Discovering Spiritual Truths & Celebrating God's Grace in the Every Day Happenings of Life.
This past Monday night we received an email… “Congratulations! After a successful tryout, your daughter has made the traveling softball team…” Yay!
When was the last time you received something similar? A college acceptance letter. An approval to a nearby country club. A casting email from the school theatre director. A winning letter from Publishers Clearing House.
Good news like these things are rightly to be celebrated. It is an awesome feeling to make the team. To belong to something. To be part of a group or a squad. It is a wonderful thing indeed to know you’re not alone, to know that you have others who are cheering for you and fighting with you. To have peers to share in the challenges and in the victories. To be a small, yet essential, part of a larger community.
The Church is no different. It is here, surrounded by our brothers and sisters in Christ, where God invites us into a community where love and forgiveness abound. And thankfully there are no essays to write, no tryouts to be held. In and through Jesus, the invitation is free and open to us all. To be a church member puts us in a place where God immediately delivers the Gospel and directs our lives. To be a church member carries far more eternal benefits than to be accepted into an exclusive, worldly social club. To be a church member is to put ourselves in a position to be used by God—individually and together—in service to the world for the sake of His Gospel. Sure, the church is not perfect. Our church is not perfect. After all, we are a place filled with broken and sinful people—chief among them though I be! However, this is a community that should bring us great joy to be a part of. As part of the church, we are a prized and chosen people to God. As part of this church, we are His primary (and only) plan to reach the community in which our church was planted 65 years ago.
I recently read a story about a 100-year-old man who was celebrating his birthday at the church where he had attended since he was a boy. His family threw a big party for him with cake, ice cream, and lots of birthday cards. Then his great-grandson walked up to the microphone to say a few words. Turning to his grandfather he said, “Great-Grandpa, we know you can barely hear or see, but tell us, why do you still go to church every Sunday?” The man replied, “Because I love Jesus with all my heart, and He commanded me to be here.” Then he paused for a moment and added, “And I just want to show everybody whose side I’m on.”
Does your family know whose side you’re on? What about your friends and neighbors? It is a wonderful gift to be a church member, part of the bride of Christ and a recipient of His many grace-filled, righteousness-giving promises. We get to be a part of His church, part of His team. This is something to rejoice about. We celebrate because it is where we hear the Word of God. It is where we worship the Lord. It is where we receive untold spiritual benefits. It is where we encounter God.
“Church attendance is as vital to a disciple as a transfusion of rich, healthy blood to a sick man.” (Dwight L. Moody)
“A good church is a Bible-centered church. Nothing is as important as this--not a large congregation, a witty pastor, or tangible experiences of the Holy Spirit.” (Alistair Begg)
Pastor Steve Vera