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Truth in Palmyra

By Wally Fry

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church attendance

Jesus Did It, Maybe We Should Also?

Luke 4_16

First of all, this is not written for or to some who won’t be assembling in the Lord’s house for any numbers of perfectly fine reasons. It’s not written to those who have done this on another day. It’s not even for those who think the whole idea is not valid anymore. All of those things are for another day and time. I even understand that Jesus gathering in the Synagogue then, is not the same as the New Testament Church He later started on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. No, I am NOT saying that if you are not going to church this morning, you are a “bad” Christian. I am certainly not saying you need to be there to become or stay saved.

This little Sunday morning post is just a reminder for those who just aren’t assembling, “Just because.” Those who have something “better,” to do, or are mad at the preacher or a church member, or just feel like snoozing this morning.

Just think about this for a bit as you read it. Jesus did it; He assembled with others of like faith to study scripture and serve His Lord. It was “his custom.” If it was His custom, perhaps it should be ours also?

So, beloved, I implore you. Get up. Get your Bible in hand and head to the Lord’s House this morning. Gather with your brethren, sing songs, study God’s Word and worship your God. You will be blessed, I promise.

An extra thought

No, you can’t worship God in your boat, any more than you can fish in the church house.

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What Today Means To Me

As everybody knows, I have been working a crazy, crazy work schedule. First, I was covering for my boss who left. Then, I was competing for his job. Next, I got the job. I had to work like a madman to outshine all of my competition to get the job I was already doing, and once I actually got the job I was already doing, I then had to learn how to do the job I was already doing. I hope that makes sense LOL!!

So, it’s been forty some odd days without a day off. I am actually okay with that, as I actually love to work and see things happen. I mean, it’s not the ideal, but some things are simply needful. What is bad, however, is that I have not been in God’s House for almost 6 weeks, except for very brief moments at a time. I have made a preaching or two, and one Sunday School, but that has been about it.

Today, I plan to make the whole day. I will still take calls, as I will have guys working, but I don’t plan to actually go anywhere for the first time in a bunch of days. Why is this exciting to me? I just want to offer a few thoughts about what The Lord’s Day means to me. Okay, okay, before anybody says I am acting like some seeker friendly TV guy, allow me to caveat this: I know, I know, I know….that church is NOT about me. On the other hand, the One I worship is kind enough to really let me benefit from it.

I get to pray special, corporate prayers. Before the “official” happenings start on Sunday mornings, a small group of us meet for special prayer time. Prayer works, prayer is powerful, and prayer builds us up.

I get to teach other believers. Today is my turn to teach the adult Sunday School class. Anyone who teaches will get that without any explanation. It’s just special.

I get to praise and worship the One who holds me in His hands. We sing, we pray, we worship. It’s all about Him, and being about nothing but Him for an hour is….awesome.

I get to hear God’s Word boldly proclaimed. We still do that in my church. If you want seeker friendly fluff, don’t come see us. If you want convicting, edifying proclamation of God’s Work, our preacher is your man.

I get to SING praises. I love to sing to my Lord. I love the congregational singing, and I love singing in the choir. But, today is even more special. A couple my wife and I used to sing with are coming to visit, as they moved away. Our little quartet gets to reform for a least a few hours.

I get to fellowship with my extended family. My church IS family. I miss them desperately, and I hear they have missed me as well. My church is my circle. We love and take care of each other through thick and thin. We love, and sometimes we fight, sort of. Today is extra special, as it is 5th Sunday. We come for prayer, Sunday School, and worship, then we break. At that time we all eat until we look like Violet from Willy Wonka, and roll back in for another service in the afternoon. I get to spend all day with my extended family.

Is this a plug for church attendance? Yep, it sure is. I have discovered in the last 5 weeks just how vital it is to my overall well being. I miss God, and I suspect He misses me as well.

What are you doing this morning? Have you fallen away from assembling with other believers? Are you simply sleeping in, going fishing, or playing golf? Are you mad at somebody, or is somebody mad at you?

Please, put all of that aside and get yourself down to God’s House today. There may be a time and a place when you are no longer able to.

Will you be wishing you had taken the time when you had it?

My God Is Faithful

God is faithful. Are we? Some good thought for a Sunday morning from Pastor Anthony Baker at The Recovering Legalist. Blessings and enjoy!

I am going to church this morning.

I’m not going as one who wants to show off…as one who wants to be seen…as one who deserves any kind of blessing, healing, or anointing…as one who deserves anything at all.

I’m not going because it’s expected of me, even though it is – I’m the pastor, you know.

I’m not going to prove anything to anyone, especially God, because He knows my heart; He knows me better than I know myself.

I am going to church this morning because my God is faithful, despite my unfaithfulness.

I am going to church this morning because my God deserved to be praised by me in front of others, because I love Him, and I’m not ashamed.

