Blah blah blah – just go to church

From time-to-time, a friend at work will text me church signs he sees. The latest sign said, “Blah, Blah, Blah – Just Go To Church.”

I’m more fond of saying “go to worship/Bible study” than I am of “go to church”, but regardless, I agree with the sentiment of the sign.

There are legitimate reasons for not being able to attend the services of the church – personal sickness, helping others who are in need of help, etc. But I believe a lot of people throw their own “animal” into a ditch (Luke 13:10-17, 14:1-6) so they can have a reason justify their habitual absence. The average person who misses church services misses them because they want to … nothing more and nothing less.

Excuses may sound good to the preacher, the elder, the Bible class teacher or even our self, but we have to remember that the one we’re called to worship knows the difference between an excuse and a reason for not worshiping our creator, sustainer, savior and judge.

Every way of a man seems right to himself, but the Lord is the tester of hearts. To do what is right and true is more pleasing to the Lord than an offering.” (Proverbs 21:2-3 BBE)

#attendance, #excuses

What good is it?

What good is it to call oneself a Christian and yet find reasons to not attend the service of the Lord’s church wherein saints gather together to worship the Lord? The many who identify themselves as Christians and fail in this area are Christian in name only, not in heart. They think they will be received by the Lord because of some semblance of attendance and some semblance of “the Lord knows my heart.” Surely, they think, “I am in better position than you might think I am.” Really?

Compare what you think with what the Lord said (as in the Charles B. Williams translation).

“Let us continue so to consider one another as to stimulate one another to love and good deeds. Let us stop neglecting our meeting together, as some do, but let us continue to encourage one another, and all the more because you see that the great day is drawing near” (Hebrews 10:24-25).

Those who love the Lord consider one another in their attendance, desiring to stimulate others toward faithful service and good works, glorifying the Lord. Those who love the Lord do not neglect their attendance.

The word “neglect” is an interesting word. The dictionary defines it to mean to give little attention to, to give little respect, to leave undone or unattended. Those who fail to regularly attend the services of the Lord’s church are guilty of exactly this, the words of denial not withstanding!

What good is it to be called a Christian and fail to meet with the saints because the kids have activities “to which I have to get them!”? What good is it?

It is only good in one’s mind, but not certainly the Lord’s mind. Those who love the Lord memorialize Him in the life lived. RT

#attendance, #priorities, #worship

Wake up, get up and show up at Bible-study tomorrow

When you hold a Bible in your hands, do you know how much it cost?

I’m not looking for a fiscal answer. The Bible cost more than any financial total that can be tallied.

Long before any red-letter edition was published, pages of the Bible were colored red . That’s because the book we can hold in our hands cost men and women their lives. Some died at the hands of false-Christians and others at the hands of violent unbelievers. Regardless of who took their life, men and women of the past gave their life because they had faith, a desire for the common man to read the word of God, and a love for God’s message.

Consider that, and then consider how the church has a hard time getting Christians to show up and study the Bible today. Some congregations don’t even have Bible-study classes. Brothers and sisters – that’s a problem!

The Bible is the best-seller that most Christians aren’t sold on studying. Do you see the irony?

Wake up, get up and show up at Bible-study tomorrow.

I will meditate on Your precepts, and contemplate Your ways. I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word. Deal bountifully with Your servant, that I may live and keep Your word. Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law.” (Psalm 119:15-18)

#attendance, #bible-class, #bible-study, #irony, #priorities, #the-bible

"Going to Church"

“Going to church” is not a matter of going to the building as some sort of check off list. It is not a matter of “works religion.” Gathering together with the saints is much more than that. The saints in the 1st century did so (Acts 20:7), and Paul exhorted the saints in Corinth to do the same (1 Corinthians 16:1-2; 4:17). Those who love the Lord won’t be any place but where the Lord desires, and for the reasons the Lord desires.

Here are some points for your consideration:

  1. Matthew 16:13-19. Jesus “built” (established) His church.
  2. Ephesians 1:22-23. Jesus is the head of His church, His body.
  3. Ephesians 4:4. There is one body (church).
  4. Ephesians 5:23-32. The church is the saved. Paul wrote to the local body (in Ephesus); he did not delineate between the local, visible, invisible, and/or universal church.
  5. Hebrews 10:19-31. After a lengthy discussion on the differences between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant, the Holy Spirit gives a number of exhortations in this section: a) the saints are to draw near with a true heart (10:22), b) the saints are to hold fast their confession (10:23; cf. Romans 10:9-10), c) the saints are to consider one another (10:24), d) the saints are not to forsake (abandon) the assembling together (10:25); this is your “go to church” if you will. With this in mind: e) to sin willfully is to crucify the Son of God afresh (10:26), f) it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (10:31).

