“Hi Pastor Obermeyer. Would you like to unwrap these statements of yours a bit, which you gave in answer to my questions? Here, Preacher; the floor, or rather, the pulpit is yours! If you wish to take it—go!”
“Okay, rolling up my sleeves, lol.”
Rachael: What most breaks your heart? What do you see as the biggest threat to the church today?
Pastor Kevin Obermeyer: The condition of the church these days, which gets so caught up with the world and then wonders why it isn’t being effective. Secular worldviews, worldly attitudes, Biblical illiteracy, and ignorance.
What I mean is that I see many worldly philosophies and practices actively being taught in the church by ignorant and immature Christians. Spiritual immaturity is rampant, as is Biblical illiteracy. I hear more people offering their logic and opinions than actual Scripture verses. I hear Christians talk about “centering,” themselves, not realizing they are really talking about centering their “chi,” or life energy, which is a complete Eastern thought about how our life energy vibrates out of balance and needs to be re-centered.
Even yoga is designed for this, each position centering and balancing a different part of the chi; and yet we find “Christian yoga,” which is kind of a contradiction in terms, being led in some churches. I hear Christians talk about karma—good and bad karma and how karma is going to, “get that person.” This is horrible. Karma is not the same thing as the Biblical teaching of reaping what you sow despite its popular use even among Christians. Karma is a cosmic force, energy, or presence generated by the sum of a person’s actions, good and bad, which affects the nature of a person’s existence and determines their destiny or fate through transmigration into their next incarnation. That’s a mouthful, but it’s even more than that. It’s also one of the three margas, or paths to Brahman or salvation taught in Hinduism, being the path through works.
All of this comes from paganism and mythology and is completely contrary to Scripture, which teaches against reincarnation and salvation by works. It also puts our trust for justice and vengeance in something besides a merciful God and bypasses mercy altogether. Sadly, so many people today think they get into Heaven by doing enough good things to outweigh the bad, which is why many people struggle with the security of their own salvation in Christ.
As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one; Romans 3:10 (NKJV)
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 (NKJV)
Karma completely undermines the finished work of Christ on the cross and the hope we have in Him. It puts all the responsibility on us and our own abilities to save ourselves, which is an impossible task. And it isn’t enough just to say you don’t use the word, karma, that way but mean something else, like good or bad luck, (also pagan). The Bible is clear that it is what it is regardless of how you use it (c.f 1 Corinthians 10:19-21). And if that isn’t clear enough, Paul specifically writes that we are to avoid even the appearance of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22). The Bible is replete with passages, (Old and New Testament), telling God’s people not to be like the pagans and not to do what they do, especially in dance, worship, and lifestyle. We are to be different, set apart, holy. That’s something I think a lot of Christians overlook but really should investigate. Both Paul and Christ warn even further against causing others to stumble in their faith by one’s own misleading actions.
People offer their thoughts and positive energy along with their prayers; again Eastern thought. And they confuse Eastern and New Age meditation, (emptying your mind and thoughts), with Biblical meditation, (filling your mind and thoughts with Scripture and Godly reflection). Christ warns that an empty “house” is vulnerable to being filled with demons, (Matthew 12:44-45). We think if we call it, “mindfulness,” then it’s not the same thing as Hinduism, Buddhism, and New Age thought; whatever you want to call it, it isn’t Biblical.
I see churches and pastors getting distracted and becoming more concerned about looks and feels and making sure people are entertained rather than about teaching solid truth and deep faith. We sure get fired up about political and social issues, and we’ve got to look fly in front of people to keep up with the world, while the meat of God’s Word for daily living, spiritual growth, furthering of God’s Kingdom, and changing that world can just take a backseat—as if we don’t truly believe in it’s Power. I hear more motivational speaking than preaching, and those are not the same thing. Sadly, the church is sick and is presenting a shallow Gospel, and then we wonder why so many people, especially young people, question and abandon their faith. They’ve been given a different Gospel (2 Corinthians 11:3-4; Galatians 1:6-9) with no saving power. Their need isn’t satisfied. Their faith doesn’t take root because their faith hasn’t been placed in the true Solid Rock of Christ, but sinking sand.
Rachael: If you could tell the Church anything, what would it be? What’s on your heart?
Pastor Kevin Obermeyer: So many have unteachable spirit attitudes. I want to remind people about holiness that seems to be so lacking today.
It seems like church has become more about the people, their comforts and their pleasures, than about God. There is little sacred, little regarded as holy, little respected in God’s house. It feels more like a big family room where everyone can come crash, jam to some Jesus tunes, and hear some good motivational speaking. Do we even seek to know what God wants, what He actually says in His Word and why? Do we go to church for Him or for us? To serve or be served? To give or to get? Sure, there’s both, but it should be in proper balance and priority.
Church buildings don’t even look like churches anymore. No steeples, no sanctuaries, and we’re dropping off denominational names and church labels to sound more appealing and less traditional because we’re afraid people won’t come otherwise. And changing to a non-denominational church allows for broader interpretation of scripture, which can have its own dangers. Don’t get me wrong, some of the best churches I’ve ever seen have been in living rooms, gymnasiums, schoolhouses and storefronts. The Church is the people. But the people are becoming more and more distant from identifying with Christ specifically and more about identifying with themselves, trying to look attractive, relevant, popular, and inoffensive. I’ve seen some churches which have no Christian symbol whatsoever, just the name of the generic, “worship center.” I seriously doubt they’re simply trying to avoid iconolatry . Again, why are we there anyway? For people or for God?
