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Monday, July 9, 2012

ATTEND CHURCH? WHY?



As a young adult I didn’t need to attend church—thank you very much. I was raised in a church family. Knew it all and didn’t need it. 

Fast forward. Mistakes made. Errors in judgment survived. Then one day, God loved me back to church. Part of that was finding a church that loved me back; that made me feel like I belonged; that made me want to be a part of a body of people who loved Jesus. 

It took a few times attending different places. Then one day, I sat down and didn’t want to leave. It clicked. Christ’s church is not a building, a doctrine or a set of rituals. It’s a group of people who love him and want to learn to love him more. Church was filled with people who felt the same way I did and were seeking him in a like manner. 

A church provides that sense of “home.” Or home base. A place of renewal, where we feel safe and loved and are encouraged to stretch outward while also looking inward and upward. Where people know we’re scarred and hurt and needy—just like them. And love us, like Jesus does.


Moving from milk



Church is also a place of teaching. A school of divine mystery. I study the Bible every day, read devotionals, write devotionals. I spend hours immersed in scripture. But I don’t understand it all. 

I need help with the learning. With the background. The context. The definitions and translations. The theology. How one scripture relates back, explains and enhances another. I need the “head knowledge” that spurs me toward the “heart understanding” that Jesus loves. 

I need to spend six years in seminary.  

Fortunately, pastors have already done that. And a pastor grounded in biblical teaching; who knows and understands God’s Word and is faithful in his interpretation is one of the most important reasons to attend church.  

Hebrews 5:12-14 says:

In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. 

Church is where we can move from milk to solid food. Where we can go from being baby Christians to maturity in Christ. As much as you enjoy a cold glass of milk, solid food is just more satisfying. So is maturity in our understanding of God’s plan.


Praising God 


I also need help with the worshipping. I like to sing at home while I’m cooking, cleaning or whatever-ing. Worship songs usually. Singing, dancing, clapping and praising God.  

But sometimes it’s extra great to worship God in community.  

Me + 100 other worshippers = infinite, divine, eternal awesomeness.  

It’s God’s mysterious, divine mathematics. Me + others = great worship! 


Giving 


I might want to serve others, but on my own I don’t have a clue. Who to ask. What to do. Where to go. 

Churches reach outward to the world and inward to other believers, to the structure and organization itself—with opportunities to be God’s hands and feet in ways that encourage  our faith. 

Churches provide opportunities to give back to God a portion; a tithe; an offering of what is already His. Church gives us ways to honor Him with our finances, our worship, our service and our relationship building with him and others. Not to win God’s brownie points or people’s approval; but as a way to show our love for Him and for others who also love him. 

+ + + 

There are a whole lot of reasons to attend church. As Christians, we are Jesus’ church. Since we’re already a church, we might as well attend one. See you there.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for your church and for providing places where your family can gather together to worship and learn about you. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? What's the best thing about the church you attend?


This article originally ran in the WeUsed2BU.com newsletter.  


7 comments:

Pam B. said...

Another area where I don't measure up.

From Carols Quill said...

@ Pam - You measure way up. Our small group book club is practically a "home church" and it'd be incomplete without you. Hugs, friend.

chris said...

I love the people at my church. We connect and help build each other up. It feels good! I think that's what it's all about, and it feels warm and good there.

Enjoyed this post today Carol, excellent!

tuckertravel said...

What I love about my church is that every Sunday my husband and I go to worship, reflect and be fed by the word of God. It puts the past week into perspective and sets me up to "be present" in the coming week. I look for who God wants me to love that week and how He wants me to love them, whether they are family members, friends or complete strangers...
Thank you for sharing Carol.

From Carols Quill said...

@ Kathleen - being fed at church is pretty awesome!

Christine Henderson said...

When we looked for a new church home after moving here last year, we wanted to find a church that was not only a Bible believing church, but a Bible teaching one. We also wanted one that adhered to Biblical truths and didn't want to mirror the culture.

The search was interesting. We found some that were Bible believing but their sermons didn't mention Bible quotes. Others were very friendly and folks carried Bibles but in reading their mission statement they wanted the individual to decide on their own Biblical truths.

We did finally find one that taught and prayed as you stated and we call it home.

From Carols Quill said...

@ Christine - we miss you in California but sooo happy you found a church home. I think some churches focus on just getting people in the door rather than what they teach once inside. Sad but I suppose it's better that at least they're inside than out. :-)