PASTOR NORLYN - How to Evaluate Our Church
Many today set together secular/corporate evaluation methods to see if their church (or ours) is on the right track. They seem well
thought-out and often seduce a church body into evaluations that Jesus never called His disciples or church leaders to make.
He gave us the Great Commission and we are called to bring glory to Christ individually and corporately as we carry it out in the power of His Spirit.
At Horizon Christian Fellowship SouthBay, these are our scriptural marching orders and we evaluate our success based on how we attend to them….apart from how our success or lack of appears to others.
The Purpose or Intention of Horizon SouthBay – Are we bringing glory to Christ as a church? How do we know?
Our Vision – WIN, DISCIPLE and SEND
Our Objectives – worship, instruction, fellowship and expression (obedience and awe)
Our Responsibilities for each believer and certainly leadership –
What we do – intercede, love, walk as examples, and ignite for service
What we keep – our heads, hearts, walks and commitments
Who we are – servants, under-rowers, soldiers, stewards, the Body of Christ and finite
Our Essential Characteristics – unity and faithfulness
Our Motivations – love for Christ, gratitude, humility, obedience and excitement for His Return
Our Resources – the Holy Spirit, the Word of God and prayer
When Jesus evaluated the 7 Churches in Asia Minor (Revelation 2-3), He evaluated not in secular terms but in spiritual terms, not in methods but in heart condition, obedience, perseverance, passion, humility, dependence, and walking in righteousness. We also can’t help noticing that He made no mention of size.
Ephesus They abandoned their first love. They were theological astute and had their doctrinal ducks in a row but they lacked passion for Jesus. As you evaluate your spiritual life, how is your passion for Jesus? Do you love Him with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength?
Smyrna They are poverty stricken and oppressed. Are you persecuted for standing up for Jesus in your family, workplace or school? While we may not experience intense persecution in America, our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world are suffering extremely and are being martyred for their faith in Jesus. Are we faithful to pray for the persecuted church?
Pergamum They compromised by engaging in sexual immorality and idolatry. They allowed the world to squeeze them into its mold. Are you compromising the message of the Gospel? Are you living a life worthy of the calling you have received as a believer in Jesus?
Thyatira They were seduced under the spell of a false prophetess who lured the people into sexual immorality and capitulation to the culture around them. Our culture today screams very loudly that we are not accountable to God and we can do our own thing without fear of punishment. Are you living a life that has no regard for God and His Word? Are you being seduced to embrace the world instead of Jesus?
Sardis They were a church in “name only.” They had a reputation of being alive but were in fact a spiritual graveyard. Do you have the appearance of being a Christian and do a good job of faking it to those around you but in reality are living a life of hypocrisy?
Philadelphia They were the beloved church that held fast to the Gospel in the midst of persecution and hostility. They were little in power but rich in God’s grace. Are you holding fast to the Gospel of Jesus? Are you part of a church that might be little “in number” but great in God’s grace and provision? Note that the proof they were bringing glory to Christ was that He opened doors of ministry for them that no man could shut.
Laodicea They were the blind, arrogant, and self-sufficient church that Jesus was about to vomit out of His mouth because they were lukewarm. They were materialistic and prideful. Are you trusting in your own resources and see no need for God, or are you humbly dependent on Christ for everything?*
May the Lord be blessed as He walks among our church.
Pastor Norlyn Kent
*Some Revelation wording borrowed from Pastor Sean Cole’s article “7 Churches in Revelation present challenge to everyone”…June 15, 2018
PASTOR NORLYN - Our Country and Our Church
In all my years as an "aware" citizen and Christian, I believe
there has never been a more vulnerable time for our
country and for the organized church, than today.
Our country hasn't slipped from its Judeo-Christian moorings,
it's purposefully chosen to abandon them.
As I've studied and taught through the major prophets the reality of how God deals with a nation who chooses to disregard Him becomes clear.
Last Sunday, as I was preaching and in post-service considering, my heart was more aware than ever of the "Spirit of Antichrist" that prevails from our highest to lowest positions of political power.
Is the AntiChrist himself now alive and moving in his role, I have some thoughts on that, but I'm unwilling to state them openly because I'm uncertain and conjectures can add to the confusion and diminish the message of what we know to be true. There is no question that the "spirit of antichrist" is reaching a crescendo.
Our choice as a nation to close off the biblical message from our public considerations concerning how we will conduct ourselves as a people and the organized church's jettison of biblical orthodoxy has left "we the people" and even the average church goer to flounder between anti-Christian philosophies; which are "darkness". It's no coincidence that we have no "wisdom light" to guide us in resolving our national and cultural issues.....we're swimming in darkness......by choice.
We are certainly vulnerable to God's corrective hand. I don't know how He's stayed it for as long as He has. What I can't be certain of is when His patience will run out or by what means He will choose to bring correction. He's certainly under no obligation (as He is by covenant with Israel) to do anything to make our national future certain.......and there seems no mention of us in eschatological terms. He may choose to allow us to reap the natural consequences of our choices without correction. Many once powerful nations have dissolved into history with hardly a whisper of remembrance.
Our beginnings and success as a nation carry many imprints of God's protection and hand of blessing (along with some terrible ugliness as well). I have to believe we were blessed because God chose to bless the body of saints who inhabited and even attempted to lead this land in a Godly direction.
I still feel that it's the Christian community that holds the key to our future.....the ones called by His name. Until we His people repent of our sins and glorify Him in our daily lives, I don't believe we have any right to expect His intervention in the natural course of our national self destruction. It's for us to pursue Christ individually and to walk in the light that will do the most good. Perhaps He will once again look on our nation and preserve it for the sake of the community of His saints......I hope so, because I love this country......though my heart aches over its present condition and course.