Phil’s Points to Ponder for May 28, 2017

When you travel to a foreign country and go through customs, it is common to hear a uniformed officer ask you, “Have you anything to declare?” If you say, “Yes”, you know you are in for some questioning! So, many people who really have something they should declare actually say, ‘No’, to save themselves the trouble. Sometimes they get away with it, and sometimes they don’t.

Today I often wonder if the world is unconsciously putting this question to the Christian Church: ‘Have you anything to declare?’ In other words, in the face of all the pain in the world, do we have a strong Word from God to declare, a Word that will make a difference and bring hope to people’s lives? Because a church with ‘nothing to declare’ has no reason to exist, except to be a kind of spiritual country club to its members. A strong church needs a strong message to declare to the world.

I believe we do have such a message. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have spent over 40 years trying to proclaim it. So why hasn’t the message gotten out? I say it hasn’t, because the world isn’t flocking to the church to hear it. What are we doing wrong?

I don’t think it is because the church doesn’t know the message, although some may have chosen to ignore it in favor of something more palatable. I think it is because in far too many cases, the church has become disconnected from its power sources!

Many years ago at the Tournament of Roses Parade, the Standard Oil Company, later known as Chevron, had a beautiful float. In the middle of the parade the oil company’s float came to a grinding halt, and the rest of the parade with it. What had happened? It had run out of gas.

The directors of the Chevron float had done everything well, but they neglected to avail themselves of their companies vast resources of oil. And so, the parade waited while someone ran to get a gallon of gas.

Too often, I see this happen among us; Christians and churches breakdown right in the middle of life’s parade. And I can’t help but wonder what God must think when we neglect the source of our strength and power.

This Sunday, our scripture text will be John 17: 1-11, and my theme will be, The Source of the Church’s Power!

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