Dry Bones Live Again
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July 1, 2018
CBS news reported, “At least 10 new breweries have opened in old churches across the country since 2011, and at least four more are slated to open in the next year.” This Sunday, 71 churches will close their doors in America.
Last year 3,700 churches closed their doors. That’s considerably more than the number of churches that open every Sunday or every year. It’s a warning shot across the bow of the good old gospel ship. We must stay biblical, preach the pure gospel, and be doing and not just hearing what Christ commanded (Matt 25:35-36).
The Apostle Paul wrote to instruct Timothy, “Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2nd Tim 1:8-10). We must preach it, teach it, and live it.
Our churches must be relevant in their communities if they are to impact them. While doing so, we must above all, stay relevant to the biblical mandate of the being the church without compromising the Gospel. Any human being’s health will suffer if that which is needed for health is diluted enough. The Gospel was sent to renew the spiritual health of each generation and we are guilty of neglect if it is given in diluted form. That’s enough preaching for the moment.
In the opening sentence I shared recent news that churches in America were becoming breweries. We recently visited the United Kingdom where we had lived for three years and saw the evidence of several old cathedrals and churches that had become clubs, bars, restaurants and many other things. The life of a church building like other building goes through a life cycle. Communities change; demographics change; and, building usage can change with those. There will be times when what was formerly a church building (remember, the church is NOT the building) is vacated and becomes something else. That alone is not the problem, the problem is when a community that is in need of the Gospel is left without a witness. I am also biased in feeling that witness needs to be a Pentecostal witness.
We have experienced the closing of church buildings and that is often because of the above-mentioned dynamics, but my concern is when we lose the Pentecostal witness in a community. This can happen if we aren’t biblically persistent without closing the doors of a church.
We are reclaiming some of our closed church buildings across Alabama through other churches partnering with us to open them back up with an emphasis on impacting the community with the Gospel. God spoke to Ezekiel in chapter 37 and told him to prophesy over Israel’s “dry bones” for them to live again. I feel God is calling us to prophesy in some cases over the “dry bones” of closed churches for them to live again. Pray with me!