Summary: We are the body of Christ and members of one another. It takes all of us to make a team for the well-being of the church.

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T – E – A – M

Romans 12:3-8

October 28, 2007

We come today to the third in the series of stewardship messages as we move along toward our Consecration Sunday celebration. Two weeks ago, we talked about our commitment. If you remember, I said that God has made a commitment to us so perhaps it is time that we make a commitment or a recommitment to God.

We talked about the promises you made when you became members of the church. You promised that you would uphold the church with your prayers, your presence, your gifts, and your service. Last week, we talked about prayer and how important it is to the support of the church.

Today we want to launch into the second on the list of commitments; the commitment to support the church through your presence. In other words, it’s about showing up. It’s about making yourself available for corporate worship and study and fellowship, and yes, even committee work.

At the last church I served, there was one young couple who were both graduates of Indiana University. He was a dentist and she was in charge of corporate accounts at Lake City Bank. They were great folks. But I knew that I could never get hold of them on Saturdays between September and December. Wherever Indiana University was playing football, they were there. That was during the time when IU lost many more games than they won. I would often tease them about throwing money away by going to watch losers, but they were not fair weather fans. Whether it was in rain or shine, in sunny weather or stormy skies, in the heat of September or the cold of late November, they were always in their seats down at Memorial Stadium.

I don’t know who wrote this, but I found a list of reasons why one person quit going to football games. Here are his top ten.

• The band always played songs he didn’t know

• He could stay home and watch the games on television

• He played when he was in Junior High School and disagreed with the way they coach now

• His parents made him go to football games when he was a kid, so he was going to let his own kids decide for themselves

• They were always asking for money when he went to the stadium

• Sometimes you have to stay late because the game goes into overtime

• It was always either too hot or too cold

• People at the game are unfriendly and didn’t speak to him when he went

• They keep changing things. They change the stadium, the uniforms, the plays, and the coaches. He just didn’t like change, so he wasn’t going to go

I don’t know if any of those excuses sound familiar or not, but I’ve heard every single one of them from folks talking about their church participation. Have you ever used one of those to try to justify your own non-participation? Do you know anyone who has?

Let me give you just five reasons why your presence in church is important. Reason number one is strictly utilitarian. From a cost vs. benefit perspective, you live longer when you go to church. So for no other reason than you want to beat the life-expectancy odds, church is a good place to be.

In general, people who attend worship services one or more times each week live about eight years longer than those who never attend religious services. Actuarial studies reveal that people who never attend church live to about 75, while those who attend services at least once a week live to an average age of 83. So, even if it is for selfish reasons, it seems as though church is a good place to be.

The literature also suggests that people who attend religious services are healthier than those who do not. They are less likely to smoke and/or drink excessive amounts of alcohol.

The second reason why your presence is important has to do with the fact that we were created to live in community. As you know, I am fifty-four years old, and still continue to frustrate my parents from time to time. They especially get frustrated with me every summer – although they have pretty much given up – because I never go to family reunions. They don’t seem to understand that we can’t get to the Lovell reunion in Goshen or the Carmer family reunion in Auburn by noon on Sunday. Besides, the way both sides of my family eat, the food is pretty much gone by 12:30 anyway.

But my mom and dad are right in one way. Family is important. If the family is healthy, members will see each other on a regular basis. The same is true of God’s people. That is why God didn’t stop with Adam. We were created to be together, to live and work together, and to worship and serve together.

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