Jesus Speaks to the American Church

Marvelous Marv Gerbig(The following is a GUEST BLOG POST written by our friend Marv Gerbig in Illinois, senior pastor at Wyoming 1st Church of the Nazarene in Wyoming, Illinois. Marv wrote this in response to my challenge posted on Facebook to identify “Seven Survival Tactics for Thriving Churches.” Thank you Marv for sharing…)

“I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ~Revelation 2:2, 11

This is what I commend you for:

You have excelled in education. You have studied and gone very deep into my Word. Your system of education in the Church is unparalleled in all of Church history. Anyone who desires to go deep into the Word of God can fill their desire in your churches. You educate believers.

Nevertheless, I have a few things against you:

You have taken your educational system in the churches and made it a stumbling block for the sheep of my fold. Especially when it comes to Sunday School, you have made learning the Word of God difficult. You have taken too much authority from me, Jesus, as the Teacher. Have you forgotten what I said? “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah” (Matthew 23:8-10). Too many of my people feel as if they need the church to tell them what the scriptures mean. You have created a dependent church and have made people think they cannot learn from me directly.

This is what I commend you for:

Your leaders have been highly educated and somewhat trained.

Nevertheless, I have a few things against you:

You have created a professional office of ministry that only those who are of a certain learning ability can achieve. While you may think this is a way to qualify those called into ministry, you have created a system that is not duplicable. If the leaders of the church were to be taken out, your churches would cease to exist. How do you read Acts? My church, from the beginning, was not dependent on professional leaders. If a leader was taken out, the church could not be stopped!!

This is what I commend you for:

You have taken into account how I created believers to understand my Word as they age. Your ministry by age group is truly amazing as far as it goes.

Nevertheless, I have a few things against you:

Yet, you have segregated the generations from each other. No longer do my people congregate together as families, but rather on Sunday morning we look like the age-segregated secular world I am saving you from. Separating families from the time they enter into your churches until the time they leave is not my command. If my servant Paul were to see your world today, could he tell the difference between an elementary school and your church?

Creating age barriers is not my heart. Take a look at all the churches in America that are filled with seniors and no young people in the service. That is the fruit of generational segregation. Repent.

Your desire to build the church is admirable. You have many ways of attracting people and attempting to lead them to me. Yet, did I not say that I will build the church on your faith (Matthew 16)? Why have you tried to do my job? Did I not command you to “go and make disciples”? Why then do you try to get people “saved” when I told you to disciple them? I am Lord! I am the Savior! You are my friends and servants and your mission is to teach obedience in everything I have taught you. Yet, I see no obedience training anywhere in your churches. You have educated believers, but not many true disciples that understand how to be disciple makers.

My heart grieves as I see the American Church look more and more like the Gnostics. Prepare for the last days. Again, look at the Great Commission as I gave it to you in Matthew 28, and GO, MAKE DISCIPLES, for I am the Lord your God—and I expect obedience from you.

(Rod’s Comment: And so, dear brothers and sisters, please feel free to chime in with your own thoughts! May we listen continually to the still small voice of our Lord. And may we glorify him in all we do!)

“Heaven Sent” ~ Guest Blog by David N. Walker

Heaven_Sent_Final-Actual_Cover_UsedAs leader of my Sunday School class for the past eight years, I’ve made it a practice to read a short piece to the class each Sunday before bringing up the teacher. Sometimes it would be something funny or something to do with current events, but frequently it would be an inspirational or devotional piece I’ve received in an email. I’ve carefully saved all of these readings over the years.

Last year it dawned on me that I had a treasure trove of Christian stories I could share with others. I went back through my files and selected 67 of the pieces I’ve read through the years. The selection includes some of my own thoughts and one piece written by my daughter. The rest are those I’ve received in emails.

My first step was to try to contact the authors of the pieces whenever I could find their names. Then I sent emails to each asking permission to include his or her piece in my book. Of course, I had to omit a number of them whose authors either were unlocatable or denied permission. The result was the stories I’ve included in the book, Heaven Sent. Many of them are anonymous, but I’ve attributed those authors I found who gave me permission to use their stories.

