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Life Truths

Life Truths

Is Going To Church Important?

July 27, 2015

I’ve seen a trend in the church over the past few years. Not just my local church, but the church at large. It’s no secret, that less people are going to church, youth groups, and young adult gatherings these days. What’s the cause? Is it the massive amounts of preaching and teaching available on Christian TV and social media? Are more and more people falling away from their faith and becoming lax in their walk with God? Do people not want to waste a Sunday? Whatever the case, the statistics don’t lie. Around 40% of Americans say that they belong to a church, but actually only about 20% attend weekly. In other words, 80% of Americans feel that there are other things more fulfilling than going to church on the weekend. Additionally, to reinforce the point, there are between 5,000 and 9,000 churches that close each year.

Every weekend, Christians across the globe have to make a small decision. A decision that perhaps a lot of thought doesn’t go into. “Am I going to go to church?” (Or “Am I bringing my family to church?”) I’m not talking about missing church for vacation, a family crisis, or a blemish on your perfect church attendance award, but rather the mindset that, well, church really isn’t that important.

Consider these three quick points on church

1. The Bible tells us that Church is important

Hebrews 10:25 NCV reads, “You should not stay away from the church meetings, as some are doing, but you should meet together and encourage each other. Do this even more as you see the day coming.” Not going to church is nothing new. The author of Hebrews (possibly Paul) noticed that some Christians didn’t belong to a church or make church attendance a priority, but he warns against it. He urges followers to “meet together and encourage each other”. He adds that as time goes on, and as we get closer to Christ’s return, we should actually make going to church and spiritual gatherings more often than ever, contrary to what we’re seeing happen in America today. I believe this is especially true for young adults. In the 17-25 age range, you face some of the most important decisions of your life, decisions that impact your future: Where to go to school, what job to take, who to marry, just to name a few. By going to church, hearing a Word in season (maybe tailor made for you), fellowshipping and encouraging other Christians that share your faith, it keeps life’s priorities straight. It’s so easy to get consumed in the craziness of life, but carving out that time with God and other believers at church is essential to Spiritual growth, a way to hear what God is saying to you, and even practically, a way to get great spiritual advice from other believers on some of these important decisions in life.

2. Jesus went to church

Luke 4:16 NIV says “He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom, and stood up to read.” We think of Jesus as the radical teacher that traveled from town to town doing miracles, but clearly we see here that He was also concerned about local “church” gatherings. It says He went to his own town, where he grew up, and went to the synagogue as was his custom. Other translations may read, “as He usually did”. Another interesting thing I see here is that he “stood up to read.” He read passages from the scriptures amongst many other things I’m sure. Not only did Jesus attend church, but he got involved! As Christians (Christ followers), Shouldn’t we strive to model the same example that He did?

3. It boosts our faith

Romans 10:17 NIV says, “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.” Our faith is the whole premise of our Christianity. without faith in God, what do we have? And here we see that Faith is boosted by hearing, hearing the message and the good news. Now I know what you may be thinking – “You can hear a great message without going to church.” True, you can. But by skipping out on church and opting for a TV or radio message, you lose all the great benefits of the church! The friendships you develop, the worship or hymns, and the opportunity to get involved like Jesus did! It’s kind of like eating a salad with just the lettuce. There’s a lot of add-on’s that can enhance a great salad experience, rather than just eating dry kale and spinach leaves. To put it another way, as a big baseball fan, I asked myself, would I rather watch the Yankee game on TV, or go the stadium and get the whole experience live? That’s a no brainer! How about your favorite band? Sure it’s fun to listen to their songs on your radio or MP3 device, but can it compare to going to the concert and seeing them live? No way! The live experiences get you more excited and bring you a little closer to the things you love in life. And the church experience should do the same, it gets Christians more excited about their faith, and more importantly it boosts our faith, which can be the key to facing some of life’s most important decisions and checkpoints.

Life Truths

Who Cares How God feels?

March 27, 2015

Does God really have feelings? Does He feel like we feel?

Have you ever asked yourself in the midst of our “ME” culture…how does God feel about this? Does this hurt his heart? Does this make Him happy and full of joy?

Despite what the mainstream media has tried to portray, God exists and He has feelings. He actually does care about what is going on in your life and sphere of influence and the world as a whole. Remember, “God so LOVED the world that He gave his only Son…” (John 3:16) If you have ever felt rejection or had your feelings hurt, you know the pain of it, which many times has long lasting effects. God feels this daily.

I have often gotten wrapped up in how I feel…

I’ve said to myself, “but that’s not fair”, “that hurts my feelings”, or “I feel uncomfortable in this situation so let me change it to make ME feel better”. However, today is a good day to remind myself and anyone who takes a second to read this, that this life is really not about ME. He is our creator, the one who put, HIS BREATH in OUR LUNGS. If it wasn’t for Him, we wouldn’t be alive. And we were created not to just fulfill our desires, but to bring Him joy. We often forget this as we get entangled in our own thoughts, beliefs and wants. Yes, we all miss the mark, and we are thankful for His grace! But let us remember His feelings today, not just our own!

Our God is a Loving Father

As a perfect Father, He looks down at the state of our country and grieves some at the things we allow in our culture. Genesis 6:6 states, “And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.” Therefore God has feelings and can be grieved or hurt. But God also can rejoice over us when we obey and honor Him, “…so your God will rejoice over you..” (Isaiah 62:5) So how does He FEEL about our small daily choices, the larger choices we make that affect the course of our lives and also world issues such as abortion, racial injustice, homosexuality, abuse of all types and the list goes on. How many tears does God cry when humans kill a little life (that has no choice) that He is forming, but continue with it selfishly to make OUR own lives less complicated in caring for that child. It is time we remember God’s feelings and take a stand for them as Christians. If we are His children through salvation, we must make His feelings our priority. In a world that dismisses and rejects Him, we can love, honor Him and bring Him joy!

Again in asking the question, “WHO cares how God feels?” I DO!

Life Truths

The Truth About Sex

March 19, 2015

Well, now that I’ve got your attention via the title, let’s talk about a misconception and myth about sex. It’s 2015 – as a young adult today, it’s harder than ever before in the history of mankind to CHOOSE to and STAY sexually pure. The innuendos, temptations and pressures rage out of control every day like a bonfire full of dried out wood. between what we wear, the conversations we choose to participate in, and the media outlets we choose to watch, it’s flat out tough to live pure.

…it’s harder than ever before in the history of mankind to CHOOSE to and STAY sexually pure.

A big misconception of young Christians is the idea that it’s supposed to be easy to say “no” to sex. They believe that the church really believes and expects the youth to make this incredibly simple decision to abstain from immorality and sex before marriage. Let me tell you, on the other side of being a teenager and young adult, now as a married adult with two beautiful daughters (they are not adopted), my observation is that it’s anything but easy. It’s a constant discipline, and a struggle at times; but hey, being a Christian in itself is often a struggle. Just ask Paul, or Peter, or any Christian living in the Middle east right now. So that’s MYTH #1. That you should be a young pure christian and it should come as easy as breathing and sleeping. FALSE! Like I said, it’s all about discipline. A growth process that will probably never become “easy” but will become easier as your draw closer to God.

1 Corinthians 10:13 NCV says:

“The only temptation that has come to you is that which everyone has. But you can trust God, who WILL NOT PERMIT you to be tempted more than you can stand, but when you are tempted, HE WILL PROVIDE a way to escape so that you will be able to withstand it.

There’s an old film from the 60’s called “The Great Escape”. It’s Steve Mcqueen at his finest (If your saying “who’s Steve Mcqueen”? He was like an old school Liam Neeson, Stallone, Robert Downey Jr. and Johnny Depp all rolled into one – but better). It’s a story about a large concentration camp full of british and american POW’s in WW2 that build an underground tunnel in their attempt to escape. There were only a few “tunnel kings”, the guys who actually built the tunnel, but the intent was to use the tunnel and take out 250+ soldiers to escape. The tunnel kings, all they could do was provide the route; It was up to the individual soldiers to work up the courage and ultimately make the decision to crawl out to freedom. God is well aware of the internet, Instagram, and and those channels that you should probably have on blackout (“oh, i’ll just skip over those” – that never works). He is well aware that being a young Christian in 2015 can be a struggle with acceptance, choices, and with sex – and that’s the truth, but bring it back around to 1 Cor. 10, He WILL provide a way out, but you actually have to execute the escape. It’s a fact and ultimately up to you to make make the wise CHOICES.