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January 11, 2013

Tools of Devil

by Rev. A. J. Iovine

When attendance in church goes down, the only thing that goes up is frustration.

Why aren’t young people coming to church? Why are families more inclined to spend Sunday mornings sleeping or watching their children play some sport? We offer church many times during the week – why aren’t our numbers increasing? 

The questions are endless.

The fear continues to grow.

“If we don’t get new members, our church is going to close its doors.” 

“Did you see that we only had a small number at our potluck? Oh, remember the days when we used to get thirty, forty, or fifty people? What happened?” 

When fear over a church’s future grow in the minds of a congregation, finances fan the flames of fear.

There is not a pastor or a congregation who hasn’t worried about attendance figures or finances at least a million times during their lifetimes. In fact, many of the best worriers are pastors. In the winter time, we worry about snowstorms hitting on the weekends. Come the warm weather months, we worry about people leaving on vacation. When youth sports kick off, our minds go to counting how many families will be in church instead of at the ball field. When our seniors get sick or injured, we think about whether they will be able to come back and worship regularly.

Fear.

Worry.

These are the tools of the devil.

He uses them with great precision, tearing our thoughts from trusting in Jesus Christ, our Savior. He strives to deaden the faith in the hearts of believers, and one of the great tools he uses is fear since it shakes confidence and refocuses the Christian heart on numbers and dollars instead of on Jesus.

And (Jesus) said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest?” Luke 12:22-26

Believe in Jesus.

Trust in our Savior.

Receive Him in Word and Sacrament.

Let God’s Incarnate Word stomp out the fear you may be feeling.

And let the Holy Spirit build up Jesus in your hearts.

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