When to skip church

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.  Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the day approaching.” – Hebrews 10:24,25

I was born on Monday December 24th….I was in church on Sunday December 30th…and I don’t think I missed  church until I was 18.  I remember the morning – I had been out late the night before, my parents were away and the house was empty.  I decided for myself – one of the first times in my life – to stay in bed.

Confession time – that isn’t the last time the thought has crossed my mind.

George Barna reports that only 63% of Americans claim to be born-again attended church last week.  He claims further that those who did attend last week state: “they did not experience God’s presence or feel they interacted with Him in a personal way.”  Barna concludes “less than one quarter of all born-again Christians consciously strive to make worship part of their life-style.”

So what’s the problem?

We are too tired…I remember those days…Jason and Philip (5 and 2) and the diaper bag, stroller, snacks…and the fighting to get out the door and to the church…then the responsibilities…the teaching, the nerves, the people who didn’t like kids.

We are unhappy….we don’t like the music, we wish the soloist wasn’t, we don’t like the colour of the carpet, we don’t like the pastor…  (Remember it is a short distance from constructive thought to critical spirit).  We become consumers of church when we are called to be The Church.

We don’t like people…people who talk through the service, sneeze down our neck, feel free to offend us..you get it!

So where have we gone wrong?

Worship needs to be a spiritual discipline.  Focused on giving not getting.  Others may come with a critical spirit but a critical spirit is a short cut to lost blessings.

We need confession – confession of a self seeking agenda, of our pride, of the idolatry of putting ourselves in the center, of neglecting our spiritual growth.

We need to do what Scripture says – to “consider how we can may spur one another on”…to “NOT give up the habit of meeting together.”  The King James Version says “do not forsake”…it comes from the Greek word that means “abandon”.  Meeting together is really two Greek words “ago” and “sun” from which the word synagogue is formed.  It speaks of assembly, of gathering.

There is no Canadian law that says you must attend church…but if I am part of The Body of Christ, if I am part of a community then I need to understand that I am an integral part of the life of that Body.  I have a duty to Jesus – and to others.

One further thought..and this comes from Mark Buchanan.  Zechariah 8:20-23 speaks of a day when 10 men will take hold of a Jew because they know God is with him.

Were the people of God as the people of God should be – if we gathered FOR the reasons we should in the manner we should.  If we loved, carried forth justice, operated in mercy, if we provided for the widow, the orphan, the poor…the fragarance, the taste, the aroma of Jesus would be so appealing then others would gather with us.  Just because “for we heard God is with you.”

Advertisements

Post 1601

Hard to believe but this is post 1601 !  I started this blog as a way of being able to easily communicate with family living in Ontario and the USA.  Today my blog has a different focus, a different set of readers it would seem.  When I signed on today (at the YEG) I was surprised to see that I’ve now posted 1600 posts.  Bloggers are hard for some people to figure out – especially those who are very private.  I hear comments often about how too much private information gets shared or “who wants to know what you’re eating for lunch!” .  I guess I agree, unless of course you’ve found a good spot to eat and you’re sharing the good news.

Sitting around at coffee it is easy to hear lots of “blogging ideas” land on the table – and often as we laugh about one comment or another it seems to me that we DO like to share our life experiences – like to tell stories.  That is really what blogging is about.

Of course the other piece is the ability to be fairly consistent.  If you are blogging once a month – or once every six months you’ll find that people lose interest and won’t come back.  But if you’re fairly constant people will follow along.  And those who have something to give will find that people return happily.

Blog 1601 ends with a sign off from the airport heading to Fort McMurray.  Tomorrow’s sermon – When to Skip Church!

Writing with light

In 1980 we lived on the 20th floor of an apartment building in Mississauga.  It was near the water front though we faced north east.  I was doing a lot of experimenting with photography and long exposure.  If I recorded the data on this I don’t know where it is now, but I do remember it was a cool autumn evening.  I set my camera up on a tripod and opened the lens long enough to record the word “HI” using a flashlight.  I thought it turned out pretty good.

Oh and for the young at heart – this was recorded on something called film.  It went the way of the typewriter!

A few thoughts about us as a family and our interests.