A few months ago when summer was ending, I was driving down Queen street. There was bumper to bumper traffic so I was stuck on the street in front of the Dairy Queen for a few minutes, so I had a chance to observe the people walking in and out, and I remember being amazed that some of the people getting ice cream were physically quite larger than average.
It was just a few days later we met Tyler for the first time and we went to Dairy Queen after church to get ice cream. As we sat on the patio outside, I got to observe a lot of people walk in and then out of the Dairy Queen. I recognized that some of the people who were getting ice cream were the same people I had just seen a few days before.
A few days later I was driving down Queen Street again and I passed by the same Dairy Queen and when I saw some of the same people eating ice cream for the 3rd time that week.
I wondered though, how often these people frequented the ice cream shop and places like it, and I wondered if they ever eat a good healthy meal and if they knew that this was a very bad decision for their physical health.
There’s a health food store near my home and I visit it regularly, regularly enough now to meet some of the same customers several times over the course of more than year. What I find interesting is the people who seem to be getting into better shape every time I see them. I met a lady around my age who (according to her) has lost over 100lbs. I try to buy some of the same supplements and foods that she buys, and it just tastes horrible and it’s a lot more expensive, nothing like cheap delicious ice cream. Dairy Queen is always overloaded with customers, there’s always a line up. The health food store is always empty, even though they produce excellent results I’m scared they will go bankrupt due to lack of customers.
I was in the line with the lady who lost over 100lbs and she was telling me how much she can lift and how fast she can run, not surprisingly she lifts a lot more than I do and can run a lot faster and longer than me. What I find unique is she didn’t make any excuses to me about her previous condition, she said she wanted to get stronger and healthier and knew that there was a very difficult path to get there.
In the church world, things are similar. The pastor who delivers a good healthy spiritual meal each week is way under appreciated and under visited. The prosperity preachers with the delicious sugary meal that makes you happy for 30 minutes but then weakens you permanently, they are overloaded with people and money, they won’t be going bankrupt any time soon because they have long line ups.
But God says that one day a flood will hit your life, and you’ll be completely destroyed and you’ll never make a recovery. And you’ve all seen this in peoples lives. Something bad happened to them 30 years ago and they still haven’t recovered. Meanwhile the same exact thing happens to a Jesus follower and within a few years they are better off than before.
If you were to ask 100 children, do you want to eat Dairy Queen or some rice and veggies tonight, I guarantee you most of the time, most of the children will want Dairy Queen. How many kids will choose the rice and veggies? No way, that’s gross, even though it’s healthy for you, it’s gross. Some children will even cry and put up a fit, adults aren’t that different when it comes to church. You all have a choice between going to a local church with a faithful pastor and receiving a good healthy dose of the bible, but most Christians will choose the unhealthy prosperity preacher, who’s message is covered in sugar. And by the way, those preachers don’t care about your spiritual health they just need to get you hooked on their sugar so they can get all your money.
What ends up happening (and the Bible says this) is you become spiritually unhealthy, instead of being filled with good nutrition that makes you strong and stable, you end up being extremely unstable, unreliable, unfaithful to God and you’ll lose at life.
There’s nothing wrong with dairy queen, it’s not a sin to go there once in a while, I like going there to tell you the truth. And there’s nothing wrong with a good solid balanced biblical motivational message about prosperity but there is something very wrong if that’s all you ever have all the time.
If you don’t believe me, talk to your doctor. While researching this week I read messages online from doctors, expressing their frustration with the general population who constantly load up our bodies with garbage and then make excuses for our poor health. I myself am guilty of this to.
You’re supposed to eat a good healthy meal everyday and you get desert only after your healthy meal and even then you don’t get desert every day.
I’ve learned that many gyms have added a snack bar. Gyms that have snack bars benefit from increased membership, but it’s annoying because I hear most of the people just go and hang out at the snack bar the entire time, barely doing any kind of workout at all. But at least they can say to them self “i went to the gym.”
Only a small percentage of people who go to the gym actually make any progress, and they’ll tell you that in order to make progress, they workout very hard and challenge them self. If they were on level 1 last year, this year they will do level 2. Next year the goal is level 3. It’s very hard and uncomfortable but it leads to real measurable progress. The people who make no progress are the ones who have been on level 1 for 10 years and stick to it because it’s so easy and fun and there’s no challenge involved.
Having a good foundation means you go to a good faithful church with a good pastor who cares about you, who teaches you the whole bible even when it makes him look like a jerk. You spend time each day in the bible, in prayer and worship and you live an obedient lifestyle that revolves around Jesus. Listen, Jesus doesn’t revolve around you, you revolve around Jesus, you live to serve and obey Jesus.
When you come to this church or any other good church, the pastors job is to deliver the Bible to you in a balanced manner that educates and nourishes and challenges you to get bigger and stronger week after week, year after year. I can’t just give you desert all the time that will hurt you in the end!
Yet people prefer to go to a church where it’s just sugary short easy messages about how God wants you to be rich and famous with no problems at all so you can live a lavish selfish vacation lifestyle. Those people have no foundation, they are so unstable and so unreliable that you can’t have them in your life because all they cause is stress.
I expect more from someone who has been going to the gym for 10 years than from someone who just started yesterday. And God expects more from a person who has been following Him for 10 years than from someone who just gave their life to Him yesterday. Have you been at the same level of faith for years? Then what you’ve been doing doesn’t work.
This church doesn’t take up an offering, meaning we don’t pass around a bucket each week, we have an offering container at the back welcome table and if you give you give and if you don’t you don’t. Every pastor hates preaching about giving because it makes people uncomfortable and people get angry and leave when you talk about money. I’ve invited several people to church who have told me “oh I don’t go to church because all the church wants is my money.”
Do you pay rent or mortgage? Do you make a car or insurance payment? Do you pay a phone bill? Do you pay for your groceries? When you go to the mall to buy stuff does the cashier ever want money from you?
Are you dumb enough to think the cashier loves you for you? Go ahead and stop making that monthly mortgage or rent payment, go ahead and try to walk out of the store without paying and see what happens to you, you’ll find out that THOSE are the people who only deal with you for your money and yet you happily oblige over and over again.
I’ve never heard anyone complain to me “oh all that liqueur store wants from me is my money, I’m going to stop drinking booze for good.” Imagine if God treated you in the same disrespectful garbage manner you treat Him!
How much have you spent on clothing in the past year and how much missions work have you supported?
How much have you spent in car payments in the past 10 years and compare that to how many orphans you’ve helped to take care of. For $20 you can supply medicine to a child in a third world country that saves them from blindness but I bet you’ve never done it. For $250 you can provide fresh water to a thirsty village for the rest of their life saving hundreds of lives, but you’ve never done it. I bet you spend more than that at Tim Hortons every year.
And if you honestly feel that your local shopping mall benefits you more than your faithful pastor then I dare you the next time you’re in trouble, don’t call me, call Wal Mart.
You wouldn’t miss your monthly payment 2 or 3 or 4 times in a row right? If you did, you’d be in a huge panic because you know you’re going to get into massive trouble right?
Yet you miss church, you miss daily prayer time, you don’t read the bible 2 or 3 or 4 times in a row: do you know how much that weakens you and opens up your life for Satan to destroy you?
If you skip 1 day of praying you should be just as stressed as if you missed 1 mortgage payment, and let me tell you this, if you lose your house you can get another one but if you lose your eternal soul you have no hope for recovery!
If you were as faithful to God as you are to the bank, your life would be very different right now in a very positive way.