“And the angel said to me, ‘Write this:
Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper
of the Lamb.’ And he said to me,
‘These are the true words of God.’”
I’m encouraged to have heard from a couple people that noticed I haven’t written in a couple days. That tells me that I’m connecting to at least some people. The way I look at it, if my message can make a difference in even one person’s life, it’s worth it. The cool thing about that is that diving into the Word of God encourages me, so it’s worth it even if nobody else reads it. Just so you know, I write M-F provided I’m in my office. I can’t remember a day I didn’t write because I haven’t felt like it. There have been times that I forgot to hit the “Send” button, but that comes with getting old.
It’s also been encouraging that lately Melissa and I have had several opportunities to share about our home church we attend. I hesitate to say “my” church because it really is “our” church. Quite unintentionally, others have brought up difficulties they have had in church, both current and former churches. In particular, there seems to be a lot of pain with people who have left a church. Frankly, there is certainly no shortage of people who have left a church and are dismayed that nobody cared enough to call and ask why.
It breaks my heart to hear these stories. Since it has happened to me, I personally know that there is truth to them. This shouldn’t be so, and I’ll tell you why. You can bet that at the local American Legion, where regulars sit and drink alcohol and gamble every day, that if one of them missed a few days, maybe even one, that somebody would check in on them to make sure they are alright.
I’m right about this, and we all know it. Yet, someone can leave a fired-up, bible-believing church and nobody takes the time to actually check in on that person. It’s a shame. Heathens care more about their own than Christians. If you think I’m exaggerating about that, then you haven’t talked to people who have left. I mean really talk to them.
This shouldn’t be so. Jesus wasn’t giving us an optional command when he said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35) Jesus is talking to the church ABOUT the church. How can a family leave a church, and NOBODY even calls to find out why?
Now, before you go and think that this would never happen in YOUR church, think again. It already has. I think you know that.
Honestly, I think this is a systemic problem once a church gets to a certain size. You know what I’m talking about – at some point people become numbers rather than humans. That’s not to say that tiny churches don’t have problems; bigger churches simply cannot avoid it. Church as we know it isn’t a place for regular interaction; it’s a place for spectators to listen to choreographed performances. Yes, the gospel may be the message, but do we see it in how we love one another? Those old guys in the Legion love one another, too, you know.
We’re supposed to be DIFFFERENT than the rest of the world. Yes, the love the Legion guys have is good, but drinking booze and gambling isn’t. Yes, we speak of Jesus at church, but we don’t love one another like it really matters. Folks, we are going to have differences, even disputes, but the bible commands us to resolve our issues and shows us how to do this. There simply is no reason someone leaves a church without us intentionally, deliberately, and purposefully seeking them out. Yes, they may never come back, but not because you didn’t try. And, honestly, the person that left may be pointing to big problems in the church that need to be fixed.
Having said all that, we, in our small, home church, regularly assess how we are doing. Are we meeting our needs? What can we do better? We do this in comparison to what we see are biblical instructions for the church. I’ve posted these before, but you might be interested to see them again in light of today’s discussion:
• Wait & Watch for Jesus to Return. Matt. 24:42-47
• Equip and Build. Eph. 4:11-16
• Be holy as God is holy. Col. 1:22, 1 Peter 1:15-16, Matt 5:48, Eph. 5
• Make Disciples/Reconciliation. Matt. 28:18-20, 2 Cor. 5:18
• Study Scripture. Psalm 1
• Tithe. Malachi 3:10, Prov. 3:9-10, Prov. 11:24
• Sabbath Rest. Ex. 20:8-11
• Break Bondages. John 8:36
• Prayer. James 5:16
• Lord’s Supper. 1 Cor. 11:23-26
• Love One Another. John 13:34-35
Father, guide us. We want to be like Jesus. Please help us. Amen.
Copyright © 2019 Scott Powers