I’m suppose to write a year-end blog entry where I’m going to tell the lessons that God taught me during this year. But when I browse on my past blog entries, I realize it will be a bit of redundant to what I posted on my blog entry entitled “22 Lessons“. So, instead of repeating things, I decided to write this topic since I’m fresh from a Year-End Youth Camp our Church has sponsored. I really want to be honest with this not because I want to rub truths on a specific person’s face. To clarify things, I write out of love. I write for God and for the truth that He reveals in His Word.
Some will read about this out of curiosity to what I’m going to say. But I guess, before giving all my observations, I just want to tell my Church mates back here in my hometown that I love them all. I really do. 🙂 I write out of love and not because I despise you all.
Last week has been a busy week for me and my church. I’m sort of a first-timer ‘staff’ in a Youth Camp since my schedule wouldn’t allow me to dive into what was happening on the local church back here in my hometown. I’ve been into many cities, and stayed there for years, but nothing really beats the love I feel in my hometown. 🙂
The welcome greetings of my Church mates have always been warm. I sometimes get a lot of hugs from Moms on our church and tell me how they miss me even though I rarely involve myself into my local church’s activities. I thought before that everything was fine with my local church, but diving into it for a week opened my heart to have compassion for the truth to be spread into my local church. It alarms me because I’m planning to settle down to this place someday, but if I’m going to wait for that year for me to share to them the truth, maybe it will be too late.
One of the things that caught my attention is that, it has been months now that we don’t even have a Pastor. It hurts me why no one wants to stay in my hometown. Is it because it’s not a big city and the wages of the church members are not big? Is it far? It’s too ironic how our church supports mission trips, but it is actually thirsty for a leader. It does got me emotional that I even sometimes close my eyes and pray when someone announces inside the church the next mission trips. It’s also ironic that the churches I’ve joined on my temporary stay on some cities have 2-3 pastors in their church, but in my local church, no one even have the courage to come to our place. I don’t know what’s currently going on though. Maybe there’s already someone who plans to stay with us. But as to what I’ve heard earlier, there’s no one yet who showed their interest to lead my local church.
It’s kind of a domino effect. Since the sheep on our congregation are not well-fed, the truth about God’s Word is getting vague, and I can feel it through the encounter I had with our youth. It pains me. It really does. Especially now that days after this, I’m traveling back to Luzon. And this is the way that I know how to express my compassion and love for my local church.
Two young ladies approached me last youth camp to talk about their love life. I do love listening to their stories, but I had this feeling while listening to them that they really do lack discernment. It’s not because they are not willing. It’s maybe because they don’t hear enough sermons about how to seek wisdom from God. The Church really needs discernment. We have to know what are the errors around us so that we will be able to fight against it. I love them both, that I even kept on telling them during our conversations to decide carefully and I also warned them that although those guys showed affection towards them, and although they always see those guys inside the church, it doesn’t automatically follows that those guys are already true Christians. I don’t have anything against those guys, though but it’s too early for me to tell them my personal observations with those guys since this is just my second week here in my hometown after years of traveling and studying in other places. I don’t even personally know the guys so I gave them an advice that they can really think about for some moment.
One error that I also saw on our church is the ‘lights off’ thing during our praise and worship on our youth camp. It’s not too dark though since there are still lights outside our church. But I don’t really get the purpose of it. I even told my seatmates during our first night on our youth camp, ‘why do they have to turn off the lights?’ No one was able to directly answer me maybe because they also don’t know the true reason behind. You might as well say that’s just a little thing and I should not focus on it. But come to think of it, some of our campers are first timers, and having those kind of praise and worship will give them a wrong information. You don’t need to turn off the lights to feel the presence of God. In fact, you don’t even need to cry or raise your hand in every song just feel the meaning of it. The form of our Praise and Worship gave me the conclusion that maybe some of the youth leaders got those ideas from the churches they came from during their stay on big cities to study college. I was having a hard time to tell them that we don’t need to turn off the lights. My readers may not be able to be convinced that it’s not a need, but based on my experience, emotion-driven worship without even having a clear foundation in God’s Word is deadly to a Church. You should not even focus more on the Praise and Worship part but on the Word of God that will be given during every service. Christian Music cannot save you. Only Christ can save us and He is not speaking to us through our songs but through His Word. My local church is not alone with this problem. Many Christian Churches in our country are suffering with so much errors, and it was only by God’s grace and the wisdom He gave me that I was able to discern the errors in every church I was able to join.
