By E.A. Deckard
Special to the NNPA from the Houston Forward-Times
“Whether a person is straight or gay, Republican, Democrat, good person, not a good person, they’re all welcome, because to me, church is a place you’re supposed to get healed and whole and loved.”
—Pastor Joel Osteen
Forward Thinkers, today is Pentecost Sunday, 50 days after Resurrection Sunday. Forward Thinkers, today is the anniversary of the New Testament church that Jesus Christ established to be a place of hope for all people. Forward Thinkers, the church is a place where love can change the hearts and minds of sinners and encourage the down and out to get up and reach their full potential. Forward Thinkers, today we should be celebrating the glory and power of the church.
Forward Thinkers, the media and the world is mocking the church at a all time high of late, not since the Great Diaspora has the church been under such great attack. Forward Thinkers, somewhere along the way we have missed the mark.
Forward Thinkers, you know I love the Lord but I too have issues with the church. The Lord didn’t call me to indict the church today but to incite the church to return to being the church with the power to turn the world upside down. The church, the Ecclesia, is the called out belonging to the Lord to live out the Lord’s purpose throughout the world.
Matthew 16:18-19 (NIV)
18 And I tell you that you are Peter, [a] and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades[b] will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be[c] bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be[d] loosed in heaven.”
Forward Thinkers, Jesus established the church and I’ve never read where he said we had the right to reinvent the church to fit our personal desires and comfort. Jesus said on this rock I will build my church. Notice Jesus made it very clear He was the designer of the church and our responsibility would be to carry out his plans.
Forward Thinkers, Jesus declared the gates of hell would not overcome the church. The church according to Jesus would always be a place of victory and a place of protection. Jesus said I will give the church the keys to remain a place where his glory would reign. Forward Thinkers, the power, the promises, and the possessions we seek for success and victory are all in heaven. The church has been given the keys to unlock heaven to release all we need to be a beacon of light to a dark world.
Forward Thinkers, the problem is the church has traded in the keys from Jesus. Today’s church is trying to operate with a different set of keys that are not designed to open the floodgates of heaven. The enemy is gaining momentum on the church because the church is not operating at her maximum potential because we are using keys not designed or guaranteed to unlock the treasures of heaven.
44 He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”
45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
Forward Thinkers, Jesus gave the church her assignment. Too many of us in the church are doing our will instead of the will of God. Forward Thinkers, a student does not have the right to change the syllabus to fit his desires but the student has to follow the instructions given to achieve success.
Forward Thinkers, Jesus opened their minds so they could understand the scriptures and today we need to open our minds so we can understand the scriptures. Forward Thinkers, remember the Bible says in all our getting let’s make sure we get an understanding.
Forward Thinkers, Jesus gave instructions to preach repentance and forgiveness of sins in His Name. We have turned away from preaching Jesus and have turned to preaching what I can get from Jesus.
Forward Thinkers, Jesus also commanded us to be a witness to a lost and dying world. We can’t remain silent Forward Thinkers, it’s time we shared the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ to all.
Forward Thinkers, Jesus said it’s my church and if you preach my message I will give you the keys and the power.
Revelation 2:4 (NIV)
4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first
Forward Thinkers, the church is doing a lot of great things but God says we have left our 1st love. The church must return to loving God and loving God’s desires for our lives. The church was established to fulfill the will of God and we must return to doing our Lord’s will.
Acts 2:1-2 (NIV)
2 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues[a] as the Spirit enabled them.
Forward Thinkers, here are seven things the church was established to do after the Day of Pentecost and we must refocus and return to being the powerful church Jesus declared we would be.
The church is supposed to have the keys to unlock the solutions to our issues not a place that increases our issues.
The church is supposed to be the voice of Jesus not the voice of man.
The church is supposed to be a place of healing not a place of rejection, hurt, or pain.
The church is supposed to be a witness to the world not a social gathering of the elite.
The church is supposed to be a place of power not a place of a weak watered down gospel designed to make people feel good.
The church is supposed to be operating in unity not the most divided place in the world on Sundays.
The church is suppose to be filled with praise, prayer, people, and favor operating in the glory of Jesus Christ and making a positive difference in the world.
Forward Thinkers, as we celebrate Pentecost Sunday let’s commit to returning to become the church Jesus established us to be.
Pastor E. A. Deckard is the senior pastor/founder of the Green House International Church located, 16711 Ella Blvd. Houston, Texas, 77090. To contact Pastor Deckard for speaking engagements contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.