There is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task. Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.” I Timothy 3:1-7
If America were ever to fall, the predicted progression is first individuals fall, then marriages fall, then churches fall. After all this happens, society, as we know it today, is ready to fall.
Where are we right now? Without question, people have fallen. Look around at all that is happening, too much evil to illustrate. Consider the news reports you have heard in the past week.
As you know, marriages have fallen, and so many people do not seem to care. Is the church in America strong enough to hold back the tide of satanic attack that has already taken out individuals and marriages? Spiritual attack is at the church door, and in some instances, has already been allowed inside.
Each week Rejoice Marriage Ministries has contact with dozens upon dozens of hurting men and women from all across the land. Based on what we are hearing, in general the church in North America is unhealthy, because in church after church, the men of God have become lukewarm shepherds.
How I praise God for churches where the pastor is a sold-out blood- bought servant of our Almighty God, striving above all else to win people to Jesus Christ and to mature them as Christians. His motives are not nickels and noses, nor notches in his pastoral belt, but the saving of souls, regardless of the personal cost. All across America, revival is taking place at churches pastored by shepherds like this. Sadly, those churches seem to be in the minority.
In an attempt to keep up with the big numbers over at the new “contemporary” movement in town, pastors have shed their ties and jackets, packed away the hymnals and replaced the songs of the faith with choruses that repeat lyrics with little meaning over and over. The organ that once brought forth music that touched our spirit now sits unattended over in the corner. The greatest travesty of all is that in some circles, the cross has not found its way into the new church building. (If your church has forsaken the cross, you need to go elsewhere.)
The choir has been replace with a casually-dressed band and praise group, and then the pastor gets up, attempting unsuccessfully, with humor and current events, to be a Sunday morning Letterman or Leno, wanting everyone to like him, all the while forgetting what people seek in coming to church; “What can you give me from God to help me make it through another week?”
During the week, the pastor is often inaccessible, more concerned with the looks of the parsonage than with the lives of the people. Days alone with God, asking Him how to build up the people, have been replaced by days at conferences, asking how to build up the numbers.
The pastor’s study has becomes a death chamber for marriages, as men and women with broken hearts over marriage problems hear not the promises of God, read from His Word, but the counsel to, “Divorce because you have grounds,” and “God doesn’t want you to be unhappy.”
Some are even hearing, “God has someone better for you.” Why are wounded mates and their prodigals, not told about the Cross of Calvary? The abandoned spouse is directed not to an altar, but to an attorney. Even though only separated, they are pointed toward divorce recovery classes, often the first step in finding a new mate.
The motto of many churches in dealing with fractured marriage has shifted from “Hang on and let God work,” to “Get mad, get over it, and get on with your life.” How we rejoice when we hear about a pastor who has taken on a prodigal church member who walked away from family and faith, praying and praying, and praying some more; loving the unlovable, until that marriage is healed. We are thrilled when we hear of a pastor going the extra mile to show a confused, sin-filled prodigal they are still loved, both by that pastor and by their God.
Too often the pastor does not have time to visit or communicate with his flock, but always has time for his own activities. In his personal life, he attempts to see how close to the line he can live, instead of being an example of holiness for his church and for the community, as were pastors of past generations. Why then, should we be shocked at hearing that yet another minister has fallen into sin and has left the pulpit in disgrace?
If pastors showed up for church, dressed and acting like they had been in the presence of God, and taking seriously the responsibility of being His human voice, ready to proclaim His living Word to a hurting generation, the people would come, lives would be changed, and marriages restored.
Why are pastors such a concern to me? Over twenty years ago, when we were divorced, I went to talk to one pastor. He did not know Charlyne, but handed me the book she was praying I would somehow receive. I did not like what that pastor said, not what the book said, (Go home!) so I went to see a second pastor, different church, miles away. He listened to my plight, and then read scripture to me to bring home his point; “Go home.” On that July day we suddenly remarried, I drove south with the words from the book ringing in one ear, and the
counsel from the second pastor ringing in the other.
The message was the same: “Go Home!”
How often from the pulpit at your church do you hear, “marriage restoration,” or “marriage put back together again,” or “marriage restored,” or marriage healed,” or anything along that line?” Just consider what would happen if every pastor in the world was praying for marriage restoration every week! That is where we need to be.
If we are pryaing for the sick, why not the sick marriages?
There may come a day when your prodigal spouse somehow sits down in a pastor’s office. I pray they will be dealt with as straightforward as I was; no looking for loopholes, but a man of God sharing what the Bible says about marriage, divorce, and the family. Your prodigal needs to be directed home, not into another relationship. We need to pray there are pastors like that across the land.
It is not too late to stop the slide to destruction of individuals, families, churches, and then society. The horse is out of the individual’s gate, as well as the family’s gate. It is at the church’s gate. Let’s pray that our pastor turn to God 100% and recognize what is happening before it is too late.
“But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy because I am holy.” I Peter 1:15