My mother and I began to attend church when I was five years old. My mother raised me in the church, for which I am grateful. In the car on the way to church, we used to sing that old song “I was glad when they said unto me, ‘Come let us go to the house of the Lord.’” It was in church that I learned the word of God. It was in church that I learned to fear God. It was in church that I learned of God’s might and power.
But at the age of 17, I stopped attending church. And then at the age of 21, I began to, for the first time in my life, veritably pursue God, Through personal reading and study of the Bible. Through the teachings of pastors on Moody Bible Institute radio. Through my sporadic, non-committal attendance at various churches.
For 30 years, I did not attend church in a real way. In fact, I felt rather justified not entering a building that called itself a church. I, filled with sinful pride, asserted that I was more about THE Church (the body of Christ) than I was A church (a mere edifice). Sure, I had consistently heard Dr. Chuck Swindoll, Dr. Charles Stanley, Dr, Joe Stowell, and others attempt to persuade me that I should, on the weekends, attend a local church. Moreover, those men whom I respected urged me to not only attend a local church, but to serve at and support it.
Ummm...yeah, guys. I don’t think so. (Refer, if you would, to the second and third sentences of the previous paragraph.)
Well, in July of 2015, I darkened the door of the church in which I grew up.
And I was home. Where I belonged. And I was with my people. Finally.
After that, I joyfully attended church until around August, at which time my mother was no longer able to leave the house due to end-of-life struggles. So, for about the next five months, I was unable to attend church. And that was tough. Because I FINALLY understood the value of being a member of a church community.
Once my mother died, I returned to church. Where I belonged. And where my people were. And again, I was home. Then last Sunday I was absent, due to a weekend class I attended. And oh, how I missed being with God and His people in His house.
Friend, God wants us to visit Him at His house. Gather with and commune with His people. Work together to promote Him. The Bible says that the Acts church gathered together and prayed and sang and ate (Acts 2:42). The Bible also states in Hebrews 10:25 that we are not to forsake the assembling together (as was my former pride-filled and sinful life choice). Jesus Christ promised us in Matthew 18:20 that where two or more are gathered in His name, there will He also be. I want to be a part of THAT, don’t YOU?!
Church attendance, involvement, and service are vital, my Friend . Please do not do as I did for 30 years. I did wrong. I behaved irresponsibly. My heart was hardened, and I did not heed the word of God, the very thing to which I devoted study.
Friend, would you make it your objective to spend some time with God and His people at Jubilee Christian Centre this Sunday? 10:00 a.m. Easy. Just come. Come home Where you belong. With your people. And I have no doubt that you will sing (like my mother and I used to) “I was glad when they said unto me, ‘Come let us go to the house of the Lord.’”
March 15, 2016