Once I selected the stories which would go into the book, I appended comments of my own to them, except, of course, for the ones I originally wrote. To eliminate confusion, I put the original stories in italics, with my comments following in plain text.

Please click here to read more about Heaven Sent on my website, including how to order it. Or click here to read about it on Goodreads. Oh, yeah—buy a copy while you’re at it.


                        David N. Walker is a Christian husband, father and grandfather, a grounded pilot, a would-be Nashville star, and a near-scratch golfer who had to give up the game because of shoulder problems. A graduate of Duke University, he spent 42 years as a health insurance agent. Most of that career was spent in Texas, but for a few years he traveled many other states.

He started writing about 20 years ago and has been a member and leader in several writers’ groups. Two of his books, the devotional Heaven Sent and the novella Fancy, are now available in paperback and in Kindle and Nook formats. Click here for more information and links to purchase these books.

David is currently working on a series of novellas taking over where Fancy leaves off early in the Civil War and following her life over a period of the next twenty years or so. Fancy: The Search – Vol 2 is now out, and others will follow every couple of months or so.

Thursdays with Augi

“The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begets a wise child shall have joy of him. Your father and mother will be glad, and she that bore you will rejoice. My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways.” ~Proverbs 23:24-26

Thursdays and Fridays have become two of my favorite days of the week. Not because they are the end of the week but because we have our one and only grandson, Augi, on those two days. I get to relive days that have long since passed as my two sons are now 29 and 34. I had forgotten how truly precious the young mind can be and how open it is to new experiences and how it views life through unclouded eyes.

When he walks into our house on Thursday mornings he comes in with the biggest smile you can imagine. He either plays hide and seek or rushes into our arms. I sometimes pretend like I can’t see him and I say “I can hear you but I can’t see you!” He waves his arms and says “I here Tata! I here!” It makes me think of how many children there are in this world that truly aren’t seen or heard and my heart hurts. In my line of work, all too often, I see the effects on neglected children and this makes the moment all the more poignant.

Augi is now three years old and his vocabulary is rapidly growing. For some reason he is now saying “Meanwhile back at the ranch….” which causes me to break out into peals of laughter because this saying must go back nearly 50 years or so taken from some TV western of yester year. How did he learn that? Is he watching old reruns of Bonanza and gleaning the lingo from that great series?

He makes me enjoy the simple things of life. Once, when he was about two, he kept looking at a giant mulberry tree we have in our back yard and said “Climb, climb!” I said “Augi, you’re too little to climb a tree.” He said “No, we climb!” Against my better judgment, I took him in my arms and climbed up several branches before I realized how high up we were and that I was wearing flip-flops! I sat there, 10 or 15 feet in the air in the tree branches, worrying about how we were going to get down. Meanwhile, he is looking at the leaves; spotting nests and birds; and enjoying the tree. The saying “Up a tree with no way down” took on a new meaning to me. I carefully made my way back down with Augi safely in my arms and was relieved to touch mother earth with only my flip-flops slightly askew…. Next time I will know better and wear tree-climbing apparel.

Augi reminds me of things I need to do, like fix my old Ford truck. We go outside and he wants to climb in. He tells me “Fix the truck, Tata!” In the meantime we sit in there and pretend we are going to the circus or rodeo. Along the way we encounter bears, tigers, eagles, elephants and other sundry beasts who all want to go with us to the circus or rodeo. They get in the truck with us and Augi yells out “Put your seatbelts on!” We sing a song as we go on our merry way. I am totally into this imaginary road trip and I am transported to my own childhood days. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I can hardly wait for Thursday to come around again. ~ Chris Baca

“Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.” ~Robert Fulghum

(Thursdays with Augi is a guest post written by Chris Baca, President/CEO of YDI Foundation and YES Housing, Inc., Albuquerque, New Mexico)

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