Though I can worship as carefree and loudly as I feel at home, when I gather together with other believers at church, the worship experience is incomparable. The collective voices of praise and adoration do something unexplainable to my spirit and I never leave the church building just as I came. The more difficult my week, the greater my longing for the revival that I feel at church.
For at least 52 days of the year we have an opportunity for corporate worship. That's a mere 14% of the entire year that the Lord blessed us with life. Every Sunday will not be a Pentecost experience but every Sunday will be a unique blessing nevertheless.
When we congregate to openly praise, sing and testify, we uplift others and are uplifted by them. When we worship corporately, we feel a lightening of our burdens as though our brothers and sisters in Christ are helping to carry the load. Isn't that what the word of God requires of us in Galatians 6:2, to “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way ... fulfill the law of Christ.”
It is so different now than when I was growing up when church was a staple of our week. These days, it seems that we've made it very easy for the devil to steal the time that should be set aside to be with the community of believers.
Sunday is now grocery day, market day, gardening day, laundry day, athletics practice, or S.E.A. lessons. Many parents have chosen to focus on academic excellence and cultural popularity for their children and are neglecting their much-needed spiritual nourishment. The very spirit that makes them human. Bit by bit people compromise and excuse away time with God because Satan has cunningly deceived many to do everything else.
Many of us are who we are and where we are because of the foundational values instilled at church. During our pre-teen and teenage years church was about socialising more than fellowship with believers. However, as we grew older because some never matured in faith, the church became unappealing. This was my story, I felt as though I outgrew the church's usefulness and everything else became more appealing. Thank God for His grace that brought me back!
It is so important for us to know that the time we spend in church is for us, it is not for God. God is God, whether we choose to do what he asks or not. He is unchanging and His character is consistent. His will shall always be done; in all circumstances. Therefore, I reiterate, corporate worship is for our benefit, just like prayer and reading the Bible are for our benefit.
The most troubling reality is that it is the next generation of children that is at risk of being spiritually deprived; because ‘when church attendance is optional for us, it will become unnecessary for them’.
Sadly, many parents of my generation aren't giving their kids the same grounding and foundation that they received even though today's world is more brutal and heartless than ours, and so arguably, the children of today and tomorrow will need it more than we did. When our children become adults and have challenges, what tools would they use to overcome them? When they are in difficulty, who will they look to for help... friends? As children, my parents sent us to church every Sunday, even when they weren't going and it created a critical foundation for not just our beliefs but also our values.
Church must never be about the people, the size, or the location, it is always about the place where believers meet for communion and fellowship in faith.
If you've somehow strayed or have been neglecting Christian fellowship, my simple encouragement is to go as you are and go consistently. Find a fellowship of believers in Jesus Christ and experience the upliftment that comes from corporate worship.
Even when you're weighed down by guilt, anxiety, or pain, as you stand in the midst of the crowd just bow your head, close your eyes, and without even muttering a word, let your heart worship and yearn for the healing and wholeness that closeness with God gives. God alone knows your story, He alone knows your heart. He has no desire to judge you and all He wants you to do is to trust Him and allow Him to shower His love on you.
Allow the soothing sounds of worship to charge not only the space around you but to fill and overflow the unquenchable hope that is within you.
Go to church and take your kids to church. You need it and they need it.
It's not Optional, it's Essential!
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