Wise Words

"Wait on the Lord, be strong and of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart...wait on the Lord. Psalms 27:14


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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

"In Other Words" - Tuesday's at CWO

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Please pardon the LONG introduction but I like to get a GOOD grip on the definitions of certain words in the weekly quotes.

a•ban•don [uh-ban-duh n]
–verb (used with object)

1. To leave completely and finally; forsake utterly; desert: to abandon one's farm; to abandon a child; to abandon a sinking ship.
2. To give up; discontinue; withdraw from: to abandon a research project; to abandon hopes for a stage career.
3. To give up the control of: to abandon a city to an enemy army.
4. To yield (oneself) without restraint or moderation; give (oneself) over to natural impulses, usually without self-control: to abandon oneself to grief.
5. Law. To cast away, leave, or desert, as property or a child.
6. Insurance. To relinquish (insured property) to the underwriter in case of partial loss, thus enabling the insured to claim a total loss.
7. Obsolete. To banish.
—Related forms
a•ban•don•a•ble, adjective
a•ban•don•er, noun
a•ban•don•ment, noun
—Synonyms 1. See DESERT2. 2. ABANDON, RELINQUISH, RENOUNCE mean to give up all concern in something. ABANDON means to give up or discontinue any further interest in something because of discouragement, weariness, distaste, or the like: to abandon one's efforts. RELINQUISH implies being or feeling compelled to give up something one would prefer to keep: to relinquish a long-cherished desire. RENOUNCE implies making (and perhaps formally stating) a voluntary decision to give something up: to renounce worldly pleasures. 3. yield, surrender, resign, waive, abdicate.
—Antonyms 1. keep. 2. continue; begin, start. 3. retain.

in•formed [in-fawrmd]

1. having or prepared with information or knowledge; apprised: an informed audience that asked intelligent questions.
2. To impart information to; make aware of something: We were informed by mail of the change in plans. The nurse informed me that visiting hours were over.
3. To acquaint (oneself) with knowledge of a subject.
4. To give form or character to; imbue with a quality or an essence: "A society's strength is measured by . . . its ability to inform a future generation with its moral standards" (Vanity Fair).
5. To be a pervasive presence in; animate: "It is this brash, backroom sensibility that informs his work as a novelist" (Jeff Shear).
6. To form (the mind or character) by teaching or training.

chic [sheek]
-er, -est.
1. Attractive and fashionable; stylish: a chic hat.
2. Conforming to the current fashion; stylish: chic clothes; a chic boutique.
3. Adopting or setting current fashions and styles; sophisticated: chic, well-dressed young executives. See Synonyms at fashionable.
4. Style and elegance, esp. in dress: Paris clothes have such chic.
5. Stylishness; modishness: the chic of the firstnighters.
—Related forms
chicly, adverb
chicness, noun
—Synonyms 1. smart, elegant, modish.
—Pronunciation note The spelling pronunciation is considered nonstandard except when used facetiously.

show [shoh]
verb, showed, shown or showed, show•ing, noun
–verb (used with object)

