Threats to the Church & Keys to Revival

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The onset of the year is a good time to acknowledge the challenges we face, the changes needed, and to look to Jesus through whom we are more than conquerors. The last two articles in my 2018 series of interviews with pastors and pastor’s wives—have bled over into 2019. So, please, grab your favorite hot cup of comfort, pull up a chair, and let us listen to the words of wisdom offered by these mighty ministers.  

How do you feel about the spiritual and cultural climate where you are pastoring?

Pastor Kevin Obermeyer:  I think there is a huge spiritual battle going on, and Christians are losing ground rapidly.

Pastor’s Wife, Janet Foley:  I feel like the Gospel is often misunderstood and disrespected. I feel a bit intimidated here to share the gospel, more than other places. There is a lot of witchcraft, new age religion and political correctness here. A lot of ex-Christians, a lot of drugs too. Pot has been legal here for a few years so many people are hooked on it as well as methamphetamine. There’s also a lot of spouse-swapping, (married people who exchange for fun), which really freaks me out. Ugh.

Pastor Pablo Catala:  I think it has been diluted and stained with perversion and sin unimaginable.

Pastor’s wife, Sophie Foley It’s a breath of fresh air where we are pioneering. This is such a culturally diverse area, that most people have either not been exposed to Christ and so have no formed opinions and are open. Others have been raised with a respect for church so they are receptive and respectful of both the church and the role of the pastor.

What do you see as the biggest threat to the church today?

Anonymous Pastor, Kathmandu, Nepal:  Complacency.

Pastor Tim Schmoyer:  Consumerism is the biggest threat. Seeing church involvement as one of the many choices in the buffet of life.

Janet Foley:  Political correctness, compromise, complacency. Too much activity without true relationship with Jesus.

Pastor Kevin Obermeyer:  Secular worldviews, worldly attitudes, Biblical illiteracy, and ignorance.

Sophie Foley:  Emotional indulgence. People are so very fragile now, and when it comes time to speak a bit of caution or direction, the confrontation of it is no longer acceptable and they leave for churches that never confront.

Also, media. We are a generation so connected to our devices, and yet we are steeped with loneliness and depression, which causes us to withdraw and avoid dealing with the social interaction of church services. We have several people who want to come but are easily distracted, or too emotionally distraught, so they stay home and binge movies, and then feel terrible and it becomes a vicious cycle.

Pastor Pablo Catala:  The biggest threats to the church today are dead religion and homosexuality. Why do I say this? Continue reading “Threats to the Church & Keys to Revival”

Wishing You a Holly, Jolly, Holy Christmas (Guest Post on Southern Ohio Christian Voice)

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Thanks to Janet Foley for my snowy portrait graphic.

I’ve been trying to figure out how to juggle writing, family, and church, without dropping the ball before Christmas got added to the list. My first impulse is to run and hide from this whole messy madness called Christmas in America. Right now, I’m busy procrastinating  to avoid it all…

Honored to have my article published on Southern Ohio Christian Voice. Please click HERE to continue reading, Wishing You a Holly, Jolly, Holy Christmas.

Continue reading “Wishing You a Holly, Jolly, Holy Christmas (Guest Post on Southern Ohio Christian Voice)”

The Wisdom of the Grinch

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Guest Post by Sophie Foley~

Once upon a time, there was a family of very meager means. It was Christmas time, and there wasn’t a spare dollar to be had, and for the first time there would not be a Christmas tree, no presents, no stockings hung by the chimney with care. It would just be them, and their bruised idea of a gentle Savior.

Continue reading “The Wisdom of the Grinch”

And the Preacher Rolled Up His Sleeves

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“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.

Image-2What 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. Continue reading “And the Preacher Rolled Up His Sleeves”

Pastor, Pastor’s Wife~ What Breaks Your Heart, What Keeps You Going?

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What has being a pastor/ pastor’s wife cost you?

