Pastors, Stop Complaining About Sunday Morning Sports

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How the Church's displacement in culture can lead to better ministry.

It’s a common complaint among clergy types: “Sunday morning sports is taking people away from worship!”

This lament and the exasperation that accompanies it goes deeper than just whether a family shows up on a particular Sunday. It is the lament of the loss of the privileged place that the Churchand clergyonce enjoyed in our culture. And in our lament, we risk alienating the very young families we seek to engage.

The emergence of Sunday morning sports is just a symbol of a shift that’s happening in our society where the church is no longer accommodated or propped up by our culture.

Clergy lament this. It makes our jobs harder. But, if we are honest, there is something deeper: It is the resentment of the loss of a privileged place of not only religious institutions, but Christian institutions, and not just Christian institutions, but Christian people, and the leaders of those people, the professional clergy, us.

We are mourning our own diminishing cultural position and privilege. That’s what I hear just under the surface when clergy complain to each other about Sunday morning sports—it’s the loss of our place, our privilege, our position.

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I mean, do you notice how we never complain about activities scheduled for Friday evenings for our Jewish friends or Saturdays for Seventh-Day Adventists, or how they interfere with Hindu or Muslim observances? Other traditions have had to deal with this a lot longer than the Church.

And, frankly, it’s a not a bad thing for the Church to stand on its own, apart from cultural props. I don’t want the Church to be dependent on the world to say Church is important.

I want us to say this is important because of Jesus, the persuasiveness of the Gospel, for its own sake, on its own terms, not because my local Recreation Department says so.

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The problem is our frustration, grief and anger slips out in our preaching, conversation and recruitment.

It is guilt inducing, and we lose the grace we seek to extend to people. We have to watch our language, assumptions, expectations, because most of them were formed in a culture we don’t live in anymore.

Keith Anderson I serve as pastor at Upper Dublin Lutheran Church in Ambler, PA and I'm the co-author of the new book Click2Save: The Digital Ministry Bible (Morehouse, 2012).

More from Keith Anderson or visit Keith at

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  • Karl Ingersoll

    Excellent. I had a friend in the church that I pastored who used to coach baseball. It took him away from church for most of the summer. Randy was a board member and an influential presence in our fellowship. I missed him desperately in the summer months. But he was more than a softball coach … he ministered to the kids and their families, even visiting in the hospital when they were sick. It was clear to me that he was more influential and needed on the baseball diamond than sitting in the pew. I blessed and supported his absence from the pulpit. In my heart, I felt that our church would be better off if more of our folks were absent for these kinds of reasons. I still believe this. We attach far too much importance to an hour and a half on Sunday morning, in my opinion. There are many other ways for Chritian folk to vitally connect to their church family. I wonder if we could conceive planting a church in a given community, seeing a Sunday production as an option and Monday-Saturday presence as the point of it all. If we can, we likely understand what it means to be the Church.

    • Twinsfan1

      Karl, I agree. My one caveat would be if that coach was really a ministering part of the Body, and not just someone who enjoys sports and looking for an excuse to not be there on Sunday. Praise God for this guy in your church! I was a pastor, and while I would have to honestly say that this would have bothered me at first, reading your response would have helped immensely.

  • Trevor

    Sorry, can’t agree. It’s not about mourning the loss of some position in society, its about God and the effect this has on people. You can wax lyrically about Luther but the bottom line is that God gave us the Lord’s day to meet together for focused worship. This doesn’t deny that all of life is worship or that God can’t be present and loved while engaging with sport. It means after all that we still have Sunday and should not neglect meeting together. The tragedy is, it’s not just non-Christians who don’t come because of sport, its Christian’s too. This shows a lack of love for God and for other Christians. Easy to excuse replacing God with other things and not call it idolatry. No matter how such things are dressed up the effect on the individual and the church is the same.

    • Algoria

      I appreciate your comment, Trevor. I agree that sport shouldn’t be allowed to interfere with the worship of God.
      However I wonder how you feel about Christians working on Sunday. I realize it’s a different issue, but still related to the matter of worshiping on the Lord’s day.
      Do you think Christians should ever work Sundays?
      A disclaimer here. I have a job that requires me to do this and yet feel that God has led me in this.

      • Ben

        Algoria, Jesus healed on the sabbath did He not and what did the Pharisee’s say to the Lord Of lords where did you get that authority. the same evil spirit of yesterday is still around today. If Our God put you where you are than do not worry about what people say they are going to say something no matter what. It is in your own conscience that has to be satisfied no one else’s. In th blood of Jesus you are free to come in and to go out. believe you have entered the day of rest with Our Loving Father and Jesus Christ Ben

        • Trevor

          Ben thats really silly my friend. You totally misunderstanding the issues. Jesus did attend the Synagogue on the OC Sabbath. Jesus blasted the Pharisees for binding people with their own rules and neglecting God’s love and righteousness. Jesus never blasted anyone for going to they synagogue or doing / not doing the things that God actually commanded.

      • Trevor

        Algoria, I am not a sabatarian but I do believe that the NT calls Sunday the Lord’s day and that the early christians met on this day as it marked the resurrection of Christ. I pop into the supermarket on Sundays and pick up a couple of things. I do not think the world has to keep any kind of sabbath or Lord’s day. And there are christians who work in professions that mean that need to work on some Sundays of the nature of emergency services, hospitals, care homes etc.

        However, I think the pattern (normative principle) is that christians meet on Sundays for corporate worship and mutual edification. I think that wherever possible Christians should avoid any activity, including work that keeps them from attending ‘church’ on a Sunday. It is an issue of love. Example, I am in a small church and when people decide not to come the rest of the church really feels it. Church on Sunday is not just about what I can get, its what I can give and the contribution I can make it edifying the body. Like I said, there are legitimate reasons for missing Sunday, but even then – the effect is detrimental on the person and the whole church.

        Of course all of life is worship but I think we have to check out motives very carefully when we decide not to join the saints on Sundays. Sport is a ridiculous reason. it should be noted, that Jesus was in the Synagogue on the OC Sabbath day.

    • Ben

      Hi Trevor, you are right it is a tragedy not to worship God, i would like to know which day is the Lords day since He God said to every day that was created was good. If you believe Friday is the lords day and i want to believe an other day are you gone condemn me to hell, if you believe the Lords day is Saturday than are you a Jew and if so what tribe do you belong to. I would love to hear your linage. Now I know your going to mention Genesis, how about Hebrews chapter three and four entering the day of rest, as it is today because of un belief in the day of rest God created to day.the new day harden not your hearts when you hear the Lords voice besides I have Jesus him self said He is the Lord of the sabbath,Mark 2-27The sabbath was created for man and not man for the sabbath. Now who is in charge who has the authority to change things around. was it Moses No was it men to change things around no. It has been God who want men to enter His rest or sabbath. to rest with Him. But nooo man cold not do what God want it, it had to be mens way. What if i told You Trevor i worship Our Lord 7 days a week at 3 am in the morning study His word for one to two hours every day. So please don’t give me the idolatry thing or guilty trip. If this is what you want so be it. are you Trevor Holy spirit filled? if you are than get out of legalized worship. Who the Lord sets free is free indeed, Trevor from what. Ben

      • John

        You smell like the same person whos been posting under several names on here the past 2 days. If you are? Please seek help. If not? The issue isnt when the Sabbath is. Under the New Covenant between God and Christ Sabbath is everyday. However, thats not what this article is about. Its not what Algoria is really talking about either. Its about TIME SET ASIDE FOR CORPORATE WORSHIP. Its about WORSHIPING THE FATHER AS A BODY.

        Free ya ya ya. But youre not free from the Body of Christ. Youre free from the law of sin and death. The issue isnt LEGALIZED WORSHIP. The issue is CORPORATE WORSHIP. The early church gathered daily for corporate worship.
        They sold their goods, their lands, and most of their physical ties to this present world. Why? Worship. Read ACTS. The issue for the 9,433th time is CHOOSING SPORTS OVER CORPORATE WORSHIP. It isnt a LEGALISTIC thing. ITS A HEART THING. And just because you paint over a sign? Doesnt change the fact that the sign had an original message that contained facts. Just because you TAG something legalistic doesnt make it legalism.

        You mentioned the word FREE over and over. Ill say again. You are ONLY FREE from the law of sin and death. Thats what youre free from. Get over the western society market America mindset of what you think FREE means. You are not an island. Youre a finger or part of a hand or part of an arm or leg or foot and that part is intricately woven into the Body which is Jesus CHURCH.
        If you want to be free from that theres a greater problem going here.

        • Ben

          well good God Morning, Trevor, I am so glad you are in a good mood. first i don’t need to post in any other name the name is a good one. second I live in this century and this will open an other can of warms, ok so what I open the can.. I am a son of God Trevor no matter what you think and yes i stink like death to some but I am a sweet fragrance to Our God. Trevor if you lived at the time of Paul and he said, to your wife, women keep your mouth shut during worship hour, how far would that go into days time. As for being in legalism anything that has to do is legalism. Love wants to the Law says you have to. what would you have said to Paul for spending three years in the desert all by him self. You also said [NO MAN IS AN ISLAND] great you mentioned a war movie in the late 50’s I think. i belong to the body of Christ just like you do, by choice. Yes the Bible says in Hebrews for sake not the assembly as some teach, I don’t teach that, Jesus said where there are two or more gathered in my name I’ll Be in the mist. Yes I love freedom Trevor, from the traditions of men who say you have to. If you think I have a problem than why haven’t you prayed for me.

          in stead of calling me names. Ben, a loving brother in Christ

          • John

            Bla bla bla bla bla bla. IF you dont know the difference between culture within Pauls letters and the TRUTH within Pauls letters? Theres really nothing i can say to you.

          • Trevor

            Ben, Just to point out I didn’t call you any names, and you were in fact responding to someone elses’ post but used my name.

            Brother I think you misunderstand what legalism is. Biblically legalism is adding elements / all of the mosaic law to the gospel as a requirement for salvation. No one in this discussion is doing that. You also seem to think that we are only free if we are free from any obligations. You seem very confused about these things. Some further study and submitting to the word would, I think, bare much fruit for you.

            Can I ask, when you thought through the issue of sports on Sunday where you using the regulative or normative principle?

        • Ben

          The early church did not have all instruction that we seem to have to day. John let me end this discussion. Ben

      • Dr shirley

        You are not free because you think you can worship anytime whiich we can and should but the Bible says not to forsake the assembly of ourself together.
        Why because we strengthen each other and care about each other and also God intends for order and a worship service is a time of worship, caring and strenthing each other. Has nothing to do with legalism. I will pray!

  • deandeguara

    Im a Pastor and my kids have both been involved in sports activities on Sundays. In fact if you haven’t noticed sports is every day of the week. Our churches must build bridges to the sports community. A few things we have done: Our lead pastor is a Wrestling coach at our local high school, our church has done over 15 sports banquets for programs, players and their families, I personally have volunteered as a coach and involved parent. Its out of this kind of influence that has opened doors to minister to those who will never darken the doorway of our church. As pastors we have a choice to disconnect and become more isolated or we can engage culture and influence people for Christ. Great topic!

