igod?

There seems to be an epidemic going around. Lately it seems that if I’m running out of writing material, all I have to do is go for a ride. Inevitably, I am appalled at yet another bad church sign. And I’m not looking for them—they find me! Usually, it’s when I’m on my way to church. On route to Bible study, I came across this doozy:

Download your worries, get online with God.

It’s starting to get to me. I wanted to walk in this beautiful stone church and say, “Really? Really? Could you make the church look any cheesier? Is this what you learned in seminary? Is this how you relate to our culture?”

Is this supposed to be a metaphor for prayer? Instead of offering a personal Creator and Savior, we are once again given a cheap replica that can “keep up with the times.” But “the times” change, God doesn’t. And in prayer there is thankfully much more going on then downloading our worries.

On the way to Sunday service we passed the sign and I told my family, “Take a look at my next article.” That’s when my daughter educated me on the fact that there is a website where you can “talk to God” and he answers you back. In a quick Google search, I found that you can talk to God on dumb.com. Well, I would expect to see something like this on dumb.com. Then I found igod, with the tagline, “repenting made easy.” You actually type in your confession and hit “send.” Underneath there is a disclaimer: “igod is meant to be used for fun. A sense of humor is recommended.”

I don’ think that this evangelical church that I was passing was referencing these websites. Rather, I think it was just trying to be cute. Whoever is in charge of sign maintenance must have one of those books full of quaint quotations for church signs. I’m hoping these are not the sermon titles for the week.

But let me do a little dissecting while giving this church the cheesy benefit of the theological doubt. First of all, my pastor pointed out (when he saw the sign and just knew that I’d be writing an article), you download something onto your computer. If you want to give it to someone else, you upload it. So you see, this sign is wrong on so many levels.

Our personal Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ tells us that we are not to be anxious because he takes care of us. No, we are not “online with God,” we are in Christ, our perfect mediator.

Our culture is enamored with mediated devices. They are certainly helpful when you can’t be face to face. But sometimes I worry that we would rather not be face to face anymore. Cell phones and computers are impersonal. Now that it’s summer break, my daughter is all the more into ooVoo, video-chatting with her friends using her ipod. I’ll have to say that I’m happy to see her talking to faces rather than texting. But they are still concocting ways to get together at baseball games and sleepovers. As cool as ooVoo is, they actually want to be together.

Our sin creates an enormous distance between ourselves and God. If we were to see him face to face, we would die from his necessary wrath. Our God is holy. He is also full of mercy.

For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time (1 Tim.2:5,6).

As our perfect mediator, both God and man, Christ has removed what kept us at a distance from our holy God. As our surety, he has also procured for us his full inheritance in the covenant of grace. We were at enmity with God, and could never see him face to face. We were dead in our sins.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus (Eph. 2:4-7).

My biggest worry has been taken care of—the wrath of God. But he is so gracious that he has gone far beyond that into a covenant relationship through his own Son, Jesus Christ. I have been “sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory” (Eph. 1:13b-14). And although I have free access to God now in prayer, I long for the day that I will see him face to face.

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10 Comments

Haha! Tim!

Haha! Tim!

If a jar looked poisonous,

If a jar looked poisonous, would you therefore drink it because you doubt it was poisonour?

A building that makes light of God, salvation, and the word of God, just might be fundamently sound, so you would walk in.

A building that makes light of God, of salvation, and the word of God, is screaming out that it is irreverent, godless, of the devil. How much louder do people have to sound before some will take notice, because the some are so arrogant that even when informed of the truth, they have to decide if it is the truth.

By the way. My next door neighbour is spirit-filled. She is an alcoholic by choice. When I was born again I was filled of the Holy Ghost and truth.

"that particular meeting

"that particular meeting house is godless"

Wow, really? We can judge them to be godless by their poor choice of message on their sign board? I think I would be judged godless too for some of my poor choices then.

But I'm not. I'm actually Christ-filled, not godless at all for all eternity. My poor choices don't change that ever. I expect the same is true of most of those churches with poor sign message choices.

Blessings,
Tim

It is simply informing us

It is simply informing us that that particular meeting house is godless, and that we should not touch it with a barge pole, that irreverence becometh that house, the slick having taken its place.

By the way, you are so fortunate to attend a sound house of God. England flushed the vast majority down the proverbial pan many years ago.

The nearest house of God, and that dry as dust, from me, is around 600 miles away. In Liverpool, Merseyside, I decided, one day, to go out and find a sound house of God. There are hundreds of meetings houses. You can be told the foot ball scores, from the pulpit, be served tea and biscuits whilst listening to a minister, yet another, if there is a Sabbath day foot ball match on the minister puts back the evening service because he wants to attend it, and if played on Monday the prayer meeting is cancelled altogether. You have some ministers even declaring that they hate theology. I could go on and on. It is quite amazing. If ever you wish to get fit the local Baptist do slimming world. This is country-wide.

Great comments, guys. The

Great comments, guys. The Lone Arranger would be a great super-hero.

Aimee, I loved loved loved

Aimee, I loved loved loved this: "No, we are not 'online with God,' we are in Christ"!

That's what I was thinking too when I read your quote from that sign, Aimee. Being onlione suggests turning things on and off, connecting and unconnecting. But for us, there is never a time we are not completely connected to God in Christ.

It's like I heard Darrell Johnson say one time when he was speaking at a conference at Mount Hermon. We are always close to God because we are in Christ. As Johnson put it, "You don't get closer than in."

That's better than getting online any day.

Tim

Doc, if you do decide to

Doc, if you do decide to start fiddling with church signs you should get one of those eye hole masks and a tall silver horse. You could visit the errant church signs after darkness falls, restore them to orthodoxy, then mount up. All people wopuld see or hear is "A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust and a hearty Hi-Yo Doctrine!" as you ride off into the night.

You would be, of course, The Lone Arranger.

Aimee, there's a church in my

Aimee, there's a church in my town which I pass by a couple blocks before I get to my own church, and they are the local champs of bad church signs. It's one of those, 'we have open minds' kind of places. I have similar feelings to yours when I pass by on Sunday mornings, focusing my mind on worship as I drive to church, and am jolted by their sense of the meaning and purposes of God.

On the lighter side, I was the kid who re-arranged the letters on the pegboard menu outside the school cafeteria. It's amazing how many humorous things there are to eat if one uses a little imagination with the available letters. (c: For some reason, I've been tempted to stop at the aforementioned church sign and do a little re-arranging, but so far, thankfully, the temptation has been suppressed. Whenever you post these 'church sign' blog posts, I get re-tempted all over again. But, no pressure!

I agree, Keri. The message

I agree, Keri. The message is already relevant. When we try to market it, as you suggest, we end up with a commodity rather than a propositional, life-changing truth. And this commodity then appeals to those who have no real use for it (isn't that the purpose of good marketing?) because they are unregenerate. And those to whom the message should appeal (the regenerate, on whom the HS is working) lose it in the fog of culture.

It seems to me that sometimes

It seems to me that sometimes the actual message of Christ is lost when we try to make it relevant and market it. There's a balance of course, but this seems like an example where trying to use a trendy approach just didn't work well.