A Word from the Pastor: Be Hot or Be Cold
Even though their record hasn’t given me much to cheer about this season, I’m still a fan of the Kansas City Chiefs. I still watch most of their games (when it’s convenient), and I still root for them. But I admit that I’m not one of those Chiefs fans: those who never miss a home game, who tailgate at Arrowhead, who fly the Chiefs flag at their home, who have bumper stickers on their cars, or who have ever painted themselves red and gold. I haven’t even been to a Chiefs game since I got to go for free back during college, many years ago (when Joe Montana was quarterbacking in KC). So, there are Chiefs fans—like me—and then there are CHIEFS FANS! The fair-weather and the hardcore. The die-easy and the die-hard.
And the same is true among Christians. There are the active and engaged followers of Jesus, and then there are the fair-weather fans of Jesus. The American Bible Society recently conducted research that included an insight into the numbers of Christians in the United States. If you look at the sheer numbers of those who call themselves Christians, the US is teeming with believers. But the ABS dug a little deeper and discovered a gap between those who say they are Christians and those who actually walk the talk.
The ABS report differentiated between self-identified Christians and practicing Christians. The first group were simply those surveyed who identified as being a part of Christianity. But the second group were those who met three criteria: 1) Identify as a Christian; 2) Attend a religious service at least once a month; and 3) Strongly agree their faith is very important in their lives. The results were illuminating. In each of the subgroups measured, there were “non-practicing” (self-identified only) Christians and “practicing” Christians. Among Evangelical* churches, 42% of respondents were practicing and 58% were non-practicing. In Mainline** churches, 28% were practicing and 72% were non-practicing. Those in historically Black churches, 31% were practicing and the remaining 69% were non-practicing. And finally, in Catholic churches, 22% were engaged in their faith while 78% were disengaged. This explains an awful lot, including why so many people say they are Christians but never make an appearance in a church service.
But these results are also a prompt for all of us, a reminder that if we say we follow Jesus, then we should do something about it. Jesus himself said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21 NIV) So, it is not merely what we say that matters, but it is our actions that demonstrate what is in our hearts. Saying we have faith is not the same as having faith. Faith must work itself out. Faith must be practiced for it to be faith (see James 2:17).
Jesus chided the Christians in the city of Laodicea. He knew their works and how they were apathetic about him. “You are neither cold nor hot,” he observed. “I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” (Revelation 3:15-16 NIV) So, we also must make up our minds, whether to be hot or cold, because lukewarm is not an option.
Thankfully, I don’t have to commit to being a hardcore Chiefs fan, and I can keep my options open while rooting for the Bengals and the Packers, too. But when it comes to Jesus, I need get up and do something about my faith.
* “Evangelical” refers to Protestants who emphasize conversion (being born again), the Bible, evangelism, and a focus on the cross. This includes Pentecostal believers as well.
** “Mainline” refers to Protestants who are more moderate and liberal in their faith and less dogmatic than conservative and Evangelical believers.
The Life of Our Church
Online or In-Person Services
Please join us for in-person worship! You can also worship virtually through our YouTube channel. We will stream the service live, and the service will be archived after that. Please visit and subscribe to our YouTube channel to discover our videos:
Bring your Bible and a friend. Every Sunday at 9:30 a.m.
American Baptist Women’s Ministries
ABWM will meet on Wednesday, November 17, at 1:30 p.m.
Our deacons will gather after worship on Sunday, November 14.
Atlantic Food Pantry
Please remember to support our local food pantry, either directly or by dropping off goods here at our sanctuary.
Sermon Series: Is. 40-55
Pastor Ray will be exploring “The Gospel According to Isaiah” throughout this fall. We will hear from the various prophecies of Isaiah that point toward the Messiah, Jesus. Bring a friend and hear God’s Word!
Operation Christmas Child
If you would like to fill one or more shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child, we have boxes here at our church building! The drop off is at GracePoint Church (formerly Evangelical Free) here in Atlantic: November 15-22. Our central drop-off coordinators are Jeff and Paula Osegard: (218) 296-2483 (Jeff) and (218) 296-2395. Visit the Web site for more information:
Praying for Persecuted Christians
The International Day of Prayer for Persecuted Christians is Sunday, November 7. We will pray for those persecuted for Christ’s name in worship, but I encourage you to pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters in faith every day! To learn how to pray for these Christians, visit the Voice of the Martyrs:
Sharing God’s Word with the Nations
Please keep praying for the Smith family. They are in Africa, beginning their work as translators for God’s Word into a new language. You can find updates on their work on Facebook: Smith Family Translates. They also have a newsletter that is available on their Web site. Subscribe for regular updates.
Daylight Saving Time: Fall Back!
Daylight Saving Time ends on Sunday, November 7, at 2:00 a.m. Set your clocks back one hour and enjoy an extra hour of sleep before church.
We celebrate the Lord’s Supper every first Sunday of the month. We will be observing it next on November 7. And if you are watching worship on YouTube, you are certainly encouraged to participate at home with your own elements.
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