Ever heard that before? From your children? Maybe even a close family member?
I don’t want to convict, condemn, or guilt anyone into going to church. I want you to go because you want to be there. Because you enjoy it. Because you long to please our Father.
My heart is bursting today with a love of the church that I hope I can convey to you in 1,000 words or less. I’m not busting out about the 11a.m.service on Sundays with three praise and worship songs followed by a 35 minute sermon and an altar call.
My heart is exploding over the literal church and what it has meant to me over the years. What it means to me now.
Let me explain.
I had a conversation today with a friend about something very personal. Something I can’t talk about in this place yet. All I can share today is that someone I love with every fiber of my being is walking down a path never meant for them.
My friend listened intently as I let my burden leak out. She did not judge. She offered practical advice. She told me specifically how she planned to help me pray over this situation. Then, she wrote out the most beautiful, powerful prayer and sent it to me so that I would know exactly what she is saying to the Creator of the universe, God, on my behalf.
She went above and beyond the “I’ll be praying for you” quote we all use. She is standing in the gap for me and she’s pulling me along.
This kind of friendship will only be found between two people who share the same Father, use the same book as a compass for living and live with the same goals in mind. This type of relationship only happens when we have been directed by our Father on how to forgive, how to love, how to encourage, how to hope, how to pray…you name it…we are standing on common ground and that is a only a small part of why I love “the church”.
You see, the church isn’t the building and the programs and the schedules and the suits and skirts.
The church is made up of people who have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. People who acknowledge that God is head over all and that His son Jesus died in order to, once and for all, pay the penalty for our sin. The church is made of people, imperfect people, who live for God because He sent His son to live and die for us.
The church has one head, God the Father, which makes us all spiritual brothers and sisters, and we strive to simply follow Him wherever He takes us.
When we share a common belief and faith in the one true God, something special takes place in our relationships. God has a vested interest in them and pours out blessings on them.
As my children have gotten older and are now young adults (what?!) I hear them reminisce about being a part of the body of Christ.
They will recall when they were preschoolers being smiled at and played with by Sunday School teachers who were the same age as their grandparents.
They will recall as middle schoolers tagging along with Tim and me to Bible studies and cook outs and ball games with other members of our church. Helping out in Vacation Bible School and stacking chairs after a Sunday dinner on the grounds.
They will recall as high school graduates being honored with a slide show at church and being prayed over by the congregation as they began this next leg of their life.
My kids are old enough to understand the blessing of hindsight now.
They are grasping that for 20+ years we surrounded our little family with other Christians that we were doing life together with, that our friends were praying for and mentoring our kids and we were doing the same for them.
The relationships that we built over the years of choosing to be an active member of the local church have been the most lovely, meaningful, authentic, blessed relationships we’ve ever experienced.
The church. God’s design. Our home away from our heavenly home.
If you are a Christian and you are not attached to a local group of authentic, enthusiastic, Bible believing Christ followers;
” If one part suffers, every part suffers with it…”
I Corinthians 12:26a
We are still a member of the same body even if you aren’t actively involved. You are still attached but you’re not enjoying the benefits of contributing to the direction the body is trying to move and the other parts (including me!) are suffering for it.
You. Are. Missing. Out.
I. Am. Missing. Out.
Come into fellowship with us. Come see who your spiritual siblings are. Get to know us. Take the time needed to see who you connect with deeply. Who you can confide in. Who can pray for your children while you pray for theirs.
There is no part of the body of Christ that can work in full capacity alone. Not one.
You need me and I need you.
Like my friend I mentioned above;
“Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.”
I want this for you! This kind of friendship.
You don’t have to make me go to church. I’ve experienced the goodness there that keeps me going back.
“Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.”
There is a place for you in the local church where a future close friend or two awaits. A place where your gifts are needed in order for the body to function properly. A place where someone else may need you to bring your experiences and listening ear to stand in the gap for them.
Come, see for yourself.
Reflect & Respond:
*If you are not a part of a local body of believers, I urge you to decide today to find one. You could start by asking someone whose life you admire (because of their faith) where they attend and start there.
*If you are already in a local church, are you making the effort to connect with others in your congregation? If you only attend an hour each week, inquire how you might take a step towards meeting others there on a more personal level. Step out of your comfort zone. You will be blessed.