If reverence for God is to return to our nation, 
it will have to start with God’s people, in God’s church!

There were two men shipwrecked on an island. The minute they got onto the island, one of them started screaming and yelling, "We’re going to die! We’re going to die! There’s no food! No water! We’re going to die!" The second man simply propped himself against a palm tree and acting so calmly it drove the first man crazy, so he started screamed right into his face, "Don’t you understand?! We’re going to die!" The second man replied, "You don’t understand. I make $100,000 a week." The first man looked at him quite dumbfounded and asked, "What difference does that make?! We’re on an island with no food and no water! We’re going to die!" The second man answered, "You just don’t get it. I make $100,000 a week and I tithe 10 percent of that $100,000 a week. My pastor will find me!"

In that bit of humor rests the essence of the Christian psychology of many. It may be the psychology of most Christians, today. Somehow, the Christian psychology of many is, if I pay off God, God will smile on me with rich blessings. Sad to say, many pastors, if they haven’t encouraged this psychology, haven’t set the record right. As a result, Christendom in general looks at those who give great sums of money as Giants in the Faith (and some are). However, financial gain is not a sign of spiritual maturity. Because of this improper psychology of Christian Maturity, we have very few Believers striving to become spiritually mature. By the way, if God has blessed abundantly, then give abundantly, but giving alone does not constitute spirituality maturity.

psychology (personal) = the emotional and behavioral characteristics of an individual, a group, or an activity; subtle tactical actions or arguments used to manipulate or influence another.

Our minds, do not have a psychology of their own, at birth.
Our psychology of life, as well as that of Christianity must be developed.

Through the past 10 lessons, we have looked at 5 essential ingredients of spiritual maturity. There are many more elements of spiritual maturity, but these 5 give a good starting point.

We need to know these things and what is necessary to make them a reality in our lives. We must also train ourselves to think on these things before we act or talk. It doesn’t do much good to know something unless we put that knowledge to work.

Philippians 4:8-9 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy -- meditate on these things. 9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.
meditate = (Greek) to take careful inventory by a deliberate calculation; make information the subject of thoughtful consideration by carefully reflecting on that information

The native psychology of the human mind, instilled by the Old Sin Nature/Human Nature, is me, my and mine. If we don’t re-train our minds with the Biblical psychology of maturity and think on that psychology before we speak or act, our actions, speech and thoughts, even though outwardly religious, will only be the psychology of the Old Sin Nature dressed-up in religious garb.

Proverbs 10:17-21 He who keeps instruction is in the way of life, but he who refuses reproof goes astray. 18 Whoever hides hatred has lying lips, and whoever spreads slander is a fool. 19 In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise. 20 The tongue of the righteous is choice silver; the heart of the wicked is worth little. 21 The lips of the righteous feed many, but fools die for lack of wisdom.

How we think and act is a matter of personal choice. A choice deliberately made over and over again, until it becomes a part of our thinking, actions and living. These things are important at work, at home, in the social realm, in the face of temptation and any other place we might find ourselves. However, the major area of concern I had when preparing this series was the Church of Jesus Christ, especially individual churches and in particular MBF.

Matthew 20:25-28 But Jesus called them [Disciples] to Himself and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. 26 "Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. 27 "And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave -- 28 "just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."
This is our responsibility and this must be our commitment
Matthew 16:18 "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.

Jesus is God’s promised Christ, the Messiah. It is on that foundational truth that Christ is building His Church. We know from our study that Christ uses Believers as His building contractors.

1 Corinthians 3:9-10 For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, you are God's building. 10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed howhe builds on it.

As Believers, we are fellow workers with God, and in one way or another, we are building on this foundation. Therefore, Paul warns us to "take heed how we build".

It is this admonition to which, I would like to direct our attention in this final lesson. By the way, my first message, after becoming pastor of MBF, was on this very subject, so I will make my closing message about that same subject.

A high school girl wrote the following letter to a friend: I attended your church yesterday. Although you had invited me, you were not there. I looked for you, hoping to sit with you. I sat alone. As a stranger, I wanted to sit near the back of the church, but those rows were all packed with regular attenders. An usher took me near the front. I felt as though I was on parade. During the singing of the hymns, I was surprised to note that some of the church people weren’t singing. Between their sighs and yawns, they just stared into space and some were so non-interested that they slept. Three of the kids that I respected on campus were whispering to one another throughout the whole service. Another girl was giggling. I really didn’t expect that in your church. The pastor’s sermon was very interesting, although some members of the choir didn’t seem to think so. They looked bored and restless. One kept smiling at someone in the congregation. There were several people who left and then came back during the sermon. I thought, "How rude!" I could hear the constant shuffling of feet and doors opening and closing. The pastor spoke about the reality of faith. The message got to me and I made up my mind to talk to someone about it after the service, but utter chaos reigned after the benediction. I said good morning to one couple, but their response was less than cordial. I looked for some teens with whom I could discuss the sermon, but they were all huddled in a corner talking about the newest music group. My parents don’t go to church. Yesterday, I came alone hoping to find a place of true worship and to feel some love. I’m sorry, but I didn’t find either in your church. I won’t be back.