    • John

      Nope. That is not what church is for. Youre using ‘evangelism’ as an excuse not to stand up and be a leader and a pastor. Because sports IS everyday of the week Sunday should be a day dedicated to worship. Leave your computer. Walk to the closest mirror. Point at yourself. Now say, ‘Its guys like me that are the reason the world has no respect for the things of God anymore. Now fix it.

      • deandeguara

        Wow, John I’m glad you told me what kind of guy I am just by reading my comment. You have an amazing gift.

        • John

          I have no clue what kind of guy you are. I do know what kind of pastor you are because I run into your type all over the country. Small churches, larger churches, and mega churches. Its the same game just different sized spheres. Willing to make any concession to get people in the door and get their money in the offering so you dont have to worry about believing God as the source of HIS OWN CHURCH. Look, I know. And i coddled your type for a long time. No longer. Its time to stand up and be leaders and be Isaiahs and Hezekiahs NOT everyones buddy. Theres a reason Israel stoned its prophets because they called Israel to Gods standards and warned them of putting their interests ahead of the things of God.

          • Ryan Coon

            It’s funny that you say “we need to stand up and be leaders and be Isaiahs and Hezekiahs NOT everyones buddy.” We need to be reflections of Jesus my friend. And who were Isaiah and Hezekiah prophesying to? God’s people, like you and I. To reach the unbelievers we must be like Christ. The us vs. them mentality is only isolating us more and more from unbelievers. We are the temples of God, so one day of sacred ritual and observing the Sabbath is not proper worship either. We need to live each day as a believer in every job, hobby or place of worship. I’m confident this is what the author of this article is talking about. If we connect with unbelievers and believers on a level of grace that is not quick to judge and condemn we have a better chance of helping them see the need to reserve Sunday as a day of rest, fellowship and worship. Let’s help them see commitment to God by loving them before we scare them away and they never see our point of view.

          • John

            No Hezekiah and Isaiah were NOT talking to unbelievers. They were both prophets and spiritual leaders of Israel the ‘Body of Christ’ of the Old Covenant. Youre correct we do no need to live everyday as believers but that has nothing to do with the Sabbath. In the early churches? They met DAILY! Yep. Read your Bible. They met every daily, worshiped, prayed, read the Apostles letters if they had them and took communion together.
            Let me say it again. DAILY. They came together DAILY. Were talking about one day. Now adays? Were talking about one morning. I know exactly what the author is talking about. And like most of other pastors hes allowing friendship of the world to confuse his head about what friendship with Christ is. Jesus separated Himself to the Father DAILY. Jesus knew the difference between COMMUNING with HIS FATHER and being FRIENDS with SINNERS. Both are part of being like Him. In fact, if you get off balance in that equation youre doomed to absolute irrelevancy.

          • Ryan Coon

            So…do people have to go to church Sunday to be righteous? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not for people to stop going to church and I disagree when people say “I don’t have to go to church to be a Christian.” I tell them, you should want to.

            Are you saying we should force everyone to come to church or do you want people to WANT to come to church?

            Will rebuking them for not coming to church really help or should you be in relationship with them where you can build that trust to rebuke the sin of idolatry, and more likely receive that rebuke because of your truth in love or, “As oil on my head…”Psalm 141?

            In the end, what approach did Jesus take? Did he go where they were? And if we are to meet in the synagogue daily why is Sunday, “THE” day we can’t miss?

            I’m sorry, I just need some clarification.

        • John

          Look. I didnt mean to be so in your face this morning. I come from a high pace very professional career pastor background and on those levels communication is very direct and very blunt and feelings are not considered. Ive carried that kind of communication style with me. Im used to being around people who are very straight and very tough.

      • John

        Oh and by the way? Just briefly … the church exists to reach out to people who will never darken its doors. The church as a local entity isnt for the lost. Its for the believer to edify, exhort, and equip for the work of the ministry of the gospel.
        Its not about engaging culture. The modern church has engaged culture so much it has emulated it. We are to reach out to people. Whoever they are. Wherever they are. Wherever we are.

        • deandeguara

          Im glad to hear you have it all figured out. We probably would agree more than we disagree, but you make assumptions about “my type’s” motives and want to cast stones instead of having healthy discussions. We can all learn from each other and stand to be corrected but I have a funny feeling you would always be right.

          • John

            Well, this is an area I have vast experience & a huge overview of. This isnt the place to tell you why but i do. I understand how pastors think and I honestly I wish i didnt. I resigned as staff pastor of a 5,000 member church because of this very thing. I have devoted myself to confronting this sort of thing. Its not you im coming against. Its the inherent passive leadership current i see flowing through the church in America.

          • deandeguara

            Now John you have my ear. Would love to hear more about that experience, your journey and your perspective. Do you have a blog? Thanks.

          • John

            No, I do not have a blog. Im usually too busy for this sorta thing but I saw this and I just had to respond. I was at a church thats entire thrust was leadership. In fact, my personal mentor was a protege of Americas most celebrated leadership guru both in the secular world and the church community. There was such a thrust of lateral relationships that the politics of ‘people’ became more important than ministering to the Father and doing the works of Jesus which is what the church is here to do collectively. I was in my big corner office and God began to deal with me about some things. He specifically told me to quit looking at distant echoes at go back to the original sound which was Jesus. The Apostles had the success they had because they walked with Him. We walk with whoever our last pastor was or whoever our mentor was or our favorite tv guy. But throughout the generations and displacement of the pure gospel the original sound has been lost. Jesus is that sound. We arent to be echoes. We are to be amplifiers. Collectively doing greater works than Jesus did as He expects. We cant even figure out something as stupid as church. Why? Because we lost the sound. Were just 100th generation echoes bouncing off the walls. We have to hit reset and go back to the basics. The reason we try and think up ‘strategies’ is because we’ve given up on the Truth. We dont say that but our actions do. We gave up on Truth speaking to the hears of men so we have to find another way to do it. Nope. We are to do exactly what Jesus did,

          • 0carter

            We are to do exactly what Jesus did?…Like engage culture where they are?

          • John

            Jesus said go out and be like sheep among wolves. True Christians should have their hands in everything. We oughta be in the White House, on MTV, on the News, you name it. But thats not the subject here.

            See..theres a vast difference between personal discipleship and corporate worship. God longs to bring His children together under one place because special things happen in that atmosphere that cant happen anywhere else. Thats why Paul told the Corinthians that

            ‘church’ was for exhortation, edification so that believers could be equipped to to the WORK of the ministry. See believers have 2 ministries.
            Our first Ministry? Is to the Father. Our Second Ministry is to the world.
            Problem is nowadays most Christians have no clue what either ministries look like.

          • Dalia

            John, you hit it right on the mark. I am grieved by the laxity of todays pastors. I really attribute it to self-anointing. They believe so strongly the desire in their heart is God calling them to be pastors. I believe it’s another voice theyre hearing appealing to their sin nature: pride. Now the pastors are dumbing down, watering down, and down grading truth. How subtley it came upon us, to entertain people to win a seat, to boast how big their church is, to pat themselves on the back (secretly) that their church is filled with so many programs. All the entertainment, programs, but no truth that Jesus commands be told. How sad. They are today’s pastors who appeal to every whim. Culture changes, not God’s word. “wussy pastors with no backbone”, TOTALLY agree.

          • John

            Exactly what i was trying to say. You probly said it more effectually.

            Culture changes as morality goes in cycles. The needs of the human heart havent changed since God breathed life into the first human being.

            When we bend to culture we’re bending to something that is temporal and as you said constantly changing. Look at American just 15 years ago and look at it now? Magnificent terrifying decline. BUT the needs of the people havent changed in 300 years. The church is called to minister to the human heart not culture. I cannot understand why thats such a huge thing to swallow. Maybe because i sat in Seminary and have a expository view of Scripture most Christians dont have. But i suspect thats not it. I think its what you said. You start bringing up culture and people get convicted. Why? Because youre talking about their gods of sports, their American Idol they stay home on Wednesdays to watch (ouch right?) Youre talking about their dating life which stats say most Christians in America are sexually active outside of marriage. These are reasons why culture stings people. Theyre more in love with their cultural activities than they are with God. Again, this is why God basically let Israel be destroyed. Its what divided Rome and took it out.
            Its what is destroying the greatest nation in history as we speak.

          • Trevor

            John, I am in the UK and I think here its atleast a bit clearer as to who the christians really are. Our society is deeply secular, whereas US society seems to still have some strong christian overtones. The issue this gives you is that there is probably a vast amount of people who say and think they are christians (because of the christian heritage and culture of the nation) who are not. In that case you can be trying to persuade goats to act like sheep. Thats not so much christians being worldly as unbelievers (calling themselves christians) being worldly. The church is a painful irrelevance in British society but there is atleast some clarity about who is and who isn’t a christian. Atleast to some degree. Increasing cases of christians getting in trouble because they wont conform to sinful culture etc.

          • John

            Let me add one thing. I said God let Israel be destroyed because they were in love with their cultural activities. Thats somewhat of an elusive statement. Actually what Israel did to be more specific and productive is they involved themselves in the cultures of the nations surrounding them.
            They brought things into the House of God which is what Israel means that angered God. Its a type of the modern church. We’re succumbing to the culture around us and bringing it into the House of God and it doesnt please Him anymore now than it did then. Thankfully we have grace.

          • Trevor

            Dalia and John – please be careful.

            Your statements are far too general. Some pastors may be like that, but by all means not all. Taking your limited knowledge and judging everyone plays into the hands of satan.

            On that front it seems you also have very little clue about how hard it is to be, particularly, a senior pastor. The pressure is immense from inside and outside. Criticism is enormous, and satanic attack unrelenting.

            Don’t name call. Pray for those that you know of who are in that position. Ask them how you can serve them and help them to fulfil the ministry God has given them.

            Football is really easy for people sat on the benches calling what plays they think would win the game, or how certain players should change their strategy. Its different when your in the game – its real time. Of course there are some pastors who biblically may need correction. But if you are not loving and serving them – then leave it someone who is.

    • Trevor

      Does that mean your children do not go to church on Sundays? I can understand your position if they still get to church. Fare enough. If they miss church though, I (respectfully) am afraid you are making a grave mistake.

  • John

    Seriously? What is this garbage? No pastors shouldnt complain. But they should lead and pastor. Thats what they are there for. Im not one who believes in being legalistic about church attendance but when you have a choice between Sports and Coorporate worship and you choose sports? HUGE PROBLEM. Period. End of debate. I cannot believe i just read this crap. Sorry but im sick of all this secular hand holding apologetics and semantics by wussy pastors with no back bone.

  • KeruxonJCJ

    This article helped me immensely. I pass three different golf courses and several near-by church next to each. It was annoying to see more people and vehicles at the golf courses, rather than the churches on a Sunday Morning. I go to several Nursing Homes for Church Services in two near-by cities, before I go to church services myself. And now, I have a new outlook.

  • Tom Peers

    I agree that we have to change our strategy and tactics because “conditions on the ground” have changed in our culture, but I just can’t get myself to NOT grieve that the devil has incrementally over time replaced God with recreation as a predominant Sunday morning staple.

    • John

      Ya know culture seems to be what the church is obsessed with. You never hear Jesus talking about culture. You never hear the Apostles addressing culture. The church has become more aware of culture than we are of God. I think thats the baseline issue here. If I hear the word CULTURE one more time Im going to slap somebody.

