For the last 40 years, I’ve served as a youth pastor or pastor. I’ve preached over 100 youth camps, countless Disciple Now weekends, Sunday School and leadership Conferences, revivals, retreats, and conventions. In all of these situations, there is a common denominator. You have the people who “get it” and are all in; but, unfortunately, the majority just sit, soak, and sour. They receive the information presented while looking at their watches or checking their cell phones. They have little interest in changing their direction or making adjustments on their journey through this life.
When I’m listening to a message, I want to be an active listener. I take notes. I mark in my Bible. I give verbal agreements. Mostly, I want to let the speaker know I’m with them. I get it. I’m buying in. I want to be a better person, preacher, husband, father, and leader after listening to someone pour into my life from the overflow of their own.
When the altars are empty, eyes are dry, and rooms are deafeningly silent for lack of an “Amen!” we must ask if we even know what New Testament Christianity looks like. When the baptismal waters are still and America is overwhelmingly lost and unchurched, you wonder if we even care about those going to hell.
We need to return to the passion of the book of Acts. The early church was passionate, fearless, and purposeful. They didn’t need the stuff we seem to need today. The early church operated without mood lighting and smoke machines…because they were operating in the power of the Spirit. The world took note that they were on fire for God.
We need to recover our passion. We need feet quick to obey. We need hearts open to spiritual surgery. We need to stop applauding dead religion and passionless church-anity. Why would anyone want to give up their day off to attend a dead church?
We need to recover our fervor that made the church attractive and explosive in the book of Acts. That will happen when we return to prayer. It will happen when we walk in the power of the Spirit. It will happen when the church is holy. It will happen when the church is unafraid of persecution out in the streets.
Vance Havner said, “Most Christians are balcony Christians, spectators, onlookers, nonparticipants. We hire a church staff to do church work, and on Sunday we sit and watch them do it. Too many are in the grandstand, too few are playing the game. We have come all the way from burning hearts to itching ears, from ‘Amen’ to ‘So What?'”
Think about it church!