Let us not neglect meeting together, as some have made a habit, but let us encourage one another, and all the more as we see the Day approaching. – Hebrews 10:25
I know that the Church is not a building, but it is the place where we American Christians assemble for the most part. When we think of church, we think of one of the 10 or so places that we drive by on our way to work. In some countries, church means a secret assembly that might get you killed if you get caught.
For Americans, there are a plethora of reasons that people (and I mean the ones who say they are Christians) do not attend. I just read a Facebook post where a person was trashing the church (or maybe it was just a church) because it wasn’t to his or her liking. Not enough Holy stuff and basically just too much fluff. Some have told me that Sunday is their day to rest. Many have just plain told me it was boring and they just didn’t get a lot out of it. I guess if one really doesn’t want to do something, he or she will find a reason to not do it.
I have been through all of these stages. I’ve not gone to church to play golf, go to the lake, make money, and sleep in. I’ve not gone to church because someone hurt my feelings. I even had this “holier than thou” phase where I criticized everything and everybody. That actually was kind of miserable.
I say all that to say this: This past Sunday, something shifted where I go to church. I have been preaching that church is not a place to come and feel good, but a place to come and be equipped with Christ growing inside of you. If you have Him, your appetites change, your desires change, and you want what He wants. Much like a woman’s cravings change when a child is growing inside of her.
I have been asking the members to do a weekly devotional at home with their family. There hasn’t been a whole lot of response to doing that . . . until this past week. I actually didn’t do our family devotion this past week, but at least 5 hands were raised when asked if they did their family devotion this week and prayed for another family in the church. I asked them whom they prayed for. As they said the names of the family they prayed for, I saw them just light up. It was amazing. We ended the service huddling our families and praying for our own family and one other family.
I have never in all the years I’ve attended church felt more of a sense of family. I really felt for a moment that we were a group of people who looked after one another and cared for one another.
I think I got a glimpse of what it is all supposed to be.
Lord, thank you for molding Lifeline Community Church and many other wonderful churches in our county and country. I pray that you will be the center of it all. I pray that we will become real church families who really look after each other in prayer and in providing for needs. If the unbelieving world saw a true picture of how you really are, they would not be able to resist the assembly of the church. Help us be more like you and a whole lot less like the world. Amen.
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