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In my morning devotions today, I read these words:

"Now there were four leprous men at the entrance of the gate; and they said to one another, 'Why are we sitting here until we die?'" (2 Kings 7:3 NKJV).

If you recall the background, the Syrians were besieging Samaria, and the Israelis were starving. Four lepers at the city gate knew the futility of going into the city, where they would starve. Staying where they were was not an option. So, they threw caution to the wind and decided to go to the Syrian soldiers. If they killed them, it would at least be a quick death rather than the torturous one they were experiencing. They grasped at the slimmest of hopes--maybe the enemy would have pity and toss them a few scraps. God sent the sound of an army and scared the Syrians--who fled and left all their provisions behind! The lepers not only gorged but told the good news to the city. Famine turned to feasting!

There are many truths to glean from this story, but for this article, I want to stress the deadliness of sitting in decline, heading toward death, for fear of the unknown. Even a harebrained idea is superior to no idea! I conducted my first funeral service for a church this year. We have witnessed a second church dissolve. Several others are teetering on the brink. Let me ask, "If what you have been doing would work, why hasn't it?" Perhaps, it is time to say, "We will get up and try something else!"

Haywood Baptist Association is a mission network of churches, and we will only be as healthy and vital as the local churches are. I am challenging us all to pray, seek God's will, and then step out in faith to obey Him. I am not trying to be negative, but Haywood Baptist Association, like many of our member congregations, has been slowly hemorrhaging. Yet, I do not want us to just survive, but thrive!

Please understand--we are not talking about changing our doctrine. Theology is not up for a vote! If we change that to accommodate the culture, then we ought to die! Methodology, however, needs to be examined to see what the Lord may have us attempt that we have not been doing. Probably the most novel thing we could do is to move from 1960's church lifestyle to something radical--go back to first-century Christianity! The Christianized culture of 1960 Haywood County is gone, but the pagan culture of the Roman Empire when the church was birthed and flourished has returned!

Are you just going to sit there and die?

Yours for Revival,

Dennis Thurman, AMS

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