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« Incidents and Attitudes | Main | New Dimensions »

Some Very Practical Stuff

hand-reaching-bw.jpg“…follow not that which is evil, but that which is good…” III John 1:11

(In the course of human events in the church, it becomes necessary to dispense with the vague and flowery talk and hit problems head on. These are practical words that get straight to the point.)

There are many things that we believe, teach and practice that come directly from the Word of God. Murder, adultery, stealing and other sins are clearly forbidden in scripture. There are other things, however, that are found in principle, even though they are not mentioned directly. Smoking, gambling, body piercing, worldly dancing are a few examples of a variety of activities that can be judged as sinful because they violate principles of godliness. Whenever we are unsure of something, we simply have to look at where a certain practice will lead us, even though it does not seem wrong at the time, i.e. questionable music, clothing styles, etc. This is why the Apostle John said “…follow not that which is evil…” Anyone who follows evil, even if at a great distance, will end up in something he or she never anticipated. Therefore, we must make a practice of following the right leader!

“Follow…that which is good.” Even as there is implied evil to avoid, there is unspoken good to practice. While the Bible is filled with righteous principles, there are some areas that require the insight of a spiritual leader. If this were not true, the ministry of the pastor would be largely unnecessary. Sometimes we must preach and teach in a practical way, using a down-to-earth vocabulary, because we want people to go to heaven and we want the church to fulfill its mission on earth. Here are a few practical things that I am convinced are vital to be a good saint and to have a good church.

Attend church regularly . Pastors pray, meditate and study for their messages with the saints of the church in mind. Anyone who misses church cannot get the necessary spiritual food. Media evangelists, books by the most popular Christian authors, tapes from campmeeting or preaching conference, or spiritual magazines do not compensate for coming to church.

Pay your tithes . Tithing is not optional or payable only at our convenience. Believers who have a positive income have a responsibility to pay a tenth to God. We cannot enjoy God’s blessings unless we also honor God’s Word in tithing. (And please do not write checks on overdrawn accounts just to feel like you have paid your tithes. Returned checks cost your church money.) Also, when you make a pledge, pay it…on time!

Be faithful in ministry . If you are going to sing or play an instrument, don’t be a “hit-and-miss” kind of person. When God gives you a ministry, you ought to take it seriously. Teaching in the Sunday School, ushering, greeting, driving vans and doing custodial work require faithful commitment as well. Pastors cannot operate a quality organization without everybody being on the job, doing their job faithfully. When you volunteer for something, show up! Anything you do for God ought to be done with excellence.

Don’t gossip . Some people get a perverse pleasure out of tale bearing … until they become the object of the gossip. Idle talk is destructive, it damages reputations and undermines the general morale of people. And don’t be roped into feuds. What seems like somebody’s worthy cause will end up splattering mud on you. Also, the flip side of the gossiping tongue is the listening ear. The best way to frustrate an old gossiper is to refuse to listen!

Learn how to behave in church . We Pentecostals encourage demonstrative worship, but not unspiritual movement. Constant moving around, running in and out and other distractions make a church service chaotic. The church is not a sports arena, a cinema or a gymnasium. Unless you have a health problem, sit still. Also, we want our children to pray. When children come to the altars, however, it should be to pray, or at least be respectful. The altars are not to be turned into romper rooms. And may God deliver us from the gum-chewers, cookie-crumblers, picture-passers, nail-clipperers, hymnal-destroyers, paper-rattlers, conversation-holders, cat-nappers, checkbook-balancers and baby-entertainers!

I’m not just venting. I strongly believe that standards for excellence in the church must be established and rigorously followed. The more seriously you make your spiritual life and the more scriptural order you build into the church, the greater the results will be. The practical stuff paves the way for the spiritually powerful events to happen.

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