      • Tom Peers

        Obsessed is a pretty strong word. I’m not obsessed with culture, I’m a student of culture because culture = people … and I want to reach people for Christ. To reach people for Christ I want to know how culture influences their thinking so that I can better present the Gospel in a way that makes sense to them. Jesus engaged in meaningful ways with His culture all the time. Connecting spiritual truths to culture, Jesus talked about fishing, farming, stewardship and investing, searching for lost sheep, a lost son, coin. He engaged His culture by noticing what the Pharisees put into the offering bucket as compared to the poor widow woman. He observed His culture missing the whole point of what important when He talked about praying repetitious prayers and giving alms publicly. So I respectfully wouldn’t share your view that “You never hear Jesus talking about culture”.

        • John

          Cultures rise and fall. The human heart and its needs never change. Jesus transcended culture because He didnt esteem it worth dealing with because culture is never an issue. Its about the human heart not culture. Youre confusing culture with the the Hebraic precepts. Culture is man made. Who is called out by God is God-made. The two are as different as the sun and the rain. What Jesus was observing was not culture. What He was observing was the motivations of the Hearts of the people He called out and chose before Abraham was ever born. Look I know all the books youve read. I know all the stuff you’ve heard about taking the temperature of ‘culture’ This is something we are never told to do. Not in the Old nor in the Present. In fact, when Jesus returns ALL cultures and ALL Kingdoms are laid at Jesus feet. Why? Because the Kingdom is not a culture. Its reality.

          • James Bills

            John, I understand what you are saying, however, I was wondering if you can clarify something. What is culture if it is not the moral and value structure of a society? Heaven is a reality yes, but it is also a culture because it too has a moral and value structure. The question is, what culture are we going to represent in our day to day lives, the culture of God’s Kingdom or the culture of this world?

          • John

            Well, i could write a book on this subject because ive spent years in research on what culture is and all the cultures of our planet developed.

            I could address that but theres not enough time or space here. You have to realize that cultures were advanced long before Egypt popped up.

            If you go back to Mesopotamia they were very advanced and their culture and ideals sprung from the very thing that all other cultures did. See, scientists tell us that one culture popped up here and then another later over there and that isnt how it happened. Major cultures sprung all over the planet at the same time. It happened after the fall of Adam and Eve.

            If you recall in Genesis ‘the sons of God’ or the b’nai ha elohim forsook their heavenly offices and came and presented themselves to men as gods. Thats why we have so many different religions around the world.
            All these ‘fallen ones’ or fallen angels deceived men into thinking they were gods. In fact Noahs flood was to wipe out their seed in the earth.

            So cultures basically sprang from an original deception. If youll notice Abraham grew up in what was Sumeria. He grew up in Terahs house who was an official in the kingdom of Sargon. God called him out of culture. Why? Because God wanted a people to HIMSELF. For what reason? To show them TRUTH. The Kingdom of God isnt a culture because it didnt arise from a deception or a false covering. It is the TRUTH. It is RIGHTEOUSNESS. Cultures are about what is accepted and what isnt based on very temporal and shallow things. The Kingdom of Gods acceptance and value system isnt based on morality. Its based on JESUS. Even morality and laws originated with these fallen creatures. The were imitating God. The difference is these fallen ones were the lawgivers. The LAW without the LORD OF THAT LAW is empty.

            I really didnt want to go down that road but that really is where cultures sprang from all over the world. It goes back thousands of years to a chain of events that the earth will not see anything like unto the Tribulation period.

          • James Bills

            Well brother, do not delay in writing your book. God speed. I would read it with intent. You have a true heart for the Lord and I commend you as a brother in Christ. I will study this more and if you have any suggestions on where to begin my study, I would like very much to hear your suggestions. I am in love with the idea of the reality of God’s Kingdom and hate how it has been viewed by some. I admit, I too, in light of what you said, may have a wrong view of God’s Kingdom. This thought is not comforting but it is encouraging because I know that God is ever changing me and molding me into the likeness of His Son. God Bless.

          • John

            Man, I grew up my entire with a wrong view of everything. Sure i knew Scripture. I had an understanding but the way it was presented to me left me with a religion of works and not life. Ive always loved God. Always. I cant explain it but Ive always had an intense passion and tender heart for my Father. Thats where it begins. With that heart God can teach and perfect. I wish I knew everything but I dont. But there are things God has really dealt with me about. In fact, several years ago I came home from the office and knelt down to pray and I began crying and groaning. It went on for half an hour. Scared me to death. Never experienced anything like that. It was intercession. God showed me a blank white screen. There was 1 dot at the bottom and a single line and way down towards the bottom it merged into 2 lines and by the time they reached the top of this screen they were on opposites sides. I ask Him ‘whats this? He said at the bottom is where the church began 2000 years ago. He said the top is where I am and where the church is. He said but they dont realize it. I said why? He said because my sheperds will not listen to me. I got angry instantly. I said God im an associate pastor. Im not a senior pastor. Why are you telling me? I cant do anything about this! I was utterly grieved. Ill never forget what He said next. He said ‘I told you because I know youll listen.’ He said Ive dealt with my pastors for years and years and years and they will not listen. He said But you will. I broke down and i cried like a baby for another 30 minutes. I was so delighted that He commended me on having a heart to listen but I was so broken and grieved that Ive never recovered from that moment. It always about having the heart to listen. Despite culture. Despite position. Despite what weve been told. Always putting what the Father says above everything. Thats the only experience ive ever had like that but its like it happened yesterday.

          • John

            Real quick I didnt address your assertion about morality. Essentially morality is for those who are not NEW CREATURES in CHRIST. When youre born again an amazing thing happens. Youre changed in the very core of your being. In a sense were emptied out and God is poured in.
            That isnt so we can live morally. Its so we can walk like Jesus did. Notice Jesus never really dealt with morality. He always dealt with heart issues.
            He talked about Love more than anything. See you cant offend the laws of God if your life is an expression of love. See how that goes absolutely cross grain to culture? Culture is about roles and obligations. The Kingdom is about our CALLING to Know HIM and to Love HIM with all our hearts and minds and bodies. There is no culture in existence that displays these attributes. No the Kingdom of God is the only ‘culture’ we are to be consumed with. In fact, we should be such perfect emulators of ‘Kingdom Culture’ that the world sees us and cant wait to leave their ‘culture’ behind. I think I just got the title of my book. Thank you.

      • jeffaa

        Now, just tell me where to meet you, big talker! It’s spiritual bullies like you that make non-believers and believers, alike, want to puke their way away from the “Church” and jerks like you who mascarde as “Christians.” Want to slap me? Want to threaten to slap me? I will be happy to meet with you and give you the opportunity to work that out for you. Better yet, I live at 6818 Santa Susana Pass Road in Simi Valley, CA. You’re welcome to try to slap me anytime, “Precious Brother!”

        • John

          You are a carnal selfish ‘me-absorbed’ individual and yes…i most likely would have slapped you by now. Id rather you enter Heaven with my palm print on your face and a bruised ego than have you enter hell with a smile on your face feeling good about what you thought was truth. Ive ran across so many you. I cant tell you how many of your clones Ive shown the door to. Your pathetic rant and sophistry did nothing but reveal what you are. Next time in CA? Ill give you a call. Im not a big talker. I have 20 years in ministry and a lifetime of walking with God. I was in a prison once where an inmate spoke to me as you just did. About 3 minutes into it he was flung back into the wall like a massive hand swung down and just flicked him like a nat. When he came to he got saved because he said he saw a 12 foot being walk into his cell. If an angel can smack a rapist. I have no problem smacking you.

          • James Bills

            Jeff and John, please hear these words. Whenever, we come into conflict with someone, it is not what that person is doing to you, it is what God is trying to teach you about yourself. Jeff, and John, do not lose your witness over words. John, you talked about heart issues. What does your words say about your heart? the same goes for you Jeff! take a step back boys and take inventory of your emotions and ask yourself this question, “Is my heart right if I get angry with someone and spew words of hate and dislike from my mouth? Remember what our Lord said, “It is what comes out of the heart that defiles a man” and truly, what proceeds from the mouth is truly from the heart. Repent of this behavior you two and ask God and each other for forgiveness. I love you both and I don’t know either of you. Blessing brothers.

          • Dalia

            James’ I don’t know if it’s just what Jesus wants to teach us. Demons can rile us up and we get angry and expose what’s hidden. He’s laughing his pointed tail off. But Jeff didn’t have to take John literally about the slap. Jeff got offended. I wonder why. No need to either. I think John feels more the depth of forgiveness Jesus gave him and really feels the pain when his Father is taken lightly. I know where I’ve come, and have a greater appreciation of His forgiveness. Maybe Jeff feels he wasnt ALL that bad, and takes forgiveness a little lighter. James, the peacemaker. Jeff, John, and James. How cute.

          • James Bills


            We must be careful that we don’t go blaming others or situations for our actions. Adam turned to blame-shifting in the garden and told God that it was His fault because of the woman He gave him. Adam said, “The woman you gave me, she gave me the fruit.” It did not work for Adam, it certainly will not work for us. No, we are responsible before God for our actions and for the words we speak. 1 Peter 1:17 tells us that God judges impartially according to our deeds. Each of us will have to give an account to God when we are face to face with him and He is not going to let us get away with saying, “the devil or my wife, my friend, the situation, the other person, my body, my whatever, made me do it. No you can be sure that you will be responsible for your actions and every word that comes out of your mouth. So yes, I do believe that when I come into conflict with someone or I feel a certain way in a situation, I stop and ask, “Am I going to honor and glorify God if I say or do that thing?” If the answer is “NO,” you better believe I give God praise for allowing me to see the sinful behavior before I did it. So yes he does teach us that we have problems in our life if we would only stop and think twice before reacting. I hope this helps you see my heart. God Bless

          • dalia

            i got schooled! I know what you say is true. I am reminded and humbled. Blessings, dalia!

          • PastorJim

            if you got schooled, then we all got schooled, again. I’m not sure if you pastor or serve in a leadership role in ministry, but those of us that have or are, would tell you that some of the most valuable lessons in ministry we have ever learned is how NOT to do ministry. And this is simply learned by watching, listening and even the reading of others “in action.” And so here, for our lesson today, we have either two very clever individuals providing insight and demonstration through collaboration or two foolish individuals showing anonymous contempt for each other displayed in stark contrast. No matter which group they fall into, both have demonstrated, AGAIN, the growing amount of pride and spiritual arrogance that exists in church leadership today. Even, perhaps being an even bigger issue in the church today than the very issue they are opining over.

            I’m sure thankful that when Paul withstood Peter to the face, that conflict
            didn’t degenerate into the kinds of superflous soliloquies and sophomoric sophistry (thanks for lending) we have witnessed so eloquently waxed here. At least what was recorded.

            But if this thread we’ve read is any indication of two pieces of iron truly
            allowing the Holy Spirit to do the sharpening…then I’m sure the account in Galatians might have gone much differently…

            Peter – “I’m here, man!”

            Paul – “Yeah, I see that. You came a long way just to go back with your
            tail between your legs!”

            Peter – “Well, it seems you’re a little rattled here, Paul. You really
            thought when you sent your little messenger to me with your address in Antioch I wouldn’t call your bluff and show up?”

