Summary: Something is missing from the church today, and people are starting to notice. Too often the church fails to offer what it advertises: life.
1. Church Attendance
January 3, 2010
Developing a Deeper Community
A husband and his wife woke up one Sunday morning and the wife began to get dressed for church. It was just about time for the service when she noticed her husband wasn’t ready and hadn’t even gotten out of bed. Perplexed, she asked, “Why aren’t you getting dressed for church?” He said, “I don’t want to go.” She asked, “Do you have any reasons?” He said, “Yes, I have three good reasons. First the congregation is cold. Second, no one likes me. And third, I just don’t want to go.” The wife replied, wisely, “Well honey, I have three reasons why you should go. First the congregation is warm. Second, there are a few people there who like you. And third, you’re the pastor! So get dressed!”
I am sure we have all had those days where we wake up on a Sunday morning and just want to stay home. After a long week without enough sleep it can certainly be tempting to just snooze through church, Sunday is after all one of two days you might actually be able to sleep in. I think there are a lot of people who wonder what going to church has to do with having a relationship with God. Haven’t you ever wondered how your church attendance relates to your Spiritual life? For a long time the answer the church gave for this was poor. They bullied and guilt tripped people into being there every week and created this idea that your relationship with God is essentially based on your church attendance. Not only then was there this conception that if you attended church you would be saved but in the eyes of some that was all you needed to do to be saved. People are like a pendulum, when things push to far one way they react by pushing back too far the other way. So in reaction to this incorrect focus on church attendance which improperly connected attendance to salvation people now have begun rebelling against organized religion and going to church at least regularly.
The problem with so many is a priority problem. They get so busy that they allow there relationship with the church to get pushed aside so they can spend more time at the lake, watching movies, working, sleeping in or things of the like. There are those out there who look at the church like another form of entertainment. It is something to do on Sunday morning and if it is more exciting than any other offer I will go but if there is something better then that will be what I do. Some people feel you don’t have to go to church to be a Christian. They are right. You don’t have to go to church to be a Christian any more than a fish has to live in water to be fish. Can a fish still be a fish if it’s not in the water? It sure can, it wont take long for it to be a dead fish but still a fish. A few years ago some statistics were taken that showed 90% of America claims to be Christian. Yet only 39% of American’s claimed to attend church and that was not even necessarily to say their attendance was regular. In our culture there are a great number of Christians who are in the habit of not meeting together. This habit has generated some unnecessary hardships in our lives. Please turn in your Bibles to Hebrews 10:19. In this passage our author is writing to a group of people not all that different from us. It is apparent that there are people in the church then that had begun to slip away from their relationship with the church and were forsaking the community. So our author writes this to them:
Heb 10:19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, Heb 10:20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, Heb 10:21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, Heb 10:22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Heb 10:23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. Heb 10:24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Heb 10:25 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.