Whatever message we have, has to come from God. No matter our audience, our message has to come from God. Wether we are evangalists, preachers, teachers, preschool workers, college professors, professionals, ameatuers, artists, whatever we are... our message must be based on Christ, and Him crucified. If we try and 'soften' that message it gets weakened. If we ignore that message where is the power of the gospel? There have been times when I will be visiting a church and I will see the Pastor preaching, but I am unable to find a Bible, open or otherwise, among the congregation. There may be an outline, and there may even be verses referred to in it, but the words are either skimmed over or not read at all. A sermon, not anchored somewhere in the Word of God is merely a good moral lesson. This is my opinion, and I know it may not be a popular point of view, but I see a church within America that is merely existing. Again, this is a broad, generalization, and does not apply to each and every church within America. Our youth hear the message are are not challanged, in time they grow bored and wander away to see what else there is to see... and not just the youth get this way. Our God is big enough that we could preach something new about Him every day and never grow out of things to teach. When the Holy Spirit is drawing someone they will get it. Their flesh may cringe, but their mind will be engaged. Now, it is probably obvious that I feel very strongly about the gospel, about the message proclaimed from the pulpit. But I also want to say that the most scholarly lesson preached that is not drawn from the Holy Spirit - both content and package - cannot talk to anything more than a person's intellect or emotions. Before any of us can 'preach' the gospel - either to ourselves or to others - we need to seek first the Spirit of God, and ask that He would pour It out upon us - wether we are the teacher, or the audience. Verse for today: 2 Timothy 3:12-17, ESV Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom  you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God  may be competent, equipped for every good work.
And I, when I came to you, brothers,  did not come proclaiming to you the testimony  of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. (1 Corinthians 2:1-5, esv)
For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. (1 Corinthians 1:18-25, ESV)The American church is on the verge of becoming spiritual innefective. When we. in effect, take it easy, we water down the message. The only essential message - that of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If we only talk about it not being good to gossip, or how to pray effectively, or doing good, where is the message about Christ? Where is the why we should (or should not) do these things? To many there is 'assumed' - or implied - message of this underlying theme. But if we are not proclaiming Christ, and Him crucified, it becomes meaningless. Do not the Scientologists preach 'good' things? What about the Mormans, or many other cults? What about Confusionism , or the Hindu religion? Islam also preaches that their followers are to do good things unto others. But what is it that sets Christianity - Bible believing, born again, Christianity, apart from all the others?!? It is Christ! And why is it Christ? Because HE accomplished it. He fulfilled the law! He died so that we might live! There is nothing that we can do to achieve salvation (even our turning to Him was because He revealed Himself to us). I mean, after our salvation we are to walk in our faith with Him in performing "works", but it is not the works that justify us before an almighty God. And it is He who was crucified - ONCE - and then it was "finished" (John 19:30). I am not talking "Fire and Brimstone" - but we cannot talk all "Peaches and Creme" either. We need to be frank, and loving. We need to talk about sin, and grace. We need to talk about heaven and hell. These are very real things, and unless the "seeker" hears these things, it is impossible to make an "informed" decision. But I feel an almost greater dis-service is done to the one who walks in the doors believing everything is 'hunky dorry' in their own lives. They (I include myself) are fed the equivilant of spiritual 'milk', and there is power in that...
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God  may be competent, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17, ESV)The gospel, the Lord Christ, has so much more to offer. There is "meat" and vegitables. There are delights and depths that need to be plumbed from the pulpit. When things are set aside for the "beliver" services, or even deligated to the small groups (if your church uses such things) then a good portion of the congregation is missed. For example, many people have difficulty attending "off day" meetings, either for work or family schedules. As for me, the "rubber meets the road" in a small group (defined as a few families, or individuals that meet for further fellowship and study). This is a context for members of the church to practice what is preached from the pulpit, perhaps a time to study further and work through the material. Well, I could ramble on and on - but this post has already taken up a considerable amount of time. I pray that my concerns have been adequetly expressed. Verse for today: Romans 1:16-23, ESV For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith,  as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”  For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.