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Summary: People sometimes leave their long term commitment with the church for the wrong reasons, or snap decisions that don’t make sense at all. I am going to d

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Thy Will Be Done?

I left the church I grew up in after 50 roller coaster years. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t because of the roller coaster that I left. I learned from that and gained experience and a wonderful knowledge of scripture and the importance of wisdom. It was because of the roller coaster operator who had problems with telling the truth; that was why I left. That is neither here nor there at this point. What I want to share is that in my experience with the church, whether Christians, or people in general, they sometimes leave their long term commitment with the church for the wrong reasons, or snap decisions that don’t make sense at all. I am going to describe the wrong reasons people leave the church. May God’s “will” be done.

If you’re planning to leave your current church to stop attending church altogether, please reconsider this very dangerous step. Very few decisions are more likely to cause long-term spiritual damage than leaving the church. Even for a little while. Because a little while almost always becomes a very long time. Even deciding to ‘see what’s out there’ in other churches can be a dangerous practice. Church-shopping can become church-hopping, which easily leads to church-stopping. Christianity was never meant to be lived in isolation. We need you. You need us. We need each other.

I remember an old story told by an old preacher; it went like this… “There was a fellow in the church who got mad about something that took place within the church. Instead of talking it out and praying about it with the pastor and through council, the ole’ guy just left the church. A few weeks went by and one evening as the ole fellow was sitting in his rocking chair and smoking his pipe, there came a knock at the door. It was the pastor.

Can I come and sit with you awhile? said the pastor. If you’d like, said the ole’ fellow. So in silence, there they sat for about a half hour, neither one saying a word. Then all of a sudden and ember popped out of the fireplace and landed on the floor. It was hot, bright and strong. The two gents just stared at it as it slowly lost its heat, its brightness, and finally went dark. As the pastor looked over at the ole fellow he saw a tear stream down his cheek. The ole fellow looked at the pastor and said, I’ll see you on Sunday.” The moral here is that in the community of the flame (the church) we remain strong like the ember surrounded by the rest, but without our church family we slowly fade getting darker and weak and eventually growing cold.

As we are being fed in the church, the amount we can take in diminishes until we do one thing: start serving. Expecting to grow spiritually by attending church but not participating is like expecting to get physically healthy by eating better but not getting off the couch. In both 1 Corinthians 3 and Hebrews 5 we read about immature believers who wanted more “milk” even though they should have been ready for “solid food.” Often, church members will leave a church because they want meatier sermons. The truth is, most of the time those who are still drinking milk will choke on the meat. But, while sermons can always be better, I don't believe we can ever get spiritual meat from sermons, just milk. What makes something milk is that it’s been through the cow. Someone else has eaten it, chewed it, processed it and fed it to you. Meat is something we ourselves chew on. It requires our work and participation. It must pass through us, individually, for us to benefit from its nutrients. (God’s blessings)


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Jim Ressegieu

commented on Sep 13, 2017

Dear Pastor Gracey: It's 2 a.m. on a Wednesday but I've been awake since 1 a.m. My stomach has been churning and making so much noise and I've been so restless that I got up so as not to wake my wife. I'm within 3 weeks of retirement and the church has been sent a ballot to vote on some issues of change (mainly to go from a full time pastor to part-time or lay-leadership) and a change in worship time. The church chairperson called me last night in tears because she has received phone calls from about 4 or 5 in the congregation saying that if the church doesn't do what they want and what they voted for, they are never going to enter the church again. So I got out of bed, went to my study, got into the Word in First Corinthians chapters 1 & 3, then I went on-line and the first sermon I looked at was yours. And dear Pastor, it was like being given a cup of cold water! I hope you don't mind if I use your sermon, "Thy Will Be Done" as the foundation for my sermon this Sunday...I'm not going to preach on the topic I'd planned...and I'll be praying over this issue that has come up in the last few weeks of my tenure. This little church in southwest Iowa, is my first (and last) to serve as I didn't go to seminary until my late 50's and I'm now 74 years of age. So thank you again! God inspired you to write and it has been a blessing to me. Jim Ressegieu

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