By Pastor Thad Gifford Contributing Columnist
May 1, 2014
I had a lady stop me to tell me that she read my article each week. I told her, “Thank You. With you and my wife and me, that makes three of us who read the article.” I was just kidding her because there have been at least three or four more who have told me they read this article each week, so that makes at least seven or eight who do. (Once again, a little humor here. I know…I can hear you saying…it sure was a little humor.) Alright, then.
Why do I take time to write this article, “Something To Think About” each week? It’s not because I have little to do. In fact, I work two jobs like many of you do. I don’t sit around in my office at church and wonder what to do next. As a matter of fact, I don’t work from my office at the church. I work from my office at home. Why? Because people see my car at the church and want to stop in to chat with me. Many days, when I kept office hours at the church, that’s all I got done. Not that I don’t like to “chat” but it’s that I have a lot to do.
So, why do I write this article each week? One reason and one reason only: To be able to share how great our God really is and to share with those of you who are born again how to live a victorious Christian life and to those who have yet to receive Jesus Christ as their Savior, how to do that. The bottom line is this — you’re either saved or you’re not. There is no in between. When you draw your last breath, it’s not going to matter how “good” you were or how you treated everyone else, or whether you were a member of a church or how much money you gave to the church, or how much you worked for the church or charities or anything else. It’s not going to matter if you took Catechism and was a confirmed member of the church (like I was), or whether you were baptized (the thief on the cross wasn’t), or whether you were friends with your pastor or spiritual leader (we had the preacher over at least twice a month when I was at home with Mom and Dad), or whether you sang in the choir or served on a board. What is going to matter is this: Do you know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior? Have you accepted the free gift of eternal life and have you been born again into the family of God?
Notice, I didn’t ask you if you “believed” in God or Jesus Christ. I asked you if you have received Jesus as your personal Savior. Years ago, when I first started writing this article, I had a pastor call me and leave a message stating that he hoped I wouldn’t bring up the “ask Jesus into your heart” thing. Serious? That’s all that matters. I couldn’t care less how many books in the Bible didn’t make it, or how the Disciples were named or how many knot holes were in the ark or how many steps the children of Israel took from Egypt until they got to the Promised Land, or if Adam had a belly button.
I couldn’t care less about the ritualistic, self-defined, archaic way of how and why things are to be “done in the church.” I couldn’t care less if candles are lit or not lit, if a Liturgy is followed or not, if the Lord’s Prayer is prayed or a Hail Mary is said. I couldn’t care less if the people kneel to pray or stand with heads bowed when they pray. I couldn’t care less if people wear business appropriate clothes to church (suits/dresses) or come in shorts and sandals. I couldn’t care less if someone has piercings or tattoos, or red hair or green. I couldn’t care less if “this is how we’ve always done it at this church” or we try something new that might work. Listen, if what you’re doing now is not working, why keep on doing it? Isn’t that the definition of insanity — doing things the same way and expecting a different outcome?
For 25 years of my life, I was spoon fed the Bible from a pastor that I felt was supposed to know what the Bible said. Unfortunately for me, he was following tradition. Not that tradition is wrong, but in this case, tradition would have allowed me to spend my eternity in hell. And many, many, many people are going to have a rude awakening one day. The Bible says that the road to destruction is wide and the path to eternal life is narrow. There are a lot of people going to church who are also on their way to Hell. See, I believe in saying it like it is, chopping the wood and letting the chips fall where they will, telling the truth of what the Bible teaches instead of going along with “tradition.”
Religion is the damnable belief made up by man that is going to send a lot of people straight to a devil’s hell. In many pulpits on Sunday morning, the Gospel is not even preached. And while I’m at it, let me say this: Sin is still sin, just like it was when God named it sin. Marriage is between a man and a woman (even nature has it right). Abortion is murder. And, prejudice is sin. Throw church history out the window. If you are not born again, it doesn’t matter. You can sit around and study the history of the church and the Bible all day long, but if you don’t know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and your name is not written down in the Lamb’s Book of Life, you’re lost and on your way to hell.
Most people are going to miss Heaven by 12 inches — the space from your head to your heart. It’s not a head belief (temporal) that is going to get you into Heaven, it’s a heart belief. You are saved when you: One, admit you are a sinner; two, confess your sins to God; three, accept Jesus Christ as your Savior. Call it the “Sinners Prayer” or say your own prayer, as long as you accept the free gift of eternal life. That is what matters. And if I have to write about the need to be saved every week, until you are, I will stand on the Word of God and shout it from the rooftops the necessity of being born again. That’s the only reason I write this article. There’s only one way to Heaven and His name is Jesus Christ. And, that’s Something To Think About for this week.
Pastor Thad Gifford is the founding and lead pastor of the Crossroads Community Church, 62 E. Second St., London. He can be reached at (740) 852-7800, e-mail him at m.thad.gifford.com or at their website www.3c-church.org.