Our pastor did the coolest thing this past week. (It was even written up in the Idaho Statesman, our Gannet owned newspaper.) In response to Target’s decision not to allow Salvation Army bell ringers to stand outside their stores this Christmas season, our senior pastor volunteered the rest of the pastoral staff to ring bells before and after services at our church. The hope is that we can raise a good portion of the $14,000 the local Salvation Army will lose by not being outside Targets in Boise. Rather than getting angry and responding in a negative fashion (writing letters to the editor, etc.), he chose for our church to serve.
He talked this morning about the crisis the church in today. The title of his sermon was “The Quench that Stole Christmas.” Throughout history, when the established Christian culture has begun to drift, looking more and more like the culture around them rather than the culture of God, they’ve become vulnerable and ineffective. The spirit is quenched (pushed down, drowned out). Then there comes a decisive moment, followed by revival.
Today, the “separation of church and state” has become an attempt to snuff out the church. Put the church into a corner where it won’t affect the state. (It’s okay if you want to be a person of faith; just don’t vote your beliefs or impose them on society. In other words, let it be a faith without meaning.) Of course, what separation of church and state originally meant was that there would not be a “state church” (i.e. the Baptists wouldn’t become the state church of America with the Lutherans and Presbyterians subject to them). But the secularists in our world have twisted the truth and put a whole different spin on it. Revisionist history is alive and well today.
As Christians, our choices are:
- Continue to drift and do nothing and let our culture decay more and more and more;
- Get angry and react and fight in the same manner that the world does (nasty words and lawsuits, etc.); or
- Recapture the heart of God and fight with Kingdom mentality.
How do we turn our drifting into an awakening?
- Teach and pass on the Truth to our children and to the people we meet;
- Don’t get tied up in this world and it’s thinking; and
- Follow the Lord’s rule in doing His work.
But my favorite quote of the morning was this:
Tolerance isn’t forgetting sin. Tolerance is forgiving sin.