I love the 4th of the July. Outside of the two big Christian holidays it is probably my favorite holiday. Its probably because (1) I love being an American and (2) I love watching things blow up (and a distant third - it also happens to fall during BBQ season).
The country is 235 years old. I wonder what our “forefathers” might think if they saw how much this country has changed since they signed the Declaration of Independence? It amazes me how much things have changed even since I was a kid (and that wasn’t that long ago). I think of the ups and downs our country has gone through and where we currently are today.
How did we get here? While there are many “experts” that will give you 1000 reasons, one that really stands out to me is our culture’s thinking that they are naturally entitled to something. Merriam-Webster defines “entitlement” as belief that one is deserving of or entitled to certain privileges. We live in an instant gratification society that thinks the world owes them something so they want to get it now. Teens and young adults see what their parents have (that their parents worked long and hard to earn) and they want the same thing, and they want it now. Thankfully (sarcasm), we have credit limits that can help us get there.
We think we NEED these things to be successful or to be happy. We think our kids NEED these things in order to succeed or be happy in life… I mean, honestly, who doesn’t want to give child everything they NEED.
Our problem in our culture is we have severely blurred the lines between WANTS and NEEDS. What we NEED and what we WANT and even more so what we DESERVE have gotten very confused. I don’t need to explain it too much more to you because you already know all about this (even if you don’t want to admit it).
What I do want to talk about is how this attitude has spilled over into, and has begun to consume the church. I love my church. I love going to church. I love being a part of a Bible believing church. I hope you can say the same. My question I need to ask myself is “WHY?” Why do I love my church? Why do I love going? Is it because of what it does for YOU? Is it because it meets all of your NEEDS? Every Sunday, people all over the United States are looking for a new church because their current church isn’t meeting their needs. I know this because people have used those exact words to tell me why they are checking out Paragon or why they left Paragon. I have never had the nerve to say it right then and there, but there is a question that always pops in my mind… “SINCE WHEN IS GOING TO CHURCH ABOUT YOU?”
Church isn’t about us. Our gathering together is a great thing for building up one another, for learning and for a sense of community, but none of those are the #1 reason we go to church (or at least they shouldn’t be). It is about us coming together to worship the ONE TRUE GOD. We have been worshipping Him all week long and this is a culmination of that week. Our songs are to Him (not to us to make us feel better). Our message is to Him (not to make us feel better). We are to come here for an audience of ONE. Everything else that happens there is just a fringe benefit for being there.
That is what “Simple Sunday” at Paragon is all about. We are going to strip away everything that we think makes church and leave only what really is church… a group of people worshipping the ONE TRUE GOD.