Ask Your Preacher
What place, if any, does technology serve to aid in preaching God's Word? Recently, our preacher has been using short videos in his sermons to make his point. This is the first time I've ever seen this after over three decades of attending the church of Christ, which is why I am curious and a bit skeptical. Thank you in advance for your wisdom on this matter!
Technology isn’t wrong, but it must be used responsibly. Webster’s defines ‘technology’ as ‘machinery and equipment developed from scientific knowledge’. At one point, all the aids we take for granted today were new technology (i.e. song books, chalkboards, whiteboards, overhead projectors, digital projectors, microphones, etc.), and with every technological change, people have always had a sense of discomfort because we are all creatures of habit. However, the discomfort isn’t created because of scriptural issues; it is there because of our personal comforts and routines. As one person said, “We like what we like.” Jesus used a boat as a preaching aid (Mk 4:1), and Jesus even used His miraculous abilities as teaching tools (Matt 21:19-21). What tools we have at our disposal, we have the right to use for teaching. There isn’t anything wrong with them.
However, that doesn’t give a preacher a blanket check to go crazy! The Bible says that just because you can do something doesn’t mean it is wise to do so (1 Cor 10:23). A teacher is held accountable for what he teaches, and he is held to a very strict standard (Jas 3:1). Your preacher is accountable for whatever is on these videos that he is showing. It is pretty difficult to find videos that are doctrinally sound (before we started making them on YouTube, we did a lot of looking!), and if he isn’t careful with the material, it can spread to false teaching quite easily. The issue isn't technology; it is the proper wisdom in applying it.
How do I know if God hears my prayers or if I am even praying right?
Praying For Answers
Dear Praying For Answers,
The Scriptures teach that there is a right way and a wrong way to pray. Who is praying and how they pray matters. God says that a righteous man’s prayers do a great deal of good (Jas 5:16). That would by default mean that an unrighteous man’s prayers wouldn’t do much, if any, good at all. God told Israel that their ungodly lifestyles meant that He wouldn’t hear their prayers at all! (Isa 1:15) There are other things that will stop your prayers from being heard:
- Treating your spouse badly (1 Pet 3:7)
- Praying for “show” (Lk 20:47)
- Praying selfishly (Jas 4:3)
- Praying without gratitude (Col 4:2)
There is no doubt that the Bible teaches that we should examine ourselves before approaching God in prayer. A wrong attitude or lifestyle can seriously jeopardize our prayers effectiveness. The flip is also true though! Proper attitudes and behavior are rewarded:
- Asking for wisdom (Jas 1:5)
- Consistency (1 Thess 5:17)
- Godly living (Jas 5:16)
- Asking without doubt (Jas 1:6)
When we are constantly praying, trusting in God’s strength to answer, humbly seeking his wisdom, and living lives that befit God’s servants, we can expect powerful results! Prayer is perhaps one of the greatest tools in a Christian’s arsenal (perhaps also one of the least utilized). The Bible is how God speaks to us; prayer is how we speak to Him. Just like a child asking their parent for a privilege – how we approach God makes all the difference.
I have a friend who wants to leave my church, but I think she really needs it. She thinks a lot of the people there (mostly the youth) are fake and gossipy and says it "turns her off for God." I don't blame her. She always wants to leave as soon as service is over. How can I help her?
Seeing Her Waver
Dear Seeing Her Waver,
Christianity is work… that is exactly why a lot of people don’t obey God. God tells us we must hear and do what His Word says (Jas 1:22). We do what we love, and we do things for those we love. If we love God, we will keep His commandments (Jhn 14:15). It is a myth that all Christians love to go to services and love to read their Bibles. The truth is that every faithful Christian we know has had to work very hard to build the habits of attendance, study, and active participation in the Lord’s work – sometimes in spite of those around them. It is a lifelong commitment. The apostle Paul compares it to physical training. An athlete exercises their body to win the race, even when they are tired or in pain… we need to do the same with our spiritual exercise (1 Cor 9:24-27). These are the things we would talk to your friend about. Php 2:12 says that we have to each work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. If the only reason you are attending services is because of the people... you are doing it for the wrong reasons. People can certainly make it more enjoyable, but ultimately, you must do what's right regardless of others.
My question is on the faith of my own church. We have a playgroup which has taken everything over. They have a youth group with children who do not attend, some atheist, but they use church money. We’ve lost members, so church is no longer in the sanctuary but in the fellowship hall. We had to go to a part-time minister; the ones taking over are homosexual, so all we hear about is about how they should be accepted, taking focus off of God and onto them; they do not accept my daughter and are rude to her, and she is at the age of great temptations. We haven't attended for three Sundays. Do you have any advice? We have left and come back three times already. Thank you.
Dear Fed Up,
The local congregation’s work has always been very simple:
- Teach the saved.
- Preach to the lost.
- When necessary, care for needy christians.
This congregation isn’t doing those things, and is instead doing all sorts of things that are opposed to Scriptures!
The clearest verse on the subject of the church’s purpose is in the book of Ephesians. Eph 4:12-16 points out that the church was designed, so that the saints would be ‘perfected’, for the ‘work of the ministry’, and for the ‘edifying (building up) of the body of Christ’.
The church of the New Testament is supposed to help prepare christians to be better christians by filling their minds with God’s Word. We see many examples of the church being busy with this kind of teaching and learning (Acts 2:42, Col 3:16). This is how christians are perfected (Col 1:28).
The church is also to be busy about the ‘work of ministry’ – preaching to the lost. Christ said He came to save sinners (1 Tim 1:15). One of His last commands to His apostles was to preach to the lost (Matt 28:18-20). Every congregation must be actively attempting to teach the Word of God to those who don’t understand it.
After preaching to the lost and teaching the saved, the only other work that we see an example of is caring for needy christians. Paul told Timothy there was a time to help out poor widowed christians (1 Tim 5:9-10). We also see the church in Jerusalem doing this (Acts 4:34-35)
The church is supposed to be the pillar and support of the truth (1 Tim 3:15). These church isn’t. You need to leave. We would be happy to point you in the direction of a local congregation that puts the Bible as their guide and focus on worshipping God in spirit and in truth (Jhn 4:24). If we can help, just e-mail us at email@example.com and we’ll try and get you in contact with a faithful group near you.
I go to a church called "church of Christ" which has the Lord’s Supper every Sunday. I never take bread or drink anything because I don't understand the Lord’s Supper. Is it wrong that I never eat or drink anything for the Lord’s Supper? Can you explain to me what and why there's a "Lord’s Supper"?
What’s All This?
Dear What’s All This,
Christ told us that whenever we take the Lord’s Supper, we should do it in remembrance of Him (Lk 22:19). In the book of Acts, we see how often the church observed the Lord’s Supper. In Acts 20:7, we see that Christians ‘broke the bread’ in remembrance of Christ on Sundays. That is when they did it, so that is when we do it.
Paul says that we are to take the Lord’s Supper when the church is gathered together (1 Cor 11:20). Taking the Lord’s Supper is an act of worship done by every congregation of the Lord each Sunday. When we take a look at all the teaching on the Lord’s Supper, we get the truth (Ps 119:160). Christ commands that we do it in remembrance of Him (1 Cor 11:23-28), the church gives us the example of doing it on the first day of the week, and Paul teaches that we should do it when we are assembled as a church.