I’ve been a Christian now for over thirty-nine years. In those 39+ years, I have attended several church growth seminars. I always received good information BUT, did I receive the answers that I could really trust in?
Turn with me next to what the Bible has to say about “trusting answers” in II Corinthians 1:9:
“Indeed, we felt within ourselves that we had received the [very] sentence of death, but that was to keep us from trusting in and depending on ourselves instead of on God Who raises the dead.”
I have over the years listened to conversations of well-meaning Christians, in trying to figure out why church attendance had dwindled or the why’s behind the lack of growth in the congregation and membership. Could it be that the “death rate” in the church is experiencing is from a lack of TRUST? “Depending on ourselves for answers instead of God of Who can raise the dead“? Church growth depends on God’s Word and not our own words. If you are looking for “break-through”, it only comes when God says to me…”Receive and obey!” Confidence in what God is saying comes from trusting Him and trusting Him alone for the answers. Confidence doesn’t come from yourself or others for the answers. It’s true that you have your part to do in the process of “church growth” and God has His part.
“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock; and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall…” Matthew 7:24-25 NKJV
I just received a letter the other day from Creflo and Taffi Dollar that said, “You need two things to build an eternal house.”
1) “You hear and do the Word of God”.
2) “You build on Jesus, the rock of our salvation”.
I believe that the two things the Dollar’s listed for “building an eternal house” can also be applied as trusted answers to our growth in our current church home. We have meetings to discuss the problems, we have church boards to discuss the problems and we have gossip sessions in homes to discuss the reasons for lack within the church walls. Why are we then dealing with growth failures in our experiencing” Turn to Philippians 2:13 for the TRUSTED ANSWER:
“[Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight.” Amplified Version
Do you mean to tell us that this process of “Church Growth” isn’t about us? Yep, that’s what God is telling you in this verse’s reference. He is telling us, “Not only do I give Mel the desire to do it, but I AM giving Mel the ability to do it!” Why then do church people even think that it’s all about the Pastor or the city that surrounds the problems? I uncovered the possible answer to that question in the Book of Romans:
Romans 7:18 “For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is in my flesh. I can will what is right [to do] but I cannot perform it. [I have the intention and urge to do what is right, but no power to carry it out].”
Could we be missing the answers because of our own desires to see the results of “Church Growth”?
II Corinthians 8:11 says, “So now finish doing it, that your [enthusiastic] readiness in desiring it may be equalled by your completion of it according to your ability and means.”
Now Paul is referring to the contributions given by the church, for the financial relief of the saints in Jerusalem. He tells them that they had started with a Spirit given plan, now finished the plan (verses 9-10). He is also telling us that it takes more than an “enthusiastic readiness and desire”. It has to be equalled by our completion of a thing [“Church Growth”] according to the abilities that the Holy Spirit has given each one of us to see it manifested. WhenI comes to receiing answers, could we praying amiss?
“I TRUST God with unreserved confidence that He will do it; He will perform it.”
Jeremiah the Prophet tells us that the Lord is “alert and active, watching over My word to perform it.” Jeremiah 1:12 God’s word gives us the confidence in our readiness for His answer. To get His answer to your question about “Church Growth“, there has to be the question in prayer. That is “fervent” prayer! The down on your face, slobbering on the carpet kind of prayer; “hot to the boiling point”.
“I will cry to God Most High, Who performs on my behalf and rewards me [Who brings to pass His purposes for me and surely completes them]!” Psalm 57:2
God is higher than any “difficulties of church growth” in my city. God is higher than any difficulties in my sickness.
“But how long will it be before I see the results of my “fervently” asking?”
Ezekiel 12:25 “For I am the Lord; I will speak, and the word that I shall speak shall be performed (come to pass); it shall be no more delayed or prolonged,…”
If that verse in Ezekiel 12 doesn’t give you confidence and boldness in your trusting for answers, nothing will! It is always in your giving God the glory in the delays not for the delays.
Why are there “delays”?
Trustworthiness is a two-way street. What do I mean by “two-way” street? When you first get married, the trust that you have between each other grows with the developing relationship. It’s not an automatic response. Now if a husband or wife in the developing relationship becomes un-trustworthy, your love is still there but your trust has to be tested; to regain the growing relationship. Some relationships give-up, cave-in and quit after the first incident. God never gives-up, caves-in or quits when you become untrustworthy. Remember, LOVE looks at the best in a person (I Corinthians 13:4), and God LOVES you! However, if He can’t trust you with ten cents on a dollar, expect Him to test you in the future. Look what James tell us in His word:
James 1:2-4, “Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations [testing]. Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience. But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfected and fully developed [with no defects], lacking nothing.”
Reviewing your TRUSTING for answers.
1. A steadfast, firmly fixed heart in TRUSTING (Psalm 112:7)
2. Quit trusting man for answers (Isaiah 2:22)
3. “You determine your words from God’s Word” and “your words will determine your thinking” (Jeremiah 7:8)
There are many clues in Scripture that support the TRUSTING in God for your answers. I just listed three. I want to leave this blog for now with a verse in The Book of Psalms:
Psalm 28:7 “The Lord is my Strength and my [impenetrable] Shield; my heart trusts in, relies on, and confidently leans on Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song will I praise Him.”
I can praise Him in song, with a heart of rejoicing because I TRUST in, rely on and lean on Him with confidence because of who He is; My Strength and shield.
“Learning to lean, I’m learning to lean, I’m learning to lean on Jesus. Finding more power than I’ve ever dreamed, I’m learning to lean (TRUST) on Jesus.”
LOVE THAT SONG!