James 1:27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
Why do churches not get this? I look at my surroundings, the churches around me, at least the ones in comfortable, yet modest, downriver Michigan and see a bunch of smaller churches trying to become mega-churches. Their plans are to build the biggest and most state-of-the-art buildings with cafe's and bookstores and visitor centers with all of the splendor of Solomon. Yet, not much is being done for the people that need help. It is weird that churches believe that they can get helping others accomplished in-house without having to go out to the ones who need them and help. So many churches have become self oriented just like the the people that reside in them and not much real religion is being done at all. No wonder people call us hypocrites, because churches are being run for ourselves and not for God. We do so many things with an agenda, we only do the ministries that may increase our numbers, not the going to Detroit stuff and helping a struggling soup kitchen or mission, no those won't turn into numbers for us, and the saddest part is that people are also loving with an agenda. They love others, or they think it is love, just to get them to accept Jesus or to come to church. God never commanded us to love others to convert them, the act of conversion is not something we can do anyways, God works in peoples hearts and uses others, not us. God commanded us to love others because we should love others, to model Christ, to live how God purposed us to live, not to manipulate people into following what you believe to be true. This is the single biggest reason I hate tracks with all the anger inside me. Because most people are not using them as a guide for witnessing to people, they are handing them to people they don't know and watching them walk away with no care of any real conversation. A friend of mine found a stack of particularly judgmental ones in the bathroom of the theater he works at, like you are going to go to the bathroom, see a track, pick it up and receive Christ all while washing your hands under the unsanitary blow drier. I am sorry if this offends some that rely on passing out tracks to fulfill their quota of loving people but it simply is not love. Try building a relationship with someone at work, talk to them about things in their lives, about TV or about movies or music or books or marriage or life. Be honest about who you are right away. Be honest about your sin, pray for that person, a lot. Ask God to open opportunities for you to share the Good News that Jesus brought to us and He will. Then your witness will come naturally, organically, and will hold more respect and credibility with the person you are talking to because that person knows you and knows you care about them. I don't know about you, but I do not make eternal choices like to live for Jesus by following some stranger that passes me a slip of paper or holds a sign in my face as I walk right past him. Do you? I would like to hear some things that we can do to reach out to our communities in love, let me know.