God: You see I’m kneeling here—I’m that desperate. I need Your ear because the situation in my church has reached crisis. The people who attend my church are too messy. They’re more trouble than their worth, frankly. Problems! They have enough hang ups and issues to sink a ship (and let’s not even talk about their kids).
They call at all times of the day and night expecting me to provide answers. Who do they think I am, Oprah? Worse, they complain about the services, they want “real” worship, whatever that is, and even gripe because there's no altar. You’ll remember we took it out because all they did was kneel and cry on it. Talk about embarrassing. How can I expect the right people to come to my church if I make them uncomfortable by asking them to the altar?
I’m pleading with You. What I need is a church full of good people, people with self-respect enough to care about how they look, people who will sacrifice to wear clothes that are pleasing to the eye.
I want my church to be a shining example of what a church should be; I want it to be a place the community is proud of, not a slum for rejects no one else wants. My self-esteem has taken so many blows. How can my church shine with all the tarnished, messy, messed up people who keep wandering in?
And the messages You keep giving me. Are You kidding? Sin? I can’t preach on that. It’s outdated verbiage that doesn’t connect any more. Lots of pastors are making a mint and don't have these worries because they preach about the good things in the Bible.
I want to tell them that You’ll love them no matter what. What's wrong with that? So, what do I read in Malachi? You’re sick of our saying that God loves sinners and sin alike. I can’t tell them that! I’m fighting a battle—I need to give them a reason to serve God. We live in a “what’s in it for me” generation; they won’t serve You if they don’t get something out of it. Don’t You see, I’m trying to help here?
And, I can’t admonish them. They hate correction and despise rebuke, besides, I’m tired of taking it on the chin if I do mention some of the hard things. So, God, there You have it. You said to ask for the desires of our heart, so I am. Give me a church full of positive, prosperous, intelligent people; those who have the wherewithal to give money so that others can do the work for them. Give me this kind of church and I’ll tend it faithfully.
“God-of-the-Angel-Armies is calling you on the carpet: "You priests despise me! You say, ‘Not so! How do we despise You?’ “By your shoddy, sloppy, defiling worship. “You ask; ‘What do you mean, “defiling”? What’s defiling about it?’ “When you say, ‘The altar of God is not important anymore; worship of God is no longer a priority,’ that’s defiling. And when you offer worthless animals for sacrifices in worship, animals you’re trying to get rid of—blind and sick and crippled animals—isn’t that defiling?” Malachi 1:5-8, The Message