We are all too aware of the recent tragedies among the African American community, more recently the senseless murder of George Floyd . . . an act that has stirred up a lot of anger and sorrow over the last few weeks. Though I am deeply grieved by what is going on in our country, I cannot help but wonder if God has allowed these things to transpire for a greater purpose.  Is He trying to highlight the suffering, inequalities, and injustices that are still occurring, SO THAT we would be stirred to right the wrongs from our past? But if that is the case, how do we . . .

I have never met a person that enjoyed the loss of control. It is during times of crisis, when we cannot solve our problems on our own, that our faith is truly tested. Either panic and fear overtake us, and prove our spiritual foundation unsteady, or our faith is refined as we take God at His Word and stand in His faithfulness (Deuteronomy 31:6).  

After 9/11, the churches were suddenly flooded with individuals who did not normally attend (or even claim to believe in God) - dire times drove many on a quest for hope. Often, we do not know how much we need God until God is all we have. The truth is, no matter what crisis surrounds us (whether something like 9/11 or the current global Covid-19 pandemic), there is tremendous peace available for anyone willing to put their trust God . . . but practically even Christians can find it hard to acquire.  So during these times of uncertainty (or even times of terror), how can we . . . 

I was first exposed to the realities of demon possession and spiritual warfare as a young teenager. My dad was a well-respected Southern Baptist minister who was gifted at expounding God’s Word and who had a huge heart to help hurting people. However, he had no idea the focal point of his career would end up being deliverance ministry . . . something he would eventually define as his life calling. It all started when a woman (who was part of a satanic coven) called my dad at midnight, saying someone had given her his phone number. She asked, "Is it true that since Satan is real, that God is real too?" This encounter began a long season of late night phone calls, emergent rushes out the door, threats on our family’s safety, and all night prayer vigils. And yet, my parents still welcomed this woman into our lives. She spent many nights sleeping in our guest room, even over Christmas. I watched my parents evolve as they tried to help this woman out of profound demonic bondage, all the while struggling to keep up with an unfamiliar learning curve. But their faith drove them forward, fueled by love for God and love for people . . .

In part one of this article, I addressed some of the differences between the Church we read about in the New Testament and the customs and mindsets of the Western Church today (READ HERE). I concluded that until we return to the true nature of following Christ and of serving one another in our gatherings, we would be left lacking. But since we can’t change the whole Church culture ourselves, where does that leave us – what do we do in the meantime? If we aren’t getting much out of Sunday morning church, is it okay to occasionally skip? Or would that dishonor God and only lead to further discontent and disengagement over time? I do not claim to have all the answers, but as I have worked through these questions personally, I have come up with ten things to help me . . .

Have you ever gone to church on Sunday morning and felt like you were wasting your time? Maybe the worship music felt flat (and those gathered just appeared to be going through the motions) . . . or maybe your mind wandered through the boring and irrelevant sermon (which only seemed like the pastor was trying to “fill time”). All you could think was “I should have stayed in bed,” or better yet, “We should have gone out on the boat today.” Well I have . . . on many occasions, but the feeling was never unique to one particular church. Though I have always valued going to church, my Sunday morning experiences have varied widely throughout my life. Sometimes I leave the service feeling like I met with the Lord, encouraged and better equipped in my spiritual walk, and other times I leave feeling completely . . . 

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