My Prayer for an Apathetic Church

I am so terribly burdened for the state of the Church… Not the whole Church, of course, because God always has His faithful remnant, and He’s certainly doing mighty things. But for all the lukewarm and apathetic believers who care so much about all that the world has to offer — money, sports, TV, etc. — and yet don’t care about the things of God — eternal things that will last — I grieve. I pray. I sit in anguish of heart because we have an eternal hope, and yet we can’t find time to worship God and thank Him for it. I grieve because souls are perishing and we (yes, myself also) are too afraid to speak the gospel to our neighbor — too afraid of what they might say.

I am terribly sad and burdened. And I see how commercialized our churches often are. And I see how consumeristic our society often is. And I see how very much like the world our average Christian often is. And it absolutely pains my heart…

Do we not read in the Scriptures that if anyone loves the world the love of the Father is not in them?

Do we not read that Jesus spews the lukewarm believers out of His mouth?

And are we not, so often, in our sterilized Western society, merely whitewashed lukewarm believers?

I listened to a quote recently from Leonard Ravenhill, and he said that Christians are the most busy decorating the exterior when the inside is dead. And isn’t this exactly what Jesus said? He said that the Pharisees — the ones who were supposed to be the /leaders/ of the day — were dead on the inside and only beautifying the exterior.

Isn’t this exactly what we do? We make our churches elaborate, decorating them just right. We make sure we have the latest and greatest music. We give everyone the perfect coffee and cozy seats. We teach our singers to smile and raise their hands… But so often we find that these things don’t fix the problem — our hearts are far from God.

I don’t mean to say that our churches are full of unbelievers. Perhaps, sometimes, they are. And perhaps, sometimes, that’s a good thing — to help them see the gospel. But, what I am saying, is that we have too many genuine believers who live disingenuous lives. They say one thing on Sunday, and live a different life throughout the week. They may sing and praise God on-stage, but off-stage they couldn’t care less about worshipping God.

We have too many heartless, prayerless, powerless Christians, teetering on the fence — just enough Jesus to keep appearances up, and just enough of the world to blend in just right. It seems hardly a person is willing to stand out for Jesus and actually take up their cross, being willing to take the necessary sacrifices to live a godly life in Christ Jesus — while being fully aware that doing so necessitates being mocked and persecuted: even called out as ‘too radical’ by more “normal” Christian friends or family members.

And please, I do not at all intend to say there are not genuine followers of God, truly doing everything in their power to live a holy life before God and actually let His Word and His Spirit guide them. I know these people exist — some of you are even my friends reading this right now. And I thank God for you. And I love you as my brothers and sisters in the Lord. May God continue to give us strength and boldness to follow Him wherever He leads!

And yet my heart is terribly burdened for all those souls who find themselves dancing with Jesus on one day and dancing with the devil on another. It’s not okay, it needs to stop, and God will be sure that it stops someday. But I am praying so much for all of us in the Church that we would wake up and follow Jesus out of a true heart, not being double-minded or unstable, but truly standing firm upon all that Jesus is.

That is my prayer.

Oh God, help us. We need You. I need You. The Church needs You. The lost need You. This whole world needs You, God. Please help. Please help. Thank You.

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I Love My God

I love my God so much; He is so precious to me.
No matter what the circumstances that threaten me,
He is ever my strength, my warm embrace.

He loves me with a mother-like love – unconditional, ever-present.
Even if I stray, He is always willing to take me back.

He is the source of my joy, the only reason that I live.
Because of Him, I hope and praise Him exuberantly.

I wave my arms and dance with vigor;
My face is radiant because of all my God’s blessings and mercy.

He grants rest for my soul in the midst of the harshest turmoil.
I will never be ashamed when my feet are planted on His words.

I cannot contain my excitement;
I have to show it to the world.
They have to know the awesome God that I serve.

He is absolutely lovely.
Though I have not seen Him,
His face cheers my soul;
His hand draws me near;
His love beckons me to His side.

What can I say about my God?
His breath can unearth mountains,
His voice silences nations.
The world stood in silent anticipation in the beginning,
And even now all the world longs for Him to bring redemption.

Even I await His glorious finale.
All this life is His grand show,
Scripted out according to His masterful planning and ingenious mind.

Who could dare to argue with God?
Who could prove to know any better than He does?
Is the One who made the human brain not capable of understanding it?