My friend, if reverence for God is to return to our nation, 
it will have to start with God’s people, in God’s church!

I hope you are concerned about building this local church, called MBF. We often think of building a church as increasing the attendance and that is part of the building process. In this area, many Christians have a very worldly philosophy of church building. The question is often ask, "What are our pastors going to do to increase the attendance?" The Scriptures use several illustrations to help us understand God’s work of building a church. Often the leader of the church is referred to as a Pastor. That’s a good illustration. The word pastor means a shepherd or one who feeds and attends the flock of sheep. The Scriptures also refer to those who are participants in a church as sheep. Therefore, the illustration. The Pastor or Pastors are to feed, take the sheep to pasture and the pastors are also to attend to the needs of the sheep and all God’s people said, Amen! Amen!

However, it is here many are not willing to follow the Biblical illustration. Instead, we try to impose a false philosophy of the religious culture, or possibly even worse, we try to impose the philosophy of the world on a Biblical illustration. Folks, I realize that many Christians and some from MBF are not really up on animal husbandry. To bring you up to speed on animal husbandry, shepherds do not produce sheep. Sheep produce sheep. When shepherds begin to produce sheep, we have a bigger problem than can be addressed here or anywhere else.

If MBF is to grow numerically, most of that growth will come as you, 
the sheep, bring other sheep to the fold.

I am all for promotion. I applaud the plans that are afoot to let people know about this wonderful spiritual Jewel, called MBF. However, no matter how much promotion, how good the programs, etc. real growth will come as you, the congregation, personally bring others to MBF. For a local church to grow there are at least two major actions needed from each and every one of the congregation (the sheep).

Each and every person must be about the business of:

These two go hand in hand, and are the responsibility of each and everyone in attendance at MBF. MBF has a quality that is found in very few churches in America. I don’t know of any other church that has what MBF has. Therein lies part of the problem. Very few of the community realize or understand what we have at MBF and some of those who attend MBF are also clueless.

Instead, some see what another church is doing and envy sets in. Yes, envy, pure and simple. What each of us need to do is look at the very special qualities here at MBF, speak of those qualities among ourselves and to outsiders. You can’t impose a big church program on a small church. To do so would suffocate the small church. Very few churches have the quality of Biblical teaching that you have had and will have at MBF. As a matter of fact, very few Bible schools have the type and quality of Bible teaching available to you. That is something you should thank God for everyday and tell others. Instead of reveling in what we have, because MBF doesn’t have or do what some other church has or does, some would be willing to give up the Bible teaching to have the social program of some other church. That would be an eternal loss and a temporal disaster.

A story was told in an article, not too long ago: A nurse was on her way to work when something in the trash bin caught her eye. She was immediately taken with the possibilities of that discarded treasure. It was a cello, slightly cracked in several places, but nonetheless rich in character and a piece charming to the eye. Her boyfriend, who was a cabinetmaker, also saw the cello’s potential. Together, they thought it could be turned into a beautiful and distinctive CD holder. The discarded cello was indeed old and abandoned. The authorities were not sure why or how it ended up in the trash that day. A most shocking revelation to the nurse (and arguably to the thief as well) was the fact that it was not merely an old cello! That cello was one of only 60 like it in the world, made by the master craftsman Antonio Stradivari in 1684. That cello was a 322+/- year old masterpiece, valued at 3:5 million dollars. It had been stolen from a member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra just weeks before it was rescued by the nurse, who had dreams of it becoming a CD holder, which would have, of course, reduced its value to a few dollars, instead of 3.5 million.

In the music world, ‘Stradivarius’ is a simple term that goes beyond description. Neither scientist nor musician understand the difference between the ‘voice’ of a Stradivarius versus the voice of modern violins and cellos, but the distinction is real — and costly. A Stradivarius is the most sought after musical instrument in the world, it is a work of art in its own right, coveted by collectors and players. To be in the presence of a Stradivarius is to be in the presence of something great — whether it is recognized or not. The thief who put it on the trash pile, and even the nurse who rescued it did not see the splendor of what they had. It was simply a piece of trash OR at best a CD holder.

