From the time I was a young boy, I attended church with my family. I still remember the Sunday school classes, the vacation Bible schools, the music and singing, and the many admonitions from the pulpit.
I remember the Wednesday night services before Thanksgiving. Often we, as a church, celebrated the Thanksgiving Holiday with a play (once I was a Pilgrim) and a time of giving thanks to God for the many gifts and blessings He had given us.
Sitting in that same church many decades later, I look around and memories flood my mind. I especially remember people who were there but now are gone. So many family and friends have passed and gone on to be with the Lord, whom we worshipped together, and I know they are happy now in heavenly bliss. But I ask myself the question, where are the others?
Where are all the kids and teens I grew up with? Some have moved away and live their lives elsewhere, but many have simply fallen away. The cares of this life and family situations have taken them from us. Some would still claim a strong belief and love of the Lord, but yet they leave and don’t come back.
I believe it’s heartbreaking to the Lord to have so many of His children living lives of solitude away from their Christian family. I know a man who is a very devout Christian but has one excuse after another to not attend church, and if you knew him you’d be shocked.
Many who leave do not make a firm decision to not come back, they just drift away. We live in such a fast-paced and busy world that we just don’t take the time. The Bible warns us in Hebrews chapter two not to drift away.
“We must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it.” (Hebrews 2:1 NLT)
A couple of verses later, it reads:
“What makes us think we can escape if we ignore this great salvation that was first announced by the Lord Jesus himself and then delivered to us by those who heard him speak? And God confirmed the message by giving signs and wonders and various miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit whenever he chose.” (Hebrews 2:3-4 NLT)
The same Lord who welcomes us into heaven welcomes us into His Church. There is so much growth that takes place in Church. Blessing and rejuvenation take place in Church. And there’s family. A church family.
I have a friend who had severe chest pains and was rushed to the hospital by ambulance on a Sunday. Immediately, as one person learned of the situation, social media posts went out for prayer in a spontaneous prayer chain. Later, several members of the church left the Sunday night service and rushed to the emergency room for support and prayer.
After test results showed that he was fine, the Doctor discharged him into the care of his church family. They returned with him to the church service and the congregation erupted into applause and praise to God for a miracle in their presence. Afterward, the Pastor had him pray for others, which he did one-by-one for nearly an hour. God brought him from the ER to the altar!
Please don’t miss out on your blessings. If you have been disappointed or hurt by something or someone at a church in the past, try and put it behind you. The writer of Hebrews spoke of Jesus this way,
“Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested.” (Hebrews 2:18 NLT)
He will help you and he does want you. The Bible says,
“The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’ Let anyone who hears this say, ‘Come.’ Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life.” (Revelation 22:17 NLT)
The enemy of your soul, the devil, says “DON’T GO … to Church.
The lover of your soul, Lord Jesus, says “DON’T GO … away from Church.
Which voice will you listen to?
Copyright © 2019 Gene Markland, used with permission.