Expressions of faith: Taking it back

Rev. Monterey D. Lee, Sr.

“Since the time of John the Baptist until now, the Kingdom of Heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force,” Matthew 11:12.

Having faith in God is the key to having the power of God. Matthew 10:1 reads: “And when He had called unto Him His 12 disciples, He gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manners of disease.” As the ‘called’ of God, we are empowered to touch and change the world. For the power that has been given is of God. This power is known as ‘dunamis,’ a dynamite power. When Jesus called His 12 disciples, He instructed them on what to do and where to go. “These 12 Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter not. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely you have received, freely give,” Matthew 10:5-8.

When you are filled with the power of God you cannot stop from touching and changing people. For His power gives you a forward thrust to change family, community, city, and state. Our nation is under attack by the enemy. Twenty-seven percent of Americans want to break from church. Twenty-three percent of Americans would rather work than attend church. Twenty-six percent find it useless to have faith in God. Twenty percent of Americans don’t feel connected to the people at their church. Fifteen percent of Americans feel that church members are unfriendly and unwelcoming. Fifty-two percent have indicated some sort of religious, ethical, or political beliefs are the reason they dropped out of church. In other words, about 52% changed their Christian views. Many say we don’t believe what the church teaches, and we don’t believe that a lifelong commitment is the way. What can we do?

In growing up as a child, my parents installed in me the importance of not only attending church but also becoming the church. My entire family attended church together: Bible Study on Wednesday, Sunday School, Morning Worship, Afternoon Worship, BTU (Bible Training Union), and even Night Worship. This was the lifestyle we lived each week. We prayed together at home. We would sit down and have dinner as a family, and we spent quality time with one another. The Christian lifestyle was seen in the home, and not just within the church building. When you become what Christ has intended for you to be you don’t go looking for a relationship; you already have relationship. “And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven,” Matthew 16:18-19.

Church is not something you attend once a week. To be a Christian is to take on Christ and be Christ like. When one becomes Christ like your entire lifestyle is different. How you embrace people, how you deal with situations and circumstances, and how you view life represents a true relationship that goes beyond attending but becoming the church.

Question: Do you have a firsthand faith that will give value and reasoning for living for Christ? We cannot pressure people to attend ministries, but we must influence them by living the life before them. It is time to take it back. Jesus observed in Matthew 11:12, that the focus He refers to is akin to the force expended when an army storms a city. Just as the goal of the invading army is to completely capture and take dominion over the fortified city it assails. Jesus came to give us life to the fullest. When God restores, He does not do anything halfway. God is Holistic in His views, wanting to bring forth a fullness of His glory in our lives. As we get our devotion, thoughts, and speech in alignment with His truth, we begin to see the manifestation of His promises in our lives.

It’s time to take back our communities, cities, and states. Let’s become one as a family, spending time with one another in prayer, the word (Bible), and worship. In doing so, the percentage of those who have dropped out of church will lessen each day. “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly,” John 10:10. Let’s take it back.

(Monterey D. Lee, Sr. is the Pastor of Celebration Christian Center, Inc., located at 1215 9th Ave N Nashville, TN 37208. For more information, visit their website at www.celebrationchristian.online.)