1. To cause or allow to be seen; exhibit; display.
2. To present or perform as a public entertainment or spectacle: to show a movie.
3. To indicate; point out: to show the way.
4. To guide, escort, or usher: He showed me to my room. Show her in.
5. To explain or make clear; make known: He showed what he meant.
6. To make known to; inform, instruct, or prove to: I'll show you what I mean.
7. To prove; demonstrate: His experiment showed the falsity of the theory.
8. To indicate, register, or mark: The thermometer showed 10 below zero.
9. To exhibit or offer for sale: to show a house.
10. To allege, as in a legal document; plead, as a reason or cause.
11. To produce, as facts in an affidavit or at a hearing.
12. To express or make evident by appearance, behavior, speech, etc.: to show one's feelings.
13. To accord or grant (favor, kindness, etc.): He showed mercy in his decision.
–verb (used without object)
14. To be seen; be or become visible: Does my slip show?
15. To be seen in a certain way: to show to advantage.
16. To put on an exhibition or performance; display one's goods or products: Several dress designers are showing in New York now.
17. Informal. To be present or keep an appointment; show up: He said he would be there, but he didn't show.
18. To finish third in a horse race, harness race, etc.
19. A theatrical production, performance, or company.
20. A radio or television program.
21. A motion picture.
22. An exposition for dealers or the public of products by various manufacturers in a particular industry, usually held in an exhibition hall, convention facility, or the like: the annual boat show.
23. Any kind of public exhibition or exposition: a show of Renoirs.
24. Ostentatious display: nothing but mere show.
25. A display, exhibition, or demonstration: a true show of freedom.
26. An indication; trace: He frowned on the slightest show of emotion.
27. The position of the competitor who comes in third in a horse race, harness race, etc. Compare PLACE (def. 27b), WIN1 (def. 16).
28. Appearance; impression: to make a sorry show.
29. A sight or spectacle.
30. An unreal or deceptive appearance: The actress's tears had the show of grief.
31. An act or instance of showing.
32. A motion-picture theater.
33. Informal. A chance: to get a fair show.
34. Chiefly British Informal. Any undertaking, group of persons, event, etc.; affair; thing.
—Verb phrases
35. show off,
a. To display ostentatiously: The parade was designed to show off all the latest weapons of war.
b. To seek to gain attention by displaying prominently one's abilities or accomplishments.
36. show up,
a. To make known, as faults; expose; reveal.
b. To exhibit in a certain way; appear: White shows up well against a blue background.
c. To come to or arrive at a place: We waited for two hours, but he didn't show up.
d. To make (another) seem inferior; outdo.
37. make a show of, To be ostentatious about; affect: Whenever there are visitors, the bosses make a show of being nice to their employees.
38. run the show, To control a business, situation, etc.; be in charge: My father runs the show in our house.
39. steal the show,
a. To usurp the credit or get the applause for something: That woman can act, but the child stole the show. He did all the work, but his partner stole the show.
b. To be the most pleasing or spectacular item or person in a group.
40. stop the show, To win such enthusiastic applause that a theatrical performance is temporarily interrupted.
—Related forms
show•a•ble, adjective
showless, adjective
—Synonyms 4. lead, conduct. 5. interpret, clarify, elucidate; reveal, disclose, divulge. 10. assert, affirm. 13. bestow, confer. 23. spectacle. 24, 25. SHOW, DISPLAY, OSTENTATION, POMP suggest the presentation of a more or less elaborate, often pretentious, appearance for the public to see. SHOW often indicates an external appearance that may or may not accord with actual facts: a show of modesty. DISPLAY applies to an intentionally conspicuous show: a great display of wealth. OSTENTATION is vain, ambitious, pretentious, or offensive display: tasteless and vulgar ostentation. POMP suggests such a show of dignity and authority as characterizes a ceremony of state: The coronation was carried out with pomp and ceremonial. 30. deception, pretense, simulation, illusion.

How many churches today are little more than Hollywood productions, especially the MEGA-churches? How many of the worship music portions seem now like they are out of some kind of music video?

Sadly, it seems like so many mainstream churches today feel like they have to "entertain" in order to have people attend. It seems to be all about the numbers. How many people can we get in this week?

I recall an article I read a few months ago where one pastor used to be "all about the numbers" because it was "the thing" to do. He was on a daily diet of books and videos centered around the latest church fads and trends that focused on church growth. He was on the cutting edge of ministry thinking, learning more and more about marketing and the psychology of connecting people and he believed that numbers equaled success, even if that meant changing the name of the church, offering self-help programs, or implementing any other sort of method he thought would help to boost the numbers.

It seems today in the mainstream church that the more successful you are in "hitting your numbers", meaning the number of people that are sitting in the seats, the greater your measure of success. Now, more than ever before, there are numerous books that place emphasis on the subject of church growth and there seems to be a greater desire to be a mega church. This desire then facilitates the thought pattern of, "If I grow the church, I’m doing more for God than the next guy."

