JOIN US ON APRIL 23!
Learn more about Priscilla Shirer Live Simulcast Event at https://jennymaass.com/women/
JOIN US ON APRIL 23!
7.4 billion people in the world, but we have never felt more alone. In a world of online connectivity how can we experience so much disconnection? Why must we connect?
Because whether we like it or not, we all want and need the “ABC’s” – acceptance, belonging and community. Continue reading Connectivity Lost.
We know football is out of the question. You won’t ever miss church because of football because the games don’t start until 1pm. The grocery store is open all day, so that’s not it. And you can’t be munching on Chic-Fil-A waffle fries, either (fresh ones, at least). So why do Christians miss church on Sunday morning?
Maybe you think you won’t affect anyone else if you don’t attend church. Maybe you think you have the right and a license to determine yourself above and outside of anyone who feels the need to be there. Would you join a golf club and not play golf there? Are you a member of anything worthy, without actually being active or involved? It’s truly wonderful, knowing you are accepted and grafted into the family of God. Why, then, would we not want to meet in His house?
Google search “why people avoid church” and you will likely find an excuse you have used before: I don’t need a temple to feel connected to God; I’m afraid of being judged; Nobody will notice if I’m not there, anyway. Perhaps its your pride, or maybe a negative experience in your past that keeps you away. These situations are very real and they certainly diminish our motivation to attend church. Regardless, try opening your heart and mind as we address these hang-ups and reconsider the value in attending your church, both for the edifying of the body and spurring of your part within it.
I don’t need a temple to feel the presence of God.
Sure, you can feel God’s presence in other places and different ways, but is that a “too much of God” line you’re throwing out there? Are you putting a quota on Christ?
I understand this sentiment. Admittedly, I personally am an avid seeker of God’s love at a personal level, and have not always been keen on seeking him through others. Even when I feel the Holy Spirit working in His people, I still prefer to feel an intimate relationship that is direct to me.
The point of attending church and communing with other Christians, then, is not to seek God in other people, but to seek Him with others. What good am I, as a torch-bearer for our Lord, if I stand alone and am not actively pushing back the darkness in His kingdom, with His people?
There is a candle effect that occurs when we worship together. Two flames burn brighter than one. How much easier it is to push back the darkness when we combine our efforts in fellowship. Sometimes we don’t feel the Spirit flickering very brightly within us, but that’s even more of a reason to go!
The Holy Spirit is a constant stream of God’s power and truth, and all it takes is one candle to ignite another. We have a responsibility, then, to attend church because either we can contribute our flames to those who are weak, or we need that spark to reignite our own torch. We share our testimonies, our pains and our struggles so that we may learn from each other and encourage each other to press on.
Rejoice with them that rejoice, and weep with them that weep.” – Romans 12:15
When you see God’s work in other peoples lives, who have dealt or are dealing with the same struggles as you, it helps strengthen your own faith that God is working your life, as well.
Our pasts hurt, we feel shame and we don’t want to be judged.
Sometimes our own guilt and shame cause us to withdraw from fellowship and makes it difficult to face Christ. We may feel ugly, tattered, worn or unworthy. But our beauty is in Christ, who died for our sins so that we may live freely and in boldness of love.
Yes, come and be judged by our Father, who loves you endlessly and will never turn from you. He already knows, was there with you, and died for what we are ashamed to admit or confess to Him.
So we turn to His light and reveal our blemishes and imperfections so we may grow in the yoke of our Lord. The body of believers should not and will not judge. We are not called to be the jury, only God is. No verdict will be determined upon you apart from the one He nailed to the cross. Confess your faults, be corrected, and above all, worship and give praise with His people.
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” – Acts 2:38
Peter reminds us that we are PROMISED redemption.
I’m not important. Nobody will care if I don’t go, anyway.
Unfortunately, this statement devalues our meeting at the Lord’s house because it incorrectly assigns the ones who approve our attendance. How do we measure our ROI for church attendance?
In today’s secular world and in Western ideology, perfectionism and the “self” are glorified. As an example, I’m going to pick on my own demographic. Face it, Young Adults, we have already been coined as the “Selfie Generation.” The world will say what it may, but we determine who we are. Our value — as it pertains to our roles within the church, our communities, or any other arena of our lives — is not measured by the perception of others, but by our identity in Christ.
The Lord is the foundation from which you strengthen your role within His kingdom. You are a Christian, first, and being a Christian means you belong to a larger family. You are part of a team of generations of believers, and your role in the Big God Story is as unique in the narrative as you are an individual. You are anointed with a gift and a purpose! Own your calling and forget about what labels society wants to give you.
Having gifts differing according to the grace that is given us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or Ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that showeth mercy, with cheerfulness.” – Romans 12:6-8
Go, Team, Go!
Yes, we are all in this together. But you don’t just show up to the game, put on the pads and expect to win. In other words, we don’t just show up to church and expect that to satisfy our part, as believers, or to satisfy God’s purpose for our lives.
Individually, we are all responsible to put in the work during the “off season.” Professional athletes train on their own time, in addition to working out as a team. We have to develop and manage our own personal training for God to be glorified in full effect. We should constantly be communicating with God on our own time. We should be looking for ways to glorify Him with believers outside the church. And we should be praising God in corporate prayer, every week.
Bring the practice of walking to God to a live-action march. When we bring our efforts together to push that ball down the field in accordance to The Coach’s game plan — how could we fail?
What shall we then say to these things? For if God be for us, who can be against us?” – Romans 8:31
God is your coach and your biggest fan. He has big plans for you and He wants to be glorified through them, and through you.
And he gave some, apostles; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:” – Ephesians 4:11-13
Talk about a game plan. (Read Ephesians 4 in full.) No, we are not all called to be the same, but we are all called to come together at the cross for the edifying of the body of Christ. In fact, it is a biblical mandate that we do so.
Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more as ye see the day approaching.” – Hebrews 10:22-25
So, may we save you a seat next week?