"Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary use words." - St. Francis of Assisi

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Why I Go to Church

   My parents raised me in the church; my mom even left me at the church one Sunday when I was just a wee boy. Just like the prophet Samuel was left at the Temple…but, I didn’t hear God calling to me in the night because she came back pretty quickly and found me wandering the church grounds with the nursery worker. Yet, I continued going every Sunday, every Wednesday, every Thursday and any other time the doors were unlocked. I used to think that my folks had a church key just so they could unlock it and drag me up there. I even got a four-year perfect attendance pin. But, it was a good church, I liked the music and their Wednesday night suppers were excellent. And life was good.

  Through my college years when I could have skipped out very easily, I didn’t. There were a couple churches near the campus that embraced the college students and provided them a second home and a good environment. I switched between the Baptists and the Methodists because if I woke up on time to get dressed and grab a donut or something, I could drive to the Baptist church downtown; but, when I overslept (quite often), the Methodist Church was right across from my dorm and I could dash across the street at the last minute and sit at the back with my other late sleeping friends. Plus, they always had coffee and snacks in the narthex. I enjoyed going to both churches. I had good friends there and learned much to help me grow as a Christian as I entered the post-college life. And, I guess something stuck because I still like to go.

  Why do I believe in attending church? For one thing, it is what we are to do as Christians. Being around other believers gives us strength to face the coming week, gives us encouragement, gives us a place of security and a place to find hope. I have friends who are professing Christians who rarely darken the doors of any church and (in my opinion) they are poorly representing what Christ wants from His Church. Their language, lifestyle and viewpoints are decidedly (again, in my opinion) the opposite of what Christianity is to be. We are encouraged in the Bible to “not neglect the meeting together, as some people do, but to join in encouraging and supporting of each other” (Hebrews 10:25). I cannot imagine not going to church as often as I can for that very reason. It gives me strength for Monday morning.

  For another thing, church is where I learn more about God and what He wants me to do. I learn this through the music, through the message and scriptures, through study and through talking with other people facing the same day-to-day pressures of the world. On the Sundays that I would rather not go, my heart and spirit begins to lift at the first sound of music and continues to rise as I listen to what is said and done. When you neglect this regular meeting of believers, you begin to lose that “still, small voice” of God that gives us our direction.

  And before you say it, yes, churches are full of imperfect Christians. That’s why churches exist…to take a group of imperfect Christians and let them encourage each other, to try and love each other and to give us a Hope for a better tomorrow. I can promise you that there is a church somewhere out there that is perfect for you. Visit around and see what you can find. Just make sure they preach, sing and live the Gospel.

  And for today my friends, this has been the gospel according to Jimmy.


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