The Pursuit of God…
A recent article by Ed Stetzer refers to a study conducted by The Barna Research Group in 2019 which reported that 48% of American adults are “Bible disengaged.” While an even more discouraging 5% of Americans are categorized as “Bible-Centered”—meaning that the Bible influences their lives on some level. And an additional 28% are “Bible friendly” or “Bible neutral” and at least do not reject the Bible completely. This growing cultural trend of Biblical illiteracy is making a significant negative impact on preaching, discipleship and a deepening knowledge of God.
The article goes on to report on a 2019 LifeWay Research report that revealed that six in ten Protestant churches are now plateaued or declining in attendance and more than half saw fewer than ten people become new Christians in the past year. Stetzer goes on to say, “There is more to the story. Even committed churchgoers are attending church less frequently, with many moving from weekly attendance to monthly.” He refers to Pastor Eugene Peterson who after putting up with lame excuses for skipping church only to realize his responses made no difference, said “I don’t respond anymore. I listen and go home and pray that person will one day find the one sufficient reason for going to church, which is God.”
Without a doubt, we are seeing across the church spectrum in America, a lessening of value related to the Bible’s role in life and culture, and a lessening in the value or sense of need for the Church, Small group Bible study and gathered fellowship. Maybe the unspoken issue is the Pursuit of God has been abandoned as a priority for the pursuit of many other things that subtlety pull us and our schedules away from God. With that in mind, what does the Pursuit of God look like? This is the major theme of our January book study. A.W. Tozer authored this powerful book many years ago. It is considered a classic and as we go through it, you’ll understand why. I look forward to our Pursuit of God as we delve into this marvelous and challenging study. We will make the books available to you very soon, so keep alert and be sure to pick up a copy.
Voice of Mobile Christmas Concert… today at 5 PM. We have hosted them before, and they are fantastic. You will be amazed, laugh, praise and worship as they lead us in this musical celebration of Christmas. What a wonderful way to kick off the Advent season.
Reach The World Update… We are continuing to receive gifts for our annual World Mission and Lottie Moon Christmas offering. We have not yet reached our goal of $100,000 and so we need everyone to help us bless our five Mission partners so that they can effectively do the work of God locally, nationally and internationally. Will you help?
Christmas and Depression… what a combination right? Did you know that the holiday season for many people a difficult time? Studies show that during this time of year far more people battle depression and discouragement than most of us realize. There are many reasons of course, but God has some helpful insights from His Word on how to respond to depression and that is the subject of my message this morning. Thanks for being here and may the Lord fill your cup and bless your soul. Listen, He will speak to you. And remember, God is always trying to take you someplace new. I love being your Pastor.