18 08 2018

Come to CHurch

A large majority of Americans will say that they believe in God, yet our American church attendance would not give evidence to that reality. If everyone who professed to believe in God were to go to church this coming weekend, there would presently not be enough room to hold them in all the worship buildings in America! So why do Christians neglect meeting together on a regular basis, even though the very Scripture they claim to adhere to tells them to do otherwise? It is hard to interpret Hebrews 10:23-25 any other way but challenging Believers to fulfill their responsibility to one another to show up so that they can grow up and connect with the very comrades they will need to run the race that Jesus is calling of us all to do with excellence! Those verses actually read, “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 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.”


I hear this phrase shared with me quite often, “I love Jesus but I don’t really need to go to church because I worship the Lord from wherever I am.” While it may sound hip and even logical, it is not what God desires of his Children. We are Family. We are His Bride. We are not an organization but a living organism. When two or three are gathered in His Name, Jesus is there in the midst of us. God inhabits the collective corporate worship of His People. You can’t be a group all alone. You can’t encourage others if you aren’t in their company often. You can’t be held accountable if you are not willing to be vulnerable with some special men and women around you. It is the heart of our Father to pray for one another, walk with one another, cry with one another, laugh with one another and love one another. But to pull off the “one anothering,” you can’t do so in a solo posture. Put your pride aside and join the team rather than attempting to play all the positions by yourself. You can’t do it and God knows it.


“The Church is full of Hypocrites.” When I hear that, with a smile on my face I reply, “That’s OK. We can always use one more.” We don’t come to church because we are perfect. We don’t gather together because we have arrived. We don’t make public appearances to show off our pride. We are here because God can only accomplish some things in a committed gathering that He hardly ever does when we are all by ourselves.


The Church in the Scriptures never refers to a destination constructed with bricks and sticks. The original definition of the Church means those that are called out of the crowd to come together to glorify Jesus as a family. And the world will know we are Christians by our love for the Lord and for one another. We have reduced going to church as nothing more than a weekly event we pull off mostly so we can feel better about our own personal walk with God. We go to glorify God as the sheep of His pasture. We are not singing the songs we like for us, but to express our devotion to the Most High. We dig into the Word of God together so that we can be filled to be spilled to bless those all around us. We get real with our struggles. We aren’t hiding our sins. We put the religion of pretending behind us, and get excited about offering our gifts, talents and abilities to the ultimate Coach whose words should matter most. What good is it if you can hit a 99 mile an hour fastball but refuse to offer your batting prowess for the best of those who need you?

I also hear many tell me that their Pastor is a TV Preacher or a Radio Minister. Do you understand that when Jesus described the specific relationship between a Shepherd and the Sheep, one of the prerequisites of that relationship being real is that there is a true personal connection between them? Jesus said, “My Sheep know my voice and I know their name.” A TV Preacher or a Radio Minister can be part of the peripherals of helping you sharpen your biblical skills, but if he doesn’t know you and you don’t know him, he is not your Pastor. He can’t be. God doesn’t expect him to be. You need a Shepherd who knows you personally. You need friendly sheep all around you so that as a group you may bring a sacrifice of praise that God wants to make known all over Cape May County.


Are you committed to being a unique and important participant in the Church that you are making the decision to belong to? You can’t do this if you hop from building to building every single week. You won’t ever live out the Hebrews verses above until you are ready to be obedient with truth and grace here below. It would be easy to stay anonymous. It would be comfortable to go secret agent with your faith. But the Day is coming and when Jesus comes back, He is not coming back for individuals but for His Church. Do you want to be totally ready? Don’t just go to church. Ask Him to make you be the Church!


Years ago, I was invited by our denomination to be a traveling itinerant Speaker. I would be able to see exciting places. I could really fine tune a few messages and present them in an excellent manner. But I said a quick, “No.” I was called to be a Pastor to a specific Flock of Sheep. For the last 22 years, it has been at The Lighthouse Church. My Church Family knows me and I know them. Like a Family, we have seen the good, bad and ugly of one another. But we aren’t strangers. We are able to experience Body Life together in its fullness. That is what I pray for all of you. This isn’t about coming to The Lighthouse Church. This is about your need to go and let fellowship happen all around you! Go to Church! Be the Church! Pray for the Church! It was and still is God’s idea!      





One response

18 08 2018
Doug Rogers

Preach it, Rudy! Loved this!!

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