Why go to church? Why is it important for Christians to not only go to church but to be actively involved in a church? One of the obvious reasons is because of Jesus. In Ephesians 5:25 Paul gives the example of husbands loving their wives as Christ loved the church. How does Jesus demonstrate this love? He gave Himself up for the church (Ephesians 5:25). He died for the church. He prays for the church (John 17). He established the church (Matthew 16:18).
The church is more than a gathering place or a building. The church is the body of believers who gather together on a regular basis and exalt Jesus by teaching through the Bible. The church is the gospel made visible.
What Is Church About?
- The church is about Jesus Christ.
Jesus is the reason why we meet together at church. He is it. It is for Him to be known and proclaimed. Jesus is the motivation for why we get up on Sunday to meet with other Christians. Because of Jesus we have more in common as believers than anyone else.
Jesus is proclaimed through the worship service and the faithful teaching of God’s Word. Jesus Christ is proclaimed when we live out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19). When we make church not about us but about the reaching of the lost, we can encourage each other as we evangelize.
- The church is about people.
As mentioned above, the church is the body of believers coming together to worship Jesus through songs and teaching and giving—we need to understand that church is about people. Paul exhorts the church in Ephesus with these words:
“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:1–3 ESV).
We are called to be with other believers in unity. The church is about people and when you make it about others, it is hard for you to make church about you. Church needs to consist of other people—male and female, young and old. That is why church is unique. We have one focus and one purpose: Jesus Christ.
- The church is about sinners being redeemed.
The church is made up of people who have sinned and now are forgiven. The church is made up of flawed individuals who are not perfect. But, the church rallies around the fact that believers are sinners who have been redeemed.
The church cares about the redemption of mankind by giving opportunities for people to repent publicly of their sin and follow Jesus. Every believer’s goal should be to encourage each other with the gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ. That is why discipleship is so important. When we make church about others we help the Christian walk of other believers and apply what Paul said in Galatians 6:1–2, “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch over yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burden, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (ESV).
The church is not about me but about God and His glory. When I realize that I am called to meet together with other believers and that it is not about me (Hebrews 10:23–25), I actually grow and gain from the church.
Back to the question, “Why church?” Because of what Jesus has done for me and the church, His bride, whom He loves and died for. The church is where I get together with my brothers and sisters in Christ, where we are united with our purpose—the gospel.
I love the church and I love my church!
My wife and I have the opportunity to attend a marriage conference. The conference is a little over seventy miles away from where we live and I drive an electric vehicle. The range on my car is a little over one hundred miles but that is if you drive at a reasonable speed (which means under the speed limit) and it is completely flat (which it was not) and there is no wind (which there was a lot). When I placed the address of the conference in the cars navigational system it said we would not make it on a single charge and would need to find a place to charge along the way. We took the cars advice, found a free charging station along they way, and sat and waited a little to charge the car enough to get us the rest of the way.
Marriage and electric vehicles have something in common. You need power to drive an electric vehicle just like you need Jesus Christ at the center of your marriage to glorify God in it.
Continue reading “Marriage and Electric Vehicles”
A lesson on Forgiveness:
Corrie ten Boom is a world changer. She lived in one of the darkest times of humanity yet was able to be a light shining bright for Jesus Christ. Her life shouts what forgiveness is in Christ and how we can forgive others because we have been forgiven of much.
Corrie ten Boom was born in the beautiful country of Holland. Her father was a watchmaker and life was good for the ten Boom family.
Her parents raised her and her siblings in the ways of the Lord. At age five, Corrie came to faith. Family worship was consistent in the home. Many of the lessons she would learn in family worship would impact her and prepare her and her siblings for what awaited them. Her father taught them that there is love that one needs to have for God’s people, which would later motivate the ten Boom family as they worked with the underground network to save Jews from the Germans.
