Good evening! My devotional tonight is again penned by my friend, Frank Myer. Frank and I went to Harding University together and our folks did the same several decades previously. Frank writes a weekly devotional called Friday From Frank and he has graciously loaned me several of his excellent pieces! Please continue to pray for me in Vietnam!
Good Morning Vineyard Workers,
You have to know the song, or hymn, but not a her, to get the greeting. The one out of the Blue Song book like Paul used in his missionary journeys.
A lot of people believe in God.
A lot less people go to church.
Almost as many, maybe even a little more don’t go to church. I wonder why.
What does it take to keep you away from church?
Many moons ago, as in decades, I heard a man pose a question:
He said he listens to people tell him all the time why they go to church.
The real question is: “What does it take to keep you away from church?”
Unfortunately, at times there are very good reasons not to go to church. Larry Norsworthy, one of the folks I consider with lots of wisdom, told me often times at church the game plan seems to be “Shoot the wounded.”
Is church supposed to be like that?
No, of course not, but it is. What to do?
Hang on to that thought.
Maybe it’s some people don’t see the need until a special event comes along.
For example, one youth minister I know tells me about every year or two a parent will call him and say, “My child is graduating this year from high school, when is graduation Sunday?”
He tells them and asks why they want to know.
“Well, it’s not fair they be excluded from Graduation Sunday since they are members there.”
Keep in mind this guy works with kids from the 6th grade on, and he tells me he has never laid eyes on some of these kids. What does he do?
The family wants the benefit of being a part of the church group, they just don’t want to show up.
I hear of folks who hop from church to church, and then complain they have no real friends.
People go to a church them construct a list of all the things they don’t like about it.
What’s the deal, Lucille? Why go if you are only going to complain?
I’m not going to mention any names but my dad thinks it’s better to be at church and complaining than not at all. I have empirical evidence that may not be true.
Why do that?
What is worship? Is it a function we attend only as long as we get something out of it?
What if what we get out of it, we don’t like? There may be a lesson or two that steps on our tiny, little, easy-to-hurt toes, so we quit going.
Maybe there’s lessons in the Bible we don’t like.
Sure we like the first part of Judges. We like the story of Samson.
As one reader asked me, “Why don’t we talk about Judges 19 – 21?” Have you read 19 – 21? Let me warn you, you will never see VBS week based on Judges 19.
Yet, it’s in there. Must be a reason.
I’m in a Sunday School class, I actually don’t like the term Sunday School, it seems kind of childish to me, and we talk about serious issues, which I do like.
Many times I’ve heard people say something along the lines of “I used to be so judgmental, and narrow minded. I’ve learned so much over the years of God’s love.”
How did they learn that?
Going to church, and being around, and at times being, narrow minded and judgmental. It’s a growth process.
Those of you who read this on a regular basis know I talk about my friend, Ron the Rabbi. I have a sneaking suspicion he may be Jewish. Anyway, at breakfast one day, he asked me, “Why does it take us so long to learn the lessons we need to learn?”
How do we learn them? By being around Godly people. He goes to temple. I went to Temple in Philadelphia, but that’s probably different.
What does it take you to miss?
A football game?
Feeling a little blue?
Maybe you wish people acted better. Maybe you know how they act during the week, and are somewhat leery of being around them.
Read Psalm 73.
The writer had that same issues. Oh, he believes in God. In fact, he starts of saying what a fantastic god God is. He’s the best.
But he tells us he almost slipped up. Why? Because of those around him.
Then around verse 23 – he comes to the conclusion.
Nevertheless – what a great word. Nevertheless.
Even though I have a hundred or a thousand reasons not to go and worship God, I go because I know that’s where I truly belong.
Google Psalm 73.
It pops up on your screen in seconds.
See if that’s somewhat fitting today.
There are times when going to church is frustrating. There are times when you won’t get anything out of it. You will probably see people there you don’t like or maybe you don’t like how they act.
There will be times when the service doesn’t speak to you. They have awful songs, or the sermon is way off base. (For the record, that never happens at our church, right Wade Hodges?)
You may not like the lesson, or be confused by it, or even, hold onto your religious britches, disagree with the points of the lesson.
Every time you go something good happens, whether you see it or not.
Enjoy the ride,
P.S. – Brass Tacks – think of one of your long-time friends. Just today I emailed a friend I’ve had since the 5th grade. Other friends over the years are that way because of time. It’s not because we do things perfectly. It’s not because we always agree. It’s because we spend time together, years in fact.
I wonder if it works that way with God?
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