Spirit-Filled Churches Of Yesterday
As a young boy I remember feeling the hymn “There Is Power In The Blood” as the body of our church sang it together. No, I didn’t mean to say hearing. I chose the word feeling on purpose.
I didn’t understand every word of the song, but I sure did feel the sweet spirit of God in that sanctuary. His saints didn’t just let empty words roll off the tips of their tongues. They sang from their hearts and they sang to the Lord. But it wasn’t just the singing. I remember old ladies testifying, with tears running down their faces. They were so thankful for what God was doing in their lives. I remember teenagers and children standing up and praising the Lord. When the man of God got behind the pulpit, the entire congregation picked up their Bibles to see how quickly they could get to the proper book and chapter.
Oh, there was something special about those times. The churches were full. People were getting saved. Folks were rededicating their lives to Christ. Families attended church together. We were afraid to miss church because we didn’t want to miss something exciting.
Churches Full Of Dead Men’s Bones
Today, most of the churches I have visited are nothing like the ones I attended as a boy. Oh, there are testimonies. People sit in their seats and tell the church how thankful they are for what God has done. But there is no emotion. There is no excitement. There is congregational singing. The song leader tells the congregation to turn to a certain page number. Folks sit still for a moment until just before the song leader begins to lead the song and then they open the hymn book and start turning pages. By the time he gets to the chorus, they have found the page and by the time he gets to the end of the chorus, they find their place.
In some churches, where there is still good, solid, sound preaching, the congregation seems dead. People sit in the pews resting their heads in their hands, trying to suppress their yawns, playing peek-a-boo with the smaller children, and doing everything they can to avoid getting anything out of the sermon.
Sadly, many churches no longer have preaching at all. Or at least not the kind of preaching I heard as a boy – the kind that brought conviction on all who heard. Not the kind of preaching that stirred hearts. Not the kind of preaching that left people going home wanting to make changes in their lives or in their homes.
Ungodly Homes Directly Impact The Church
I recently read an article on a blog titled “small home, close family” about how so many churches today have grown somewhat stagnant. In my opinion, it has started in the home. I have been preaching a series on the home in our church for the past several weeks. In our homes today, there are too few fathers who lead their families in daily devotions, too few mothers who pray with their children, too few children who take time to read their Bibles on their own. We live in a world where Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat are more important than prayer, soul-winning, and church attendance.
When people spend the majority of their time involved in secular activities, they have no time left over to spend with God. Their hearts grow hard and cold and when they come to church, they don’t feel anything.
Let’s Get Our Zeal Back!
I, for one, would like to get my zeal back. I want to preach full of the Holy Spirit. I want to preach messages that will motivate people to live for Jesus. Messages that will help folks get closer to the Father. Messages that will not just go in one ear and out the other.
When I’m the one being preached to, I want to have an “Amen,” in my lips. I want my heart to be opened up so I can feel that sermon penetrating my soul. I want to stand to my feet and testify with tears of gratefulness streaming down my face. I want to sing praises with every ounce of my being. I want the zeal that the church of yesterday had.
How about you? Do you have the zeal of yesterday’s church? You can have it.
Together, why don’t we pray and ask God to restore our joy and our zeal? Why don’t we ask Him to not only fill us with zeal, but our fellow church members as well? Why don’t we ask God to set our souls afire?
I am going to stop blogging now so I can get down on my knees and do just that. I hope you will do the same.