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Debby Bailey

 
 

 

Innumerable thoughts pass through our minds everyday. Do you ever have a thought that keeps repeatedly coming to mind? Me too. I want to take some time to reflect on one in particular.

In the past few months I have had a couple of conversations with someone who used to attend our fellowship. This person has expressed to me that they feel they have learned more about Jesus Christ and become more of a Christian by reading and studying on their own than they ever did coming to church. They don*t attend any church at this time and don*t feel they need to do so.

From the time I was a little girl, I can remember my parents sending me to Sunday school. Just after I turned 13 we started attending the Worldwide Church of God. We went to church every weekend, missing was not an option. I realize that under our beliefs at the time, strict church attendance was expected. Now that we have been brought into the glorious light of the new covenant by our Lord and Savior, church attendance, to some seems to have become optional or a matter of convenience. Are there ramifications if we choose this option? This has made me ask myself: "Why do I attend church?"

First and foremost what comes to mind is Hebrews 10:24-25, which says: 24) Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds. 25) Not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.

Personally, I need the fellowship of people who are Christians to encourage me, to stimulate me to love others, and to inspire me to do good deeds. Most importantly, at church I am reminded of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of my sins and His love for me. It is my appreciation of His forgiveness and my love for Him that is the basis of my love for others. If my primary associations are with "good people" who have no interest in God, then how are they going to motivate me to have a closer walk with Jesus Christ? Attending church inspires me to serve, reminds me whom I serve and why, and shows me who God would have me serve.

I don*t believe God just wants me to see who has a physical need, take care of it and then go on to the next person. God cares about those things, but I believe His primary concern is our spiritual well-being. In order to be able to help in this way, I have to know a person on a more intimate level; then through that friendship and the living example of God*s peace in my own life, God can use me to minister to the hurting individual. In what better environment can this be accomplished than in church where we see each other week after week. We get to know one another and over time develop a bond of trust.

In the busyness of life, it is difficult to find time for God. I can imagine how much more difficult it would be if I did not designate a specific day to worship Him. Attending church keeps God in my focus more than just the one day. Church is my catalyst for the next week. Personally, if I were to stay home and study on my own, without the teaching, support and stimulation of a body of believers I would soon lose my motivation and become stale. The cares of life would consume me and God would be pushed further and further from my thoughts to the point I would no longer have time for Him.

Revelation 3:15-16 says: 15) I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I would that you were cold or hot. 16) So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. Every time I read these verses, I find the same message there. Regardless of the context, the message God gives me is that He wants me to be an active, involved Christian. He hates mediocrity. If I am committed to Him and I love Him, then I am to be zealous; be in church: and serve Him with the talent and ability He has given me with every fiber of my being.