            Paul – “Whatever! You’ve wasted water on your camels, you’ve wasted your time and now you’re wasting mine! I’m out here fighting battles in the real world, in the real culture and I don’t have the time to find you a clue right now. I’ve been where you’ve been and thank God I’m no longer STUCK where you are any longer!! So go back to Jerusalem, and when you’ve finally put away childish things, come talk to me! In fact, I’m working on a book I’ll be completing in Corinth and I will be addressing those childish things in your type of ministry that I used to embrace and be a part of. It should be out in a couple of years so I’ll send you a copy!”

            Peter –
            “Conserve your papyrus there buddy cause I’m about to slap ya down so hard right now you ain’t gonna know if your name is Paul or Saul or Boy George…out here in your little Culture Club and all!…but one thing’s for sure…you’re about two steps from crying uncle!”

            Paul –
            “So watcha gonna do there Mr. man…you gonna cut my ear off like you did that Roman soldier? Yeah, right!”

            Peter –
            “Yeah, you better be scared, cause this time, there ain’t no one around to put it back on for ya!”

            Guys, thanks for the reality check! Whether it was real or dramatized for our benefit, thanks for yet another one of a million lessons in how NOT to…speak, act, minister, lead, listen, respond/react, advise or much less debate in a healthy way.

            In our labors of love for each other, we need to make sure we don’t lose sight of loving our fellow laborers and hindering the overall effort…ESPECIALLY when it comes to being in a public arena!

          • John

            Actually we dont know how Peter reacted.

            Paul and Barnabas had such a disagreement they parted ways and didnt speak for almost 7 years.

            People like you puzzle me. Ministers are NOT called to serve the emotions of people. Ministers are called to serve the spirit. People that serve the spirit often offend. In fact, Jesus offended everywhere He went. At times He even offended those He was trying to help.

            My thrust is the WORD OF GOD above feelings, above relationship, above life, above the world. Im not interested in people like you contriving a false image of this man made idea of what spirituality and love are. Iron sharpens iron. And sometimes that same iron comes in contact with old wood and hacks it to pieces. If you think Im brutal? Wait until Jesus divides the sheep from the goats. Im positive you would be one of the ones offended by Jesus way of handling people. And im sure he wouldnt care anymore than i do. Loving fellow laborers is telling the truth. Speaking the truth in LOVE doesn NOT MEAN wiping someones snotty nose. IT means pulling them out of the fire even if it means breaking a few bones.

          • PastorJim

            I think you being puzzled means we’re probably not in agreement. Clearly, the dialogue between you two guys were real and not dramatized or pre-scripted. Either way, it provides the same example of the point I was trying to make concerning the delivery of the message.

            Peter’s reaction is irrelevant in this instance, along with Paul and Barnabas. One of the main things we should know from their record is that even disagreements happen at the very top. But it’s what is not there that we can learn from also. We don’t know the numbers in the audience, if any, that actually witnessed these disgreements. But if there were any words exchanged that we would perhaps deem reprehensible or inappropriate, they either were not recorded or were not spoken. If caustic and biting words were not spoken, that is a great model knowing that top leaderhship doesn’t always agree and in that disagreement, brotherly love for the sake of the cause would trump in the end. This is what I choose or would like to believe since it certainly is believable it happened that way. But if mean and callous words were spoken between them but not recorded, I would believe this would have been for the benefit of preserving inspiration of scripture by leaving out unfortunate, uninspired and fleshly words spoken between top leaders in moments of anger or frustration.

            Concerning your message, I sure understand your passion and I certainly share it. It’s a tough battle we are in serving in ministry these days as for some of us, it seems like we spend so much time calling more things out that are wrong than right. And it’s a battle itself in how we do that. Do we just go forward with an unrestrained passion with a certain “fed-up-ness” taking the church/world culture and it’s leadership to task with no abandon, just letting the pieces from the fallout fall where they may? I would certainly say there are times for that. I kind of call that righteous indignation and I think we saw some of that when Jesus ransacked the tables of the moneychangers. But then everyone in that temple except Jesus was probably about as clueless and God-forsaken as you could get. Their ways were clearly right in their own eyes, which were so blind.

            And I’m sorry to hear that the frustrations in the ministry you were in was a (the?) driving force behind you leaving that ministry, at least for now. It could be that the Lord may have placed you in that position so you would see first hand those types of problems in ministry today that needs to be addressed and corrected. As difficult as it may be, perhaps a certain “call to holiness” type of ministry of church leaderhsip will be your next ministry. And yes, a lot needs to be addressed, that’s without question. And yeah, sometimes harshly, especially when it may be a stumblingblock to so many. Believe me, I’ve had my share of calling things out and it’s not fun, ever. But sometimes it’s necessary and someone has to do it and be willing to take the hit. More leaders these days need to be willing to do that. What good does it do in the end to help others gain the whole world but lose their soul? I read that somewhere ahwile back.

            That said, and I don’t really have time to say any more, but I try to keep a few scriptures in mind when faced with addressing confrontational issues, whether in private but especially public. They kind of have a tendency to help me keep myself in check. Here are just three…

            Matthew 7:2
            2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

            This helps me keep the reactions/responses others back toward me in check.

            Proverbs 26:4-5
            4 Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself.
            5 Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes.

            This helps me make sure that my motivations are in check. Am I really trying to help others see a matter more clearly, or am I just simply allowing myself to sink down on their level in the flesh so I can get my “shots” in where me being right is the most important thing?

            And for me, really one of the hallmarks…

            John 13:35

            35 “…By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

            We are in the people business and that goes especially for us pastors as well…People will ALWAYS be watching us and we need to be aware of that. It comes with the territory and it should. The world will seldom pat us on the back for getting it right but is always there to show us when we get it wrong. The world needs to see that we live what we believe in that the most important thing is being love, not being right.

            But…there are those times when something needs to be called out, hashed out and even contended to the face over. And there certainly is a way to do that. Even in our disagreements, we can still honor God. Let’s just make sure we don’t lose the war trying to win the battle. But if we have to fight a battle, just make sure it’s worth dying on the hill for.
            God bless you and your future ministry…see you around!

          • John

            My interests arent in my being right. My interests are in people seeing the Truth. Not my Truth. The Truth. Truth is simple. It is reachable. It is attainable. Its why we have the written Word and the indwelling Spirit of God.

          • PastorJim

            I totally agree. I just want to live out what you’ve said more often than I have in the past. Unfortunately I’ve had to learn a lot of life lessons that I’m sure God never intended, but that nonetheless walked me through. I’m just trying to minimize them more and more each day if can.
            Thanks for the conversation.

          • John

            Everyone learns life lessons God never intended. Myself included. Thats why im so passionate about people learning from the Word so they can alter their experience.

          • John

            Ive spewed no hatred. I meant every word i said.

          • James Bills

            Whether you mean it or not John, words which proceed from our mouths that lack grace and fail to point others to the God we serve, is spewed hatred. I understand your anger. That is to say, I understand the reason you have for turning over the tables of the money changers in this article. Many people who claim to be Christian lack the zeal Jesus had for His Father’s house. Many professing Christians however, lack the correct knowledge concerning the Sabbath because they attend a church that waters down the word of God. Would we not do better in honoring and glorifying God by running to their side–as Philip did the Ethiopian eunuch– and open the Scriptures to them and show them in love with grace what the Lord says. I am not saying we should water down the message or show less zeal, but we MUST be aware of how we are received. I too share your enthusiasm. I too would love to bounce God’s Word off of other peoples head but in doing so, I risk not being heard because my love for God is not being seen or felt by the one I am ministering to. I know you mean well and after reading much of your post, I am convinced you mean well, but brother, please guard your heart from the temptation to express your anger in a way that does not honor or glorify God. I am sure that you understand that Jesus’ anger in turning over the tables was righteous. My concern however, is that you do not understand why it was righteous. It was righteous anger because He glorified and honored His Father. We can and MUST have a zeal for God’s ekklesia and His WORD but I believe we are to harness that zeal because of our natural sinful state. Unlike Jesus who was sinless, you and I have the same sinful nature as everyone else. We must be careful that when we start overturning tables, others see our humility and concern for them, not just our ability to turnover the table. I am sure Jesus, after turning over the tables, embraced them and took time to explain why He did what He did and no longer in anger but compassion for their ignorance.

            In the midst of the battle, let us not go rogue after slaying many enemies of the Lord in His honor and to His glory. But let us maintain our position in humility and be willing to teach the uneducated swordsmen how to wield his sword. More honor and glory will inevitably be given to the King when all His swordsmen can fight in like-mindedness and unity of spirit and truth.

            Battle on good soldier but please do not forget your position in the battle; you and I are nothing more than swordsmen, we are not the King nor are we at best, the General. Let us fight with zeal, the battle set before us, but let us not forget to love those whom we slay with the WORD of God by weeping over them. Let us carry them off the field to the Great Physician, and ask Him to bind their wounds. It is ONLY He who can save the wounded, but it is the warrior’s responsibility to carry them off the battle field. Read Phil. 2:1-11

          • Dalia

            I do believe we can be angry without sinning? Somewhere in proverbs maybe? The demons riled some of us up.

          • Twinsfan1

            How about the both of you grow up a bit? John seems to think he’s got it all figured out, and Jeff seems to take offense easily. Hmmm? I wonder what parts of the fruit of the Spirit you both are exhibiting? Try NONE.

          • John

            Ya know. If I had to guess Id say youre the poster child this article is talking about. Some people do have some things all figured out. All your telling me is that youre an extremely confused and distracted individual who excuses your ignorance with ‘Well, nobody has it all figured out’

            Well, noones supposed to have it all figured out but when Scripture is consistently pointing to a fact and a truth? Guess what? Youre expected to have it figured out.

          • Twinsfan1

            Thanks for once again displaying the fact that you DON’T have it all figured out. I’m done helping you do so. I’ll let you have the last word (because you obviously will want to – it’s how you have shown yourself to act) and I’m going to guess it will be as unloving as everything else you’ve said so far.

          • John

            I have this subject very much figured it out. In fact, I didnt have to do much thinking as Paul wrote 2/3s of the New Testament addressing this issue. Paul wrote the book on the role of the church, its function, and its role in the world. Im only repeating what Paul wrote 2,000 years ago.
            You sound like youre eat up with jealousy. As for what specifically youre jealous concerning im not sure but I do know jealousy when i see it.
            Get your feelings off your shoulder. Man up. Grow up. Period.

        • Dalia

          Your pride got pricked bad. John didn’t REALLY want to slap you. But your reaction is a very good case of exactly what we’ve been discussing. Soft peddling pastors tell wishy washy people they should be honored and loved because Jesus loves them. You got exposed. Your pride, arrogance, anger, and childish attitude is almost laughable. But I feel sorry for you. A little softy crybaby. You never would have made it in the ancient days.

  • James Bills

    I agree that church is not what it used to be. However, I am of the opinion that this is more of a problem than anything else is. We need the church to return to the church we read about in Eph. chapter 4. The church needs to step away from becoming just a place of fellowship, which regards its self as a place of unconditional positive reinforcement. It should not resemble a place where one can get group therapy. Or how about the fact that too many churches today have become a place where one can walk in, get the sacraments of the body, i.e. baptism, Lords supper, and only come back to the fellowship when it is convenient for them to do so.