I am going to church this morning. Are you?

Read more from Brother Anthony here

I Worship Me

Some very direct, yet true words from Brother Anthony Baker at The Recovering Legalist

I Am That Important

I could stay at home and get some more sleep… because, you know, it’s that important.

I could stay at home and watch some TV… because, you know, it’s that important.

I could sleep a little later, then make a special breakfast… because, you know, it’s that important.

I stay at home, wake up later, make a light breakfast, then take a morning jog when there’s no rush… because, you know, it’s that important…..read the rest of the post here: I Worship Me

Why People… Are Going to Church!

Just an encouraging word I discovered browsing around the other day from Saleama A. Ruvalcaba

I have read several books about all the problems in the church today. It’s frustrating. There are so many books out there about why people either stopped going to church or about all the problems with church leadership. Are there problems in the church? Yes…there are plenty of problems in the church. But guess what? There are problems within businesses, families, politics, media, entertainment…etc. There are problems everywhere you turn. After experiencing many issues with church leadership our family almost walked away from church – for good. After much prayer we went back. We found an amazing church that admits there are problems within the church, but still doing so much for the community and our world at large. So while people might be leaving the church, here are five reasons we ARE going to church.

  1. The Bible says do not forsake the assembly; 

    Hebrews 10:25  (NIV) 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.  We are told not to forsake the assembly. Our family fell prey to believing we were better than “church people” by following friends who we thought were super spiritual. They stopped going to church and we followed them. In our time away from church we were more miserable and felt further away from God. 

  2. My children; When we went back to church, we found a church with a great children’s ministry. This was the first church we attended that truly emphasized Bible memory. We were amazed to see our children memorize God’s Word in such a powerful way.
  3. Life Groups; My husband and I found a Life Group at our new church full of imperfect people, who are truly doing their best to live and honor God. Not to mention, our Life Group teachers are solid in the Word of God. So prior to going to Sunday service, we get outstanding teaching from our Life Group leaders.
  4. Prayer; I hate to admit it, but I have never been apart of a church that prays as much as our current church. Now granted, I have been to “prayer meetings” which were three-hour long sessions of talking, eating and praying about our own problems. But our current church goes one step further. We pray for our city, the communities, the government, the president, the police department, for men to be the head of their homes. We pray for our world!
  5. We love God; God does not hide Himself from this imperfect world, so who are we to hide ourselves from the imperfect church? If we truly are living as the light of the world, we can evoke change into our circumstances. We can sit on social media and complain all day, or we can ask God to help us be the difference we want to see.

crowd

 

 Read more posts by Saleama A. Ruvalcaba here

Where Will You Praise Him?

Here is some Sunday morning encouragement from Brother Anthony Baker as you contemplate whether or not to come to God’s House this morning.

church-clip-art-5

“Praise ye the LORD. I will praise the LORD with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright, and in the congregation.” – Psalm 111:1

Are you imitating the words of King David in Psalm 111:1?

You can’t do it in front of a television while watching your favorite preacher.

You can’t do it at the ball field watching your favorite child.

You can’t do it sitting in your boat waiting for a bite.

You can’t do it while doing laundry.

You can’t do it reading a devotional while drinking your morning coffee.

You can’t do it while listening to the radio as you make pancakes.

You can’t do it in a hotel room while on vacation.

You can’t do it taking a morning run.

You can’t do it out in the forest while waiting for a 10-point buck to walk by.

You can’t do it in your bed on your only day off.

So, how does one imitate the words of David in Psalm 111:1?

Simple. You go to church.

Hope to see you there!

church glad to go

Visit Anthony at The Recovering Legalist

Nine Important Functions of the Local Church

A great post here on the importance of the local church from the Isaiah 53:5 Project

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By Aaron Dunlop from think GOSPEL.com

1. The Christian’s worship center. The local church is the center of the Christian’s worship. This is where our sacrifice for sin—our altar—is presented and understood (Hebrews 13:10; cf. 1 Corinthians 1:23). This is where our worship begins and flows out into the life. We damage the growth of Christian graces in the life if we neglect the assembling of the church (Ephesians 4:11–16; Hebrews 10:24–25).

2. The Christian’s schoolroom. Next to worship, teaching is the most prominent function of the church—they rise or fall together. The pastor and elders teach (2 Timothy 2:2), the people teach one another (Titus 2:4; 1 Timothy 5:1–2), and as a body we all teach the angels (Ephesians 3:10, 1 Corinthians 11:10) and the world (Colossians 4:5).

The learning experience of the church is not independent learning—sermons and lectures downloaded from the Internet do not serve this function of the church. The church as a schoolroom depends on the submissive integration and gracious interaction (Hebrews 13:17; Philippians 2:2–4) of Christians. They learn and teach at the same time as they interact with others in the church.

