I live in a growing Southern city. I don’t know when the South was given its nickname, “The Bible Belt” but I think that I live in its buckle. In fact, in the (online) Yellow Pages for my city, there are 1199 listings for churches. (That’s one church for every 667 people.)
Beyond that, no one can open up an internet browser and type in any religious word and lack options. Blogs? Podcasts? Radio? On-line booksellers? There are even Christian books on the New York Times Bestseller list (which, by the way, is not a good reason to buy them)!
In my city and in our culture, if you don’t want to see a church, don’t want to read something religious, want to ignore Christian radio, avoid looking at Christian books at Barnes and Nobles or ignore someone saying “Bless you!” when you sneeze, you have to work very hard. As a pastor looking at how Christianized parts of our culture have become, I can be nauseated; this saturation has watered down things (that’s a subject for later). At the same time, the proliferation of the Christian message all around us gives anyone who listens manifold opportunities to find his way into the presence of the God who loves and redeems.
Richard Baxter saw similar things in his time and said this:
You have such times of advantage and encouragement as few ages of the world have ever seen and few nations on earth enjoy at this day. What plain and plentiful teaching have you! What abundance of good examples and the society of the godly! Private and public helps are common. Seldom has the church seen such days on earth. And yet is not the way of heaven fair enough for you? Yet you are not ready to turn to God? Will you delay till harvest time be over and the winter of persecution come again?
He writes in 17th century England! What would he say to the tremendous opportunities and advantages present to people these days?! My friend, you have no reason to claim you lack resources. Turn to Christ now in trust and follow Him into eternal heaven.