    If we do not get back to the fact that the Church represents Christ’s Kingdom; which is the family of God and that it is a divinely ordained institution, we will continue to miss the mark and our mission (Matt. 28). God has given the Church exclusive rights along with the gifts of the Holy Spirit for discipleship. The Church is the best and only place for a person to grow in righteousness. Consider the words of the writer to the Hebrews, “…And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching” (10:24-25). The Church is the ONLY institution that has received from God the keys to the kingdom (Matt 18:15-20).

    The whole argument put before us in this article, which encourages or allows people to stay away from the body of Christ, is a sign that the Church has moved away from the Commands of God, for the commands of man. We are to remember the Sabbath and keep it Holy, NOT when it is convenient, but because it is the very Command of God.

    God has not changed, His Commands have not changed. Do we have to set aside a particular time for God during the week? Why not! Did not God create all that we see and do not see? Did He not create time, which is for our benefit (2 Peter 3:9)? Did He not, at a given time, send His Son into the world to redeem those who are to be adopted as sons (Galatians 4:4)? Did not God the Father at a set time, turn His own Son over to be crucified for OUR Sins (Romans 5:6)? Then, does He not have the right to request from us a given time or day to be Worshiped and adored for all that He has done on our behalf?

    It is utter nonsense to believe that it is acceptable to do as we please. The wisdom of God warns us, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death” (Proverbs 14:12); and the Psalmist reminds us, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever” (Psalm 111:10). Let us not get caught up in Satan’s deceit or cunning speech; we must turn a deaf ear to the phrase, “Did God really say”(Gen 3:1).

    The Church is the bride of Christ. Therefore, just as we, sinful people, know the type of person that we would like to spend our feeble, time ordained lives with; Christ who is Holy, Holy, Holy, Sovereign, and eternal, has chosen His bride and has placed before her the means to mature in righteousness. The “means” by which this happens, is a Church that has embraced Ephesians 4; and faithfully relies on Christ and His redemptive work, which Jesus Christ carried out on the cross and maintained through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. Take away the Church; you take away the body. Take away the body; you remove the “means.” Remove the “means,” and well, the Wisdom of God warns us, “For your ways are in full view of the Lord, and he examines all your paths. The evil deeds of the wicked ensnare them; the cords of their sins hold them fast. For lack of discipline they will die, led astray by their own great folly” (Proverbs 5:21-23).

    May God forgive us for our lack of fear and reverence of Him and for our utter disregard for what pleases Him. There are six other days in the week to do as we please within the scope of living a life that honors and glorifies the Lord. Why!? Please! Someone tell me why we need to take the one day the Lord has asked us to keep in honor of Him and make it a day about ourselves? As Christians, who are to be the light and salt to a dark and tasteless world, are we to be so self-centered that we give more honor and glory to ourselves and then complicate our guilt by justifying our actions by claiming them under the umbrella of ministry?

    Well, I can appreciate an exhortation to read a quote from Martin Luther, whom I enjoy reading and admire for his tenacity; however, he is not the final say in matters such as these. Therefore, I ask you to turn your gaze towards the Word of God and embrace His command to REMEMBER the Sabbath and keep it holy. In my life, I will echo the words of Paul by saying,

    “12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. 16 Only let us hold true to what we have attained. 17 Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. 18 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself (Phil 3:12-21 ESV).

    You can rest assured Paul kept the Sabbath! In addition, Luther would disagree with how his words in this article, the author used, to encourage people to forget the Sabbath and justify it by calling it ministry. I am not ignorant to the fact that certain situations can rightly be labeled ministry; however, a sports game, whether watching in support, or coaching cannot be labeled as such. Ministry is the process by which we show others how to live for Jesus Christ! Ministry is not simply being a presence at the event and staking a claim that you are ministering to those to whom you interact! True ministry begins when the world sees that we are not conformed to its patterns but transformed by the renewing of our minds (Rom 12:1-2)! If we live like the rest of the world and do not represent the Kingdom of Heaven, then we simply represent our own kingdom! In closing, I leave you with the words of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, may they be a blessing to those who read them.

    8 “ ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ” 10 And he called the people to him and said to them, “Hear and understand: 11 it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.” 12 Then the disciples came and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?” 13 He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. 14 Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” 15 But Peter said to him, “Explain the parable to us.” 16 And he said, “Are you also still without understanding? 17 Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled? 18 But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. 20 These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone” (Matt 15:8-20 ESV).

    Let us not be the blind leading the blind and justify our leading by calling it ministry! May God forgive us all!

  • jeff

    Some valid points but I cannot agree totally.

    Was the writer of Hebrews wrong or diminishing grace when he wrote:

    10:25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is thehabit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more asyou see the day drawing near.

    • Twinsfan1

      Jeff, I agree we need to not forsake the assembling. However, this verse in context is discussing fellowship, not a worship setting.

  • jeffaa

    I can’t believe the ignorance I’m reading in this article and the responses – yes, the responses! It is NOT the world’s responsibility to make sure everyone gets to church by shutting down business, whether it’s the sports business, liquor business or restaurant business. It’s the Church’s business to go to church and observe “sabbath” (on whatever day of the week their church observes that!). Jesus did not insist that Rome shut down business. Paul and Peter did not insist that the Colosseum close down for sabbath, nor does the Bible. The Word only demands that believers observe the Lord’s Day and put the world aside. For those of you who have such and issue with observence with the Lord’s Day, try going home, rather than out to lunch at a cafe or even a drive-thru if you’re really so worried. God does not ask us to place ANY requirements on the world. He asks us, who believe, to honor Him. It’s just that simple. These articles seem to offer so much fodder, I am tempted to stop reading altogether. They really are getting to be more like gossip magazine articles than encouragement. Why?

    • James Bills

      Jeff, Jesus did not have to insist that Rome shut down business because the Sabbath day was well established by the Jews. Furthermore, Jesus told all who would listen, to repent of their sins and sin no more. This command of our Lord Jesus Christ would have made it clear to the hearer that they were to REMEMBER the Sabbath and keep it holy. Why? Because to dishonor the holy day of the Lord is a direct sin against God. I know that sounds legalistic, but the truth is, it only becomes legalistic if I believe I am saved by remembering the Sabbath. I, however, keep the Sabbath, not because I believe it saves me, but because it is my responsibility as a child of the King of Kings. Also, to say that God does not ask us to place any requirements on the world is correct. Fellow Christians, however, are a different story. We are required to hold each other accountable to the standards of God. We must do this in grace and love but nevertheless, it must be done. A little leaven makes its way through the whole batch of dough.

      • Ben

        James Bills, am i hearing you, right, to what standard are you living in, show me the scriptures where you can hold me accountable to you Brother. May be we all should enter the day of rest every day and stay there, living with some one whom you love isn’t a hour a week it is every moment, in every breath you take God Our Father is in it. that is his desire that is why Jesus came to reconcile us to our Great and Holy Father who so loved the world that He Father God sent Jesus. we must do this in love never the less it has to be done Oh please, James, you are the leaven in this batch. you have no responsibly James every thing and in every thing it is Jesus responsibility to correct by the Holy Spirit. Your way over your head. Ben your brother in the Lord Jesus Christ

        • John

          And youre the loser who keeps posting under different names.

          • Ben

            John you can’t show me. I have posted with the same name since i stared.
            but hey I needed to hear that i am a loser.

          • John

            IF a stranger calling you a loser on the internet is that painful you probably shouldnt be on the internet.

          • Ben

            And you talk about being in the body of Christ, calling a blood washed saint of God a loser and you say you are a Christian. now John you are suppose to love me, but to you I m loser and your not, and if your are in the Body Christ as I am in salting me won’t work, I believe you are drowning out all this in salts because you are anger you been hurt. now you are coming on like you are the last of the Mohegan and the fight is yours and yours alone, the fight belongs to God and God alone. calling me stupid all you are doing is looking for a fight and showing every body where you are at in the body of Christ but remember you have judge me. the same judgment that you have judged me will be for you. who wants to be free from the body Christ I don’t. I have my own o pion, I have entered the rest that you are stilling looking for. John step aside and hear the word of God, in Jesus name, you are obedient to the name Jesus are you not? here is my testimony All of my sins have been for giving on the cross Of Jesus and all the blood that was shed for me than Jesus went to hell and paid the total price, there is nothing left to accuse me of. so your calling me names go right a head, it is because your a sinner saved by grace and you are still trying to prove your self to whom I have no idea, but according to the bible i read, John I’m in and you not in the day rest and I am in the bosom of God my father. I thought I was talking to Christians and not to people like John. Getting back to the original topic. I am free to worship Jesus Christ any time i want I am not going to be told I am sinner I am not going to have some one hold me accountable, because a certain person say I have to for the sake of Christ and in His time period. Ben

          • John

            You have serious mental issues. Seek therapy.

          • Ben

            john wow john you are so smart, with your smart mouth if any one needs therapy it is you grow up john, get rid of your anger and bitterness. I would not like be in the army with you you would shoot me in the back. to show you you don’t know what you are talking about a brother said the profits of old went to Israel and you said no the went out to preach to others cultures why than did Jesus sent out the 12 and the 70 others to stay in the Territory’s of Israel. John your so much in love your self and you say I stink Ha ha. In listening to running your mouth The 5000 people you left it was they want you out because of your arrogant. with you there is no love of God you are no more than a bulling. I wonder what names are you going to call me know. Ben

          • John

            That argument Paul and Barnabas had? They had it over a guy who is a lot like you. Paul wanted Barnabas to send John Mark home because he was stubborn and childish. Paul finally sent them both away.

            You need to find someone like me? And ask them to help you grow out of this diaper stage youre stuck in.

          • John

            Have you lost your mind? Hurt? Anger? Are those the only two motivations that pathetic Christians are aware of? Its amazing. Everywhere i go and ive been everywhere. Every time theres a disagreement there has to be I mean has to be GOT TO BE some HURT and some ANGER! lol
            Its more likely that youre in denial and projecting. I am emotionally stable and have no hurt and no anger. What i have? Very short patience for people like you.

            Youre not youre own person. Your ignorant and stubborn and think youve found something that you do not have. What you have is a contrived fantasy thats playing out in your head and nowhere else. Look, Ive literally counseled THOUSANDS! You are transparent as if you were sitting right here on the other side of my desk. And frankly, you most likely will never change. If you do it will be after years of fumbling around in this fantasy youve contrived.

            Your ‘worship’ to Christ means nothing to Him if IT is founded in TRUTH. One TRUTH is the BODY OF CHRIST. CORPORATE WORSHIP. CORPORATE PRAYER.

            Not discerning the Body of Christ Paul said can even result in death of Christians. In his letter to Corinth he told them their failure to discern the Body was leading many to die before their time.

            You are a very immature and extremely ignorant person. My take on you is that most of your problems are self inflicted but you think they come from other people. Good luck with that.

        • James Bills

          Dear brother Ben

          In some of your responses to others, you claim to read God’s Word every day. Yet dear brother, you are blind to the most fundamental Command of God. God tells us to not only love Him with all our heart, mind, and soul, but we are also commanded to love our brother as our self. I am sure that with all your reading, you have come across the story of Cain and Able.

