by Steve Wagers

It's Time to Move!
Steve N. Wagers
Acts 4:31, 1 Corinthians 2:14-3:5, 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10

1. In the Greek Islands, one can seek out the home of Hippo crates, the father of modern medicine. In the area, one can also find an olive tree, supposedly dating from his time. If this were so, this tree would then be some 2400 years old. The trunk of this tree is very large but completely hollow. The tree is little more than thick bark. There are a few long, straggling branches, but they are supported by sturdy wooden poles every few feet. It has an occasional leaf here and there and might produce a few olives each year.

2. In the fields around, however, are olive groves in many directions. The strong, healthy, young trees with narrow trunks are covered with a thick canopy of leaves, under which masses of olives can be found each year. The tree of Hippo crates can still be called an olive by nature, in that it still shows the essential unique characteristics, but it has long since ceased to fulfill an olive's function. Tourists file up to inspect this ancient relic, having some link to a dim history, but the job of the olive tree passed long ago to many successions of replanted trees.

3. Sad to say, there are many churches (or even people) like the tree of Hippo crates? The form is there, but the function is not. They have stopped reproducing and are satisfied just to exist, or have a noble history.

4. I think about one man who was answering questions for a national poll. He was asked about his church preference, and he answered, "Red Brick." Obviously, he was a member of something that was moving.

5. I think of some interesting and startling statistics, given by research expert George Barna. These are statistics of church members of mainline churches:

50% are not sure of their salvation
60% seldom attend church
70% give less than one-percent to their church
80% have no ministry within the congregation
90% have never been discipled or tr ...

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