3. The Christian’s counselling room. The Spirit of God uses the preaching of the Word in a remarkable way to penetrate into the hearts and minds of the hearers (Acts 2:37). There is a mysterious element in the preaching of a single sermon. It can rebuke one and comfort another. One can be left in darkness and another illumined (Mark 4:11). “The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him” (Psalm 25:14). He knows your heart—the trials, fears, and anxieties you struggle with. The Word of God“is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). He is then the greatest psychiatrist, the Great Physician……read the rest of the post here: Nine Important Functions of the Local Church

What If Jesus Had Been Too Busy For The Cross?

I have run this one before in several places and several times. I think it is a good reminder for this Lord’s Day

cross-918459_640

It’s almost an epidemic in our society today that we are all so busy we can hardly keep track of ourselves; we literally seem to meet ourselves coming and going. The list of things we are busy doing seems endless: work, home, entertainment, television, sports and so on and so on.  Many studies have shown that this business is usually not healthy for us; we all need down time where we are not just doing.

Christians are not different; they are subject to the same issue of simply being too busy with the things of life. Our lives are so cluttered we just no longer have time for the things of God. Yet we are clearly commanded by the Bible that our priority is to be the things of God and not the things of the world.  The Bible teaches us that we cannot both love God and love the world:

 James 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

The Bible also teaches us that the things we put our lives into are a reflection of the things in our hearts. We put the emphasis on the things we truly love:

Matthew 6:21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Despite this clear teaching, the “Christian” community is overrun with professing Christians who are simply too busy with other things to have even a little time left for the things of God. What are some of the things we fail to do that really we should be doing? This list is not in order of importance, by the way; all of these things matter greatly.

#1 is going to Church. If one looks around on any given Sunday morning, it is simply amazing the number of Church members who are missing in action. Many folks come a time or two a month, or on special occasions, and honestly seem to think they have somehow done God a wonderful honor by being there. Has anyone ever wondered why Sunday preaching is the most attended time of the week? What about Sunday School, or Sunday night or Wednesday night services? They are important also. Scripture is clear what God’s expectation of us in this matter is:

Hebrews 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

#2 is study and time spent with the Bible, the Word of God. For so many, the only time they actually open their Bibles is when they come to preaching on Sunday morning; if they don’t do that, they may never open them. Yet we are clearly directed to read and study as believers:

 2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

#3 is witnessing to others and reaching out to a lost world. Studies have been conducted about the issue of Christians witnessing to others and the results are uniformly disturbing; most show that around 95% of professing Christians have never told anyone about Jesus Christ. There are many reasons why this is true, but one of them is certainly that we simply do not take the time to do it. It takes time from a busy day to tell another person about Jesus; it takes time from a busy evening to knock on the neighbor doors and invite them to church; the list goes on and on.

#4 is fellowshipping and providing comfort and assistance to and with other believers. It is God’s wish that we surround ourselves with other believers. He clearly does not want us to build the primary relationships in our lives with non believers. The following is probably the best guidance in the Bible concering who we are to fellowship with, or not fellowship with:

 2 Corinthians 6:14-17 14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,

In addition to not fellowshipping with other believers, we simply do not take the time to aid and assist other believers who may be in need. Do we check on the sick? Do we go visit them? Do we check on suddenly missing church members to see why they are suddenly missing? Do we provide physical assistance to fellow believers who may be unable to help themselves for some reason? The Bible shows time and time again that this is what we should do.

The above list is far from all inclusive. In fact, we could simply sum it up by asking the question: What does God want from us? The answer is everything!  These two verses sum up nicely what God expects from His saved people:

Matthew 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

1 Corinthians 6:20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

We really cannot argue the point that God has expectations of believers, and that most of us(including me I might add) fail to meet them on a daily basis. We have many reasons we come up with to justify our actions, or in reality our inaction.

“God wants me to be happy and enjoy my life!” That is almost a true statement. God does love us and He wants our joy to be complete; however, our happiness for its own sake is not His objective. God created us to love and worship Him; that is His primary desire. God wants us to be happy not by pursuing the things of the world, but by striving to seek and execute His will for our lives.  An earlier article addresses this issue, read it   Here

“I can worship God just as well in my boat as I can in Church” No, you cannot. You might think briefly about God as you pull in a fish or bait the hook; however your primary objective out there would never be worshiping God, but catching fish. You can no more effectively worship God in fishing boat than you can effectively fish in a Church building. God wants our undivided attention, not just the leftovers.

“I need time with my family” Of course, we all do. God created the family as His chosen tool and organization for serving Him.

 Joshua 24:15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

Service to the Lord does not get in the way of quality family time; it is the best way of all to have quality family time!

“My children need sports and extracurricular activities to develop and learn about life” That may be true to a certain extent; however, our children also need to come to know Jesus Christ to escape the penalty of their sins, which is an eternity separated from God. If we deny them that opportunity because we are “too busy,” we may ensure their success in the world, but doom their eternity.