          Please allow me to highlight the important part of the story for you. After killing his brother, Cain made the plea: not guilty, and in this he adds a touch of rebellion to boot. First, he, like you, tried to cover up a deliberate murder with a deliberate lie: I do not know where my brother is. Now you and I both know that Cain knew what had happened to Able, and yet he had the audacity to deny it. Therefore, in Cain, we see the father of lies at work, speaking his native tongue. This only highlights the fact that the sinner’s mind is truly blinded and his heart hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. It is even more telling of just how blind those sinners are that think that it is possible to conceal their sins from our God who see everything. It also reveals just how hard their hearts are because they will conceal their sins from a God who will only pardon sins that are confessed and laid before Him. The words of Cain are these, “AM I MY BROTHERS KEEPER?” Cain like you brother Ben are boldly charging the Judge of the world with folly and injustice in asking Him this question. You should do what Cain should have done and that is humble yourself and answer the question, “Where is your brother?” with, “ AM I NOT MY BROTHER’S MURDERER?” OH but you want to fly in the face of God Himself like Cain, as if God had asked him an impolite question, to which he did not feel obliged to answer, “AM I MY BROTHER’S KEEPER?” You are no better than Cain brother Ben! Surely you must believe just as Cain did! He must have thought, “My brother is old enough he can take care of himself, I do not have to take care of him.”Let me ask you this dear brother Ben, “Do you think about God and His providence and throw it back in His face by asking God, “ARE YOU NOT MY BROTHER’S KEEPER?” As if to say, “If my brother is not right with you or he does not live properly in truth guided by your word, YOU GOD are to blame! NOT ME! AFTER ALL, I NEVER TOOK THE JOB OF LOOKING AFTER HIM!

          BEN and ALL who will listen! We MUST have a charitable concern for our brothers and sisters, as their keepers, it is without a doubt a great duty, which God strictly requires of us, but is all too often neglected by us. If you are not concerned with the affairs of your brothers or sisters and you show no care for them when you have an opportunity, to prevent them from falling into physical harm, provide them with good things, or help them achieve a good reputation, and MOST importantly lead them to Christ and teach them the WORD of God so their souls will be saved, then you do, in effect, speak Cain’s language. Leviticus 19:17-18 says, 17 “You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him. 18 You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord. And Philippians 2:4-11 says, 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

          Blessing Brother Ben and all who read this.

          • Ben

            Thank you Brother,James Bill for your grace full response. my brother In Jesus. I believe the scriptures says, Galatians chap.6 verse 1-Brethren if a man is over take in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering your self lest you are be tempted. you said i am no better than Cain, thank you, to what have I done and what trespass have I done to accusedoff, now the conversation started out about Sunday worship and sports. Just because I do not believe in a have to legalism worship of God on Sunday or any other day,

            this brother says He has to be responsible for me because I am sinning . any way thanks for your thoughts. Why did Jesus come, to set the captives free from what is my question. there is a sect that says If i don’t worship on Friday or Saturday i am going to hell. Ben

          • John


          • James Bills

            John, I understand your passion but you LACK grace and mercy in your responses. I am not a WWJD kind of guy, but I see value in asking the question, “Would Jesus respond this way?” In someways I think Jesus had to be a little harsh to get His point across but He was perfect and could do it with the right motives. We must be careful that we are not being harsh with the wrong motives because if we are, we cross over to sinful behavior. I am NOT claiming to know your motives (heart) but I am asking you to check and find out what is motivating your responses. I will give you the benefit of the doubt and say, “Maybe it just seems like your responses are harsh and graceless when in fact they are FULL of grace. They are responses motivated by the desire to encourage people to be right with God, as opposed to be motivated be the desire for satisfaction in being right”

          • James Bills

            Brother Ben, The way you write is a little hard to understand. I only say that because I am trying to be clear about what I am telling you. I hope and pray you are understanding others and myself as we are writing to you.

            What I am trying to say is this:

            If you are a Christian–and I am assuming that you claim to be a Christian–than as a person who claims to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, which is the entire Bible (O.T. and N.T.), than you and I as Christians are required to hold each other accountable to the teachings of Jesus Christ.

            You and I are NOT responsible to each other. You and I are ONLY responsible to God. However, because I am responsible to God, I am required BY God to hold my brother in Christ (My Christian Brother) accountable to God’s Holy Word.

            I admit that I may have read your response to me wrong but I thought and still do think that what you are saying is this:

            “You are free in Jesus Christ and you can do as you please and NO ONE has the right to tell you what to do.”

            Am I correct?

            If I am correct, than you are only partially correct. I cannot tell you what to do like a master would a slave. However, as a brother in Christ, I can and must inform you of your wrong thinking or sinful behavior (ACCORDING TO GOD’S WORD). You even quoted Galatians 6:1, this tells me that you are not ignorant of the truth.

            So in my last response I was trying to tell you that IF you believe that you are NOT your brother’s keeper, than you are as guilty as Cain because you refuse to love your brother enough to tell him when he is wrong (ACCORDING TO GOD’S WORD NOT WHAT WE THINK IS RIGHT OR WRONG) and help him get right with God.

            You my brother, have quoted Gal. 6:1 so you must know that you ARE your brothers keeper.

            If you want to continue in your sin, even after someone has pointed it out to you, that is between you and God. So as a brother in Christ, I tell you that if you have sin in your life than you must confess that sin to God and repent from that sin, (just as Jesus required before His death and after His resurrection) and than ask forgiveness from God. You and I will be held accountable by God for our sins and one of the many sins we can commit is failing to love our neighbor as our self and pointing him or her in the direction of Jesus Christ and encouraging them to stay within God’s standards found in His WORD.

            It is for that reason, you see so many people on this site trying to encourage (SOME LESS ENCOURAGING THAN OTHERS) to stay true to God’s command concerning the Sabbath. Jesus said that He did not come to abolish the Law, but to fulfill the Law. We are not saved by keeping the commandments of God because the Law cannot save us. Therefore we are free in Christ. However, we are NOT FREE TO DO AS WE PLEASE!

            Jesus said of Himself,

            15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. 9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you (Jn 15:1–14ESV).

            Notice verse 14! Jesus did pay the penalty of the Law for our sins because the penalty of sin (BREAKING GOD’S LAW) is death. Because of Jesus we are FREE from the penalty (DEATH) for breaking the Laws of God. As sinners we cannot keep God’s Laws and be saved. But Jesus was NOT a sinner and could keep God’s Laws perfectly. So when He died on the cross, Jesus sacrificed Himself for our sake, so that you and I could be saved from the penalty of breaking God’s Law. Therefore,

            “…if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Rom. 10:9–13ESV).

            So, what are you free from?

            You and I are NOT free from the duty of following the commandments of God, BUT you and I ARE free from the penalty(death) of NOT being able to follow the commands of God perfectly. For as Moses told the Israelites, “Who ever does the Law must live by the Law” (Lev 18:5). God had mercy on you and I and every other sinner because He sent His sinless Son to pay the penalty for our Sins. You and I and every other person on this planet we call earth, CANNOT fulfill God’s commands because of our sinfulness. Jesus came to fulfill the Law for us and NOW we are NOT required to live by doing the Law in order to be saved because Jesus did this for us. However, we MUST live in Christ in order to be saved and those who live in Jesus Christ do the commands of God, NOT to be saved but to honor and glorify our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ because He said so in John 15:1-14.

            I love you brother Ben and I hope this was more grace filled than the last response I gave you.

    • John

      Context. Why would Jesus insist Rome do anything? Jesus was called to Rome. He was called to the lost sheep of the House of Israel. In fact if you look historically the very thing that got Jesus killed? Was the jewish leadership had become so accustomed and so attuned to the roman culture they didnt want Jesus ruining it for them. I suggest you really do some research before you go off half cocked.

      • James Bills

        Did you mean to say that Jesus was NOT called to Rome?

        • John

          No TYPO. Jesus WAS NOT called to Rome lol. Sorry.

  • Dalia

    Yeah, heaven forbid people feeling guilty. What I get from this message is: live your busy, self fulfilling life. What the heck, God is with you anyway. You can always slip Him in at a more convenient time. Which in your self-indulgence that won’t happen. Lukewarm Christians. God spits them out.

  • pastor John

    It is not that the church needs cultural props to survive its the fact that the culture needs the church to survive. The church’s declining influence over culture is the true sign of our impotence. I am sorry brother but I cannot imagine our Lord is pleased with a culture that would say that sports was more important then the body gathered. The salt of the church should change our culture it should influence its priorities. When culture begins to dictate to heavily our priorities as a church or as the people of God I believe we are in danger of becoming less salty.

    • John


  • BillLion

    Interesting. My honest first reaction to this was recoil. As a pastor, I don’t expect our community to cater programming around us, especially here in spiritually dry New England. However, I have shared with our church body that we teach our children commitment and priorities with sporting events and church services.

    Having said that, if ministry is the goal of those events then the author may have a valid point. However, most people I know aren’t taking their children to Sunday sporting events just hoping to share the love of Jesus, but for a myriad of other reasons that aren’t really bad, just not as important. There are plenty of other things people sacrifice to gather in worship including sleeping in, brunches, home makeover projects, etc. Each could be justified by a ministry angle…some rightfully so and many not.

    I don’t think guilting and shaming people is the answer. I do think honestly, lovingly challenging people in the priority and commitment of gathering as the body in community worship so we can be refueled to go out and do ministry in every area of our lives for the remainder of the week isn’t a bad way to go periodically.

    • James Bills

      Who is guilting and shaming people?

      • BillLion

        James, hopefully not anyone. And I don’t think you have to do so to challenge people in this area. My response was a soft rebuttal to the author’s statement:

        “The problem is our frustration, grief and anger slips out in our preaching, conversation and recruitment.

        It is guilt inducing, and we lose the grace we seek to extend to
        people. We have to watch our language, assumptions, expectations,
        because most of them were formed in a culture we don’t live in anymore.”

    • UMadBro

      Well said, Bill.

  • Art Zacher

    We stress dedication to God. God needs to be first above every idol and that includes the idol of sports. We don’t have this problem. Those who love other things above God don’t usually stick around but head for other places of worship where they can feel good about their sin. People come faithfully here and we are growing..

  • UMadBro

    There are great books based on biblical teaching, not just cultural relevance that can aid in your thinking on this matter. Joshua Harris’ book called, “Don’t Date the Church” and Chuck Lawless book called “Membership Matters” are must reads for any pastor.

    • James Bills

      To whom are you speaking and what matters do you refer to? Much has been discussed here.

      • UMadBro

        The author of this article.

  • Jerry

    I have a former pastor in NC that believes this to the point that he not only attends his son’s Sunday morning baseball games, he coaches the team. Everyone knows where they go after that game; everyone knows what he does. Seems to me that this is living authentic Christianity, taking the gospel to people by befriending them, going where they are, and not condemning them.

    Oh, and by the way, this man also is a professor of patristics and theology in a very conservative seminary, not some fringe kook. To each his own in ministry, I say, as long as Christ and the gospel are central, and salvation is the end.

  • David Hilty

    I don’t recall the NT commanding believers to meet together in large buildings on Sunday morning at 11:00. Ministry is a lifestyle. Community is to be part of our lives 24/7. The author makes some great points. And a couple of you who have angrily and unlovingly slammed both the author and the responders make me sad.

