As I was thinking about what to write for this week, I thought about this: how many times do we make a decision on Sunday morning not to go to church? I know I have been guilty of that at times. It’s cold and rainy (I won’t use the four letter word “snow” because I know some of you don’t like snow.) and the covers are nice and warm, and the alarm goes off, and it’s so easy to turn it off, roll over and go back to sleep. And we miss Sunday morning. The first time is the hardest, but then it gets easier the next week and then the next week and then the next until finally, we find ourselves out of church, out of fellowship with others, and many times, out of fellowship with God. Just that one deliberate act of turning off the alarm clock that leads to being out of church for several weeks, several months or longer.
I asked one of our 7 year olds who missed the Sunday before if she had missed me. I was hoping to hear that she did. But her response was, “No, not really.” From the mouths of children.
Well do you know what? When one of our members or one of our families is missing from church on any given Sunday, I miss them. Our church is like family and when someone is gone, they are missed. I know most pastors preach “better” when there is a full house, but beyond that, we should miss people when they aren’t in church on Sunday morning. And maybe take it a step further and call them up or send them a text and let them know they were missed. Hebrews 10:25 tells us to not miss going to church on Sunday. Some people don’t care about church and it is evident as I drive to church on Sunday morning. I see them walking their dog, running, riding bikes, pulling their boat or Jet Ski behind them as they go off to the beach or to the lake. To many, Sunday is no more than a day off or a day to do what they want to do.
But to God’s people, God has told us to not skip out, or miss going to church. Why? Because it’s His day and we should start it out right. Because we need each other, because the church needs us and because when we don’t go to church, we are missed. At least, I hope you are in the church you attend.
On Wednesday night, we had our sixth annual free thanksgiving dinner for the community. In spite of the rain and cold temps, we served right at 325 people. It was a fun and exciting thing to do and I know everyone from Crossroads felt blessed to be a part of it.
I went from table to table and talked to those who were not part of the Crossroads family, and boy oh boy, did I get an earful. I heard stories where this couple had visited that church and this happened, and another couple had visited there and that happened. One couple told me the church they had visited didn’t give an altar call or invite people for a time of prayer and ministry. Another couple told me of a church where the music was slow and the people were just “mouthing the words” without the words having a true meaning for them. Apparently, they had sung the songs for so long, they knew them by heart and just sang the words, but the words no longer meant something to them. How sad.
Do you know what I took away from that, church? I realized than when people do make the decision to come to church on any given Sunday, once they get there, the church had better do their best to bring that person or that family into the very presence of God through worship and then the pastor better do his very best to bring a message. (We don’t call my talk on Sunday morning a “sermon” it’s called the message. Why? Because way too many people have heard dull, boring and drab sermons, but not too many people have heard a message from God.) I don’t consider myself special or anything like that, but here’s what I do know. I try to preach a message on about the seventh grade level. That way, if I can understand it and make application of it, then I know the people will be able to understand it and put it to application in their lives also. If you have been doing things the same way for years and years and your church is not growing, maybe you should think of a better way to do what your church has been called to do.
And you, as a member of your church, need to decide right now to put God first in every area of your life and especially on His day. Put Him first and go to church. It will do you good and it’s the right thing to do. And it will show others who are outside the church, that something different is happening inside the building where you worship. It’s not the same-’ol-stuff that every other church has done or is doing. No your church is experiencing a movement of God and your people are ready to extend open arms and warm hearts and a caring spirit towards those whom the Lord leads your way each Sunday. So that once again, your walk with the Lord is now the most important thing in your life and it becomes the most important thing in the lives of your visitors too.
God loves you. In spite of everything you have ever done in your life God loves you. If you are searching for God in your life, He can be found. I invite you to check out the church of your choice this weekend and start a relationship with the God of all Creation.
And that is Something to Think About for this week.
If you are on Facebook, you can watch our service live on Sunday morning at 10:45 a.m. Simply like our Facebook page at Crossroadslondon and watch.
Pastor Thad Gifford is the founding and lead pastor of the Crossroads Community Church, 62 E. Second St., London. He can be reached at 740-852-7800, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, www.3C-Church.org or visit the church’s Facebook page at Crossroadslondon.