Pastor Brian Gilroy,
High Prairie Church of the Nazarene
“Oh, no! Momma burnt the biscuits. She was so caught up with helping everyone that she forgot about the fresh baked biscuits that she had promised for our snack. That’s that. I am not going to eat any more of momma’s cooking ever again. In fact, I don’t want to eat any food again except for junk food.”
Silly thought but a reality for some! How many times have you heard about a person who was burned by some well meaning or not so well meaning individual in the Christian Church and vowed to never return to that church in particular and church in general?
Especially if the person who burned them was leading a double life [a holy one on Sunday and an unholy one the rest of the week]! What makes matters worse is if the critical individual is leading a life that is far worse, according to Biblical standards, than the one he or she has just burned.
If we were to follow through on this oath to never eat momma’s food again and only eat junk food, then we would live a live that would be void of nutrition and value by allowing the words of a critical individual to prevent you from being part of the body of Christ and experiencing the fullness of the relationship that God intended for you to have. You run an even greater risk of allowing yourself to live in a world that offers only momentary pleasures but no lasting fulfillment or peace. A world of false hope and an eternity that is not secure. A religious view that can only hope to please a deity with a life of good living or works while the God of Christianity offers grace, peace, forgiveness and a real hope for the afterlife or eternity.
The Christian Church history is filled with individuals who profess a love for God or a calling and yet their words and actions outside the walls of the church tell a vastly different story. As the body of Christ, we owe an apology to the Jews for our treatment of them. After all, Jesus Christ was born of a Jewish mother and the first disciples, which we revere as saints or holy ones, were Messianic Jews or Jews who believed Jesus Christ was the Messiah.
The original name for those who believed that Jesus was the Messiah and Saviour and placed their salvation in His hands were called “Followers of the Way”. This comes from the words of Jesus Himself, who proclaimed prior to His crucifixion on the Cross of Calvary for the sins of the world and resurrection from the dead, in John 14:6 “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
My point in all this is to challenge each one of you to seriously look beyond those who profess leadership or knowledge in all religions, philosophies or faith. To examine your holy books for yourselves for surely a people with such a vast cranial capacity can read, research and come to a conclusion for themselves.
The Bible talks about a group of people in Acts 17:11 who sought out the truth themselves.
“Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”
I challenge each one of you to look at the origin of your holy books, your original Spiritual leaders, the timeframe and context within which they wrote, whether you believe in Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witness, Judaism or some other philosophy, religion or faith. Do not accept these things blindly for too much is riding on your decision.
To those who have given up attending church because they have been burned by a critical individual, I implore you to remember the far reaching impact upon your descendants. Is holding this grudge worth condemning them to a life without the love of God? Give them the chance to make a decision for themselves. Let them use all the resources at their disposal to seek and find a faith that will really care them through all the challenges of life.