Sunday, January 18, 2015

Church On Fire

He is running the church
And also the people,
He thinks he owns it
From the step to the steeple.

Since he’s been there
The attendances are large,
You don’t have to look far
To see who is in charge.

They jostle for position
There’s much in fighting,
As they follow their leader
In his practice, proselytising.

There’s absolutely no doubt
This is a church on fire,
And they pay a huge lot
For professionals on hire.

On every Sunday morning
This mega church is burst,
In order to have a seat
You must get there first.

Of course there are those
That will always find a seat,
That seat is marked reserved
And cooled to reduce the heat.

The members don’t really mind
The discomfort they endure,
They belong to a mega church
There’s much for them in store.

Watch them as they arrive
To give to God all praise
Decked out in the latest trends
Following the fashion craze.

How they step out in style!
Nothing old everything new,
Wearing such elaborate hats
In church they block your view.
The programmes are varied
And very accommodating
There’s much enthusiasm 
From members participating.

Worship teams well trained
Raise their joyous strains 
And congregation inflamed
Bellows the chorused refrains.

These sessions are really long
Sometimes an hour or more,
And by the time they all sit down
The seniors are feeling sore.

The youngest to the oldest
In their emotional hype
With hands raised to heaven
Display the modern church type.

Choruses are the way to go
In the praise and worship session,
Those hymns of so long ago
Are somebody else’s confession.

To be honest I would admit
That some of the tunes real sweet,
But often are not scriptural
Not found in the Bible I repeat.

The offerings you should see
The baskets are very huge,
No place in these congregations
For miserly old Mr. Scrooge.

The members really give
Expectant of a great return,
Sow a seed and reap a harvest
Is the motto they have learned.

The leader’s salary is high
And those of his family too,
These make up the executive
And they are not a few.

The leader is called the CEO
In the business of the church,
From his position of grandeur
There he alone is perched.

It’s clear it’s his empire
He alone resolves all conflicts,
And all them sitting at his feet
Are faithful and loyal subjects.

This sounds harsh I know
But this is very real,
This is news to many of you
But to a few it is stale.

Hush! Here he comes now
In his expensive Mercedes,
Followed by his darling wife
She too has one of these.

There’s a private parking space
To accommodate each ride
And an identified valet
To park them right inside.

I know you would say
There’s nothing wrong in this,
But when it comes to greed
Such people top the list.

There was a time before
When pastors sacrificed much
And served God with gladness
Experiencing the anointing touch.

Today is somewhat different
Not much some have given up,
They live in regal splendor
And the royal feast they sup.

The royalties from their books
And subjects’ free will giving,
Support their every whim
As well as their sumptuous living.

In return they preach a word
Just to give their subjects courage,
And the funds keep rolling in
Headed for the Emperor’s storage.

A word that’s usually Gospel proof
None you would find therein,
Just a feel good kind of word
That excuses them of their sin.

“What a great service!”
One hears it often exclaim,
“It is good that we were here
Glory to God in Jesus’ name.”

That church is on fire 
You would hear many say,
And wish they were members
Yes, they yearn for that day.

“We pay our tithes here 
But still don’t get fed,
And these services lack much
They are usually so dead. 

Our pastor tries his best
But I believe he’s getting tired
And his messages though long 
Do not really inspire.

The last message he preached
He talked only of sin,
And said God would forgive 
If only we let him in.

Preaching about sin
Belongs to a far gone age,
He either needs to get with it
Or simply vacate the stage.”

Yes! That church is on fire 
Anyone with discernment can see,
That leader marshals his forces
They are what he wants them to be.

I really should have mentioned
There is one service per week,
Occasionally on a Saturday
The leaders go on a retreat.

In most of the other meetings 
Small groups get together
For prayer and Bible study
But the big boys seldom bother.

Their concern is Sunday
With its pomp and pageantry,
With offerings overflowed baskets
And great pastoral commentary.

A word for the week not the weak,
A message to encourage the strong,
A church for them that are striving,
The infirm don’t really belong.

Here, no hospital casualty,
No psychiatric or geriatric facility,
Just people whose responsibility
Is to give out of their necessity.

The harvest all should see
Is proportionate to the seed,
Sow the seed and you’ll be bless
Is the instruction all should heed.

Some of the people are leaving
But a lot more are enrolling,
For when the seed has not produced
These members stop their sowing.

