Do I HAVE TO go to church? No, I GET TO go to church!!!
Church is sometimes billed as boring, out of step with real life, or something in the way of so many other awesome opportunities that come our way on the weekend. The question we sometime ask as kids, but that can stay with us into adulthood, “Church? Do I HAAVVVVEE to?”
If we really understood God’s view of church & His purpose for it, we would change it from a HAVE TO, to a GET TO. Here’s some of the things we GET TO experience through connecting with a church, that make it worth it.
1. I GET TO experience God at work.
Whenever believers get together, Jesus promised to show up as well (Matthew 18:20). And He promised His power would be active through the work of the church (Matthew 16:18). In Christian relationships, we see him at work in the lives of others as we hear & see God working in their lives. We also experience God at work using us as we step out & use our gifts in ministry in the church.
2. I GET TO pool my resources together with others for God’s purposes.
From the very beginning we see churches demonstrating radical generosity to meet each others needs & the needs of the world (Acts 2:41-47). Paul, who started many of the first churches in the Asia Minor, taught the churches to set aside money on the first day of the week to be given for God’s purposes (1 Corinthians 16:2). He taught that giving was to be done regularly, sacrificially, & cheerfully (2 Corinthians 8-9). Giving is not just about meeting the needs of the church. It is an act of worship, reflecting back to God how great He is worth to us, & declaring that our faith is in Him. But I do get excited about giving to my church as I think about how my giving, pooled with others, will make a great difference in our world.
Pooling my resources is also, not just about money, but gifts & abilities. In church, we pool our God given spiritual gifts, passion, abilities, & experiences for the good of each other & the world. The kingdom & church grows by each one contributing their part (Ephesians 4:16).
3. I GET TO die to my sin & selfishness.
Christian relationships are to be marked by selflessness & sacrifice (John 13:34-35; Matthew 20:28; Philippians 2:3-4). In relationships, I’m always seeing how selfish I am. Seeing my selfishness & the selfishness of others, is actually a great opportunity for growth! Some of us see it & change. Some of us see it & vow not to change. Some of us see it, & unfortunately run away. Yep. Relationships at church can be hard. People can be difficult. Differing personalities, beliefs, upbringings, preferences can collide & create sparks. But I’ve learned that if I embrace the sparks & not runaway when I’m confronted with sin & selfishness in me & others, then we are all sharpened & changed & transformed into what God desires for me to be.
Lane, do you mean, God wanted relationships to be hard. Proverbs 27:17 says it like this, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Iron sharpening iron is a messy process. But necessary for a tool or blade to be at its greatest strength. Same is true for us in regard to relationships. We will be at our greatest strength when we are sharpened by relationships with others. Relationships where I can humble give & receive love & correction & encouragement & teaching, etc., etc.
These are three things I GET TO DO as I commit to a church. There are more. Like I didn’t even mention the coffee & donuts. If you’re not a part of a church, let me encourage you to jump in. Commit to a relationship with God. Commit to relationships with imperfect people you’ll find there. Commit to change as your confronted with sin & selfishness. You won’t regret it.
You can join my church if your in West St. Tammany Parish. We meet each Sunday, 10:30am at the Maritime Museum in Madisonville. We’re finishing a series on relationships this Sunday called Let the Sparks Fly. Come early for coffee!