With these things in mind – what’s hard to understand? For one who doesn’t want to understand, maybe it’s the heart that is hard.

#attendance, #church-assemblies, #love, #obedience, #salvation

It’s hard to find something when you’re not looking for it

English: Gentaur schedule

I just can’t find the time to attend the worship services of the church some say. That’s funny, somehow the time is still found to go to work everyday, to go to the movies, to go out to eat, to go and visit with friends and family, to go to the grocery store, to go to the bank, to go and pay the utility bills, to go on vacation, to go outside to cut the grass or work in the garden, to go to the doctor, or to go to the barber or beautician. On and on we could go. So yeah, I guess it’s hard to find something when you’re not looking for it.

Let’s hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, because the one who made the promises is reliable. Let’s also think about how to motivate each other to show love and to do good works. Don’t stop meeting together with other believers, which some people have gotten into the habit of doing. Instead, encourage each other, especially as you see the day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:23-25 – CEB)

#attendance, #excuses, #priorities, #time, #worship

The Lord Sheds a Tear

     When you are on the road traveling and it happens to include a Sunday, do you stop and worship with the Lord’s church in the particular community you are in? Some do not because it is not convenient; some do not because they are not close by; some do not because they did not plan very well; and some do not because their love for the Lord is not all that strong. In fact, it is likely the case in all the reasons offered that one’s love for the Lord is not that strong.

The word “forsaking” in Hebrews 10:25 has to do with abandonment. Some think they can miss the services of the Lord’s church and not be anywhere close to abandonment of the Lord Himself. This is a mistaken notion. If one has chosen to miss (forsake) on that one particular occasion, then abandonment has occurred to that degree. Abandonment is not only an action, but a frame of mind. When we leave the presence of a child (for instance) it is merely the first step toward abandonment.

In this context (Hebrews 10), the saints are to gather together for the express purpose of worshipping the Lord and in order to encourage one another. When one chooses to miss (forsake/abandon) for a vacation, a child’s ballgame, a family picnic, work piling up, or any other number of reasons, who is the one actually hurt in this case? It is not the Lord; the one who misses (abandon/forsakes) is the one who is hurt (more than they know), but it is the Lord who sheds a tear for the one who cares so little.  RT

#attendance, #forsaking, #lord, #tears

Sunday Morning Attendees

Christians mock the Sunday morning attendees for not attending Sunday night or Wednesday night. Not me. I give them reasons why they should attend more often. But, I am glad the are attending on Sunday morning. They are being blessed by being there and serving God. And they, as Christians, are a part of the Lord’s body. Let’s show them some respect.

#attendance, #church, #worship

Background on Hebrews and Context of “the Day” in Hebrews 10:25

Little doubt, the writer of Hebrews, whoever he may be, God knows, is a second generation disciple. The basis for this view is found in Hebrews 2:3 where the writer speak in third person about those who heard him (Jesus). Perhaps it was Barnabas or Apollos, but certainly not Paul. This would push the date of the book later, at least to the mid-sixties.

Much is made in this letter of the continuing sacrifices offered by the the priestly line of Aaron. These formal sacrifices ended in A.D. 70 with the destruction of the temple. It is hard to think the book would be written in this way if these sacrifices had ended, so sometime before the destruction makes sense.

This gives us a date for the book in the fairly narrow range of mid to late sixties. What we see is the date is dependent on the authorship and one of the potential explanations of “the day” in Hebrews 10:25 is dependent on the date. If we could determine the date of the book was after A.D. 70, the siege of Jerusalem by Titus could no longer be considered one of the possibilities for “the day.”

The date does not rule out the razing of Jerusalem by the Romans as a potential explanation for “the day.”  I do believe, however, the context goes a long way toward that end.

