Wednesday, January 21st, 2015
All Things New (Part 21)
Warning: Unchecked Growth*
And they said, 'Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves...'
Genesis 11:4 (NKJV)
For you have said in your heart:
'I will ascend into heaven,
I will exalt my throne above the stars of God;
I will also sit on the mount of the congregation...
I will be like the Most High.'
Isaiah 14:13-14 (NKJV)
When I visited my daughter in New York, I attended her church... and liked it. But recently, they had a growth campaign, and it made me uneasy. The pastor was raising an extra million dollars to open a satellite campus in a neighboring city. But why? Were all the existing churches full?
When did so many preachers become businessmen? Pushing growth, promotions and products? When did so many become best-selling authors?
'The chief danger of the Church today is that it is trying to get on the same side as the world, instead of turning the world upside down' (A.B. Simpson).
'If the Holy Spirit was withdrawn from the church today, 95 percent of what we do would go on and no one would know the difference. If the Holy Spirit had been withdrawn from the New Testament church, 95 percent of what they did would stop, and everybody would know the difference' (A.W. Tozer).
'We may easily be too big for God to use, but never too small' (D.L. Moody).
From my reading of the Bible, God is careful about growth. He trims the fat and prunes the branches: 'Every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit' (John 15:2).
Actors, models and talent for Christ: beware the unchecked growth of celebrity. Jesus didn't seek it, look it, talk it or accept it... until the week of His crucifixion. By Divine plan, celebrity overtook Him.
But the growth of His Personal ministry was purposely slow. He tested His disciples, reduced their number, walked on foot, traveled back roads, and refused a coronation. He never chased a quantity of people, but only a quality of hearts. In truth, His total disregard of people pleasing made Him a polarizing Figure in Israel.
'Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division' (Luke 12:51). Because 'Friendship with the world is enmity with God' (James 4:4).
Therein, regarding your own journey through media... do not chase a quantity of fans, but only a quality of roles.
To Be Continued...
* Previous AMTC Devotion, 'Shallow Conversions': http://amtcdevotions.org/christian-pitfalls-part-32-shallow-conversions
* Previous AMTC Devotion Series, 'Which Church Are You?': http://amtcdevotions.org/which-church-are-you-part-1
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the All Things New series.