Attending church can be a challenge, can’t it?
Sunday morning may be our only chance to sleep in.
Worship services may take a big bite out of our free time. Going to church can take away precious recreation time.
Maybe we are also just a bit concerned that if we go, someone will put pressure on us to change our lives in ways we really don’t want to change right now. Maybe later, but not now.
Not only that, there may quite a few people at church who are hypocrites. Many go to try to impress God or to try to impress other people or to drum up business or to keep someone in their family happy. These may not be the most pleasant kind of people to hang out with.
Also, unfortunately, there are many churches out there that are quite disappointing. They may have lost their excitement and enthusiasm for worshipping God. They may have devolved into a feeble attempt to keep a few givers happy so the pastor can get his check. They may be too cowardly to take a stand on controversial issues. At some time in the past they may have lost their real reason for existing. Their services may be truly boring or truly trite and trivial.
Vickie and I almost never miss a Sunday morning or Sunday evening service at our church (Sevier Heights Baptist Church in Knoxville).
We travel over an hour (one-way!) in order to get there. And we love it so much that it is definitely a “downer” to think of having to miss a service!
Are we giving up a chance every week to sleep in? Yup!
Does it take out a big bite of what we might otherwise think of free time? Sure does!
Are there people who attend SHBC who are hypocrites? or who attend for the wrong reasons? Probably!
So why do we do it?
Do we do it because we think God might get mad and punish us if we don’t? Absolutely not!
Do we do it because we feel a need to impress someone in the church or in our community? No way!
Actually, we could offer several reasons.
Here’s one: The most gracious, loving, intelligent, thoughtful, encouraging, supportive people we have ever known… we have met in church.
Here’s another: Going to church makes us think. Being involved in worship and small group Bible study helps keep our minds sharp.
Also, going to church is a great incentive for us to get out of our ruts. It causes us to lift our eyes and minds above the day-to-day routine, the difficulties of life, and the silliness of the media. It provides opportunity to focus on what life really is all about at heart… instead of the superficial stuff that tends to consume us.
Going to church helps us improve our understanding of just what God is really like. It helps us get His perspective on life.
Going to church gives us a fabulous opportunity to lift our hearts and voices with others to worship our Creator God, Who, because of our Lord Jesus Christ, is also our Heavenly Father.
Going to church changes us. It has an impact on our lives that leads to an overflowing of joy, peace, and confidence in God’s provision and care, even when things around us are going badly awry. It also makes us more caring, understanding, loving individuals toward the many kinds of people God brings into our lives.
Going to church reminds us that this life is brief and that we are not what it’s all about! It reminds us that there is a vast eternity just ahead for which God is preparing us to bring great glory to Him!
I should probably point out that the mere act of going to church is not what causes these things to happen. I’m really talking about what can happen while we are attending church… if we have teachable spirits and are open to God.
Of course, I could go on and on.
But let me emphasize one more thing. True worship will never be boring or a drudge! True worship will be the most fun you ever had! When we gather at Sevier Heights Baptist Church, week after week, and stand to worship God together, it is an incredible spiritual high! It’s exciting! It’s truly fun! The joy just spills over everywhere as we praise and worship Him with one voice.
If you have quit going to church because it seemed dead and boring, trust me… you were either in the wrong church or you had a rotten attitude! There are some truly exciting churches out there if you will just take some time to find them!
When we first began to attend Sevier Heights and mentioned to someone how far we drive to church, they said, “A church alive is worth the drive!” And we said, “Amen!”
Once you find the church that God has designed you for, you will wonder, “What took me so long?”
Hey! Here’s a radical thought… Sunday is only a few days away! Go to church!
And stay in the battle!