Sunday, January 17, 2010

JUDGEMENTAL AND CRITICAL





This time I am going to be judgmental and critical. Ok, I know it is a sin but it is just my own thoughts about things. I know I should not judge others and criticize the church but I am an outcast with too many non conforming and thinking out side the box thoughts any way so why not?



Today at church we were passed out a brochure announcing the spring season class schedules for those Christians that might want to partake of the classes. Not a bad idea and many of the classes are good. The classes cover everything from financial issues to learning Greek as it applies to the scriptures. There is classes for learning how to pray for those in the healing ministries, prayer groups, and parenting classes. Also listed are leadership classes for ones that desire to be leaders in the volunteer groups. One class is an introduction the the church doctrine for new members. They also have a class for Christians that want to be share holders ( tithing the 10 % rule). I am not knocking these classes. Let me make that perfectly clear folks. All these classes have a justifiable merit for the new and seasoned members of this church. It gives them knowledge and ways to better serve the church. Not necessarily serving the ones seeking God.



In one class I once signed up for (Alpha), it started out with a sizable crowd seeking God. After the third week of a nine week class, the attendance was down 50% approximately and never went back up. This led me to believe perhaps the message being sought was not available or it did not contain the answers those that dropped out were seeking . Had they remained, perhaps they too could have found the answers they were seeking when the better speakers appeared.



What disturbs me most is I don't see classes on how to reach out to ones in the community that are not Christians or in an emotional state of their lives looking for God or salvation. It over looks the ones that are a bit different or doesn't dress that well and as dear friend David Johndrow of "Fire and Grace" says "the congregation ignores them at church". These are the one that need our help but do they get it? We cant' set up healing ministries in a building and sit at the door waiting for some one to come in and ask for help. Many are too proud even though deserving to do that.



The church professes being out ward focused and that is great to reach out in the community to help many. Most churches usually pick an area to focus on such as a housing project or distressed area in the community and I think that is commendable. Thinking about these areas though, one realizes most are on financial aid from the government, welfare, SSI,allowed HUD, free medical aid, food stamps, and wick along with utility assistance from a few agencies. This is good. I am glad some one is helping those people out. We should have an outward focused ministry but are the ones really seeking help falling through the cracks? We can give till we are blue in the face at the center but does it turn them to the Lord? Are we training the volunteers to have the capacity to win their souls to Christ by keeping in contact and following through should the ones in need want someone to talk to? That is the million dollar question.



I recently had an experience at an IHOP eatery. The cashier was new and nervous. She was hurrying around trying to serve all the guest in her section. Even the 3 rude and demanding ones with out a justifiable cause. They made her life hell that night complaining and running her back and fourth even though she showed the most courteous manner serving them.. My wife overheard her talking to one of the other servers crying and saying how much she need the job to support her new born child on what she made there. Our heart went out to her.



We saw when the rude customers left that they didn't leave a tip after putting her through hell. It was then that the wife and I would take care of their missing tip. Even through her ordeal she was always pleasant to us making sure we were taken care of.



We left a sizable tip ( more than what our meal cost) and my card saying God loves you and my web site address if she wanted more information. As we left she came up to us and said "Thank you. The message meant more to her than we would ever know." I received another follower for God desiring to hear the word of God from that experience.



This is an example that you don't hear much about in classes and it should be part of being a Christian reaching out to others. You will never know when the Lord will use you to bring others into His grace. Are you prepared to witness for God with the classes you take? Will you take the time to spread Gods word with the next stranger you meet that looks desolate and hurting? Are you willing to serve others seeking God's grace?








26 comments:

RCUBEs said...

That continues to be my own struggle brother. Not really judging, but I think it does help to vent out. We can't just sit and be quiet at all times when the Spirit is giving discernment to one or a few. I pray that churches will be more sensitive to reaching out to the lost. They get so busy doing things for the Lord but sometimes, they are ministering just to each other, forgetting His command to share the Good News to those who haven't heard it. Great point! And God bless you for being sensitive toward that lady's need. It was not a coincidence that you were there to hear what she had gone through. God used that to comfort her through you and your wife. Blessings.

photogr said...

Thanks RCUBEs.

That is exactly my point. Minister to others in need, not just to each other in Church. We must all be vigilant to an opportunity to spread God's word to any that will listen and are hurting.

David said...

Larry, you're an amazing guy. You figured out the gospel without attending cemetery. Bravo!

I wrote a book called "Evangelism for People without the Gift of Evangelism." If I can find the digital file, I promise I will send you a copy. I used to do a 2 day conference while I taught from the workbook.

Good blog, Larry. Passion is the key to getting things done in the Kingdom.

Anonymous said...

quite interesting post. I would love to follow you on twitter. By the way, did anyone learn that some chinese hacker had hacked twitter yesterday again.

photogr said...