Overall this church does well,
Never a message about sin or hell,
But a word of financial prosperity
And how to shape your destiny.

The Gospel message is diluted
Scarcely a trace to be found,
Addressing felt needs a priority
While souls appear hell bound.

No message of Christ who came
From sin to set us free,
No salvation and deliverance
Just talk of prosperity.

But this is a church on fire
I hear many still say,
And I am not surprised
For strange fire is alive today.

Take care you do not belong
To a church with strange fire,
The professional type church
Where they pay well for the hire.

For you are likely to starve
And not ever realise
That your soul has gotten limp,
It has been tranquillised.

Before it reaches there
Take stock of your church,
It might be a strange fire
You could be left in the lurch.

Have a chat with some saints
That you really, truly trust,
Share with them your misgivings
No need to fret and fuss.

Perhaps, it will reach the source
And who knows what might occur,
It may well be the admonition 
That rids them of strange fire.

Stewart Russell © 2014

Friday, January 09, 2015

Tell Me If You Can

What is a gift?
Is it a myth?
How does one get it?
Is it given on merit?

Does it depend on diligence?
Or is it maintained by vigilance?
Must I strive so to keep?
Never a wink, shut-eye or sleep?

To whom is it given?
To those who have striven?
To those who have worked hard?
But not to me, a simple retard?

What is it really?
Do some get it clearly?
Do some have it just barely?
While others not even nearly?

Tell me, what really is a gift?
Should its offer cause a rift?
Between the ‘we have’ and ‘they have-not’?
And the ‘want to be’ and the ‘only we got’?

Is a gift so divisive?
To cause sharp tongue so incisive?
Does it make one abusive?
Of those considered non-inclusive?

Is a gift given for a time?
Then exchanged for a lime?
Does it have a cost?
And can it be lost?

Can I keep the gift?
Though I sometimes go adrift?
Can I maintain its possession?
Even in times of my transgression?

Can I keep its treasure?
Though I incur the giver’s displeasure?
Is it easy to lose?
When wrong I choose?

How much wrong must I do?
To lose it, tell me, can you?
And if I do, is there still hope?
Do tell, what must I do to cope?

This gift, must it be bought?
Is it also for the distraught?
Is it for the rich and wealthy?
And them that are spiritually healthy?

Is it free and available?
Or is it only for the able?
Is it for the who-so-ever?
Or for some: never, never?

For this gift what is my debit?
Is there nothing to my credit?
Is there nothing, no, not a trace?
Is there nothing in my space?

Did you say there’s news for me?
That some one has paid my fee?
That the gift to me is free?
That it is mine eternally?

That no man can take it away?
Not now, not tomorrow, not today?
In whose care then am I kept?
Who watched over while I slept?

Is it not God who gave it to me?
Is it not Christ who paid my fee?
Is it not the Spirit who lives in me?
This gift is forever, can’t you see?

Offered to me, how could I refuse?
Understanding how could I not choose?
Why now would He take it away?
Could I be saved yesterday but lost today?

How long is eternal life?
Could it end with some evil strife?
Does God have to wait?
To see if one will be late?

Does He take it away then give it back?
Is one born again and again, something like that?
How much does one sin before he is lost?
What is backsliding, what does it cost?

Can you answer all these?
Tell me, can you, please, please?
Can you tell who’s lost and who’s saved?
Is one saved just because one behaved?

By His mercy was I not justified?
By His grace am I not sanctified?
By His love am I not satisfied?
So where can I run away to hide?

Does He not supply me day by day?
Does He not guide me along the way?
Is His banner over me not love?
Does He not watch me from above?

Does He not find in me a home?
And promised never to leave me alone?
Why should I fear that I might slip?
And thus forever lose my grip?

Is it not God who holds my hand?
Is it not God in whom I stand?
Why should I fear when He is near?
Why should I doubt when He is here?

Of His forgiveness can I be sure?
Or is He looking for something more?
Can I on Him completely depend?
Or like some just merely pretend?

What is a gift I ask again?
Are you still struggling to explain?
Have you by faith its treasures claim?
Are you convinced that He can sustain?

Will you in him place your trust?
Will you shed the doubt and skip the fuss?
Will you walk with Him as he with you?
Will you rest in Him to see you through?

Is there another question to ask?
Will this job be an unfinished task?
Can I ask one last question of you?
Is working to keep a gift still your view?

Stewart Russell © 2013