Monday, July 23, 2007

Did Your Church Make It!?

Hello All,

The Church Report just released it's annual list of
the 50 Most Influential Churches in America. Calvary Laguna is not on this list. It turns out that we were number 51! We just missed it! Oh well, maybe next year! The article says that Pastors were polled throughout the country to see who they would nominate. There are some great churches on the list, marked by excellent theology and biblical practice. And then there are other churches that I would hesitate to recommend.

One thing that has come to mind quite a bit lately though, is that the church is not said, biblically, to be the influence per se. It's the believers! And while the church is (sometimes) a large collection of believers, the corporation, the entity known as the church, is not the influencer. It's the believers who are the city on the hill that cannot be hidden. It's the believers who are equipped by their Pastor, the primary influencer, to go out to works of ministry, service, unto the Lord. So it behooves us to consider our influences and consider the fruit that comes from that influence. Are we more inclined to act biblically with regard to society, employment and evangelism because of his influence? If he is influenced by the Lord, then we will be in a good spot. If he is influenced by church growth marketing, soft-pop psychology, and centered on topical sermonettes on happiness, then we are in for some trouble!

Who is it that influences you? There are several names on this list that I feel that I can say are good influences on me. Greg Laurie, Bob Coy are a few examples. It's fine to be influenced by these men and surely some of the others as well. The danger is to substitute these men for Christ. And even more nefarious, is to substitute a person who does not fit the criteria of a man who would fit the bill biblically.

"I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers;"
2 Timothy 4:1-3

The influence must come from a person who takes the Gospel, the word of God, seriously!
It seems that there is no way, in this media driven society, to keep ourselves from looking to men and promoting them in our minds, above the average man, and thus create for ourselves an idolatrous situation. And even in the best of cases, with men such as Greg and Bob (first name basis, ya know!?) we must remember that the primary test comes from what the word says and how diligent our influencer is in exegeting the word of God.

I'm thankful to have been around men that take this charge and believe it to their very being and live it out with soul. And while they may not have made the list, they made an impact on a guy who wants to be an influence in his world for the name and sake of Jesus Christ, his Savior. If your influencer does not make you want to do the same, find another influencer! Start with Jesus, pray and ask the Spirit to direct you to a man who will speak His heart to you, so that you will be biblically influenced and be the city on the hill whose light cannot be hidden that you are intended to be.

And how will that light be seen and identified?

"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:16

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez

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