The question asked in the title of this article is “What if Jesus Had Been Too Busy for the Cross?”.  Let’s look briefly at what would have been, if Jesus had simply opted not to die on that Cross because He had better things to do that day.

We would be doomed to pay the penalty for our sin. We all profess to understand that Jesus paid the price we owed for our sin. That price is death, and He paid it so we do not have to. Without His sacrifice, we would all get exactly what we deserve, which is eternal separation from God in Hell.

We would not have access in a personal way to God the Father. At the moment Jesus died, the Temple veil was rent, symbolizing that we could personally bring our petitions and needs before God. We no longer needed a Priest to present our issues to God.

Jesus would not be coming back to get us someday. If Jesus had not died that day on the cross, He would not have ascended to Heaven to sit at the right hand of God. If He had not done that, then He would not be coming back. If He did not come back, then we and the world would be doomed to exist always just as we do now. He is coming back someday to take us to be with the Father forever. We will all be resurrected into our new bodies, and the Heavens and the Earth will all be made new as well. That can only happen if Jesus comes back, which can only happen if He left which in turn can only happen if He died that day on the Cross.

The following poem sums up the thoughts of this article quite nicely, and I will close with it. It was written by Donna Laster in 1999 and appeared on the Angelfire.com Christian Poetry website:

Too Busy for Jesus

The dream became clearer as I tossed around in my sleep.
The Lord was calling my name over and over, so loud and deep.
The voice surrounded my bedroom, I stared within.
He said, “This is Jesus, my friend, where have you been?”

He said, “My dear brethren, what have you done today,
to walk in my footsteps and try not to stray?
Not once have you been humble on your knees in prayer.
Son, you must shine my light and show others you care.”

I saw you yesterday, only glancing at the man on the road.
He was having car trouble and needed to be towed.
You said, “I can’t stop or I will surely be late,
someone will help him soon, he’ll just have to wait.”

“One of your workers has been sick and almost died.
This lady is a widow and food for five she must buy.
You have plenty and you’re never hungry when you go to bed.
Why are you so greedy and trying to get ahead?

“What if I had been too busy to die on the cross?
You would never walk the streets of gold, your soul would be lost.
What if I had been too busy to hear you that day,
when you asked forgiveness and earnestly prayed?”

I awoke from my deep slumber and my heart felt content.
I thanked the Lord on my knees, for the message He had sent.
So many times, I take for granted the small things He has given to me.
Without the Lord in my life each day, I am blind and cannot see.

Copyright © 1999 by Donna Laster

Why Church Matters


This is a great article by Dave on the Rethink blog about the importance of the local assembly of believers, and why it is so important that we be part of it. His perspective is that one one who had given up on the local church, but is now back. Blessings and enjoy!

Last summer I wrote a blog titled, “Faith in Recovery: Are Traditional Faith Communities Necessary?”.  At the time I had left the Church and the Christian faith for a variety of reasons, but most of the reasons involved seeing hypocrisy in the Church and being hurt again and again by Christians.  A year later, I have found myself exploring a faith community once again in a local church in St. Louis, Missouri, and I am identifying again with the Christian faith.  I am a Christ follower, or at least I try to be.  Last summer I made the argument that traditional faith communities or churches are no longer necessary and neither is meeting corporately for worship.  Over my years in church, as a member and a leader, I have seen churches become buildings over people, businesses to be run, and I saw them become disengaged from both the culture and their congregants.  The Church I saw was not what I think Jesus envisioned during the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20), nor was it relevant to my life or my friends who are non-believers.  I am not here today to criticize the Church or argue against traditional faith communities once again, but instead, I am here to invite you to rethink church and how we as Christians are the Church.

Rethinking church begins by reexamining ourselves.  After all, we (all who claim to be Christ followers), are the Church.  What does it to mean to reexamine ourselves?  2 Corinthians 13:5 gives us an idea about that.  I often ask myself, am I the kind of person that I would want in a church?  Or, do I represent Jesus well?  Would my friends see Jesus in me?  With that comes accountability.  It is one thing for me to think I am representing Jesus well, but it is another thing for others to think that and hold me accountable to scripture with others in community.  One reason I think traditional faith communities matter is because we are called to be accountable to one another and carry each other’s burdens (Galatians 6:2).  We are also called to share meals together, in particular the Lord’s Supper, praise God together and help others in the community who are in need (Acts 2:42-47).  It is very difficult to do this outside of a traditional faith community.  I think it is okay and even sometimes necessary to reimagine what a traditional faith community looks like and where and when it meets.  I have no problem with a church meeting in a school, home, or even a bar, but it does matter that we meet together for worship, teaching and the Lord’s Supper…..Read the Rest of the post here: Why Church Matters

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