Thursday, March 08, 2007
It is interesting how our society has gotten to the place where they don't think that going to church is that important. I have had many people tell me that they are Christians, but don't feel they need to go to church. They have many reasons. Some just like to stay home and watch a church service on TV. Others think that it is their only day off, and so they want to sleep in and take it easy. Or they think that church is boring, and they don't get anything out of it. Others think that they will be judged at church. Still others want to watch the football game or go to the beach.
There are many problems with this thinking. I want to just mention a couple. One is that God created the church as a place of worship. While we can worship God by ourselves, worship is also designed by God to be a corporate experience. There is something that happens in the presence of other believers that helps to draw us closer to God. When we worship with other believers, the presence and power of God can and should be experienced in profound ways. It is more than just singing songs and hearing words spoken. It is being touched by the Holy Spirit in an environment where God's people are drawn together. There is a mystical experience that happens when God's people join together in giving praise and glory to God. As Psalm 95:1-2 says, "O come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms." Do you see that the psalmist says "us" and not me. The psalmist uses the plural. This regularly is spoken of in this way in the psalms, because worship is something that God's people are to do together!
The second is that God created church to be a place of fellowship. The church is the body of Christ, and the place where we are to use our gifts. It is completely apart from God's design to use your gifts on yourself. The gifts you have been given have been given for the purpose of being a blessing to the body of Christ; the church. When we use our gifts apart from God and God's work, then we are just bringing glory to ourselves, and not to God. As we are told in 1 Corinthians 12:7, "Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good."
As a place of fellowship, the church is to be a family. In any family, there are going to be gatherings that aren't the most exciting. And there are people in the family that we don't always like. But we are still a family. And if a member of the family doesn't come to a family event, then that member is missed.
If you are not a part of a church, or if you are not going to church regularly, then you are keeping others from being blessed by your presence, and you are missing out on the kind of worship and fellowship you created to have.
Tell me what you think at firstname.lastname@example.org.