For some time now, the Lord has been stirring my spirit with a prophetic message to our generation. It is a message of false comfort and reliance upon a paradigm of religion rather than seeking God’s face. For truly, there is a shift about to take place. For too long, the churches in America and westernized countries have sought his hand and provision without seeking His desire. We have built our programs and our institutions according to what our predecessors laid out. However, these are faulty towers of misplaced faith that will not withstand what is ahead.
Many churches today seek to cater to merely the needs of their congregates. But what about the desires of God? We have carefully laid out plans for our youth, young adults, divorced adults, singles, and a bevy of other groups. But where is God? In all of these endeavors, there are a few that are going on with God and even some being saved. But where is the true power of the Almighty? Have we as the church relied on perpetuating an old wine skin that cannot hold the new wine of what God wants to do?
God has shown me that the church in America is much like any number of luxury cruise liners departing from our coasts on a daily basis. In the summer of 2014, my family and I were expensed a trip on the then largest cruise ship in the world—the Oasis of the Seas. On every deck, there were activities of every sort. One could ice skate, zip line, wave surf, play basketball, take in a show, or just stroll the Promenade of shops or Central Park. These are just a few. Then there are the seemingly endless places to dine 24/7. There is never a shortage of food or entertainment because that is the intent. The senses and appetites of the guests must be continually satisfied. If not, then they will not return as a repeat customer but will end up with another cruise line that will better meet their expectations.
How much like our modern church is the cruise-line mentality!? It is all about me! Here are the expectations of most church goers today. If you don’t greet me at the door and tell me how great it is that I am in church today, then you don’t care about me. Unless my children have an awesome time in children’s church, then you don’t care about my kids. If teenage Johnny doesn’t connect with a group of his peers, then the kids at that church are cliquish. These are all superfluous to the real reason of being at church, and THAT IS TO ENCOUNTER THE ALMIGHTY GOD! This buffet mentality of the church has caused us to believe that if my needs are not met then there is something wrong with that church! This is the sin of idolatry and self-centeredness as much so as the children of Israel in their worship of a golden calf. The church in America does not have a golden calf. Instead, we worship the golden corral buffet that says I want to be comforted by excess rather than seeking God to see how I might comfort others through prayer and true acts of His love.
Historically, the S.S. America that is very much a metaphor for today’s church in the United States. The America was built in 1939 and was a luxury cruise ship that was conscripted into the war effort during the early 1940s. At 24.9 knots per hour, she was a fast ship that ferried hundreds of thousands of troops back and forth from the shores of Europe. After World War II, she once again was put into service and faithfully cruised wealthy passengers between New York and Europe for the next 20 years. As the ship began to age, it went through a series of owners and restorations until finally it was shipwrecked off the African coast close to the Canary Islands. It is now a rusty wreck on the shores of the island Fuerenventura as the waves and salt spray continue to diminish the shipwreck. One day, there will be no trace of the once grand vestige of cruising as the hull will submerge below the waves.
Isn’t it true, much like the S.S. America, how the church pulls together during crisis? However, by then the enemy has usually come in and ravaged our land, our churches, and our culture. The America was a splendid vessel during wartime as it greatly helped the war effort by transporting nearly a million men and women to war torn Europe. My question to the church is the following: What are we transporting today in our local church bodies? It is quite remarkable to stand on a cruise ship dock and watch the hundreds if not thousands of pallets of food loaded for a single cruise. When will the church wake up and start transporting the souls of men and women rather than merely trying to fill the carnal lusts that will never fulfill? The only way this will happen is to take the time to hear what God is saying. It is time to fill our churches to pray rather than with programs to play. It is time to give ourselves to God’s desire rather than our own.
I am certain that one day the church in our great land will again wake up and serve humanity as it was designed. However, it will require judgment to make this happen. Isaiah revealed this grand plan of how God teaches us His ways through His Almighty hand: “At night my soul longs for You, indeed, my spirit within me seeks You diligently; For when the earth experiences Your judgments the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.” (Isaiah 26:9)
Beloved of God, it is time to close the “all you can eat buffet lines” and begin to seek God for our generation. It is time to weep between the porch and the altar (Joel 2:17) rather than being entertained by false comfort. It is time to start ferrying men and women’s souls through prayer and intercession rather than trying to fill their carnal bellies with things that will never last. Bible teaching is good, fellowship with believers is good, but if they are leading us away from God and not to Him, then there is an iceberg ahead ready to sink the ship we have put our trust in. The icebergs are coming … are we ready? Have we committed ourselves to be Watchmen and Watchwomen to warn the church of the coming calamities? We will learn about God’s righteousness and mercy through His righteousness. However, how many of us will recognize the hand of God when we see it and His mercy in the midst of His dealings? I fear that too many on the fence will fall to the wrong side and continue to be swept into delusion. God help the church to open their eyes in this fateful hour.