David:

Thanks I think. Actually I did go to a cemetery to get answers once but no one was talking.

I had thought at one time to attend a seminary to get a grasp on theology but decided not to. I can get about the same information if not more reading and researching different authors on theology but that can lead to conflicting ideaologies depending on what you read.

The best book I have found so far is the Bible to get the answers you are seeking and letting God guide you in service to Him.

I would love to get your article on Evangelism( one of the gifts I scored acceptable on a spiritual gifts profile test.

photogr said...

Anonymous:

I appreciate you dropping by. I have heard that too about Twitter. I had been on Face Book but dropped it when it seemed to have control on my server emails.

However, this site keeps me pretty busy trying to come up with a meaningful message weekly so I will sit tight here for awhile.

Please feel free to drop by again.

Larry

Tracy said...

I love your heart for God and others Larry. You're right that all those classes you describe are great, but it seems that it would much more healthy if there were also several classes about reaching out.

Adore the account of your wife and yours opportunity to reach out to that waitress. I'm so glad that you were able to bless her.

You touch on a really big issue that is dear to my heart here; about how do we as a local Christian community respond to people who typically don't fit in anywhere else. I think part of the issue, to be candid, is that we're naturally selfish. Perhaps these folks don't initially seem as "fun" to spend time with as others. But God has been so good to me, and life just isn't all about fun all the time; I hope I never neglect people who walk through the doors of our church, or whom I come in contact with in daily life.

photogr said...

Tracy:

I pray that you continue in your passion to serve others that don't fit in or in need.

Who knows? It might just be that one that turns to God for his or her salvation.

As Jesus was ascending to Heaven He proclaimed for the apostles to go forward and spread the Good News to all, make new disciples, and spead the word of God.( Matthew 28:16-20) Today we are the new disciples.

photogr said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JD Curtis said...

Now-I-Know-Your-Real-Name, Nah-nah-nah-nah-nah

OK Photogr, If ever you get the "inspiration" to guest blog at my site, PLEASE let me know. I think that churches could give much more relevant courses in how to reach out to others. Just look at those who we encounter through this medium.

JD Curtis said...

And your point about the waitress is well taken. I have the same capacity to be as big a jerk as the next guy, but not toward service employees.

I read football coach John Madden's autobiography as a youngster. Madden bought into the whole "Just win Baby" mystique of the Raiders and Madden didnt care much what his players did. However one of the few things that would draw his ire would be a football player acting rude to a service employee. That really ticked him off and a player that did such could expect corrective action from Madden

photogr said...

JD Curtis:

So you found out my real name? Is it Clem Cornball or Maude Tixpiddle? I will never tell.

I would be honored to be a guest blogger for your site. I will have to come up with something shortly. Will let you know.

In most cases it is not warranted to be rude to some one that can't afford to defend their selves. However that is human nature and reveals the persons true self.

Jerk, Jack ass, and oxymoron comes to mind.But then again, that would be judgemental wouldn't it?

JD Curtis said...

PHOTOGR, drop me an email when you can. I have an idea re: a guest slot.

photogr said...

Will do.

Maude Tixpiddle

Ginx said...

People who are rude to service workers should be forced to work in that kind of job for a few years (however long it takes to teach them respect).

I'm with JD, I think this medium is probably the easiest for reaching non-Christians because people who blog tend to either be open to "meeting" new people and reading new ideas. You should start a class at your church, "Blogging for Christ."

Gerrel said...

Photo -
It brought tears to my eyes when I read your story about the waitress with nasty customers. How very nice to know that you made someone's bad day, turn into a good one with your actions and words. I daresay that there should be more people like you and your wife in this world.

I was a waitress many years ago, and know how much some of these offensive customers can hurt others with their words. Thanks for sharing.

photogr said...

Ginx:

One has to be in a service or retail type of industry to really appreciate what the employees have to put up with that are in those fields. I agree with you that all should walk in those persons shoes once to see what it is like. Then they might be a little more courteous to others.

If you re read my first paragraph, this church does not think too kindly to any thing out side their preset agenda. Like I said, I am the outcast that thinks out side the box and a non conformist thus my foray into this blog site. I am sure some might be in the same boat as I am or think that way.

photogr said...

Gerrel:

Getting ready for Daytona yet? Not too far off now.

Then you know how it feels to be rudely treated and not able to retaliate for fear of loosing your job.

When I was in reatil management, I naturally heard all the complaints from rude customers. I usually was able to discern when a customer had a valid complaint or were being jerks and acted accordingly.

The big problem with people in general is they are so rushed for time that they don't stop and be civil to others no matter what the situation and that is sad.

Ginx said...