Maybe you might as well ask me what did I do to tell them the errors. I cannot boast about those things because it wasn’t my own will that God gave me the opportunity to share to them the truth. It was the will of God that He gave me a chance to share what I learn from His Word during the first 2 days of devotional during our camp. But honestly speaking, the time given to me is not enough. I can feel their thirst to know the truth. I can see it with the attentiveness they gave during our devotionals despite the fact it started 5 in the morning. Imagine their eagerness to learn the truth, and it breaks my heart to leave my local church again thirsty for the Truth.
I long for modesty, too and I expressed everything on my blog entry entitled “MODESTY: Where are you now?” And since the fading love for modesty has been viral for decades now, I’ve also seen that error in our church. Many ladies joined with their dresses almost showing everything; from legs to cleavage, and it hurts me why do they have to do that. I don’t hate them though because even Christ rescued harlots from their bondage. What I’m concern about is the diminishing love for holiness as if God’s grace lulls us to disregard holiness. We need to be holy in God’s sight and one way to show it is through our dresses. And this is not about legalism. This is about the Truth. Holiness is not an option in our Christian walk. It’s a must!
And to answer the question on my title: “Do They Know The Truth?“ It hurts to tell you all that not all of them knows the truth. Ask them the basics like the description of our Triune God/Elohim, and the common answer you will get is only the enumeration (God the Father, God the Son and the Holy Spirit) without even knowing their distinct roles. Talk to them about certain Doctrines and all you’ll hear are crickets. Most of them don’t even know what are those doctrines, and how to know what are the false doctrines or not.
And lastly, Come to think of it. You feed those Youths to have compassion for Mission without a clear grasp of the Truth revealed in the Bible. It’s like Blinds leading other blinds. It’s not making sense. Those things also goes to other churches. I’m not discouraging your compassion for Mission. I even have love for Mission, but you first need to know some things. Before encouraging the youth to go for Mission, make sure that they are carrying with them Biblical information and not just the shallow ones but the in depth ones. True Christians should not campaign for easy-believism. Don’t settle for short term Mission Trips and leaving the seeds behind without nurturing the plants along the way. I know, It’s the work of God that makes salvation possible, but let’s remember that fellowship is a must. You should not leave the plants all by themselves. They need someone to water them with the Word of Christ.
There are many things that the youth still needs to know. Try to observe their lives, and you’ll know how much work is still needed in them. That 2 weeks encounter with my local church build inside me a bigger compassion for the clarity of the Scripture. Expository/Doctrinal/Biblical kind of preaching is really a must not just in my local church but for the churches I’ve joined before. Let’s not settle for sermons that tickles our ears. We more need sermons that strike our hearts all the time because that is how the two-edged sword Word of God works.
Youth gathering and all the church gatherings should focus more in the study of God’s Word. Don’t think about attracting less people. Think about those people who thirst for the Truth. It’s not about the quantity as if we enter the narrow road by denominations. We enter the narrow road alone. Without anyone or anything. That’s how Christian life is. 🙂
I still don’t know when we are going to have a Pastor, but I’m praying that whoever leads my local church will stay here for a longer time. That’s how commitment should be. I also pray that he will be able to preach the truth and not something that tickles the ears of the Church Members.
I’m leaving this town again with a lot of prayers in my mind. I long for a revival for this place and for my country. We need to love God’s Word more that how much we focus on our music or other activities. Fellowship is needed but the clarity of the Scripture is more important.
I don’t have anything against those who are hurt with this blog entry. God can see my heart and He knows I love you all. And I love you all enough not to let you all drown into so much error. :’)
God built inside of me this compassion for the truth, and this is one of the ways how I express it. Through writing. 🙂
God bless you, readers! The year is closing. I hope it has been a good year for you. 🙂
All glory to God alone.