It’s the Holy Spirit who convicts and saves, not us. People aren’t saved by the color of the paint, the number of warm fuzzies they feel, or the countdown timer before the show—I mean the worship service starts. God gives us tools to use, sure, but the tools are not the message and will not force, coerce, or trick anyone into getting saved, no matter how comfortable we make the environment. And if the only reason people come to church is to feel good or because it looks attractive, their faith is built on something other than the Gospel.
It just seems like we’re more about the experience that people have than the relationship they build with the God of the Bible. Experiences and feelings fade. I hear many churches no longer refer to a platform, podium or pulpit, but instead they have a stage because God forbid we should preach to anybody. That is very telling. I think we need to revisit what the early church looked and acted like, perhaps from the standpoint of the letters in Revelation 2 and Revelation 3.
Now, I don’t doubt people’s sincerity, but I see a lot of people with bad attitudes in the church. Christians speak to and about people, even each other, with the same snarkiness and passive-aggressive arrogance as the world. They have the same hateful attitudes. It’s hard to distinguish Christians from non-Christians even in the way they talk. I’m often told by food service staff that their rudest customers are Christians on Sunday. That’s devastating.
I see a lot of Christians who believe whatever they want to believe that’s convenient to them, even if it’s wrong or secular, and they don’t want to be told any differently. People want things to be how they think they should be or what seems logical to them. They want God to be how they think He should be rather than dig into Scripture and get to know Him, especially if the Bible seems hard, or unfair, or difficult to understand sometimes. We want to make our own rules, and then we begin to rely on ourselves to handle things instead of God. That’s pride and rebellion, and that’s Satanic, and it’s in the Church.
I do want people to know that I’m not necessarily against all the things I’ve addressed like names and buildings and such in and of themselves. I just want to give a warning cry to a sleeping church and hopefully make people aware of the complacency we’ve slipped into. I know I’ve said some harsh things, but I do mean it from a heart of love and concern.
“Thank you for this opportunity, Rachael! Blessings to you!”
“Pastor, I interpret your words as those of a bold and fiery preacher—on fire for God and His Word, with a heart brimming over with love for God and people. The God kind of love that speaks hard truth—A warrior warning cry to people in peril because love doesn’t stand by silently and let people perish.”
You’re welcome, Pastor. Thank you and amen. —Altar’s open, people! Anyone…?
Pastor Obermeyer is doing his part to help combat Biblical illiteracy and ignorance. You can check out his brand new Sonshine Institute, an online learning center bringing you great content on a variety of subjects.
You can also check our Pastor Obermeyer’s blog here: obiehouse.com/blog
Proceeds from the Sonshine Institute help continue to serve needs in Bible teaching, counseling, sexual abuse, and other outreaches. Here are some of the groups and organizations the Obermeyers have served and partnered with for outreaches in past and present:
A21 Campaign/ Bethel Life Center/ Calvary’s Rock Church/ Campus Crusade for Christ/ Central Christian Academy/ Central Christian Church/ Central Christian Counseling Center/ Chi Alpha Campus Ministries/ Eight Oaks/ His Helping Hands/ ICT SOS—End Human Trafficking/ Kansans For Life/ Kansas Food Bank/ Main Place Youth/ Operation Holiday/ Pleasantview Baptist Church/ Pregnancy Crisis Center/ Royal Ambassadors/ Royal Rangers/ Samaritan’s Purse/ Teec Nos Pos Baptist Church/ Teen Challenge/ The Good Neighbor Center/ The Navigators—Life-to-Life Discipleship/ Trinity Academy/ United Methodist Youthville/ Wichita Children’s Home/ Young Life, Youth Crisis Center
More to come!
*I will be continuing my series of interviews with pastors and pastors wives throughout November. The articles are many and varied in content. Don’t miss their stories and their wise counsel. It’s okay to be thankful for pastors and wives in November too, right?
**It would bless these pastors and pastor’s wives, myself, and others, if you would please share these articles.
Prior Posts in 2018 Series of Interviews with Pastors & Pastor’s Wives Pastor’sWives:
Part 4: From Dope Dealer to Hope Dealer
Part 3: Life as a Pastor’s Wife
Part 1: If My People #heroesamongus
You can read part 1 of my 2018 series of interviews with pastors & pastor’s wives, If My People, HERE
***Of The Word Ministries—Ministry for Pastors
Pastoral coaching with a primary focus on encouraging pastors in their personal spiritual development. Looking beyond the problems a Pastor faces to show how personal devotion to God’s Word is always their foundation. Offered free of charge. Donations to the ministry gratefully accepted.
Contact at: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @OfTheWord
Pray for Your Pastor Text Campaign
Text the word PASTOR to 74574 to sign up to receive either daily or weekly prayer reminders with suggestions for praying for your pastor and a matching scripture reference via text message.
Check out Energize Ministries
A ministry dedicated to motivating and educating churches to care for and encourage their pastors and families. Energize ministries offers encouraging articles and podcasts for ministers and their families, resources to equip and opportunities for getaways so they can be refreshed.
It would bless these pastors and pastor’s wives, myself, and others, if you would please share these articles.
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© 2018 Rachael M Colby Tattoo It On Your Heart