I occasionally am inspired to write expository entries on all my blogs on the topic of Christianity and specifically God-given epiphanies and outright sermons (if you will) concerning faith. I hope I never come across as preaching heavily although given that my stance is basically fundamental by nature I'm sure it is unavoidable on certain points. I am not here to judge anyone and the Bible states pretty clearly "judge not lest ye be judged." I always keep that in mind when I write something I feel so strongly about- enough to write about it and post it on my blogs.
That being said, the following is my feeling about regular church attendance and why I think it's necessary for many but may be redundant for a few. There are a lot of variables here, so hear me out:
I don't know how many churches I've attended now and I've decided not to turn this into a mathematical equation or attendance record contest. I do know that any church I've attended on a regular basis eventually gets into the realm of repeating a sermon that invariably becomes an exercise in teaching a conditional type of faith based on works and not the love of a God who sent His son to die on the cross for our sins. I don't know how many people have said the sinners prayer and walked out of a church later- never to return except to the life they lived prior to attending the church but apparently it's so prevalent that John Bevere decided to write a book years ago titled, When the Heavens are Brass. I heartily recommend this book for those of you who witness to people and actively invite and take these people to church. Without prayer and careful watching, there is no one more vulnerable to spiritual attack than a brand new convert. Why do they get attacked so vehemently? They are generally the most enthusiastic people for the gospel. If a verse in the Bible describes them well it is in Jesus words in Matthew, Mark and Luke:
Therefore hear the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside. But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself but endures only for awhile. For when tribulation or persecution arises, because of the word, immediately he stumbles. Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, (but) the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word and he becomes unfruitful. He who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
Today the world is such that very little of what we see, hear and read is truly internalized. Perhaps we are too inundated and it becomes difficult to sift through the barrage we encounter each and every day. Very little should be internalized, in truth, but it is not that way in your communication with your creator. People who accept Jesus as their personal savior need to attend church regularly, get in a good study group and get saturated with the words in the Bible in order to gain understanding of what they have started in motion. You cannot build anything without directions or education and it is the same with becoming a Christian. You have to build your faith and you have to work at it.
As your Christianity grows your church should be sensitive to your individual needs and make sure that they provide you with the training you need to become an effective witness for Christ. If you stay where you are at you will become the Christian who stumbles. Witnessing is key to the growth of your faith. This is a time for a special type of sheltering which ultimately comes from God but should be recognized and encouraged. No one has to be perfect to witness for the gospel but your effectiveness will definitely be according to the level of training you have received to deal with vicissitudes and others concerns. Compassion for sinners becomes a key issue at this point. If your church is not helping you at this stage, find a church that does!
If you have reached a point where you spend most of your time in a church and you begin to become judgmental of the world around you- finding it almost impossible to share your faith and feeling that you no longer want to communicate with sinners, you need to stop attending church and ask yourself where you are headed in life. What are you doing for the Kingdom of Heaven ? It's very easy to continue to cloister yourself among the faithful and stay comfortable in your perfect little world but you are like the seed among thorns. All the people who get on your nerves and make you feel uncomfortable with your life as a Christian are your assignments. It would be better for you to open your mouth and take the risks involved than continue living a life which produces nothing. Re-read John 15:1-9 and then ask yourself what you are producing at church.
If you are one of those people who actively invite and take people to church or you actively witness at each and every opportunity remember to keep these people in your prayers. Watch over your seed like a mother hen watches over her brood of chicks. Stay involved in those lives you have touched as much as is possible. Keep praying over the words you have witnessed and ask God to prosper them. You're ready for the Lord's Army. Rejoice ! !
Not preaching...just teaching,
The Castle Lady