I’ve read a number of blogs where people are struggling within their church homes. They aren’t happy with the preaching/teaching or the worship or any manner of other things. I have friends who are going through or have gone through the same sort of thing. I went through a similar struggle a number of years ago when the pastor resigned and moved away, and after 23 years in the same small church, I felt called to depart. Soon, I found myself planted in another, much larger church home where I have been so blessed. The teaching is strong. The worship is honest and deep. The ministries where a person can serve are many and varied. The people are disciples of Christ who are pursuing authentic Christianity. I am thankful to God for bringing me to this family of believers. But that doesn’t mean what led up to my departure from my former church wasn’t painful.
I believe in the importance of gathering weekly with other believers because God calls us to do so. It is a worship thing. It is an accountability thing. It is an obedience thing. It is a family thing. I believe that we are to be planted and not hop around, looking for the latest thing or wanting to get our ears tickled.
Do you know if you miss one Sunday a month, you’ve missed one-fourth of what you would have heard/experienced that month? But it’s more than that. You may miss the Lord showing up in the midst of the people, and no amount of others explaining to you what you missed will make up for it. Look at what happened to Thomas after Christ rose from the dead:
That evening, on the first day of the week, the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! "Peace be with you," he said. As he spoke, he held out his hands for them to see, and he showed them his side. They were filled with joy when they saw their Lord! He spoke to them again and said, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." Then he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you refuse to forgive them, they are unforgiven."
One of the disciples, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin ), was not with the others when Jesus came. They told him, "We have seen the Lord!" But he replied, "I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side."
Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. He said, "Peace be with you." Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!"
"My Lord and my God!" Thomas exclaimed. (John 20:19-28, NLT)
By not being present with the other believers on "Sunday," Thomas missed seeing the Lord with his own eyes. He was told about it, but it just wasn’t the same thing. He couldn’t believe what he was told because he hadn’t experienced it for himself. He had to wait a whole week to experience what the others had experienced. He might have missed it altogether.
Don’t miss out.
In the grip of His grace,