I recently read an article about Justin Bieber saying he didn’t need church because he focused more on talking to God through prayer, while most people go to church just to go there. While I understand the importance of having a time to talk with God, Mr. Bieber is missing out on something amazing (as are the people who are just “going” to church to go).
At the start of this new year I decided to start reading through Psalms (after finishing Revelation in December). In Psalm 26, King David writes about how much he loved the temple of the Lord. He says in verse 6&7 that he went “around your altar, O Lord, proclaiming thanksgiving aloud, and telling all your wondrous deeds.” How often I see people afraid to even approach the altar of God, in fear that people will “think things” about them. Verse 8 continues with “O Lord, I love the habitation of your house and the place where your glory dwells.” How many people even care to see churches today? How many people even care that each church is a place of God? Yet David adored the house of the Lord! Verses 11&12 proclaims, ”But as for me, I shall walk in my integrity; redeem me, and be gracious to me. My foot stands on level ground; in the great assembly I will bless the Lord.” How often do we talk like this to God while in church at all? How often are we grateful for those who gather in His dwelling place?
People today don’t seem too keen on church. I know many who have not gone to church for a few years simply because they can’t find one that speaks out to them and their needs, while others have been searching for a church that has Biblical teaching (which is very important). For people who are attending church as devoted members in the US and Canada combined, there are 145,838,339 church members according to 2011 report. That’s pretty low considering that’s like filling up 1,458 football stadiums when there are 2,449 stadiums in the US alone and it takes about 80,000-105,000 people to fill each stadium. I have no idea how many hundreds of churches closed in 2011 alone, but I have read how each year, more and more have done so.
My church has had loads of struggles over the past year and a half. Currently we haven’t a senior pastor because of some of these struggles. Many people have left our church while others are hanging on best they can and want to see growth occur (which is what we’re doing). It’s not necessarily about what we get from church, but what reaching out we can do through ministries we’re involved in and through being able to be in the presence of God and worship Him and help encourage and teach those who need guidance. It is also very much about the fellowship with those who can help strengthen and teach us so our faith may grow and the friendships built with other believers (one of my best friends attends my church with us which is really amazing and helpful to each of us individually and makes our friendship grow stronger).
What bothers me is that so many people who don’t attend church, put so much time into other things that they are involved in and don’t seem to make room for any time to dwell on God or talk to Him (or allow Him to speak to them through His word). They have created gods without really acknowledging it as such. I get discouraged when I see people who claim to be Christians spending less time in His word, and more time involved in going out to party, listening or watching filthy messages in music/movies/T.V. shows (not saying all of these are bad, but they make sure they devote their lives to seeing these shows or listening to their music over devoting time to keep the “Sabbath day Holy” by setting a day aside for the Lord). Some are pouring their lives into a relationship without having God a part of their decision making in their relationship choices or to make God the core of that relationship. I get sad when I see many parents preferring to place their kids in certain activities instead of bringing them to church or without getting them involved in the youth group, let alone that they hardly even talk to them about God that the kids seem to only know God from the things they hear their friends and media say (this morning my 3 year old was using his 80s-styled Lego Transformers he created and had Optimus Prime tell Megatron about Jesus because Megatron is mean and I was explaining the day before about Jesus in various ways to both my boys and how mean people still need Jesus no matter how evil they are!).
I loved reading further through Psalm 27:4-10, “One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple. For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock. And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the Lord. Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me! You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, Lord, do I seek.” Hide not your face from me. Turn not your servant away in anger, O you who have been my help. Cast me not off; forsake me not, O God of my salvation! For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me in.”
Things that I picked up from this passage were the following: There was seeking of God even though God chose King David. Instead of being prideful about being anointed as king in that time (as King Saul had been), David was still going to God for answers in everything for his life. He was listening for answers and going to God’s house (the temple) to feel even closer to Him. Being in the presence of the Lord was filled with healing for David. How amazing it was to read that King David is one who you’d think would want people to praise him all the time and bow down to him, but instead he was praising and rejoicing always in God for being there for him, because that was who truly reigned! King David probably had to deal with loads of issues as king, but he was crying out for help to God! God talked to him! We can hear about God through His word clearly for our lives. I’ve probably read this Psalm dozens of times in my life, but there is always something new that can speak to my life as my life and circumstances might change. We all need to bow to our King daily, especially at church!
“Hear the voice of my pleas for mercy, when I cry to you for help, when I lift up my hands toward your most holy sanctuary.- Psalm 28:2
Let’s praise God and worship Him in church! It is an important place! King David talked to God in his own home, but he also took time out to worship and learn and praise the Lord in the house of God too!!
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