I can't believe a church would turn down an opportunity presented to them on a silver platter to reach out to people at little or now cost, thanks to the internet... now that is stubborn.

Elaine said...

Great word. Wonderful example of love and mercy.

photogr said...

Ginx:

Not all churches mind you. I spoted this on a news article recently which I think is a psoitive for the Catholic church if they are open and receptive to ones that blog.

See below:

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI has a new commandment for priests struggling to get their message across: Go forth and blog.

The pope, whose own presence on the Web has heavily grown in recent years, urged priests on Saturday to use all multimedia tools at their disposal to preach the Gospel and engage in dialogue with people of other religions and cultures.

And just using e-mail or surfing the Web is often not enough: Priests should use cutting-edge technologies to express themselves and lead their communities, Benedict said in a message released by the Vatican.

"The spread of multimedia communications and its rich 'menu of options' might make us think it sufficient simply to be present on the Web," but priests are "challenged to proclaim the Gospel by employing the latest generation of audiovisual resources," he said.

The message, prepared for the World Day of Communications, suggests such possibilities as images, videos, animated features, blogs, and Web sites.

Benedict said young priests should become familiar with new media while still in seminary, though he stressed that the use of new technologies must reflect theological and spiritual principles.

"Priests present in the world of digital communications should be less notable for their media savvy than for their priestly heart, their closeness to Christ," he said.

The 82-year-old pope has often been wary of new media, warning about what he has called the tendency of entertainment media, in particular, to trivialize sex and promote violence, while lamenting that the endless stream of news can make people insensitive to tragedies.

But Benedict has also praised new ways of communicating as a "gift to humanity" when used to foster friendship and understanding.

The Vatican has tried hard to keep up to speed with the rapidly changing field.

Last year it opened a YouTube channel as well as a portal dedicated to the pope. The Pope2You site gives news on the pontiff's trips and speeches and features a Facebook application that allows users to send postcards with photos of Benedict and excerpts from his messages to their friends.

Many priests and top prelates already interact with the faithful online. One of Benedict's advisers, Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, the archbishop of Naples, has his own Facebook profile and so does Cardinal Roger Mahony, archbishop of Los Angeles.

In Saturday's message — titled "The priest and pastoral ministry in a digital world: new media at the service of the Word" — Benedict urged special care in contacts with other cultures and beliefs.

A presence on the Web, "precisely because it brings us into contact with the followers of other religions, nonbelievers and people of every culture, requires sensitivity to those who do not believe, the disheartened and those who have a deep, unarticulated desire for enduring truth and the absolute," he said.

Monsignor Claudio Maria Celli, who heads the Vatican's social communications office, said that Benedict's words aimed to encourage reflection in the church on the positive uses of new media.

"That doesn't mean that (every priest) must open a blog or a Web site. It means that the church and the faithful must engage in this ministry in a digital world," Celli told reporters. "At some point, a balance will be found."

Celli, 68, said that young priests would have no trouble following the pope's message, but, he joked, "those who have a certain age will struggle a bit more."

photogr said...

Elaine:

Thanks for dropping by. Yes, I though it was something that had to be said.

Tsfanpc said...

Larry once again a very potent blog. It only takes a second to be nice to a person. But it takes alot longer to mend hurt feelings.

Here where I live It seems that too many churches have gotten away from reaching out to their communities. They have closed services, closed homecomings, closed this and that.

Now don't get me wrong there are a few that still have their doors open to the community. But they are getting fewer by the day.

In Revelation 2:4 Christ is speaking to the church of Ephesus and he tells them, "Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love."

Christians need to remember that their first love, is their fellow man. We must stop and think about the needs of our fellow man. Or else God is not pleased with us.

And often, times, the most we can offer is a friendly smile. But you never know, what just a kind word or smile will mean to someone who is struggling.

May God Bless you Larry.

photogr said...

Tsfan:

That is true but what I am pushing is to have out reach to the poor and needy with limited income too.

The waitress which has to survive on tips , the laid off worker with out unemployment benefits. The new homeless people filling up the roles that lost everything in this unstable economy. Every day there are more added to those roles. The ones that fall throught the cracks and can't get assistance or are too proud to seek it.

At the current pace of our economy, it appears many thousands more will face total ruin. Granted many churches have out reach programs for those in distressed areas already on subsidies from the government, the churches need to refocus their priorities and revenues to offer a helping hand to the ones that fall through the cracks.

I don't see the government reaching out to those people as usual so it is up to the church to step up to the plate and help the deserving that fall through the cracks.

Tsfanpc said...

Oh, trust me I got the gest of your blog. All I was saying was sometimes, all that any of us have to give is a smile or a kind word. Everyone, even the poor and needy can do that. And they too can be richly blessed by the thought that they too gave of theirselves.

photogr said...

Tsfan:

I agree.