BY: Pastor Jim Carver
It has been a goal of mine to start writing a blog. Recently in worship… I did not even recognize the blog symbol. Tells you how much I am up on this. I do not tweet. Have never done Instagram. And there are other social media formats I don’t know enough about to even name what they are. Fairly recently I got back on Facebook only to find that the “millennials” do not even use it anymore. My own son recently said to me: “I have been off it for awhile and it is so liberating”. Oh well. Here I am at the sunset of my pastoral ministry wanting for this old dog to try a new trick. Then I got to thinking. The Pastor’s Page on our eNews is very similar to a blog. So… that is what I now deem it! Dilly, Dilly. (Better yet, Philly Dilly). I read up on blog rules and found out that with a picture, 1,000 words is ideal. So here are two pictures… and 977 words.
“I don’t need Church. I can worship God in the woods“.
“Hold on thar Baba Louey”
Corporate worship is something God believes is good for us. Consider this scripture:
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some…” Hebrews 10:24-25
By not attending we miss out on God’s primary design for spiritual growth and well-being. Not only are we to sing songs, and hymns and spiritual songs to Praise God, a key aspect of corporate worship is the hearing and the preaching of God’s Word. The proclamation of Scriptures is God’s primary means for a disciple of Jesus to grow in spiritual maturity. When a professing Christian misses church they are missing God’s prescribed process for spiritual growth. Pastor and Author Greg Gilbert says: “At the very least, we have to say that, for every Christian, attendance at church gatherings is not optional. The author of Hebrews—and therefore the Holy Spirit himself—commands Christians to be present when the believers to whom he or she belongs gather.”
By not attending we unintentionally make a statement to the world that God is not worthy of worship. What we spend our time on shows what we truly value. If you miss church in order to sleep in or to attend a sporting activity, what does this say about the worth you ascribe to God? Replacing your church’s regularly scheduled worship time with some other activity demonstrates that God is not actually worthy of your worship; something else is. We demonstrate our priorities by how we spend our money and by how we spend our time.
By not attending we miss out on being able to live out the “59 one another’s” in the New Testament. Serve one another; pray with one another; care for one another; etc. Too often people think that corporate worship is about getting their own spiritual needs met. And therefore if they don’t have any spiritual needs at that time then there is no reason for them to attend. The problem with this view of worship is that it’s too individualistic and self-centered. As Christians, our lives are to be spent serving, helping and encouraging others. Missing church robs you of an opportunity to serve someone other than yourself. If you are gone on Sunday morning you can’t offer a word of encouragement to someone who needs it; you can’t welcome an unbeliever who doesn’t usually come to church; you can’t pray with a fellow member who is suffering; you can’t encourage the other members with your voice during times of corporate singing; you can’t encourage your pastor with your presence while he preaches the sermon he has labored over all week. These are just a few ways you can’t serve if you are absent on Sunday morning.
By not attending worship you skip out on a foretaste of heaven. God created us to worship him. That’s the primary reason you exist. This is why the church was redeemed and this is what God’s people will do when Jesus returns and restores our fallen world. Revelation 22:3 gives a picture of this: “No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him.”
In 1988, three whales became trapped under a sheet of ice near the city of Point Barrow, Alaska. In an attempt to save the whales, rescuers dug a series of breathing holes in the ice leading back to the ocean. Two of the three whales were rescued because they were able to get the oxygen they needed and were guided in the correct direction. Similarly, Sunday morning worship is a like string of breathing holes the Lord provides for his people guiding and sustaining them until they make it to their true home in heaven.
Here is one caveat: There are reasons that truly hinder some from attending. There are circumstances in which it is appropriate and even necessary to miss corporate worship with your church family. Sickness, physical disablement, scheduled work, being out of town to take care of one’s elderly parents are just a few examples. These people get a “pass”. Some of these are the people that we want to visit via our Congregational Care Ministry Team. Consider becoming a part of this team of people who will visit, take home communion to the home bound, and in general care for those who no longer are able to attend.
- Check it out on October 21st at the Ministry Fair.
However, sleeping in, and choosing other priorities: Nope… NO PASS FOR YOU.
The body of Christ is a gift from God. Be a good steward of this gift. Attend Worship on Sunday.
9:15 a.m. – Traditional Worship Service (Sanctuary)
10:30 a.m. – Praise and Worship (Contemporary) Service (Fellowship Center)
(Check church calendar for variations in the normal worship schedule. For example, on October 28, we will all worship during one “blended” service at 10:00 a.m., with the message being delivered by Rev. Tracey Bass, our District Superintendent.)