Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Keeping Faith in 2012+


Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)

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    2012's first edition of KD included my prediction that the Mormon is the "inevitable" GOP nominee to take on the, uh, not-really-sure-about-his-religion incumbent in this year's run for the rose garden.

    He's gonna cruise in NH and then ride on to defeat on November 6 as BBPBHO wins bigger than last time.

    Truth is BBPBHO is exactly who America wants in the White House.

    He is our first truly secular President; and that fits into America's current/increasing, uh, secularism.

    Unless the Mayans are right and this is the year when the increasing intensity and frequency of the eschaton's birthpangs reach a climax compelling a resurgence of foxhole religious interest across the land, recent research indicates/proves BBPBHO, again, is exactly who America wants in the White House.

    USA Today compiled some interesting stats from a variety of reliable sources on 1/3/12.

    46% of Americans "say they never wonder whether they will go to heaven" (LifeWay Research).

    44% "don't spend time seeking 'eternal wisdom'" and 19% claim "It's useless to search for meaning" (Baylor University Religion Survey).

    28% confess "It's not a major priority in my life to find my deeper purpose" and 18% "scoffed that God has a purpose or plan for everyone" (LifeWay Research).

    I'm reminded of the coach who asked a player, "Son, what is it with you?  Ignorance or apathy?"

    Player: "Coach, I don't know and I don't care."

    Essentially, that's the state of religion in America 2012+.

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    Previous KDs have noted these terrible stats.

    85% of American churches are declining.

    10+ churches in America close every day.

    1400-1500 pastors leave ministry every 30 days.

    2% of American church members invited someone to church.

    95% of all American churchgoers will never lead anyone to Jesus this year.

    The church has not made an impact on the 33,000 people who commit suicide every year; and 150,000 people die every day with a very large percentage of them not knowing the eternal assurances of Jesus because American churchgoers really don't give a...

    Yeah, I know some of ya'll wanna argue those stats.

    But, geez, if you think America hasn't gone secular, you probably think an elephant is a mouse with glandular problems.

    Yeah, there's a remnant of really faithful people in America.

    Praise the Lord!

    But, sigh, don't confuse a remnant with the majority; and read 2 Chronicles 7:14 while you're at it.

    I'm not being negative.

    I'm being honest.

    And that's why BBPBHO will win by a wider margin this time than last time.

    He is exactly what America wants in the White House - a mirror reflection of our increasingly secular nation that doesn't wanna be under God anymore.

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    So how do we keep faith in 2012+?

    Or as I'd like to get a foundation to fund me for some relational research on a topic that just might refresh me and encourage others like me: What It Means to be Faithful in a Country that Doesn't Give a Damn About God Anymore."

    Psst.

    If you're reading this and He's movin' ya to think about funding this because foundations seem to want to refresh clergy with "renewal" grants on gardening or interviewing their old seminary needlepoint covenant groups with the idea that, uh, that kinda stuff will refresh clergy for the really important stuff like keeping faith in an increasingly apostate culture, I figure I can do the field research in about six weeks or less for around 10K; so if you've got it, please consider...

    Seriously, I'm gonna start in my own family of faith at First in Belvidere - maybe you can send some ideas to me - and ask What It Means to be Faithful in a...

    I plan to collate the findings and put out a tract or booklet or, uh, whatever to encourage keeping faith in 2012+.

    So if you've got ideas or if, unlike most KDers, you've been financially blessed to bless, how about...

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    Really, I need some help on practical suggestions on keeping faith in 2012+; and I think there are lots like me out, uh, there.

    And while I don't know what to make of it, yet think it relates to my desire for more relational research on it, I keep recalling one of the most dramatic/apocalyptic/compelling moments of my ministry that occurred over three decades ago when I was pastor of Clark, New Jersey's Osceola Presbyterian Church.

    Our church would exchange choirs and preachers with an African-American church in Cranford on Wednesdays during Lent.

    I'll never forget our first Wednesday together for two reasons.

    I saw Paul's vision for authentic faith come alive (viz., Galatians 3:27-28).

    I also watched Pastor Alvin do what "they" always did at the end of every service.

    Just before the benediction, he went to the big entrance doors of the sanctuary, opened them, turned back toward the congregation, and said, "We open the doors of this church to anyone and everyone who needs Jesus to keep keepin' on."

    Then he went outside the doors, waved as in inviting people outside to come in, then came back in, and prayed for people to respond to the next invitation before giving the benediction.

    That's stayed with me for over three decades.

    I think it has a lot to do with keeping faith in 2012+.

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Blessings and Love!

    

5 comments:

Elder Bob said...

I suspect that you are already familiar with Gabe Lyons and David Kinnamon. In case you are not, I suggest "Unchristian" and "The Next Christians" as a read for you. They don't provide easy answers to your questions but they provide interesting food for thought.

Ella Jane said...

Bob,
You and I are thinking the same. I was going to write a devo yesterday about "Keep Christ." You beat me to it! Seriously, we must contend for the faith that was once delivered to the Saints...satan isn't about to back off now, not with the promise of the Great Harvest and the Great pouring out of His Spirit..and the soon return of Christ. Even as we see many come in, we'll also see many fall away. We must endeavor to be closer to Him this year than any previous times in our lives and stay hidden in Christ till He returns.

Dr. Robert R. Kopp said...

Amen Sister!

Jim said...

You asked, "What does it mean to be faithful..." in increasingly apostate America?

First, I'm not sure we should start with any finger pointing at the nation. The more important question, it seems to me, is "What does it mean, what does it take, to be faithful in the increasingly apostate Church?" I know you plan to start by examining the question with your family of faith up there in IL, but before getting to the problem with America, perhaps it would be better to investigate the problem with the Church in America, 'cause, unless I'm way off the one's decline (the Church's) is a major factor contributing to the collapse of the other. I'm just sayin'...

I remember a story that kind of illustrates the effect of the apostate Church. A pastor was preaching one Sunday, and happened to notice a new family in the pews. In particular, he had trouble not noticing their little boy, who was just about the squirmiest, wriggliest, could not sit still kid he'd ever laid eyes on. The boy would lean one way, and then way over the other way, absolutely restless the whole time the pastor was preaching. After the service the pastor greeted the family, and he could not help but ask the boy why he had been so fidgety. "I heard you say that we need to keep our eyes on Jesus. So I kept looking for him, but you were in the way."

What America needs is Jesus. Was a time when He could be found in many congregations which, after all, are, or were, a part of His body. Considering the apostasy of the Church, I would have to say it has become more of an obstacle to faith than a vehicle. For, even if a small remnant in this land would look for Jesus, the apostate Church gets in the way. So, and I know that you know this, the answer to your "What does it mean" question is that one needs to seek after Jesus, relentlessly. Not that He plays hard to get, but because, well, the apostate Church and the rampant secularism of this nation make it difficult. Oh, and the seeking after him, well, it has to be whole-hearted (Jeremiah 29.13). And, should we be successful in our seeking, then we must be determined and faithful in our following, which, again, won't be easy for the same reasons that make the seeking difficult. But what do I know?

If you could maybe bump up the 10K for your research to 15K maybe you could take me on as a research assistant?

Christ IS All!

Dr. Robert R. Kopp said...

Amen, Amen, Amen!

Three-fold amen is really, really, really confirming!

Yeah, we could do this together!

Blessings and Love!