Continue reading “World Changer Wednesday- Corrie Ten Boom (1892-1983)”
The Great Awakening took place across two continents (America and Europe). There are a few names that come to mind with the Great Awakening; John and Charles Wesley, Jonathan Edwards, and George Whitfield are among them. When you read the account of Whitefield you are amazed at what he was able to accomplish with the limited technology of the time. It would seem impossible or supernatural. Harry Stout writes that “by 1750 virtually every American loved and admired Whitfield and saw him as their champion.” It has been said that by the time Whitfield died, 80% of the people in the American Colonies heard Whitefield in person at least once in their lifetime (this is before TV or radio)—fascinating! Eric Metaxes attributes to Whitefield the success of American Independence. He states that without the Great Awakening there would be no revival and no revolution. There would be no America as we know it. No one in church history has been able to rally people like George Whitfield and he was used by God for the sake of the gospel as a world changer.
Continue reading “World Changer Wednesday-George Whitefield (1714-1770)”
What room holds the power at church? Is it the room where decisions are made? Is it the office where things get done? Is it the sanctuary where the pulpit stands? No, the room that holds the power is the room where there is prayer for the church! When visitors would come to the nineteenth century pastor, C. H. Spurgeon’s church he would show them the room that has the power, it was the room where Christians would gather faithfully and pray for the church. He called it the “boiler room”
E. M. Bounds so prophetically in his book The Power Through Prayer,
“What the Church needs to-day is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more and novel methods, but men whom the Holy Ghost can use — men of prayer, men mighty in prayer. The Holy Ghost does not flow through methods, but through men. He does not come on machinery, but on men. He does not anoint plans, but men — men of prayer.”
Continue reading “The Room that Powers it All!”
What do you get when you put Indiana Jones, John the Baptist, and a missionary together? You get John G. Paton. A man who was willing to go to an island where the missionaries before him went and were killed and eaten by the islanders within hours of their landing. If ever there has been an autobiography that read like an adventure novel, it is that of John G. Paton. Though his account is exciting to read, his faith despite difficult situations and his love for Jesus stand far above the adventure. He begins his autobiography by saying, “What I write here is for the glory of God” and truly his life was one lived for God’s glory.
Continue reading “World Changer Wednesday-John G. Paton”
I just picked up my copy of J. C. Ryle’s autobiography printed by Banner of Truth. I love the writings of Ryle. Though I have not ready everything by him,I hope to one day. One of his books that have impacted me more so than many other books is his book Holiness. I have read Iain H. Murray’s biography on Ryle, Prepared to Stand Alone and am drawn to Ryle. I love his insight and though he lived in the nineteenth century his writings still have weight today. I look forward to reading this book and giving a review once I finish.
I like books, more specifically I like biographies on Christians. I am drawn to reading about men and women who have gone before me. The author of Hebrews writes, “We are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12:1).” The author was referring to those mentioned in chapter eleven, the “hall of faith” chapter. But, I also believe it is referring to the believers who have gone before us in church history. I find myself as if I am a fly on the wall of their lives. I am drawn in, seeing their lives, God’s plan for them unfolding before me. Granted, when you read a biography it can somewhat be biased but a good biographer will share the good and the bad of that person. I am thankful that the Bible does that. It shares the flaws and the faith of those who are the examples before us. Ultimately they are pointing to Jesus in their lives and we should desire the same thing. You learn from them. You are inspired by them. You are thankful to God for them.
Let me encourage to read the lives of the saints before us. Let it be fan to your flame of faith and we can learn from them. Let the Lord use it to inspire you, challenge you, and encourage you. What Christians have impacted you and why? Please share, I would love to hear from you!
The Word of God Changes Us – Martin Luther
At our church, Harvest Christian Fellowship, Pastor Greg has started a series called World Changers. It is an in-depth look at Hebrews 11, the hall of faith chapter in the Bible. Through this series we get to study many different men and some women mentioned in the Bible who had great faith. The Bible mentions so many world changers, which we get excited to study, and we also know of countless other world changers throughout church history. I love the fact that God uses ordinary people and does extraordinary things. Every Wednesday we will be spending a few hundred words talking about a world changer in church history.
Martin Luther 1483–1546
October 31 is known by many as Halloween but it is also a day called Reformation Day. It is a day that the church remembers what took place almost 500 years ago with a man who was strong in his conviction about what the Bible says.
