Jan 25, 2015

This past Tuesday President Obama presented the annual State of the Union address.  He was followed by the Republican response from Sen. Joni Ernst.  The speeches and the two political parties represented have major differences, but they also do have a few things in common, such as an assurance of the greatness of our country and a call for politicians in spite of their disagreements to work together.

One thing that we can all agree on: it’s good to regularly consider the health and “state” of our nation and evaluate where things are and what needs to happen in the future to improve our country.

Soooo, can you think of any other “State of the _______________” considerations that might be helpful?

How about the “State of the Church?”  If you were asked to evaluate the church at South Fork right now, what would be our strengths?  What are we doing well, and committed to improving?  How about some growth areas?  Of course we have areas that need attention.  Every church does.  We don’t have to be ashamed of that, provided we are working to grow in those “growth areas.”

And another aspect of the “State of the Church” can be addressed, namely applying some of those questions and considerations to the church overall.  Are we committed to seeking the will of God?  And how do we do that if not by inspired Scripture?  Are we faithfully living out the convictions we have from God’s Word?  Are we willing to speak these truths?  And are we committed to speaking and living that truth in love?  (Eph. 4:15)

Those are the easy studies, however.  When we focus the light on ourselves, that’s when we begin to squirm a bit.

What is the “State of the Family”—your family?  Are you spending quality time together?  And in that time are you pointing your spouse and your children toward God, and toward a greater involvement with His Word and His church?  Have you considered the level of closeness and involvement with God, His Word, and His church, that your children will have in five years?  Ten years?  Twenty?  Are you preparing them to be faithful to the Lord and obedient to His will when that faithfulness requires sacrifice and is unpopular in the world they live in every day?

And what is the “State of the Faith”—your faith?  Can you take an honest look at yourself, and where you are in your own relationship with God and with His people?  How often are you challenging yourself with the reading and study of God’s Word?  How’s your prayer life?  Are you talking to God more today than you were a year ago, and are your prayers less self-centered and more often focused on the needs of others and of God’s kingdom?  How does your life of faith compare overall to where you were a year ago, five years ago, or more?  What areas of your spiritual life need improving, and what are you doing to stretch yourself—also known as growing—in order to mature as a Christian?

Every single one of us is a “work in progress.”  I like the saying, “God’s not done with me yet.”  And He’s not!  He will stay with you and will continue to provide opportunities for you to mature in your faith and cultivate your love for God and for others.

If you don’t feel good about the “State of the Christian”—as it relates directly to you—what are you doing right now so that next year’s speech will be different?

Bill Allen

Dr. Bill Allen preached at South Fork from 2005 to 2015. He received a Bachelors degree in Bible from Oklahoma Christian in 1978, a Masters in Bible from Abilene Christian (ACU) in 1988, and a Doctor of Ministry from ACU in 1992. He now preaches at the West Erwin Church of Christ in Tyler, Texas.

Leave a Reply