July 7, 2017
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25 (NIV)
I looked at those cute first- and second-graders and proclaimed, “Lettuce not give up meeting together!”
Well, that isn’t exactly how the Bible reads, but it was a memorable way to introduce the verse to my daughter Lucy’s class at church.
“It doesn’t say lettuce!” they giggled.
I proceeded to share the verse correctly, but to this day, Lucy will remember the verse if I give her the prompt, “Lettuce … ”
Whether you’re in second grade like my daughter or in your 90s, the church is an essential place for God’s people to meet together regularly. But I know many people — and possibly you do, too — who say things like:
“I can read the Bible and pray at home. I don’t need a church to be spiritual.”
“I’ve been hurt by the church and I won’t go back.”
“People in the church are hypocrites.”
Yet, the church, for better or worse, is the bride of Christ. The New Testament doesn’t give church as an option for the believer. We are told to meet together and not give up on assembling as some did. Apparently, some Christ-followers who once went to church had stopped for one reason or another. Perhaps they were led away by false teachers as the Apostle Paul warns about in Acts 20:29-30.
In today’s fast-paced society, weekly church attendance can be sacrificed for sports, weekend getaways or just extra sleep. We can listen to a sermon online and sing a worship song and think that’s enough.
But that isn’t enough.
Before I became a mom, I worked for an international radio and television ministry which is heard on more than 2,000 radio stations and accessible to 200 million homes. Often, the Bible teacher would say, “Make sure you get to your local church this weekend. This broadcast is not a substitute for church.”
If you can’t get to church because of illness or physical limitations, praise God for ministries that can come into your home to encourage your faith through radio, television or the Internet. But if you’re able to leave your home, commit to being part of a local church. Whether it’s a handful of people meeting in a living room or thousands in an auditorium, we are instructed to gather.
Part of becoming a Christian is being united with other believers as brothers and sisters in one family. We are to minister and work together in community. We become stronger when each member contributes his or her gifts. We experience the healthiest kind of peer pressure when other believers spur us on to love and good works.
I began going to church in elementary school. My parents brought me whenever the doors opened: Sunday mornings, Sunday nights, Wednesday nights. If there was an evangelist or missionary speaking for special weeknight meetings, we were there, too.
Some nights, I would pretend to be sick so I could stay home and watch television instead. But most of the time, I was glad to be in God’s house. I credit my parents for instilling in me the good, healthy and blessed habit of going to church.
As the Day of the Lord’s return draws nearer, we are to be even more diligent about meeting together. Since we will be gathered together as the Church in heaven, we would be wise to begin working together here on earth.
It isn’t possible to live fully as a Christian in isolation.
We need one another. When one is weak, the other can be strong. Being in a body of believers helps us stay faithful to God and His Word. So, “lettuce” never give up gathering with one another.
Lord, thank You for placing me in a family of believers called the church. May I be an active member in my local congregation. Help me bless others and bring comfort and encouragement to whomever needs it in the family of faith. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Ephesians 2:19, “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household.” (NIV)
Do you believe that God has a great plan for you? In Sharon Jaynes’ book, Take Hold of the Faith You Long For: Let Go, Move Forward, Live Bold, you’ll learn how to let go of past hurts and disappointments and take hold of sure-footed confidence to embrace God’s amazing plan for you.
Visit Arlene Pellicane’s blog today to read her post, “7 Questions to Consider When Looking for a Church.”
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Are you an active member of a local church? If so, how might you encourage someone in church this weekend? If not, what is preventing you from attending regularly?
© 2017 by Arlene Pellicane. All rights reserved.