Thursday, June 28, 2012

Canada Oh Canada

Last week my wife and I spend some time in Quebec for our vacation.  We saw some beautiful countryside.  We say some beautiful architecture. We met some very friendly people.  We also some very beautiful and ornate churches.  What we did not see, though, was Jesus. 

I thought that was kind of ironic.  I mean there were these beautiful ornate old churches and just about every town named Saint something or other and yet I did not really see Jesus anywhere.  The churches were tourist stops. The towns forgot any history of what being a saint even means.  I saw plenty of drinking and revelry.  I saw plenty of commercialism.  I saw romance.  I saw tourists of all stripes touring around.  Yet, I did not see Jesus.  There was no outreach group handing out tracts.  There was no countryside dotted with small churches.  There was not even a pretense.  There was just nothing. 

I see all of that and it gets me thinking two things.  The first thing is that I want to pray for Quebec.  I can not speak for all of Canada, but from what I see in Quebec, Jesus is all but gone.  I am sure He has His remnant somewhere, He always does.  However, as the Bible says, the harvest is plenty but the workers are few.  They need our prayers.  We like to think of missionaries going to some third world country, but should that really be the focus of all our missions when there is much work to be done right around the corner?  In fact, I say even more that we should focus more resources on our neighbors.  The fact is that many of those third world countries are more Christianized than many first world countries.   Before God, a poor country with Jesus is richer than a rich country without Jesus.  While we should take care of the poor and share our resources with our brethren in poverty, but we must not neglect sharing our spiritual wealth with those nations in utter spiritual poverty. 

The other thing that comes to mind is I pray that this does not happen to America.  I know we have our problems. I know there are many parts of this nation that are full on into sin.  I also know that as I drive from place to place, there are small churches of committed Christians dotting our landscape.  I know for our all issues, there is still a strong Christian presence in this land.  Are we slowly slipping?  Sadly I say yes we are.  Is it too late to turn things around?  No, it is far from too late.  It takes a re-dedication to living as the light and salt of the earth to keep our witness alive and spreading.  We have many great churches still in this nation that are not empty buildings of glory past but filled and praising God each and every weekend.  We must never be so prideful to think we are above falling, though.  There are many once great churches that are now shells of what they once were.  There is the Presbyterian and Methodist churches that have strayed far and away from their once-great witness.  That is not just an empty church, but a once strong movement of God that is now dying a slow death.  I sometimes wonder if that is what Jesus means in revelation when He says that he would remove their lamp stands.

There is a lesson to be learned from the once-great-now-dead movements of God.  That lesson is that no matter how great you think your particular church may be, it requires that church living for God to keep that movement going.  Many nations that were once lights are now as dark as night.  Many once great churches sit empty except for tourists snapping photographs.  Many once-great movements of God are still moving but now steadily away from God.   May we never be so prideful to rest on our accomplishments and think that is enough.  As long as there are unsaved people in this world, as long as there are poor, as long as there are those in need of Jesus, our work is not done.   There is an eternity for us to sit back and talk about what work God has honored us to be a part of in this life, but for now, it is time to do that work.
Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place--unless you repent.  Revelation 2:5 NKJV

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