direction it is going, the nation that you and I once knew, the nation that our forefathers and servicemen and women have fought to preserve will be gone. We as a nation cannot continue to condone sexual immortality, the killing of babies in the womb, the oppression of the poor, the fraud of governmental spending, the expulsion of God and righteousness from the public square, and expect to continue to enjoy the blessings of a Holy God.
The problem in our nation is a spiritual one, not an economic one. This is not about a political party but about our leaders returning our nation to follow the God of the Holy Bible. If we do not repent as a nation, judgment will come and I believe has already started. But first, it begins at the house of God. And in the house of God, it begins with the Man of God who stands and proclaims the eternal Word. This mess of avoiding issues because of offending someone because of their position in church, politics, or what other excuse preachers can come up with, has got to stop. We have been called, you have been called to preach what “thus saith the Lord” and not what may or may not be popular. When you and I stand at the final judgment, we will not stand before a president, congress, a political party, etc. We will stand at the Judgment Seat of Christ and give account for what our Savior has entrusted to us. Are we going to preach what God has given us in His Word or are we going to cave into the ungodly society around us? Preach my brother! Stand for what is right! Exalt the message of God’s word as it is given to us. Don’t be afraid, ashamed, or compromising on God’s eternal truth. Call our churches to repentance and then we can call our nation to repentance. May God help us to have the courage and strength to stand during these troubling times. If our nation chooses to continue on this path of destruction, I pray it won’t be because the pastors of this nation have failed to be the watchmen God has called us to be. It is time we stand on the authority of the Eternal Word of God! No more wimpy preaching!
In Christ, Preacher Chris
II Timothy 4:1 Preach the Word…
Preacher Chris Rathbone serves as Pastor at Mine Creek Baptist Church.
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