You might notice that I went “dark” for a while on my post. No worries, moving just took over our lives for a couple of weeks. Haha! While I have been working on a longer post that I think you will enjoy, this one just flew out through me. I say through me because this was not on my radar to post any time soon. Sure, I have thought about it, but honestly, it’s a little deep when you’re less than 5 blog posts in. I actually woke up at 6:00 this morning with this deep conviction to write this. If you know me at all, you will understand what waking up early on my own like this means!
Christianity seems very controversial these days. I’m sure you’ve seen the media. There are Christians who have made us shake our head at their behavior or Facebook posts (sometimes both!) or people (and I have heard this one before) say, “do they really believe in Jesus?”. I do want to clarify that remark by saying that you can not tell if a person has trusted in Jesus Christ for eternal life by the way they life their life. We should be living out our Christian life as Philippians 2:12 says (which is a Christian life passage, not a salvation passage), but that is not the case with each person that has trusted in Jesus Christ for eternal life. With all that is going on, we as Christians need to be trained and equipped. Where does this training and equipping happen you ask? Well, the church of course! The church is where we come as believers to be trained and equipped to go out into our community and BE the church. To make disciples and to train them. The Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20), which says “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” It will be really hard to fulfill this commission if you don’t know how to evangelize (share the gospel and the response to the gospel) and to train them (teach them the Bible since that’s our job, not just a pastor).
Even before Covid hit our nation, we were missing a lot of our fellow believers in the seat next to us at church. I have talked to a few people, seen some Facebook and Instagram posts, and have even had to persevere through some of these next things I am going to write to you about.
Church is hard. Church was hard for me when in college I made the transition to start attending church. It was hard when we had tiny babies (3 different times) that were up every 2 hours nursing through the night and I was a zombie come Sunday morning. It was hard coming to church knowing I was just going to spend the entire service sitting in the rocking chair nursing that baby through service, or changing that babies clothes that just had a blow out. It was hard when I had a child who HATED the nursery for what seemed like a million years which realistically was only about 5 months, but as a I walked the church halls with him, or took him to the playground to keep quiet, it seemed so much longer. It was hard last Sunday when my kids were having a hard time listening to me to get dressed and one of them was telling me they didn’t want to go to church. Church is hard. It is hard at many stages. But I promise you, it’s worth it. It’s worth it when your three year old has all 66 books of the Bible memorized, when they are memorizing 10,20,30, etc. verses and putting those into action. It’s worth it when they decide to give their lemonade stand money (with no prompting) to missions who they know work on getting other little kids their ages to come to church. It’s worth it when someone apologizes to them and they say “I forgive you” because they have learned what forgiveness looks like and what it means. It’s important because God says it is. We want our kids to be obedient, listen to what we say, be kind and loving friends, to stand up to injustice, to be a good person. But, what are we doing to foster that? Are we bringing our kids to church on a regular basis where they are getting this instruction? Are we letting our kids be taught the things of this world? I promise you, if we are not teaching our children the correct things, they will be taught the incorrect and bad things of “the world”. Are we ourselves coming to church to understand our role so we can then model it to them outside of the church walls as we are being the church? Are we coming to church to use the gifts, talents, and abilities that we received the moment that we believed (not sure what your spiritual gift/gifts are? You can take an inventory here to get you started: https://www.stillwaterbible.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Spiritual-Gifts-Inventory.pdf)? Do we know how to share a clear gospel message with believers and unbelievers (that does not include “walk down and isle”, “give your life to Jesus”, “make Jesus lord of your life” “repent from sin”, “be baptized” etc... Sorry if I just made you spit out your Saturday morning coffee, but these things are not found in the Bible for salvation!)? Are we attending a church that is teaching scripture and not pulling a passage out of the Bible and teaching it to fit what they need to say, only for motivation, or out of context? I have been there as well. A Christian who trusted in Jesus Christ for eternal life who never started growing until 18 years later. If you asked me to share the gospel, I literally would have run the other way! How awful is that!? It was because I was not equipped or had not been trained to do that. It is so important to find a church who teaches the Bible and will help you grow in your Christian life.
You might be thinking this is all great, but the church is full of hypocrites, or I’ve been hurt by church members in the past. The people are the church. We are new creations in Christ who are fighting the flesh every day with a goal of living in the power of the Holy Spirit. The church is not perfect, the people are not perfect and we will all make mistakes. I am sure that I have hurt church members before and I know that I have been hurt before. But, let us not forget why we are coming to church. Are we going to let a quarrel keep us from growing in the grace and knowledge of our LORD and savior, Jesus Christ? I pray that the circumstances on the side our our journey would not knock us off our path.
When Covid hit and we went to online services, how amazing that we have the technology to be able still be able to worship, give, and be taught through that platform! However, let us not become complacent to only attend church online. We miss you at church. The church needs you. We miss your kids. We miss you using your gifts, talents, and abilities. We love seeing you in the community, and we want to see you back at church. To fellowship, to be encouraged, to grow together because the work for The Kingdom doesn’t stop.
Managing the Morrises