He searches deep into my soul;
He sees my inmost thoughts and feelings,
My deepest desires and greatest fears.
He knows where I came from
And He knows where I will go.

He loved me before I came to be,
And it was His unfailing love that sent Him –
That drove Him – to the cross.
In pain, scorned, abandoned,
This most loving God of all
Was unloved.

I love my God so much.
I love Him because He loved me first;
Because He fought through all of His anguish,
Despising the shame but realizing that
There was a great hope He was achieving for us,
A hope that was worth pursuing,
Even in the face of the vilest death.

And my God is not a victim of death,
But indeed He is a victor.
He’s seated on high;
He rose from the tomb.
He’s who I’m counting on
When I feel weak and afraid,
For His power –
His death-defeating, dynamite power –
Is living and working in me,
Giving me strength that I need.

When I awake in the morning,
My heart belongs to God.
When I lay down to sleep,
His eyes watch over me.
My every step has been laid out
So that I might know Him more
And come to treasure Him for all He is.

I desire to know You even more deeply, God,
Because I have found Your love to be sweet.
Even Your punishment and chastisement
Serve ultimately to draw me closer to You.
So prune me, refine me in the fire,
Take out my impurities
And help me to become a godly man,
A reflection of Christ Himself,
A leader of confidence and humility,
Of peace and justice.

I want to be a man worthy of full respect –
Gracious, well-mannered, sober-minded,
Intelligent, gentle, bold, responsible, fearless;
One who’s whole life is devoted to loving God
With everything he has
And who likewise loves others
With whom he come in contact.

I want to be the kind of person
Who can lead a family;
Who can lead a band;
A hospitable person,
A caring person;
Someone who take care of the sick,
The imprisoned,
Widows,
Orphans,
And the oppressed.

I never want to have a tight grip
On my time, my money or my faith,
But I want to give generously
And help out wherever I can.

I want to have a heart like Yours, God,
And it is only through You that I can accomplish this.
Live through me and accomplish Your work.

Thank You. I love You so much.

Amen.

Dearest God Above

Dearest God above,

We come to You today giving You thanks,
For You are not just a God seated high above us,
But You are near to each of our hearts

Your providential hands conduct this world
With Your beautiful orchestral score,
And we adore You

We adore Your vast majesty that manifests itself
From the plants to the cosmos
We adore Your great intelligence that instigated a plan
To save a world that in sinful folly made its boast
We adore the way You adore us,
Wretched as we are from coast to coast
‘Til You step in
And into us impart a heart not made of stone
And break our loneliness and all the sickness prior fused to our bones

We were wandering on our own, then crash!
Our feeble minds were blown,
Stepping right into a trap of our own making,
We made it clear that our lives were for the taking,
To be taken without force but by Your divine ordaining,
For what is this world but Your delightful oil painting?

And You sweep the colors this way and that
And sometimes I slip right off like I’m under attack
And I look up to the sky and I question where You’re at
But my God don’t play games – He don’t like it like that

Nah, God, You got my back
And Your back ain’t never been turned on us
Just like the Red Sea been parted,
I know You’re paving our path
And we’ll continue to follow,
Not getting stubborn-hearted and stiff-necked
Like a self-seeking giraffe
Oh, those Israelites didn’t know what they were missing
When they threw You in the trash!

And God our hearts can be just as calloused
We don’t pretend to be shining like diamonds
We just want to look to the true Light
So would You open our eyelids?

With our hearts bowed before You now in humble silence
We lose the words to thank You for Your renewal that brightens
Even the depths of our souls, black as coals at the day’s end
Oh God, would You save us, save us like an old friend?

We ask for Your provision – You always provide
You’re always good, and without any pride
‘Cause You rightfully deserve all the praise
And at the end of our days, when all hands are raised
You’ll lift us up, and like a triumphal parade
We’ll sing and shout and lift high Your name
So with that in mind, direct our hearts today

Help us see from Your perspective,
Following Your divine directive,
Feeding the poor and the needy,
Comforting the broken,
And witnessing to a dying world

May we help widows in their distress
And look out for our fellow man,
Not seeking applause but approval –
Approval from the One who created both the oceans and the sand

For some day,
When this world fades away
All that will matter is what was done by Your hand

Thank You for choosing to love us
Thank You for helping us stand

Not to us, O Lord,
Not to us,
But to Your name be the glory –
To the Eternal One,
The everlasting and exalted Lamb

Amen