Sunday, September 23, 2012

Already Gone by Ken Ham and Britt Beemer with Todd Hillard

Do you go to church?

If not, have you ever gone to church in the past?

If that is the case, when and why did you stop?

There is an epidemic today of people who grew up in church but over the years have stopped going. Maybe you are one of them; maybe you know some of them. Either way, there is a reason for this epidemic and it needs to be uncovered and addressed head-on before it spreads  to the point of no return.

In Already Gone: Why your kids will quit church and what you can do to stop it, Ken Ham and Britt Beemer along with Todd Hillard scientifically research this issue and share not only the results but also dig deep into how to get to the heart of it and stop it.

Ken Ham and Britt Beemer also later teamed up for research, writing, and planning in Already Compromised, which I have reviewed as well. Please check out that review when you get a chance.

The Introduction to Already Gone briefly highlights the fact that Europe has overall become a land of abandoned and repurposed church buildings. Throughout the rest of the book we are reminded of how close America is to doing the same.

But the church isn't a building, right? 
It is the Body of Christ...the people of Christ...right? 

Yes, this is very true. (See Colossians 1:24 & Ephesians 5:29-30) But the place where that body congregates to learn, grow, fellowship together and encourage one another is suffering from a severe, quickly progressing epidemic. As Ham states regarding his and his family's move from Australia to America to be missionaries to America:
"The Bible calls the Church the 'Body of Christ.' Today, over 25 years after our move, the statistics prove that His body is bleeding profusely. The next generation of believers is draining from the churches, and it causes me great personal and professional concern. I've sat in the grand, but vacant churches of Europe. I know where this is headed. Where Europe is today spiritually, America will be tomorrow---and for the same reasons, if the Church does not recognize where the foundational problem lies and address it."
Ham enlisted Britt Beemer of America's Research Group to create, facilitate, and analyze a qualified study that would help to unearth the problem(s). To discover who was leaving, why they were, and what could be done to reverse the trend, the study focused on those who said they had attended church very frequently growing up but rarely if ever do now.

Is that YOU? Do you know that person? 

Let me just may think you know the answers to the why's and when's and who's, but I think you will be surprised to read what the statistical research unveiled. Such as:

  • Many begin to leave as early as elementary and middle school (not just later in college).
  • Sunday School is actually currently more harmful than helpful, not for lack of good really need to read the book for the in-depth explanation of that!
  • Music style and amount is NOT the main reason they leave, nor what they say they miss most (and these were people from age 20-30 answering the surveys)---legalism, hypocrisy, self-righteousness, and boredom were highly scored as reasons but poor music was very low.
  • They miss worshiping God and they miss the pastor's teaching more than most other reasons given (again, including music).
  • Many of them are still firm believers in God and His Word and most say that they don't attend because church is not relevant to them in that they do not feel closer to God there nor is it practical to them.
Those are just some of the results...the tip of the iceberg, really. You need to read this book to glean so much more from it. Excellent research with VERY practical application offered from it. I identified with much of what the results revealed.

Yes, I am one of those who left the church and came back! 
Again, you may be, too...or at the very least you most likely know someone who is.

Ultimately, all in all, Ham and Beemer uncovered that, "Central to this study was the issue of belief. You simply can't explain the behavior without understanding the beliefs behind the behaviors. 'Belief' is invisible." But through intense, well-developed and executed studies like this one, belief and lack-thereof becomes tangible. At least it did for me.

Ham and Beemer help us recognize that we need to do a better job as parents, pastors, and believers in God to help people of all ages realize that "The Bible is not some 'pie in the sky' philosophical book. It's a real book that is really connected to the real world...God's Word stands by itself and doesn't need defending---that is true---but, practically, in this culture we are talking about answering the skeptical questions to uphold the Word and proclaim why we can believe in the Bible's life-giving historical and scientific authority."

According to Ham and Beemer, "We don't need a remodel; we need a complete renovation. We don't need a Band-Aid; we need radical surgery. It's time for a revolution; it's time for a new Reformation in the Church---to call the Church back to the authority of the Word of God, beginning in Genesis."

