[forthright] Looking Beneath the Surface

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From: "Forthright Magazine" <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Wed, 05 Jul 2006 15:06:19 -0300
Forthright Magazine
http://www.forthright.net
Straight to the Cross


COLUMN: Reality Check

Looking Beneath the Surface
by Stan Mitchell

Just a few more words to our graduates. When you
go to another city and start college, or a new
career, you will (I hope) look up a nearby
congregation with which to worship and serve. You
may or may not find it to be similar to your
congregation.

Some churches will be bigger than yours, with
thousands of worshipers, a "big name" preacher,
and knock-your-socks-off technology. Look beyond
the outward exhibition of emotion (clapping? eyes
closed in apparent ecstasy? powerful praise team?)
and ask yourself if this is a time dedicated to
exalting God or exalting ourselves. This is a
danger warned of by Jesus himself (Matthew 6:1-
18).

Do two things for me, please: first, try to look
beyond the "show time" drama, strip away the
obvious, and ask better, deeper questions of what
they do. Just because it is new and different
doesn't make it wrong, of course, so ask a second
question, the Berean question:

"Now these were more noble minded than those in
Thessalonica, for they received the word with
great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to
see whether these things were so" (Acts 17:11,
NASV).

"But," someone objects, "I want the church I
attend to be enthusiastic, sincere, eager to
praise God!"

Good! What could be more enthusiastic than a
church that listened to preaching with "great
eagerness," more sincere than Christians who
"searched the scriptures daily"? You can't read a
heart, 'tis true, but you can read your Bible!

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