Pastors around the world have come to believe that church growth equals success. Thousands have attended conference after conference, read book after book, and are even listening to audio messages regarding church growth. Just like the professional athlete on steroids, pastors have been caught taking Church Growth Hormones for growth’s sake. Many have seen the fast, "successful" results and have signed on, thus endorsing this dangerous pill. They have improved their performances on Sundays and Wednesdays to attract people. The Church Growth Hormone contains some very ugly ingredients. Let’s take a look.

The ingredients are as follows: man-centered theology (instead of the Triune God-centered), relevant messages that solve people’s problems by meeting their needs, events and programs that reach out to the community, and music that is contemporary and entertaining (take into account the new perversion of the U2Eucharist – yes, that is what it is called – songs from the band U2, replacing traditional hymns in churches). For best results, remove pews, dress casual, and install a 5000 lumen projector, provide New Age/Eastern philosophy in the form of "Christian Yoga" by trying to tell people that it is a "healthy way" to exercise, but neglecting to tell them that you really can not take the Eastern Mysticism out of the original intent of Yoga by calling it "Christian". If taken weekly and if you follow a regimented marketing strategy, you are guaranteed growth. The side effects may include unbelievers in leadership, false converts, uncommitted members, and shallow minds.

The sad thing is that on our own, there is no way that we could see the damaging effects of what we are participating in. To top it off, many pastors are encouraged in this sin by many people. If anyone asks how the church is doing, what they really want to know is what the attendance numbers are, not how God is working or what He is doing in the congregation. Many pastor's and congregant's world view has become filled with garbage and they are blinded. Their flesh is in constant need to be validated, which is coming directly from numbers and growth instead of how God is moving. In this way, it has become all about "me" (them). When we take "me" out of the equation, our sight starts to become clearer. The Word has to become our number one reference for all things.

Do you know that in many "mega churches" and mainstream churches, they no longer teach from the Word of God? The Bible has become "too divisive" to preach from anymore and something in there might "offend" someone. Pastors have started preaching for the seekers instead of the saved when it should be the other way around, and congregants looking for an "easy" theology of watered-down Christianity flock in droves to these churches. They don't want to hear about sin and repentance, they want to hear about Grace as the bandaid that heals all – the ability to sin without Godly consequences. They want a loving, benevolent God who turns a blind eye to our sin.

Anyway, after some study that had been done by this pastor, he actually began to be discerning. Those many books that he owned went right into the trash and he learned how to inductively study the Bible. When it came down to it, Jesus basically rewrote the hard drive of his mind. Steering away from a numbers-driven thought process, growing the church was no longer his focus, instead it became about training the believer.

If we get rid of the smoke and mirrors we will see Him clearly instead of a distorted image. If we get rid of the disrespect that is shown for God by wanting to be "all inclusive" and "politically correct" by no longer teaching from His Word, if we get BACK to the basics of worship and INCLUDE the Bible once more, when we learn to listen and apply ourselves to study of the Word and time spent in prayer with Him, when we worship from our heart to praise God alone instead of worshiping to impress and draw others, then yes, He will show Himself to us in ways that will be beyond any imagining and He will draw us near to Him and we will truly then be able to see Him as He is.

"There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." – Proverbs 16:25

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Jean-Luc Picard said...

Those churches that try to entertain have lost their real objective.

Christine said...

Very true. The PC really makes me angry! I loved your point, "When we take "me" out of the equation, our sight starts to become clearer." Great take on the quote this week! Thanks for participating.

Jennifer said...

Your so funny! I looked up all the words too. I ended up rewriting the quote using synonyms to see if it made more sense to me that way. You know what, it did:)

Blessings to you!

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janna said...

Did I write this post? :) My sentiments exactly regarding the church growth movement. Thanks for putting it all "out there"!

Crystal said...

Wow, this is a good post. I love your analogy of the growth hormone - it's sad, but too true.

The last paragraph reminds me of the song "The Heart of Worship" and the need to bring our worship back to what it's supposed to be about - HIM!

Sooo, sooo good. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one disturbed by the seeker friendly movement. Thanks for sharing.

Cindy said...

Excellent post, Nic. I really like your blog as well!