The context of Hebrews 10:25 in the verses following suggests a wider audience than just the folks at Jerusalem.  He indicates a judgment, punishment, and vengeance broader and greater than that of the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.   The writer condemns everyone who doesn’t act on the truth and profanes the blood of the covenant.   The sweeping indictments made from verses 26 to 31 are more fitting for an end time scenario than  A.D. 70.

When we view “the day” in verse 25 as a reference to final judgment it makes a good segue into the broad condemnation that follows.  It serves to enhance the warning not to skip out on Sunday services.  Why should we attend?   Well it’s not about brownie points with God though too many Christians treat it that way.  In doing so they miss the main thrust of the warning.    Hear what the writer is emphasizing.  Without the regular, positive influence of fellow Christians we become increasingly vulnerable to sin and the possibility of falling away which will lead to condemnation in final judgment.

#attendance, #book-of-hebrews, #encouragement, #judgment, #the-day

Only Attend on Easter & Christmas?

It is an undeniable fact that some people will only attend worship on Christmas and Easter. We wish they would be more active, realizing the true value of having Christ in their lives (Romans 12:1-2).

They need their sins remitted by the blood of Christ in baptism (Acts 2:37-38; 1  John 1:7). They need to live a life of righteousness, so they can be with Christ for all eternity (Ephesians 4:1; Revelation 2:10). With Christ in their lives, they will have a rudder, to guide them through the dangerous waters of life (Hebrews 13:5).

People cannot hope to be saved if they have no concern for God in their lives 363 days of the year. However, they do show interest in Him for two days a year. That means there is hope!

We might be able to say something that will provoke their interest or prick their heart with the gospel on those two days. They are, in one respect, great days of evangelism. People will hear the gospel that may not be able to hear it any any other time.

Do we look at Christmas and Easter services this way? Maybe not. Quite often, these folks show up two times a year and they are mocked and ridiculed from the pulpit and hear jeers and sneers, as Christian laugh at their presence. Where do we have the authority in Scripture for mocking people who come to worship??

They attend with their minds on Christ and we show them Satan? Maybe we need to repent and reconsider our attitudes. We may not celebrate Christmas and Easter as religious holidays, but we better honor them as days called by the gospel.

#attendance, #christmas, #easter, #holidays, #worship

On the Lord’s Day, I Was. . .at Home

Between lost internet connection for 5 days, tax prep for tax appointment for 3 days, then sick for 4 days and counting, I’ve not been able to post of late. I don’t remember missing church in years, but today I’m home. I think my temp is stabilizing, but coughing and sneezing linger so I was “encouraged” to stay home.

Class should be starting now. They will be finishing up Acts 20 and starting Acts 21. I won’t hear the different viewpoints, discussions and questions nor will I chime in with my thoughts.

One of our young men, a teen, will present the table talk this morning. His first time, I think, and I will miss it. I won’t enjoy the special fellowship of communion today. I will not be a part of the joint singing, prayers, and scripture reading of the assembly. I will miss what I’m sure will be another fine lesson from our preacher, Gary. I was handling this a lot better before I started writing!

How is it some can miss habitually, perhaps only showing up once or twice a month? Why doesn’t it bother them? Maybe, they just don’t think about it. Perhaps they’re not hungry or thirsty enough. Right now I’m ravenous. I feel deprived of my normal spiritual diet. Why don’t they?

What’s with those who operate on the periphery, who are never really involved? As I think of the folks at Eureka who are, at best, sporadic attenders, I’m trying to determine what they have in common besides the obvious factor of not attending regularly.

Are they more easily distracted, is it a lack of commitment to the Lord, or perhaps a simple lack of discipline? As I think of them, to a person, they are pleasant people. Yet one thing they have in common is biblical illiteracy. One in particular often questions God, which is fine, but when given a solid biblical answer, it never seems to satisfy. Maybe this idea of satisfaction is a key. God, for whatever reason, does not satisfy. Therefore, they continue to look for satisfaction in other places. Therefore, they are not driven to assemble with the saints.

I pray today you have found satisfaction in your God. I pray today you have studied, worshipped, and been challenged by a message from God’s Word. I pray today you have not taken for granted the great privilege of assembling with the saints.

.

#attendance, #satisfaction, #worship

Joy

We had more than a dozen visitors tonight. May God be praised! I spoke on Satan’s attacks on Leadership. Actually, we now have had seven people place membership. A total of eleven people when you include families!

#attendance, #church-of-christ