  • Joyce

    If enough Christian parents stood up and said,No my child will not be playing on Sunday, the coaches ,etc, would be forced to plan their games around the worship time. Sad to think of all the training of our young peope in the Word that has been eliminated by sports. which in the long run will be forgotten. My opion is this is modern day idolatry. God has not changed His mind on obedience. Our society is NOW paying the price of taking God out of public schools. Wonder what price will be paid in the years to come by replacing Him with the softball. Being a pastor’s wife, we have never seen a parent go the coach asing for prayer when their child is in the hospital, but will call upon the church and our God when we are desperate for His care. Truly this is a sign of living in the last days, “a turning away” from Biblical principles and the truth of His Word,

    • Trevor

      Bless you Joyce.

  • Algoria

    I can’t accept either the ultra-conservative or the ultra-liberal view on this.
    The Church is never going to return to the way it was in the days when Paul was alive and there were only a few thousand Christians on the earth. (Except perhaps at the very end of the age, if there is massive persecution at that time, I suppose we may once again become more united as Christians.) Even in those days they were beginning to say “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.”
    Of course our culture affects us. We’re all using some kind of keyboard to instantly transmit our “pearls of wisdom” to hundreds of other people. This is a different world from the one Paul lived in. The Amish way doesn’t really work in the 21st century. We have to adjust in some ways. The challenge is to not compromise with the world while still sharing the good news about Jesus with the world. What a huge challenge! (I’m not talking about sitting on the fence here.)
    The Church is incredibly fragmented. Even if we are true believers in Jesus it’s only by the Holy Spirit that we are going to find our way in this journey.
    How we can “contend earnestly for the faith” without fighting among ourselves, with unstable people, or even with unbelievers is a tall order. I for one am going to have to work at it, not to mention pray about it.
    However we are created to glorify God! Pastors should be encouraging people to make a priority of gathering together on Sunday, morning or evening, to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and worship God. If it is not possible on Sunday, then another day.
    Sports, being mere bodily exercise, are of only a little benefit to the Christian. They are very important to many people so we need to be aware of that. But we still must put first things first. Here I’m also preaching to myself because my occupation requires me to work many Sundays and I have lately missed too many Christian gatherings myself. I think God guided me to this work so for now I have to cope with this problem.

  • Matthew

    Keith I am up the road from you in PA here and I am having an extremely hard time digesting this. I understand your point… if every pastor was focused and hurt because of attendance/numbers only. Putting the issue in the context of “complaining” about sports on sundays also belittles grievances.. again- if its just about numbers.. complaining might.. might be appropriate.. but was Jesus “complaining” when he threw out money changers? Did Jesus not see the opportunity to minister what our Culture calls love to these moneychangers? just a thought to ponder.

    You have to ignore any understanding of sabbath to swallow this, you have to ignore the fact that most people associate Church with God, (most not all) these people are putting God on the back burner and putting other things on the front burner of their lives. We can not expect unbelievers to fathom this, granted, or for that matter for new believers to quickly understand it. But if a christians (not the pastor) value of church has diminished – 9 times out of 10 their faith in God has diminished as well.. and although they say it might not have- continue to look at the fruit or lack their of in their lives.

    I agree that we can not expect culture to prop up clergy, or sunday morn attendance, but i personally believe for us who know better, to put it down is irreverant – not irreverant to church, not to clergy- but to the one who instituted and continues to use the vehicle of church.. God. By saying we are wrong for having a grievance, or that we should support cultures Godless decline does not help. Our speech should be seasoned with Grace- and I speak of us clergy, we should not put people on guilt trips- agreed, but we should help them see how attractive our God is, and how following Him and being an actual “member” – one who gives and receives, requires showing up… at the very least! (and let’s face it- if you do not show up you are not a giving and recieving member of that local body, you might be a member of the church as a whole- but unless you have an ekklesia that you show up to… are you really membered anywhere) Again- if a church observes their day of worship or has church another day vs sunday- so be it… but don’t change the church Gods has called you to (if God called you there) to accomodate a schools or sport schedule. I hope our preaching and teaching is about pleasing God – and I would hope our churches are pleasing God, I would hope our sunday mornings are such a pleasure to Him, and that we would enter into His joy as we enter His church. I also hope we are not rejecting people that might be far from God (as suggested in this article)- or are just learning about Him- because they don’t get it yet… I hope we help them to see God – and fall in love. – so no guilt trips, but shoudn’t we help them get on a love trip with God and His Ekklesia – Church/Gathering.

    Psa 122:1…. I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go into the house of the LORD.”

  • Brian

    I honestly wonder how many people here complaining about the Sabbath day being “desecrated” go out to eat after church, fill up their car, or go shopping anywhere on Sundays. I have worked for years in the service industry, and can tell you for a fact that one of the busiest times of the week, if not THE busiest, is when church gets out on Sunday mornings.
    In short, a lot of you are being hypocrites here….

    • Dalia

      we have to eat, too!! Do you know what we do afterwards? You just look for any opportunity to call us hypocrits.

      • John

        Ya i read Brians comment 4 times. I cannot figure out why he said any of that.
        Nothing he said has anything to do with anything being discussed on here.

        • Twinsfan1

          John, his point is that while people complain about sports on Sunday, they have no problem with doing business on Sundays, therefore making it so that employees have to work Sundays instead of going to church. That is the hypocrisy he talks about.

          • John

            Im going to repeat myself. WORK IS NOT OPTIONAL. PLAYING GOLF IS.

            THE END. PERIOD. OVER.

        • Twinsfan1

          I tried to reply to this, but for some reason it didn’t show, so I’ll try it again. John and Dalia: Brian’s point is that you are upset about people missing worship for sports but are willing to make people work on Sundays to accommodate your desire to eat out, buy groceries, gas, etc. Having these businesses open means they generally have to open before or during church in order to be ready for you after church. No restaurant brings their people in at noon so you can be ready. They have to be there early in the morning to be ready at noon. This means the employees have to miss church: for YOU. So these people are having to choose between church and serving you. Is that any better than missing church for sports?
          Dalia, you say you have to eat, too. But do you have to eat OUT, therefore causing others to miss church so you can do so?

      • Twinsfan1

        Dalia, but do you have to eat OUT? Do you have to take part in a culture that keeps merchants open on Sundays?

        • John

          Dude, i dont know what the mental block is here but I have my suspicions and will keep them to myself. Again this isnt talking about WORK. Paul said You dont work. You dont eat. WORK ISNT AN OPTION FOR ANYONE! However, playing sports on a Sunday morning instead of worshiping with the Body IS an option! Youve done the same thing Brian did. This article is not about something that ISNT OPTIONAL and putting that BEFORE church. This article is about putting something that IS OPTIONAL before church. Church isnt something the world is required to stop for! However, Christians are. Guess what? Outback? That isnt a Christian establishment. The Galleria? Not a Christian establishment? The local church? IS a Christian establishment and GODS IDEA.

          I do have this figured out because I keep my ears and my heart open to the Word. When you care to do the same youll have it figured out too.

    • John

      Hypocrites? Im not even going to ask. You either cant read or you dont comprehend what you read very well. Maybe you should read again.

    • Algoria

      You’ve made a valid point, Brian, and I don’t think you deserve an angry reaction from other commenters.
      That being said, people are sensitive about being considered hypocrites. I don’t like being labeled that way myself.
      We obviously do need descriptive words in order to tell each other apart because we don’t all think alike, but maybe we should save the H-bomb for more serious instances of insincerity.

      • John

        I have to be completely honest. Brian made no point whatsoever. He did a switch and bait routine on the argued premise. Were not talking about what you do after worship. Were not talking about what you do before worship. Were talking about NOT worshiping to do something else your PREFER over worshiping with your brothers and sisters in Christ. There are principles and there are preferences. I dont see the need to try and baby powder bottoms whatsoever. Im extremely irritated at Brians sophistry.

        • Twinsfan1

          John, and we are getting extremely irritated at your “I’m the only one who’s got it figured out” attitude. Maybe you should examine your own heart, here, dude. I know mine is breaking because you have obviously been hurt by the things you experienced in the church you served in, and the poison from your pain is spewing out on the rest of us.

          • John

            Look bud. I dont have an Im the only one who has it figured out attitude. If my experience and knowledge leaves you feeling a sense of lack? Well, thats your own problem. And this assumption I was hurt? I wasnt hurt at all. There is no pain. I didnt leave that ministry because of personal offense. Actually, in that ministry I was considered the young guy on the fast track to success. Essentially, I could do no wrong. I had favor and I had power. I walked away from it. Not because I was offended or hurt or in pain. I walked away because God instructed me to do so. In fact, I get a call from that senior pastor every summer asking me to come back. Theres a difference between people like me and you. I dont assume. I aspire. I dont spend 3 minutes considering a matter and because of laziness and distraction think ‘Oh well its just too big for little ole me’ No, I spend hours. I spend years researching one thing until I have an answer. The next time you spend that kind of devotion on a subject like this? Then feel free to speak. Until then? Do the smart thing and just shut up and listen

            I do have a great deal figured out but not because im so special and so smart. Ive invested years of study, prayer, and seeking the face of God over where things are in the church world in western society.

            If you can prove my statements wrong by Scriptural precedent? Be my guest. But Im going to make an assumption. This will be the last I hear of you.

          • Twinsfan1

            You can make all the assumptions you want. You seem to be pretty good at it. You might want to see what part of the Fruit of the Spirit you’ve been displaying throughout your comments. Oh wait – you won’t find it…Have fun with the rest of the conversation – I’m done. I just wanted to make sure I could respond to all the exchanges we’ve had, but as I mentioned in another post, you can have the last word in all of them.

          • John

            Since when is ignorance a fruit of the Spirit? I doubt you even understand what the Fruit of the Spirit is or why it is or how it comes or whats its purpose is. Its just a convenient excuse because you have nothing of substance. The truth always has the last word. I asked you to prove my statements wrong with Scripture. Obviously you cannot. So what are you bucking? Me? No. Youre bucking submission to that which is greater than both of us… the Word of God.

          • Jerryd Wallace

            I can appreciate al of the time and study but it seems to me that knowledge puffs up here and did not quite reach all the way to your heart. I do not disagree with everything that you are saying but it is tough to harness in what you are saying when it feels like so much anger is behind it. In my eyes, what people saw in Jesus was love. People do require discipline and need devotion to their creator as well as a Sabbath but I kind of get the cast the first stone vibe here. I grew up southern baptist and understand the conservative view as well as scripture and calvin/armenian views. I guess I just always thought that we are to live by the commandments but live for Christ and not the law. It is still Jesus that gives grace and salvation as well as being the one who told us to Love God above all else, and our neighbors as ourselves. So….we should go to church for these reasons and not simply because we are commanded to. Just like giving and all other things “religious”. I again appreciate the effort in your studies but am rather glad that you are not overseeing so many people. I am hopeful that you will try to find peace at this point. While I am sure you will say that you have it, it simply does not reflect in your words.

          • John

            Do not confuse anger with severity when it comes to people.

            When it comes to God? Do not confuse severity with anger.

            There is ONLY ONE VIEW. That is the perspective of what the Word of God says. I am not interested in the views of tradition. My only interest is honoring the Word of God. Seems like i remember Jesus being pretty angry with Pharisees who should have known better but didnt. We should be delighted to come together and worship. And if theres not a church where worship happens? Build one.

