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When we look at some of the sons of mega church pastors who are apparently being groomed to take over from their fathers, it is only natural that we notice their imitating some of the mannerisms and use of words and phrases from the fathers. But the sad thing is when we see that it is techniques and forms that the sons are picking up rather than values. And then the sons make these techniques more current with the use of technology and they seem to think that they are going to be greater successes than their fathers! Can technology by itself make us or our churches spiritual? When values that God considers to be more important than numbers in the church (members or collection) are set aside, these are turning into entertainment centres rather than churches! We don't know how long it will be before Jesus returns, but it pains to think of the condition of people in such churches if things progress in this direction.
What is getting transferred to our minds and hearts when we listen to preachers or read their books? Are they godly values based on the Bible or their clever ideas based on pop psychology? Christian 'shibboleths' (Judg.12:5,6) can be easily picked up and make us acceptable to the particular church we are in. But is our aim to be accepted by the people or by God? Pep talks seem to be more popular among church goers compared to heart-felt exhortations. "We look for comfort and encouragement when we come to the church and not more judgment," some say. This is not a modern situation. Even in the days of the OT prophets those who merely applied whitewash over cracks in the wall were more acceptable (!) than those who wanted to help rebuild them (Ez.13:10). But what do we really need to hear? How to be set free from our blind spots, the oppression and deception of the evil one, the bondages to sinful thought patterns and behaviour, etc.! Jesus has come as our Saviour for this very purpose (Lk.4:18,19). Instead we learn how to raise our hands or clap, sing and dance 'in the spirit', send seed money, attend all night prayers, take prayer walks, etc.!
What do we try to pass over to our children? It is good, of course, to teach them to memorise Psa.23, sing songs, pray, etc. But do we show them the way of salvation, teach them values such as speaking the truth always, apologising when they go wrong, showing respect to older ones and those in authority, controlling their temper and desires, thinking of the others also and not just themselves, etc.? Or do we buy them good toys, give them good food, send them to good schools and then expect that the church will automatically make them Christians?
In these days when much darkness has crept into the world including churches, it is the responsibility of the few who truly know the Lord to shine more brightly without hiding their light (Da.12:3). They will shine by living lives before God, sharing the truth with those who are willing to hear and standing against darkness.