Home> The Lower Lights> June 2003

   THE

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  Alan Jones, Editor

  (734) 942-7956

 

 

 

"Brightly beams our Father's mercy

From the lighthouse evermore;

But to us He gives the keeping

Of the light along the shore."

       Published monthly by the church of Christ, 35900 Palmer Road, P.O. Box 86-233, Westland, MI  48186     

Volume 2                                                                             June 2003                                                                                  No12 

 

SHOULD FUN AND GAMES BRING YOU TO CHURCH?

 

    I received an invitation from an area church last Fall that is so typical of the approach many churches are using to bring people to church.  The invitation begins with what surely is a sad, but true fact, “Let’s face it…many people aren’t active in church these days.”  Along with the invitation to church services, there were several brochures offering recreational and social activities to the community in an effort to bring them out to church.

 

            Everyone was invited to a Pumpkin Festival that was to include a 3 on 3- basketball tournament and a roller blade hockey tournament.  In addition the Festival featured games, face painting, fun prizes, a straw fight and free refreshments   And, surely a delight for the little ones would have been a ride on “Pumpky’s train”. 

            The church advertised many ongoing groups.  A Kid’s Club was promoted as having upbeat music, games and crafts. A Youth Group offered Cedar Point, concerts, camp, paintball, and lock-ins.  Everyone was invited to a monthly Craft Night.  And, a ladies group, “Fellowship” pro-mised “a warm atmosphere to connect with women from your area and form lasting friendships” and their activities include “shopping retreats”.

 

            Jesus said, “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.”  John explains, “But He was saying this to indicate the kind of death by which He was to die.” (Jn 12:

 

 

32-33)  Jesus says that what would draw men to Him was His horrible death by crucifixion.  The message of “Christ and Him crucified” was the message the first Christians took around the world in effort to make disciples (1 Cor 2:1-5).  As one reads the books of Acts, the history of the early church, there is no mention of the use of fun and games to lure men into worshipping and following Jesus.  From city to city they told of Jesus’ suffering and death, as well as His resurrection from the dead, explaining that these events fulfilled O.T. prophecy and show that He is the Christ (King) whom men should worship and serve (i.e. Acts 17:1-4).

 

            Surely many churches today have cheapened the process of bringing people to Jesus.  Which do you think should draw men to church, “Pumpky’s train” or “Jesus’ cross”?  If Jesus’ cross won’t move men to worship and serve Jesus, what can a worldly promotion like “Pumpky’s train” hope to accomplish?  But, in our world, which will interest more people, “Pumpky’s train” or “Jesus’ Cross”?  Sadly, “Pumpky’s train”.  People are more desirous of entertainment than they are salvation.  Recreational and social promotions will “bring people to church”, but they will not and cannot make them disciples of Jesus and save their souls.

 

            The Palmer Road church of Christ doesn’t seek just to “bring you to church”.  If we did, we would offer fun and games like most churches.  We preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified.   If this interests you, we hope you will come.  If not, we have nothing else and certainly nothing better to offer.

 

THE MAGNET OF THE CROSS

Why aren’t more people drawn to Jesus by the magnet of His Cross?  The problem is not in the magnet, but in those who fail to be attracted.  Wood and plastic are not attracted to a magnet.  The drawing power is there.  The problem is in the nature of the materials.  Many people are not attracted to the message of Jesus and Him crucified because they see no need for salvation.  The Cross means nothing to the person who does not understand the problem of sin and its consequences.

 

  Paul’s letter to the Romans  explains in great detail the message of the cross. The first three chapters are spent proving one point, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23). How sad it is that so few people today stop to think about and apply the truths in Romans 1-3: 

 

  God is man’s Creator.  His creation shows His existence and greatness.  Man has no excuse if He does not thank and worship God.  Man must obey God’s moral requirements.  Man is accountable to God for the way that he lives and will face God’s judgment of his actions.  All men have failed to obey God’s moral requirements and so face the prospects of eternal separation from Him.

 

  Failure to meditate on these truths has caused men to be like wood and plastic to the magnet of Jesus’ Cross.  When men realize these truths, they   become   like   iron,    drawn

 

 

 irresistibly to the Cross, the Answer to their deepest need.

 

            In the Cross, God redeemed (delivered) man from sin.  He justified (counted innocent) men who were condemned.  How?  His Son was the propitiation (the atonement) for our sins.  Jesus paid the penalty for sin for us by His death, so that we could be forgiven and our relationship with God could be restored.  No longer do we have to face His wrath at the Day of Judgment. (Rom 3:24-26; 5:6-11).

 

 Paul, in Philippians 2:6-8, sums up well what Jesus did to draw all men to Himself:

 

            “Who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bondservant, and being made in the likeness of men, being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

 

            If  you  are  iron,  you  cannot  help  but  be drawn  by  such humility  and love to be a disciple of Jesus.  If the Cross does not move you, we pray that soon you  will  realize your sinfulness  in  the sight of God and  no  longer  be wood   or  plastic, but  iron that is attracted without  resistance to the magnet of the Cross.


 

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