Folks, in a real sense that’s also true of MBF. There are some who would love to take this one of a kind and make it a superficial CD holder or worse -- simply because they don’t know the value of what they possess. I can tell you and stake my life on it, MBF is like nothing you will find any other place that I know of. You need to promote it according to its true value and cherish it personally. Don’t regard it as less than its real value. It is one of a kind! Don’t try to make MBF a religious CD holder, just because everyone else has one. You need to protect MBF from external attack and internal deterioration. When you hear MBF bad-mouthed or even lied about, you need to set the record straight, or MBF will become a religious CD holder.

If you don’t know the true "record", then you need to, No, 
you are obligated to find out what the true record really is.

It is easy to hear a rumor and pass it along. However, almost 100% of the time, those passing that untruth along never had the decency to check it out.

Now, let’s see, if a person accepts a rumor —a lie—
and passes the untruth along, that makes that person a ____.
Now, that’s not a nice word, I’m told, but it’s still true.

The one accepting and passing along such an untruth will have to take that sin up with their Lord and Judge at the Judgment Seat, but let me show you what such an activity does to MBF (or any church), this jewel out here in the cedar patch.

A church can grow to a point it is pushing out the walls. However, that growth can be reversed simply by someone started a storytelling project, even though the teaching doesn’t change nor does the program change. In such a situation, what changed was a loss of promotion and protection by the sheep.

Of course, it wouldn’t be nice to point out such activity, by name, from the pulpit, 
but it seems to be ok to carry on such activity from the pew.

If you want to see MBF grow, you in the pew will have to promote MBF. Remember, sheep beget sheep.If you want to see MBF continue to exist, you in the pew will have to protect it. You remember, Christ said that a house divided against itself cannot stand, and I don’t think Christ would lie to us, do you?

Matthew 16:18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.

Jesus is God’s promised Christ, the Messiah. It is on that foundational truth that Christ is building His Church. We know from our study that Christ uses Believers (all Believers) as His building contractors.

1 Corinthians 3:9-10 For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, you are God's building. 10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed howhe builds on it.

Any building project has its risks, but when the plans are followed and the project is completed, the rewards are worth the risk. When I think of risk, I think of the story of Lucinda Williams, a Missouri woman who moved to Dallas, back in the mid-1800’s.

When she moved to Dallas, she asked her landlady if there was a Baptist church in town. The landlady said there was no Baptist church in town and she hoped there never would be one. That day, Williams decided that if she were going to live in Dallas, she would attend a Baptist church. She learned that on three other occasions, people had tried to start a Baptist church. All three tries had failed because of stiff opposition. She set out to start a Baptist Church, and she, too, ran into opposition. Butt she was determined to take the risk. Finally, on July 20, 1868, she, her husband, seven other women, and two other men organized a Baptist church. During the first few years, it looked as if they wouldn’t survive. They had no building, they had no money, they had little support, but Lucinda continued. She formed the church’s Sunday School and began a mission society through the church. Five years after they began, she convinced the women of the church to personally collect over $600. Now you can imagine how much $600 was worth 120+/- some years ago. Because of her dedication to the mission and because of her willingness to take the risk, she was able to plant the seeds that began The First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas. Which, though not in her lifetime, grew to be one of the largest churches in the nation.

No, Lucinda never saw the fulfillment of her efforts nor did she see the final results of risk taking. However, God never told us to be successful, but He did tell us to be faithful—faithful in ALL things. Faithfulness is one of the hardest task of the Christian life.

The command rang out, "On your mark, get set," and then the pistol cracked and the race was on. A fine athlete sprang to the lead, and when the race was over, he had shattered the state record. Only a few other runners even finished the race. Many dropped out when they saw that there was no chance of winning. As the field crew was bringing out the hurdles for the next race, one of the judges yelled, "Get those hurdles out of the way. This race is not over. Look!" Around the last turn came a runner panting and staggering. The crowd stood in silent disbelief as he made his way over the last hundred yards, and literally fell across the finish line, grinding his face into the cinder track. One of the judges ran to the boy, turned him over on his back, took his handkerchief and wiped the blood from his face, and said, "Son, why didn’t you drop out? What are you doing in a two-mile race, anyway?" Between gasps, the boy explained that his school had a good two-miler who came down sick just a few days before. The coach had promised to have a man in every event and so the coach asked him to run the two-mile race. "Well son", continued the judge, "why didn’t you just drop out when you saw that you had lost so badly?" The boy answered..:

"Judge, They didn’t send me here to quit. They didn’t send me here to win. 
They sent me here to run this race and I ran it!" 
1 Corinthians 4:1-2 Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.
God has great things in store for MBF, if:
If we can’t, MBF will become only a religious CD holder
© Clyde White, Austin TX, 2006