Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Why I Go To Church

I didn't come from a family of church goers.  I found God through my best friend Jim growing up--his family were believers, and they didn't miss church.  I'd often spend the night there on Saturday nights, and you can bet we all went to church on Sunday morning.  Without fail.  And I liked it.  It was my first exposure to God, the Holy Bible, and the church.  And it was then that I became a lifelong student of the Bible, and a believer.  After six or seven years of tagging along to church with my friend's family, one Sunday morning when the call went out, I stepped forward.  My friend Jim's father baptized me that Sunday--that was about 35 years ago and in many ways the beginning of my life.

I continued to attend that little church until I enlisted, and after I was done with Uncle Sam, I joined a larger church and worshiped there for many years--I was in the choir, played the piano, attended Bible study, and even taught Sunday school when somebody was out sick.  Since then I've attended a number of churches, but I haven't really found a church home since I left my last church.  I've been looking for a traditional church--a good preacher, and a good weekly message.  And a congregation full of good caring Christian believers.  And if I decide to wear a shirt and tie on Sunday morning like I'm accustomed to, I don't feel like I'm grossly overdressed.  And I don't need a concert or a show on Sunday mornings, and that's what many churches seem to offer--I'm not saying that's right or wrong, it just doesn't work for me.  I was beginning to think the kind of church I was looking for no longer existed.

Several months ago, I decided to attend a church I'd known about for years--not ten minutes from my house.  Growing up I'd spent a lot of time in that church because that was home to my Cub Scout/Boy Scout Troop.  For some reason I'd never thought about going to church there.  I should have.  I've been going every Sunday, and I like that congregation.  It's traditional.  Good sermon.  Good piano player.  And I know every song in the hymnal.  And wearing a tie, while it isn't mandatory, certainly isn't out of place either.

So why do I think going to church is important?  I'll give you just three reasons (there's many more).

To Hear The Word

It's not enough to read the Bible--it's important to learn what it means.  A good preacher or pastor can do that.  That's the job.  Learn the Bible, and teach others how to apply the words to their life.  Explain the lessons that the stories in the Bible are meant to teach.  To help illuminate God's plan for our lives.

Iron Sharpens Iron

When you worship with others who share your beliefs, you learn from each other.  You give some to others and you get some from others.  Through our shared experience we find mentors--Christians who have been down the path you're on many years earlier.  We grow stronger together.  God did not intend for us to worship alone, nor did He mean for us to travel down life's path alone.

It Is What Jesus Did

It was the habit of Jesus to go to the temple, where he often preached.  Luke 14:6 says, "Jesus went back to Nazareth, where he’d been brought up and as usual he went to the meeting place on the Sabbath."  It was the custom of Jesus to go to the local place of worship, and to observe the Sabbath.  As followers of Christ, we should do as Christ did, and go to the place of worship and worship with other believers.  Jesus said himself in Mathew 18:20, "For where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am among them."

There are a lot of good reasons to go to church and worship together, and a lot of it has to do with fellowship.  God meant for us to be together in worship--reading your Bible is great and watching a television preacher is sometimes inspirational as well, but to really live in the way we were intended to live, we should do that together with people that share our beliefs.

Like a friend of mine said recently, "watching a television preacher and saying you've been to church for the week,is like bragging about how many Facebook friends you have.  You don't make lifelong friends "liking" pictures of somebody's dog on social media, and you don't find the fullness of God's plan for your life watching a 20-year-old rerun of a Billy Graham crusade on television."

So this Sunday, think about going to church.  Perhaps you haven't been for a long time.  Maybe you've never been to church.  Maybe you don't even have a church.  Find a good Bible-based church, and just walk right in.  There's a good chance you'll find more there than you think.

~Todd E. Creason

(originally published 11/29/18)

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