            Look, i use to counsel individuals, couples, business owners, you name it.

            You are filtering knowledge through emotion. I knew the severity of the situation in this country because this is what i do. This isnt a hobby. Its my life. Obviously I take it more seriously than you do. Wisdom knows the difference. Theres only one way to get wisdom. Ask for it.

          • crazy

            Gees! What’s wrong with you, dude? Are you angry at God or what? In which way do you think God wronged you? God can handle your feelings about him.

          • John

            You are mentally unstable. Please though, Feel free to point to any statement which indicates im mad at God? if Im mad at God? Then when am I promoting His Word? BTW quit posting comments under different names.

          • John

            When a single individual tries to contrive a majority hiding behind his or her computer it should tell the person trying to pull the deception something. The spirit I sense in you reminds me of what i feel when im around catholics.

          • John

            So what do you go by? Ben? Twinsfan? Crazy? which one? lol

          • John

            It seems to me many on here are intimidated by knowledge. Sometimes it isnt an issue of knowledge puffing up as much as it is a persons desire to remain peaceably enthralled in the ‘mystery’ when God has called us to KNOWLEDGE. Paul called it being WILLFULLY IGNORANT. Others are insecure and unaffirmed and take any correction whatsoever on a personal emotional level.

          • John

            BTW Jerry>? The last church i was a staff pastor at was a 5000 member church. I had more success than any other pastor on staff because I deal with people in a straight and honest manner. My concern is not with feelings but personal growth and individuals having the tools to fix their own problems. I have a photo album packed full of letters and testimonies of families that wrote letters thanking me for my ministry and am still amazed by all God can do when you put the Word first. My last night I was given a surprise party and a couple came to me in tears thanking me for teaching the Word. They had been to every other group on campus and they said i was the only one who taught the Word and it saved their marriage. Another young lady when she started coming to my group would cut herself. She read her testimony from a letter of how for the first time in her life she saw God because I gave the Word first. Her dad? Was one of the other pastors on staff at this church. See, i have a track record of success in what I do. It really doesnt matter how youre stroked. What matters is what remains when all else fades away.

          • Ben

            thank God, Twinsfan1, I too felt John’s anger. why don’t we pray for him to be released from this anger. Ben

          • John

            Lol Why are you talking to yourself?

  • rodney

    Keith, I have pastored for over 40 years. Not one single time in those years did I ever have a single twitch of resentment about sports on Sunday. I lamented that other interests became more important to people than worship and church service. When my Grandson was invited to play for a travelling soccer team that played in tournaments on weekends I cautioned my Daughter about the message it would send to my Grandson that sports is more important than worshipping our Lord. I grieve all of these types of developments in our society. While I agree that vocation viewed as serving the Lord is a profound truth, it should never replace our worship times, either privately or with the congregation. We are to seek Him FIRST. He alone is sovereign.

  • Randy H Johnson

    In the Old Covenant, the men were only required to assemble before the Lord three times a year. That is, three “church services” in 12 months. The Sabbath never had anything to do with religious meetings, it had to do with recognizing God’s authority over our lives, trusting Him as the Source of our supply rather than our own hands, and treating one another with respect and not working oneself or another (animal or human) ruthlessly. In the New Covenant, there isn’t even this requirement according to Scripture, the only thing that is mentioned is a passing phrase to “not forsake the assembling of ourselves together as the manner of some is”, but there is no regulation accompanying this admonition as to what day or what time we should meet, just that we should do so “all the more as we see the” Day of the Lord approaching. Sunday was chosen because it was the day Jesus rose from the dead, but Romans 14 still gives believers the freedom to “consider one day more sacred than another” or “consider every day alike”. There is room for both in the kingdom of Christ. A pastor friend of mine in Indiana has what he calls Thursday Church where people sit at tables cafeteria style. They have music and a short message and can drink coffee and have other refreshments. This month his Thursday Church attendance is rivaling his Sunday AM attendance. We need to kill our sacred cows of tradition while holding fast to the fundamentals of the faith (1 Cor. 15, Heb. 6).

    • Dalia

      Wow, I want to attend. Refreshments, coffee, SHORT message about the ONE who saved my life!! And the best, have no conviction at all. No wonder the Thursday attendance is outweighing hearing God’s message to mankind. I wouldn’t consider him a friend, Randy.

    • John

      I agree. Problem is modern Christians dont know the difference between a cow and a chicken.

  • Ron Tipton, Jr

    Harvard wasn’t established as a place for people to choose to worship God, but rather a place to prepare men to lead congregations in worship. Their foundation purpose has been lost and we should be happy some still chose to worship?!

    • Algoria

      And those who chose to worship in those days are all dead now. How many God worshipers would you find there today or among the alumni?

      President Obama is a famous Harvard graduate who comes to mind but maybe he’s not the best poster child for true worshipers of God.

  • Chip+

    American Christians…self indulgent, spoiled, Gospel hardened. Pride that’s preceding the fall.

    • Dalia

      sad, but true. We don’t realize how our brothers and sisters suffer in other countries. Only can read about it, but it’s not the same as experiencing it.

  • Joe Rhoads

    It’s not the lost that concerns me. It’s believers who choose Sunday morning sports over church.

    • John

      THANK YOU!

  • MD

    The reality is that the primary time that Christian families have participated together in worship is Sunday morning. Sunday morning serves as a gateway and assembling place. The whole rest of the week has belonged to the secular society. It is sad that Christian families have to choose between worship and their child’s loss of the opportunity to participate in what is often a healthy interest. Many may view the issue as Mr. Anderson does, but it is unlikely they will make up for the loss of that cohesive gathering time in some other way, so the church becomes more fragmented. This goes beyond the loss of a so-called privilege position, but plays into the unchurched–especially atheists’ –desire to get rid of the church entirely.

  • Larry

    I can’t get past using ‘Godless Harvard’ as an example to prove your point. Please. Can anyone argue that Harvard is a bastion of secularism… to go my eyes are rolling down the street! And I have nothing against sports of Sunday….

  • Akin

    As we keeping on excusing the priorities of a dying world may I issue a reminder for those us who are called God’s people …” If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

  • Galeforce13

    I would bet the farm that Jesus honored the Sabbath and he engaged culture after worship

  • Joel Udumechie Anthony

    Keith Anderson to my view is right to the side of Pastor showing reactions through their shortcomings caused by less member on Sunday Morning Football day but wrong to think of turning the sunday morning football to encouragement. Lord’s day is Lord’s day! We should join fellow Christians to worship God. Work should not be done! If your question is “How then will I survive if all employment I could get are requesting for Sunday attendance?”, mine is “How do you expect to suffer for Christ where there is no direct persecution of Christians? Our work or sport should not make us deny Him lest He denies us in the end.


  • Tracy

    I kinda wish we’d go a little deeper with this problem. I don’t rail about Sunday sports because it keeps people out of church, I rail because I see exhausted families and exhausted kids living super-achievement oriented lives. Do 9 year olds really need to play hockey, at dawn, 5 or 6 times each week? Does the middle school dance team really need to travel across the state two weekends per month?

    I wish the church could be a conversation partner, on behalf of all overscheduled kids pressed to become professional athletes, actors or dancers or musicians or tech wizards at such tender ages. And for all the tsk-tsking about the choices other families make — wait until you have a kid who really loves soccer, and the choice is between no soccer, and living sleeping eating breathing soccer. Or get inside a parent’s psyche who is worried that his kid doesn’t have any friends at school, or is starting to experiment with drugs. Joining the ball team may be their best hope. But it will take their entire life too.
    As always, its not always, only, about us. This is about overscheduling in general. Its about trying to make our kids experts in something, in this neverending competitive slog we’re on, in middle and upper middle class neighborhoods. I’d sure love to hear the clergy be a voice against overachievement.

  • Billy

    Why are pastors spending so much time arguing with one another?

  • Dr Shirley

    You are so wrong as people move away from church they also move away from God. It just depends where their hearts are if their hearts are at the ball field then it is obvious Christ is not a real part of their lives that leads to becoming farther away from Christ until he doesn’t have a place in our lives and the next generations will go farther away. You just do not have it right. We care that is why we get upset people and headed for judgement do you realize that?

  • Mike

    To me, the problem is not the culture diminishing the importance of Sunday, but Christians who miss worship in order to attend sports or take their kids to sports. They are teaching their children that sports are more important than God and the church family. The culture won’t act Christian – they’re lost. But Christians are the ones who compromise, who take their kids to Sunday games and practices, and enable teams to continue their Sunday schedule. If more parents took a stand, some sports would not meet on Sunday, or maybe they would meet later in the afternoon and respect the Christians who want to worship on Sunday morning. The culture is not the problem here, Christians are.

  • Twinsfan1

    John, do you really need to resort to name-calling? I know, you’ll say that Jesus did the same thing with the Pharisees, but does that mean we have permission to do the same thing? You sound like an immature child with his feelings hurt. Maybe you should step away from the computer for a while. I’m guessing that your response to me will be more of the same. Sad…

  • Twinsfan1

    John, show the place in Scripture where it says Jesus ministered TO the Father EVERYDAY. Certainly He took “regular” time to separate and pray. I’m just not sure what you mean by ministering TO the Father, and where it says He did this DAILY.

  • John

    You mean show you the Scriptures? Why dont you get your own Bible and look them up for yourself? I can show you easily. I wouldve never made that statement if i couldnt. However Id be doing you an injustice. Read the gospels and mark how many times he ministered to the multitudes and turned aside leaving everyone to fellowship with the Father.

  • John

    The only one crying here? Is you ;)

    There was a time I was a dumb dumb. Guess what? I got called a dumb dumb. Guess what else? I didnt cry about it. I set myself to change it.

  • Dalia

    It’s the simple minded people that are so frustrating. I mean, you cry and whine about how the people have to work at the restaurants for people like me to eat out. Really? How incredibly petty. That’s why John is upset, the simple minded who prances through the day feeling so dog gone special. Put in some labor in studying Gods word, not just the psalms to hold your hand while you cry life is sooooo tough.

  • Twinsfan1

    Actually John, you have spent this entire time whining and crying about your point. I’m not crying at all – just pointing out your sad exchange.

  • Twinsfan1

    Dalia – why is this being petty? You seem to think that it’s okay for people to work on Sundays so you can eat out, even though doing so means they will miss church. I’m not the one saying I’m special – you are by saying it’s okay for them to miss church to serve you.

  • Twinsfan1

    John – you didn’t explain that you meant FELLOWSHIP with the Father when you said He MINISTERED to Him. You are absolutely right that He took time away from the multitudes I have no disagreement with you there. Simply an issue of terms. Thank you for explaining that.

  • John

    Actually no I havent. Youre a liar. Which i cant figure out why because anyone and everyone can read my posts and see there is no whining or crying only communication of knowledge. A lot of your frustration about the way things have panned out for you are largely due to the fact you are stubborn and unteachable. And the longer you remain that way the longer your circumstances will prevail in your life.

  • John

    You are welcome

  • John



    Obviously you work at a restaurant of some kind. If you have to work to make a living on Sundays fine! This article IS NOT ABOUT WORKING ON SUNDAYS! ITS ABOUT SKIPPING OUT ON WORSHIP TO PLAY BASEBALL!



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He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? —Romans 8:32