This comes at the expense of a broken heart. —Pastor Pablo Catala

Physical and emotional stress; personal time and freedom; often any sense of security because things change so much in your life; and struggles with self-worth as you are constantly being evaluated, of which you mostly only hear about your shortcomings. —Pastor Kevin Obermeyer

As a missionary it has cost convenience, comfort, seeing family… but the promised reward of souls far outweigh the costs. —Anonymous Pastor, Kathmandu, Nepal

What is the hardest part of pastoring?                            

Seeing what people need to do and watching them not do it, no matter how I present it or how I word it, no matter how much time I spent with them and then having to hear the lament of,“Pastor, you were right,” which does not comfort me as I’m seeing the carnage of their bad  decisions. —Anonymous Pastor

Expecting to be loved, understood, maybe even appreciated? They have no idea how needy we are. —Anonymous Pastor’s Wife

Sometimes your own children reject everything you’ve lived for and still you must keep going.  —Anonymous

Realizing how much you don’t know, and feeling like you never do enough, aren’t good enough, or that you might misspeak something heretical. —Pastor Kevin Obermeyer

What is your biggest challenge and most unexpected hardship in pastoring?

I guess my passion for the church gets me in trouble.  —Janet Foley

Making sure that in the midst of building God’s church I don’t lose my marriage or children to the devil’s lies. Stretching time and making sure none of the 3 most important elements of your life are not cheated: God/ family/ work. —Pastor Pablo Catala Continue reading “Pastor, Pastor’s Wife~ What Breaks Your Heart, What Keeps You Going?”

From Dope Dealer to Hope Dealer

Tattoo_It_On_Your_Heart_Rachael_M_Colby_From_Dope-Dealer_to_Hope_DealerI recently had the privilege of being on an outreach team to help Pastor Pablo and Nicole Catala’s pioneer church in Bridgeport CT. I was struck by how laid down, how wide open and vulnerable their hearts and lives were for God and the people of their city. I watched them love people with the love of God. I watched the ease with which they outreached, their children alongside them—truly a team, like a machine in sync. I took note of their home. Everywhere I turned there were photographs of their family and decor that shouted in unison about God and family. I learned their story later and asked them to share it. Here it is.

The  Catala Story

IMG-4281Nicole Catala: One night my husband and I were fighting and basically done with our marriage. We both never had an example. We were only 6 months married and wanted to go for a divorce! That night my husband packed his clothes and left the house. The very next day I got a flyer from someone that there was going to be a healing crusade right across the street in Poe Park, put on by Victory Chapel in the Bronx, NY. As I was looking at the state of my life I knew I needed a miracle. I didn’t want my life to be just like the life of my family: Divorced, having multiple children from different men. I decided to go to the first night of the healing crusade. I was in a state of depression at only 18 years old and felt there was no hope for me and my eight month old son. Continue reading “From Dope Dealer to Hope Dealer”

From One Mess to Another

Tattoo_It_On_Your_Heart_Rachael_M_Colby_aaron-burden-97558-unsplash_From_One_Mess_to_Another“And I look around at all these wives and mamas who got. It. Down. Seriously, I’m surrounded by women who don’t just impress me. They terrify me with their apparent perfection,” said my friend, Rebekah.

“Beauty is being real—and letting Jesus do His thing. He’s the master builder, we’re His work in progress. Building sites and renovations and restorations are noisy and messy.

Wanna know something else? There’s a whole lot of people out there who look perfect and orderly on the outside but down where no one sees they’re hurting and all busted up in disarray, they’re rotting from the inside, full of black mold—it’s just not visible yet. And they don’t know it’s okay to let it show, to let the sunshine and the Son shine in until they see some Real in someone else and how Jesus can love us from right where we are and…” CLICK HERE to continue reading this conversation with Rebekah Love Dorris, entitled, Confession Time, originally posted on her site:  everywisewomanbuilds.com

 

© 2018 Rachael M Colby      Tattoo It On Your Heart

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash