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Mike has provided yet another image of people who make excuses for not 'going to church'. I am saddened by our limited view of 'church'. I love what Mike does with this blog and the wisdom he provides day in and out, but I think Mike shares with us from his own perspective of what 'church' is and that's okay and fair.
However I would like to share a different look at this idea of 'church attendance' and I speak as one who is an associate pastor in a church of 1500 people that 'meets on sundays'.

Today we have become brainwashed with a view of 'church' that says 'we must 'go' to church'. I know of no scripture that says 'go to church'. I know many that imply 'be the church'. I believe that if we are to be biblically anchored on this matter of 'church attendance' we need to think in terms of 'the church gathered and the church scattered.' I DO NOT believe that the church gathered is more important than the church scattered. I know firefighters and medical people who CAN'T GO TO CHURCH OR ATTEND CHURCH on sundays so they participate in the life of our Body other times in the week. Perhaps it is more accurate to say as rob bell of mars hill church says, that 'Sunday morning 'services or gatherings' are an 'event' of the church just as "Alpha' or a 'men's meeting, or women's meeting, or youth or colllege and career meeting are also 'events of the church' as are the 'meetings our members have throughout the week when they are working in their career callings'. Maybe all of that is church when done in the name of Jesus.

I think we do an injustice when we make one day more 'holy' than other days. Historical tradition seems to emphasize based on church polity that Sunday is the Lord's day but we have two references to this and two only, and we have institutionalized something that was meant to be more dynamic and fluid. We now see the church as a 'fixed fortification' or even an 'entertainment center' like movie theaters where we can pick and choose our venue. God help us! We have lost our ability to 'go as a church' to the world.

I appreciate that mike's intent is to encourage fellowship and community in a specific locale and that is fair and good but I hear way too much emphasis on 'going to church' and far too little on 'being the church.'
Let Paul have the last word, "One person considers one day more sacred than another, another person considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in their own mind. He who regards one day special does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, fo he gives thanks to God." Romans 14:5-6

I do not believe that we use Hebrews 10:24 and 25 appropriately either about 'not neglecting to meet together' as some are in the habit of doing. The context of this verse is not 'going to church.' IN fact, in Hebrews 3:12-13 the author speaks of exhorting and encouraging one another DAILY. How about we emphasize that a little more? Daily intense, up close and personal community.

Perhaps the most interesting thing that I have found throughout the reading of His Word this year is how God uses the "non-chosen" to bring about His kingdom. He chooses agents such as Gedaliah in todays reading or king Cyrus at the end of 2 Chron:"This is what Cyrus king of Persia says: " 'The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Anyone of his people among you—may the LORD his God be with him, and let him go up." God speaks to "unbelievers" and they obey, sometimes acting more like true believers in doing God's work than card carrying "believers". On a side note, someone please let the present leader of Iran, many of whom still revere Cyrus, that "wiping Israel off the map" would not please Cyrus if he were around today. ;-)

Thanks Luch! Good points. I will confess that I come back to church attendance over and over again in this blog because I have a hunch that there are quite a few folks that read this blog that don't go to church at all these days - and perhaps some who don't do/be church in any other way throughout the week. So, yes, I think for many of us just getting ourselves into the door of a church on Sunday or Saturday or whenever once a week is an important step for our spiritual health and growth. But, your points are good and valid too. I guess I'm focusing more on people like me who think it's fine for us to skip church - and then we skip community and skip prayer and skip _____ (fill in your blank). I think regular church attendance - be it big church / house church / small group - every week is critical for my spiritual well being, so yes, I recommend it for others.

Below is an interesting thing I read recently about church that might or might not :) be useful to others.

God bless! And thanks again Luch for your comment. This is a great and important conversation for us to dive into! -Mike
=======================
Question: "Why is church attendance important?"
Answer: The Bible tells us that we need to attend church so we can worship God with other believers and be taught His Word for our spiritual growth (Acts 2:42; Hebrews 10:25). Church is the place where believers can love one another (1 John 4:12), encourage one another (Hebrews 3:13), “spur” one another (Hebrews 10:24), serve one another (Galatians 5:13), instruct one another (Romans 15:14), honor one another (Romans 12:10), and be kind and compassionate to one another (Ephesians 4:32).

When a person trusts Jesus Christ for salvation, he or she is made a member of the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27). For a church body to function properly, all of its "body parts" need to be present (1 Corinthians 12:14-20). Likewise, a believer will never reach full spiritual maturity without the assistance and encouragement of other believers (1 Corinthians 12:21-26). For these reasons, church attendance, participation, and fellowship should be regular aspects of a believer's life. Weekly church attendance is not required for believers, but someone who has trusted Christ should have a desire to worship God, be taught His Word, and fellowship with other believers.

Recommended Resource: The Church: Why Bother? by Philip Yancey.

Question: "What is koinonia?"

Answer: Koinonia is a Greek word that occurs 20 times in the Bible. Koinonia’s primary meaning is “fellowship, sharing in common, communion.” The first occurrence of Koinonia is Acts 2:42, “They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” Christian fellowship is a key aspect of the Christian life. Believers in Christ are to come together in love, faith, and encouragement. That is the essence of Koinonia.

Philippians 2:1-2 declares, “If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.” Koinonia is being in agreement with one another, being united in purpose, and serving alongside each other. Our koinonia with each other is based on our common koinonia with Jesus Christ. 1 John 1:6-7, “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.”

A powerful example of what koinonia should look like can be found in a study of the “one another’s” of Scripture. Scripture commands us to: be devoted to one another (Romans 12:10), honor one another (Romans 12:10), live in harmony with one another (Romans 12:16; 1 Peter 3:8), accept one another (Romans 15:7), serve one another in love (Galatians 5:13), be kind and compassionate to one another (Ephesians 4:32), admonish one another (Colossians 3:16), encourage one another (1 Thessalonians 5:11; Hebrews 3:13), spur one another on toward love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24), offer hospitality (1 Peter 4:9), and love one another (1 Peter 1:22; 1 John 3:11; 3:23; 4:7; 4:11-12). That is what true Biblical koinonia should look like.

Recommended Resource: The Church: Why Bother? by Philip Yancey.

Question: "What should I be looking for in a church?"

Answer: Finding a good church can often be difficult. Many people just "settle" for the church that is closest, or the church they've been going to for years. However, if you aren't being challenged to grow in your faith, if you aren't being led to worship God with all of your heart, soul, and mind, you are pretty much just wasting your time (in my opinion).

A good church is one that is concerned with the spiritual growth of its congregation. It is a place where the Gospel is preached, where sin is condemned, where worship is from the heart, where the teaching is biblical, and where opportunities for ministry (to minister to others as well as to be ministered to) exist. Consider the model of the early church found in Acts 2:42-47 (NIV), "They joined with the other believers and devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, sharing in the Lord's Supper and in prayer. A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. And all the believers met together constantly and shared everything they had. They sold their possessions and shared the proceeds with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord's Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity--all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their group those who were being saved."

Finding such a church that balances these things well isn't easy, as many, if not most, churches lean more towards one activity than others: some place more importance on the worship part of a service, some focus more on evangelism, some are just places of fellowship. Before you even step foot inside of a church, you should do some homework. Get out the phone book and look at the churches in your area. Find the denominations represented and take a look at the denominational web site. Read their doctrinal statement, their purpose statement, their mission statement, or anything that will give insight as to what they believe as a denomination. If the church itself is listed as having a web site, browse those sites as well, with the goal of getting a feel for what they believe regarding the Bible, God, the Trinity, Jesus Christ, sin, salvation, and man. You are looking for a church that shares your own beliefs and convictions; "discard" the ones that don't.

Next, pick out a few churches that you'd like to visit. Attend service at least twice at each church. Pick up any literature they have for visitors, and pay close attention to their belief statements. Evaluate the church based on the principles we see in the above Acts passage. How was the fellowship? Does the church focus on discipleship? Were you led to worship God? What type of ministries does the church involve itself in? Was the message biblical and evangelical? You also need to feel comfortable; were you made to feel welcome? Is the congregation comprised of people you can identify with?

Because I'm more concerned that the Word of God is taught and preached clearly without excuse than with other aspects of a church, yet I desire a well-balanced church, I need a church that I can align myself with that shares my own Scriptural convictions. You will need to do the same. Also, don’t forget the importance of prayer. You should be praying about the place God would have you attend from the very start of your search, throughout the search, and through the decision to be made.

Recommended Resource: A Biblical Theology of the Church by Mal Couch.

I am struck by how these different excerpts from diverse places in scripture fit together to paint a complete picture.

1. There is real evil in this world and we will suffer from it. (Paul in prison awaiting execution and the evils of the Babylonian conquest and aftermath)

2. God warns us and promises us deliverance. (Jeremiah, Paul, the Psalmist)

3. The deliverance turns out to be more than we could have envisioned - new, eternal life in Christ. (Paul and the Psalmist)


hi mike and OYB readers,

Mike is s superb shepherd to us all. I appreciate so much how he engages with these blogs and NEVER comes across defensive. I love his heart. Wish he were in my community or I in his.

Mike, I love Yancey's Why Bother with Church? It's a very practical, reasoned approach from one who also wrote Soul Survivor, and how he almost lost his faith in the church.
As well, George Barna's latest work Revolutionaries has also rocked the Christian church world some. I like his stuff because it is research based. I want to reiterate that i am a local church pastor. (our website is www.lakesidechurch.on.ca in Canada. We have weekly meetings but we are growing to appreciate that we cannot limit our view of church to our own creeds or historical practices. We can learn from the past but let's not live there.
I've also attached an article that at first glance may appear to be heresy but Wayne jacoboson is a godly man and author who wrote Authentic RElationships published by Baker where he presents a positively radically view of Body Life which we are seeking to introduce bit by bit in our community. I will warn you this is long but worth the read especially on a Sunday. I'm sorry for taking up so much space. There may be others who want to engage this healthy converation about the precious Bride of Jesus.

So you know I am not a heretic. I am off to willow creek this week to attend the A2 conference--acts 2 where churches will be presented who are growing, thriving and struggling, of all shapes and sizes.


Why I Don't Go To Church Anymore!

BodyLife • May 2001

By Wayne Jacobsen

[This is sixth in a series on Life in the Relational Church.]


Dear Fellow-believer,

I do appreciate your concern for me and your willingness to raise issues that have caused you concern. I know the way I relate to the church is a bit unconventional and some even call it dangerous. Believe me, I understand that concern because I used to think that way myself and even taught others to as well.

If you are happy with the status quo of organized religion today, you may not like what you read here. My purpose is not to convince you to see this incredible church the same way I do, but to answer your questions as openly and honestly as I can. Even if we don't end up agreeing, hopefully you will understand that our differences need not estrange us as members of Christ's body.

Where do you go to church?

I have never liked this question, even when I was able to answer it with a specific organization. I know what it means culturally, but it is based on a false premise--that church is something you can go to as in a specific event, location or organized group. I think Jesus looks at the church quite differently. He didn't talk about it as a place to go to, but a way of living in relationship to him and to other followers of his.

Asking me where I go to church is like asking me where I go to Jacobsen. How do I answer that? I am a Jacobsen and where I go a Jacobsen is. 'Church' is that kind of word. It doesn't identify a location or an institution. It describes a people and how they relate to each other. If we lose sight of that, our understanding of the church will be distorted and we'll miss out on much of its joy.

Are you just trying to avoid the question?

I know it may only sound like quibbling over words, but words are important. When we only ascribe the term 'church' to weekend gatherings or institutions that have organized themselves as 'churches' we miss out on what it means to live as Christ's body. It will give us a false sense of security to think that by attending a meeting once a week we are participating in God's church. Conversely I hear people talk about 'leaving the church' when they stop attending a specific congregation.

But if the church is something we are, not someplace we go, how can we leave it unless we abandon Christ himself? And if I think only of a specific congregation as my part of the church, haven't I separated myself from a host of other brothers and sisters that do not attend the same one I do?

The idea that those who gather on Sunday mornings to watch a praise concert and listen to a teaching are part of the church and those who do not, are not, would be foreign to Jesus. The issue is not where we are at a given time during the weekend, but how we are living in him and with other believers all week long.

But don't we need regular fellowship?

I wouldn't say we need it. If we were in a place where we couldn't find other believers, Jesus certainly would be able to take care of us. Thus, I'd phrase that a bit differently: Will people who are growing to know the Living God also desire real and meaningful connections with other believers? Absolutely! The call to the kingdom is not a call to isolation. Every person I've ever met who is thriving in the life of Jesus has a desire to share authentic fellowship with other believers. They realize that whatever they know of God's life is just in part, and only the fullest revelation of him is in the church.

But sometimes that kind of fellowship is not easy to find. Periodically on this journey we may go through times when we can't seem to find any other believers who share our hunger. That's especially true for those who find that conforming to the expectations of the religious institutions around them diminishes their relationship with Jesus. They may find themselves excluded by believers with whom they've shared close friendship. But no one going through that looks on that time as a treat. It is incredibly painful and they will look for other hungry believers to share the journey with.

My favorite expression of body life is where a local group of people chooses to walk together for a bit of the journey by cultivating close friendships and learning how to listen to God together.

Shouldn't we be committed to a local fellowship?

That has been said so often today, that most of us assume it is in the Bible somewhere. I haven't found it yet. Many of us have been led to believe that we can't possibly survive without the 'covering of the body' and will either fall into error or backslide into sin. But doesn't that happen inside our local congregations as well?

I know many people who live outside those structures and find not only an ever-deepening relationship with God, but also connections with other believers that run far deeper than they found in the institution. I haven't lost any of my passion for Jesus or my affection for his church. If anything those have grown by leaps and bounds in recent years.

Scripture does encourage us to be devoted to one another not committed to an institution. Jesus indicated that whenever two or three people get together focused on him, they would experience the vitality of church life.

Is it helpful to regularly participate in a local expression of that reality? Of course. But we make a huge mistake when we assume that fellowship takes place just because we attend the same event together, even regularly, or because we belong to the same organization. Fellowship happens where people share the journey of knowing Jesus together. It consists of open, honest sharing, genuine concern about each other's spiritual well being and encouragement for people to follow Jesus however he leads them.

But don't our institutions keep us from error?

I'm sorry to burst your bubble here, but every major heresy that has been inflicted on God's people for the last 2,000 years has come from organized groups with 'leaders' who thought they knew God's mind better than anyone around them. Conversely, virtually every move of God among people hungering for him was rejected by the 'church' of that day and were excluded, excommunicated or executed for following God.

If that is where you hope to find security, I'm afraid it is sorely misplaced. Jesus didn't tell us that 'going to church' would keep us safe, but that trusting him would. He gave us an anointing of the Spirit so that we would know the difference between truth and error. That anointing is cultivated as we learn his ways in his Word and grow closer to his heart. It will help you recognize when expressions of church you share life with becomes destructive to his work in you.

So are traditional congregations wrong?

Absolutely not! I have found many of them with people who love God and are seeking to grow in his ways. I visit a couple of dozen different congregations a year that I find are far more centered on relationship than religion. Jesus is at the center of their life together, and those who act as leaders are true servants and not playing politics of leadership, so that all are encouraged to minister to one another.

I pray that even more of them are renewed in a passion for Jesus, a genuine concern for each other and a willingness to serve the world with God's love. But I think we'd have to admit that these are rare in our communities and many only last for a short span before they unwittingly look to institutional answers for the needs of the body instead of remaining dependent on Jesus. When that happens do not feel condemned if God leads you not to go along with them.

So should I stop going to church, too?

I'm afraid that question also misses the point. You see I don't believe you're going to church any more than I am. We're just part of it. Be your part, however Jesus calls you to and wherever he places you. Not all of us grow in the same environment.

If you gather with a group of believers at a specific time and place and that participation helps you grow closer to Jesus and allows you to follow his work in you, by all means don't think you have to leave. Keep in mind, however, that of itself is not the church. It is just one of many expressions of it in the place where you live.

Don't be tricked into thinking that just because you attend its meetings you are experiencing real body life. That only comes as God connects you with a handful of brothers and sisters with whom you can build close friendships and share the real ups and downs of this journey.

That can happen among traditional congregations, as it can also happen beyond them. In the last seven years I've meet hundreds if not thousands of people who have grown disillusioned with traditional congregations and are thriving spiritually as they share God's life with others, mostly in their homes.

Then meeting in homes is the answer?

Of course not. But let's be clear: as fun as it is to enjoy large group worship and even be instructed by gifted teachers, the real joy of body life can't be shared in huge groups. The church for its first 300 years found the home the perfect place to gather. They are much more suited to the dynamics of family which is how Jesus described his body.

But meeting in homes is no cure-all. I've been to some very sick home meetings and met in facilities with groups who shared an authentic body life together. But the time I spend in regular body life I want to spend face to face with a group of people. I know it isn't popular today where people find it is far easier to sit through a finely-tuned (or not so finely-tuned) service and go home without ever having to open up our life or care about another person's journey.

But ultimately what matters most to me is not where or how they meet, but whether or not people are focused on Jesus and really helping each other on the journey to becoming like him. Meetings are less the issue here than the quality of relationships. I am always looking for people like that wherever I am and always rejoice when I find it. In our new home in Oxnard, we've found a few folks and are hopeful to find even more.

Aren't you just reacting out of hurt?

I suppose that is possible and time will tell, I guess, but I honestly don't believe so. Anyone who is engaged in real body life will get hurt at times. But there are two kinds of hurt. There's the kind of pain that points to a problem that can be fixed with the right care—such as a badly sprained ankle. Then there's the kind of pain that can only be fixed by pulling away—as when you put your hand on a hot stove.

Perhaps all of us have experienced some measure of pain as we have tried to fit God's life into institutions. For a long time most of us hung in there hoping if we tweaked a few things it would get better. Though we could be successful in limited ways during moments of renewal, we also discovered that eventually the conformity an institution demands and the freedom people need to grow in Christ are at odds with one another. It has happened with virtually every group formed throughout the history of Christianity.

Are you looking for the perfect church?

No, and I don't anticipate finding one this side of eternity. Perfection is not my goal, but finding people with God's priorities. It's one thing for people to struggle toward an ideal they share together. It's another to realize that our ideals have little in common.

I make no secret of the fact that I am deeply troubled by the state of organized Christianity. Most of what we call 'church' today are nothing more than well-planned performances with little actual connection between believers. Believers are encouraged toward a growing dependency on the system or its leadership rather than on Jesus himself. We spend more energy conforming behavior to what the institution needs rather than helping people be transformed at the foot of the cross!

I'm tired of trying to fellowship with people who only view church as a two-hour a week dumping ground for guilt while they live the rest of the week with the same priorities as the world. I'm tired of those who depend on their own works of righteousness but who have no compassion for the people of the world. I'm tired of insecure people using the Body of Christ as an extension of their own ego and will manipulate it to satisfy their own needs. I'm tired of sermons more filled with the bondage of religion than the freedom of God's love and where relationships take a back seat to the demands of an efficient institution.

But don't our children need church activities?

I'd suggest that what they need most is to be integrated into God's life through relational fellowship with other believers. 92% of children who grow up in Sunday schools with all the puppets and high-powered entertainment, leave 'church' when they leave their parents' home? Instead of filling our children with ethics and rules we need to demonstrate how to live in God's life together.

Even sociologists tell us that the #1 factor in determining whether a child will thrive in society is if they have deep, personal friendships with nonrelative adults. No Sunday school can fill that role. I know of one community in Australia who after 20 years of sharing God's life together as families could say that they had not lost one child to the faith as they grew into adulthood. I know I cut across the grain here, but it is far more important that our children experience real fellowship among believers rather than the bells and whistles of a slick children's program.

What dynamics of body life do you look for?

I'm always looking for a people who are seeking to follow the Living Christ. He is at the center of their lives, their affections and their conversation. They look to be authentic and free others to hurt when they hurt, to question what they question and to follow his voice without others accusing them of being divisive or rebellious. I look for people who are not wasting their money on extravagant buildings or flashy programs; where people sitting next to each other are not strangers; and where they all participate as a priesthood to God instead of watch passively from a safe distance.

Aren't you giving people an excuse to sit home and do nothing?

I hope not, though I know it is a danger. I realize some people who leave traditional congregations end up abusing that freedom to satisfy their own desires and thus miss out on church life altogether. Neither am I a fan of 'church hoppers', who whip around to one place after another looking for the latest fad or the best opportunity to fulfill their own selfish desires.

But most of the people I meet and talk with are not outside the system because they have lost their passion for Jesus or his people, but only because the traditional congregations near them couldn't satisfy their hunger for relationship. They are seeking authentic expressions of body life and pay an incredible cost to seek it out. Believe me, we would all find it easier just to go with the flow, but once you've tasted of living fellowship between passionate believers, it is impossible to settle for anything less.

Isn't this view of church divisive?

Not of itself. People make it divisive when they demand that people conform to their revelation of truth. Most of us on the journey are accused of being divisive because freedom can be threatening to those who find their security in a religious system. But must of us aren't trying to recruit others to leave their congregations. We see the body of Christ big enough to encompass God's people however he calls them to gather.

One of the things often said about traditional church is that Sunday morning is the most segregated hour in American culture. We only meet with people who look like we do and like things the way we do. I've found now that I have far more opportunity to get with people from a broader cross-section of his body. I don't demand others do it my way and I hope in time that those who see it differently will stop demanding we conform to theirs.

Where can I find that kind of fellowship?

There's no easy answer here. It might be right in front of you among the fellowship you're already in. It might be down the street in your neighborhood or across a cubicle at work. You can also get involved in compassionate outreaches to the needy and broken in your locality as a way to live out his life in you and meet others with a similar hunger.

Don't expect this kind of fellowship to fall easily into an organization. It is organic, and Jesus can lead you to it right where you are. Look for him to put a dozen or so folks around your life with whom you can share the journey. They may not even all go to the same congregation you do. They might be neighbors or coworkers who are following after God. Wouldn't that kind of interconnection among God's people yield some incredible fruit?

Don't expect it to be easy or run smoothly. It will take some specific choices on our part to be obedient to Jesus. It may take some training to shake off old habits and be free to let him build his community around you, but it is all worth it. I know it bothers some people that I don't take my regular place in a pew on Sunday morning, but I can tell you absolutely that my worst days outside organized religion are still better than my best days inside it. To me the difference is like listening to someone talk about golf or actually taking a set of clubs out to a course and playing golf. Being his church is like that. In our day we don't need more talk about the church, but people who are simply ready to live in its reality.

People all over the world are freshly discovering how to do that again. You can be one of them as you let him place you in his body as he desires.

Jeremiah 39:1-41:18


There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification. (1 Corinthians 14:10 KJV)

Gedaliah, like Judah, fell into the same pit, the pit of not listening to the right voice, the Voice of God. Their spiritual dullness desensitized them to the Voice of God. Job made a statement, Doesn't the ear test words as the palate tastes food? (Job 12:11 HCSB), that has stuck with me for years, our ability to discern the truth of words spoken to us. In the fourteenth chapter of Jeremiah, as per the Amplified Bible, we are deceived by our own consent. {And the people to whom they prophesy shall be cast out in the streets of Jerusalem, victims of famine and sword; and they shall have none to bury them--them, their wives, their sons, and their daughters. For I will pour out their wickedness upon them [and not on their false teachers only, for the people could not have been deceived except by their own consent]. (Jeremiah 14:16 AMP)}

Gedaliah chose not to believe the report that Ishmael was out to kill him. The question we need to ask is why didn’t he believe? As most of Judah failed to believe the words of coming doom given to Jeremiah, and the prophets before him, so Gedaliah didn’t believe the words spoken to him about his danger. Obedience to God’s Word and Words is our only protection.


I will jump into the fray regarding the day of the week to worship, it doesn’t matter the day nor the time. Maybe I’m kind of dense but nowhere in Mike’s comments regarding Psalm a couple of verses in Psalm 91 do I read of him advocating Sunday only worship. Am I missing something? The command is to not forsake the assembling of the saints (Heb.10:25 ). Paul himself stated in what I call the “Mind Your Business” chapter, Romans 14, that no day had any special meaning over any other day. If anyone has not experienced the power of cooperate worship, the synergy that comes about when you gather together with like believers, even if you don’t particular care for the one sitting next to you, than maybe you are worshiping at a dead church. Either you may want to switch and go to a live one or pray earnestly for revival (You only revive dead things.)

I sit here as I type this post, figuratively scratching my head, because this debate is being brought up while we are studying Jeremiah. The man God sent several times to the door of the Temple to tell the folks going in to offer their sacrifices and to worship, that what they were bringing was not wanted by Him because what they were bring was not from the heart. It seems to me that we should “get it” that worship and our offerings should come from the heart no matter what day of the week it is, whether it is High Noon or Twelve Midnight, it’s all about the heart, the intent of the heart.

Grace and peace,
Ramona

Re being/attending church:

We had micro-church today, just two couples in a quiet corner of a hotel lobby sharing our lives over coffee - adventures in rearing teenage girls. And we were considering what our input should be in two weeks time when our Sunday gathering, which meets two Sundays a month in a home, has an open discussion on our first year together and our direction for the future.

Andrew,

Within the midst of your four person, two couple "church" meeting lie the seeds of a great ministry. Many of you may remember that I attend a Mega-Church, 28000 plus members. The pastor of said church did not set out to begin a mega church 25 plus years ago. Being obedient to the voice of God he began his ministry in a store front with four people, he being one of the four. Do not despise the day of small beginnings--you never know how big the seed will grow.

Ramona

I count it a privilege to go to the house of God on Sunday morning and worship God. I trust the rest of the folks there are there to worship my Savior also!

ramona

i didn't intend to 'debate' at all. Sorry. I didn't mean to be controversial but wanted to provoke some fresh discussion in light of the picture Mike had posted. I Just wanted to get us thinking afresh about this wonderful concept of the Church. Mike has provided a great vehicle here to 'engage the conversation' as he said.

Althought there is much talk in Jeremiah about the temple I believe we all realize that in the new testament you and I are the temple of the Holy Spirit. As Paul says, "In HIm the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit." Eph 2:21 and 22

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