Friday, August 1, 2014
When I was in the radio ministry years ago, we would have listeners call in for prayer after hearing the programs, and once in a while to ask for advice. One local call I won’t soon forget came from a lady that wanted some advice concerning her pastor. Apparently he had just taken over for the church’s long standing pastor who moved to another state and had been serving as his assistant for a couple of years. This lady was wrestling with the decision to stay or to move to another church, the reason being that her new pastor wasn’t as well equipped as her old pastor. To be honest, I didn’t know quite what to tell her and immediately lifted up a silent prayer to God to help me. I was already prepared to tell her to just pray about it and make her own decision, when the Lord led me to ask her two simple questions about her new pastor. I asked, “In your opinion, does he really love his members and do they love him as well?” She quickly responded, “Oh yes, there is no doubt about that.” I felt led of the Lord so I advised her to stay there, pray for her pastor, and help him in any way she could.
Years have passed and now I am more convinced than ever that the answer I gave that day came from the Lord. Let me tell you why: So many people today struggle with the same decision as our lady caller of long ago. They may not be totally convinced that they are in the right church or, for whatever the reason, may be looking for a new one. Here is where things get more complicated because for the most part, church seekers already have an idea of what they are looking for in a church or pastor. They may prefer the pastor to be in a particular age group or may be looking for one or more personality or character traits in him. They may also have in mind the size of the church, it’s music, or services or programs they offer. All of these things may be important, but there is one sure sign that determines if the church you are in is the right one or not. It comes down to something as simple as love and peace.
The Apostle Paul wrote in his first letter to the Corinthians, Chapter 13, that if he could speak like an angel, or knew all the mysteries of God and had all the faith in the world, but had no love, it would be like he had nothing at all. Any pastor or church, therefore, that has no love, really has nothing to offer. Jesus told His Disciples, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35) This verse confirms the truth that Christians are not just known by the love they have but by the love they give. Then comes peace. Besides love, if you also feel peace in the church you are in, you are in the right place because God is love and Jesus is the Prince of Peace. The bottom line is this: If you feel loved, welcomed, and at peace in the church you’re in, look no further.
Memory verse for the week: (Ephesians 4:31) Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice.