Before you say, “I don’t believe.” Chapter 29
Is your view of church how church really is?
I have been to church services, looked around, and thought that I don’t understand why these people are here, but fully understand why so many others are not! I have been to school ‘chapel’ services which are dire. (Just as English lessons at school put me off Shakespeare, so R.E. lessons thoroughly turned me off religion.) However, at the conclusion of the very latest church service I attended, the gentleman in the seat next to me turned at the end and emphatically remarked, “I enjoyed that!” I replied with equal emphasis, “So did I!”
Church can be great. I look forward to each Sunday service. I would encourage every one to try church, but there are some vital things to look for. Sadly, the history of the church is that there has been a tendency for churches to drift away from the authority of the Bible, replacing it with traditions, and the preaching of morality or politics rather than the Word of God. That partly explains why there are so many denominations, though of course, they inevitably reflect personal preferences for the type of worship which suits individuals.
Find a Church where the Bible is unconditionally believed and preached, where Jesus is worshipped and followed, and where the Christians genuinely care for one another, praying and serving together, and you will see that, though not perfect, there is integrity and a heartfelt reverence towards God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. There is nothing to compare with a Christian church which is sincerely trusting in the living God, and experiencing Him at work in their lives and community. I have found this to be true in small village churches and in large city churches, and in churches in the various parts of the world where I have had the privilege of travelling.
Of course, the church is a community of forgiven sinners, so there are always going to be issues. As in a hospital where there are going to be sick people, so in a church the collection of sinners (that’s all of us!) is at times going to test one’s patience. But then, by joining we ourselves only add to problem! One of the evidences of true Christian conversion is that the Christian wants to go to church and be with other believers. It can be challenging, and needs discipline. I go twice each Sunday, not to earn favours from God – that would never work – but because He has shown His favour to me in forgiving me and bringing me into a relationship with Himself. I, for one, usually find church a little taster of Heaven. I love it, and find it sets me up for facing the week ahead.
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