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Reflections on Words from 2009

“More than 800,000 properties received foreclosure filings in the first quarter of 2009. This is the highest number in history and is likely due to many bank moratoriums coming to an end.” RealtyTrac

“Maybe I’m just a little anxious given the (2008) economy and my focus on foreclosures; perhaps this is nothing more than subliminal impressions given that I am a licensed realtor? I’ll let the reader be the judge. However, this could just as well be a demonstration of God’s sovereignty in my life.”

“I have been working on my first book since retreating from my position as Executive Associate at a large church in my hometown in 1997. About that time I became aware that even a large church could be no more successful at reaching a city than numerous small churches, (even if on every corner), unless those congregants were individually engaged in serving that city. In my passion to truly be a Christ follower, I resigned what had become my second life career (my first as an public school educator) to engage in intentional prayer over our city. Opening an office on the 24th floor of our tallest downtown commercial building, I began a life changing season of prayer. My personal needs then led me to form a small consulting company and later become a realtor. Was that vocational morphing more about preparing my mind for this book than creating income? Is there evidence in the Church of pending foreclosure?”

“My years as a realtor have afforded numerous observations of similarities evident among most homes in foreclosure. A majority of those homes seemed to have been totally neglected, if not partially destroyed by their previous owners. This intentional destructive behavior portends foreclosure as symptomatic of some deeper viral-like infection that eventually overcomes those who experiment with a life of unhealthy, high risk debt, as opposed to living within the principles of financial discipline and patient accumulation of resources. Somewhere in that “gambler” approach to life, begins a deterioration of self will, a growing sense of entitlement, often followed by the psychological pressures of debt, abandonment of hope, bitterness at life and other ensuing spiritual repercussions. Fear, anger, blame then surface in these victims of their own lusts, as they are swallowed up by a life lived well beyond their means.”

50% of all adults now contend that Christianity is just one of many options that Americans choose from and that a huge majority of adults pick and choose what they believe rather than adopt a church or denomination’s slate of beliefs.”- George Barna, August 2008 survey.

“When this (non-attendance) slide started in 1964 as baby boomers began graduating from high school, many church leaders didn’t even acknowledge it. For years, they kept counting the absent as present. Then, when the losses couldn’t be ignored, they blamed them on whatever hot-button issues were roiling the religious establishment, as if new liturgies, women in leadership, and liberals (or conservatives, take your pick) had driven people away.  The problem is Christianity’s delivery system. We are stuck in trying to lure people to physical locations at a time of our choosing, to do what we think they ought to do, and to be loyal in paying for it. It is time that we looked beyond the paradigm of Sunday church.” -Tom Ehrich

“Though my formal training and career track was in public education, my life began changing when in 1978 I first heard the Lord’s promise “Wherever I send you, seek that city, if not this one, the next, I will give you a city.” Since that time my life ambition has been about reaching cities for Christ. You can see that I am somewhat the dreamer, who expects no small things of a life devoted to Christ!”

“The majority of my fulltime pastoral experience would be in service to a large church, “mega” in the eyes of those who watched it grow, from thirteen members in a basement to a peak of about 3500, on a campus adjoining one of the nation’s premier universities.”

“However, it would require only six years in a full time pastoral role, for me to realize that what had been recommended to me by denominational leaders as a means of reaching cities, a large church no longer seemed to be the tool that God would use to fulfill my life ambition…but rather a lifestyle that is more about the Kingdom than either income production or church based ministry.”

“With church attendance in decline, first in the Northwest and now slowly creeping toward the Bible Belt, churches have little excuse for being caught off guard. Years of diminishing freedom of Christian expression within our nation and the rapid moral decline now impacting even our economy, should have warned discerning leadership of the churches ineffectiveness, just as notices from creditors forewarn the homeowner of impending peril and foreclosure. The emotional struggles within congregations, between denominations, even the daily stressful challenges of pastoral leadership should cause us pause and create a need to reexamine our spiritual households, before the final summons is delivered to our door.”

-excerpts from “The Church in Foreclosure”

Reading back over the booklet, REPO, published in 2009.  It was a bold step on my part, but now seems so relevant!  What a journey this has been!

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