So, are you intrigued?

Are you uneasy because of the statement that 
"your kids will quit church"?

Please don't let my review be the last you read of the study and revelations of this book, Already Gone.

You actually have a couple of chances to get your hands on a copy of this and others for FREE coming up very soon! Here are the details:

The Bite is all about great recipes worth sharing 
because the food is always "Already Gone" 
before you get a chance to have a Bite!
Master Books will share a recipe in advance. Then you can share some of your faves.
FB Party Date / Time = Tuesday, October 2nd - 8-9pm Central

And, in keeping with our tradition, 
Twitter Party Date / TimeSeptember 27th - 8pm Central 
Twitter Party Hashtag = #TeachtheTruth
Come early!!! There will be a pre-party prize!!!

Party Prizes = Books galore and even a few gift certificates

Spread the word and come join us!

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from New Leaf Publishing Group. No other compensation was received. The fact that I received a complimentary product does not guarantee a favorable review.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Hurricanes & Holidays

Hurricane Isaac via Air Force Times
As I sit in the laundromat, I am thinking---of all of these people around me, were any of them affected by Hurricane Isaac?

You know, 
why even ask that question?

Most likely all of us were in some way---evacuation, hunkering down, power outage, family/friends/even themselves who lost everything...

Regardless, here we all are---carrying on life in whatever way is our current norm.

Looking back over the past week of post-hurricane life I would say that, yes, life did carry on as usual for many. The holiday that started the post-hurricane week was for many, however, truly fulfilling of its name - Labor Day. As a matter of fact, most of our recent, major hurricanes have ironically coincided with that supposed "labor-free" holiday. For many who are in the aftermath of Hurricane Isaac or have been in the aftermath of other hurricanes, however, that day has too often consisted of cleaning debris and trying to get your life and home back to some semblance of normal.

Thankfully Isaac was gentle on my family's things, but I do have some dear friends and co-workers who cannot say the same.

Some lost all. Others lost some.

Many experienced traumatizing emotions at the very least.

And, oh, Tuesday---that first day back to "normal life" after the hurricane and the holiday. A day I do not want to relive, yet for no specific reason other than one word - overwhelmed! I am not sure if others can say the same, but it seemed everything I missed during my evacuation not only waited for my return but brought extra duties and decisions along with it.

I can only imagine what that day was like for so many others, though. I truly should be thankful rather than complaining and becoming overwhelmed with frustration.

One thing I know, however, is that these precious people I know and love here in South Louisiana will endure. Not only will they endure but they will thrive in a way that few others would. 

I have learned a bit of the secret to 
their undying joy and resolve.

You see, when you prepare for a hurricane---whether it be to evacuate or "hunker down"---you quickly undergo a perspective adjustment that will likely remain with you forever. (It has stayed with me since my first hurricane four years ago.) Suddenly you realize you can't protect everything from potential harm and destruction. If you begin to try, you wear yourself out mentally and physically quite fast. Once you come to that realization an unexplainable peace comes over you (or at least it did me). You begin to realize what---or rather who---matters most. As you recognize that preparing yourself and your family and close friends for safety throughout the hurricane is what matters most of all in hurricane prep, you have then reached the ultimate perspective adjustment. 

All of the trivets you own---big and small, precious and insignificant---all of them are just things. Some may take more work, money, and effort to replace but still they are replaceable.

And most of all, I have seen the way these precious people trust God and lean on Him as their strength in these trying times. So many give testimony unashamedly of how He has protected them, provided for them, and even rebuilt them.

This, my friends, is why I love South Louisiana.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Selfless Signers of the Declaration of Independence

Can you name more than three signers of the Declaration of Independence?

 I couldn't at one time.

 Come check out my guest post for more at New Leaf Publishing Group's blog by clicking HERE.

 Also, check out this awesome pin created by NLPG inspired by my guest post...and feel free to repin it!