Continue reading “World Changer Wednesday: Martin Luther”
There is no ignoring Halloween. It is everywhere you go; from the store to your neighbor’s house, some form of decoration is pointing to Halloween. It is one of the most marketed days of the year. There are many arguments to how a Christian should view Halloween. Should we fight against it, ignore it, or should we embrace it? I don’t know if the answer is that simple. You can’t just overlook the fact that there are some demonic sides to Halloween; it is pretty blatant. There are arguments about the evil background and history of Halloween. On the other side is that the starting of Halloween was “All Saints Day” to remember the martyrs who have been killed for their faith and then through history this holiday merged with heathen practices.
As a parent you can research the history of Halloween, but ultimately there needs to be wisdom because each parent stands with their conscience before God in how they view Halloween.
Here are a few thoughts on a parent’s approach to Halloween.
1) Be cautious and wise.
There are some parents who don’t have a problem with their children participating in Halloween and they exercise wisdom and discernment. For example, they allow their children to wear a fun, innocent costume. They don’t see candy as something bad (just in moderation).
As a parent who allows their children to participate, you want to use wisdom by not letting your children be around something evil or scary so you pick which house is good to go to and which houses are not. We do live in a day and age when you need to be careful of strangers and you also know that you are called to protect your children.
Some parents may choose to participate in other ways. For example, they may bring their children to a church-run event such as the Harvest Fest. This limits what their children will be around and with whom. There are many places that are safe for kids to have fun, dress up, and have some candy.
There may be some parents who do not want their children participating in something that they view is spiritually compromising. I respect the family that makes a stand that their children are not participating in Halloween activities. A parent that takes this stand needs to communicate with their children about why they are making that stand, knowing that they will have questions from other people.
2) Teach your children.
Everything is a teaching moment. Though Halloween may have some superstitious backgrounds, as a parent you are not approaching Halloween that way. There is nothing inherently evil with dressing up for fun or eating candy. If you have toddlers this may happen every day (maybe not the candy part)! What matters is our approach as parents. Teach them that we follow the Word of God, that there are evil spirits and the devil, and he is not more active on Halloween than any other day of the year. What a great reminder for us to know that Jesus Christ is greater in us than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4). Jesus is King and Lord and He has dominion and power over evil.
3) It is a day that you can use to witness to people who come knocking on your door.
You can choose to turn the lights off at your house or you can look at giving candy and talking to parents of kids as an opportunity. This is a great opportunity that you can use and be a light during a dark time. You can pass out witnessing tracts and candy. You can be friendly and start conversations with other parents.
On a day that points to death and despair, we have the gospel message of eternal life and hope. We should look at this as a perfect opportunity to share Jesus Christ with others!
Personal Note: I understand that not everyone will do what we do, nor do I expect that, but you may be curious how my family approaches Halloween.
We allow our children to dress up in something fun and innocent. We, in past years, have dressed up as a whole family. We communicate to our children that they can dress up and have candy. We invite family and friends as we go to Harvest for the Harvest Fest, where they have a great time, hear the gospel, and meet with the church family. We then spend some time in our neighborhood as I want us to use the opportunity to meet our neighbors and be somewhat present to them. I try to encourage our children that we can have fun but there are also dark and scary things about Halloween—but they are of God and have overcome those things, for “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4 NKJV).
Continue reading “How Should a Parent Approach Halloween?”
What are some things that make you say, “That was awesome”? Maybe it is standing on the beach and watching the waves crash, hearing the thunderous sound and feeling the cool spray of the ocean’s mist on your face. Maybe it is sitting in an airplane and looking out the window at 40,000 feet and seeing how big the world is as you fly high above the ground. Maybe it is looking up at night and seeing the moon in the sky like a big pizza pie and the stars and everything that displays God’s handiwork. You can’t help but say, Awesome! These are just a glimpse or a snapshot of God’s glory and power.
Why is it important for us to be reminded of God’s glory? Continue reading “Being in Awe of God”