Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Be Gathered In

“The church is full of hypocrites.”
”I don’t have to go to church to find God.”
“That’s our family time.”
“I’ve been hurt by people in the church.”

There are as many reasons why people don’t regularly attend church services as there are motivations for being there. I’ve even heard a family member say that he’s as close to God as he can get when he’s out fishing on a Sunday morning. (Don’t worry, Andy, I won’t tell them who.)

Going to church every Sunday won’t save your soul. Nor will being a member of the “right” denomination, serving as a deacon, teaching Sunday school, or tithing. But just as God exhorts us to serve others, to make disciples, and to give back 1/10th of all that He blesses us with, He has a purpose when He tells us in Hebrews 10:25, “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”

Coming together with other believers, worshipping, praying, and being taught the Word encourages healthy spiritual growth. Corporate worship brings near the presence of God: “For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them,” says Matthew 18:20. Being in a service with fellow believers is therapeutic; rejuvenation for a soul oppressed by a world ruled by Satan.

When I enter those doors, it’s like walking into God’s embassy here in the world: asylum, refreshment, and friendly conversation with those who speak the same language, who face the same fears, and who encourage me. Sure, when Monday comes around, I have to venture back out into the “real” world, but I go out there knowing I am not alone, and I can always go home. –John Garrod

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