I have asked the question Why go to Church and why is it beneficial and important?
Here a is my story.
Are you ready to sit down and read a novel….this is the way I talk about things also. My Husband tells me I need to hurry and get to the point. He has learned through the years that is just me, even though I have tried to condense my stories of sorts.
I grew up in a non-christian home. We were taught morals, good behavior, and many rights from wrongs. But I will say I remember my mom, sister, my brother and I going to church for a short time. This was before my youngest brother was born. There are four of us and I am the oldest. My mom taught a Sunday School classes for the kids and I still remember a few activities she did with us. Here I have said I grew up in a non-christian home and yet my mom taught a Sunday School class, I don’t ever remember anything being said about salvation at any time of my raising.
When I was in the third grade the church we went to for a short time, burnt to the ground, on Sunday morning. fault, old wiring. Beside the catholic church the Presbyterian was the oldest one in small town of about 500, there was one other church, Church of Christ. There were three churches and 3 bars…go figure. Also, one grocery store the size, at that time, like Cirlcle K; a small dress shop, women’s and children’s clothing and shoes; a hardware store, they carried the mens work clothes and for boys also along with different shoes for them; two cafes; one gas station; a bank and post office; the sheriff’s department; courthouse, we got a nice big one in the early 70’s and Loren Green was there fo r the dedication…He played the father in Bonanza; Pa, Ben Cartwright…too long ago for many of you, you may see the reruns on TVLand; and can’t for get the mechanic shop, my dad owned it and ran it…good mechanic. Along with these we had a small elementary school (1st through 6, no kindergarten then) and high school (7th through the 12th grades, jr high was part of high school then). The town is also the county seat and surrounding ranchers and others sent their kids to school there. Kids came for about a 60 to 70 mile radius for school. Well as a fellow blog friend said in one of her post recently, Chatty Cathy, and that goes back a way, too. Ummkk-ummkk, the throat clear sound you are hearing is me going back to my story now.
After the church burnt down I don’t ever remember setting foot into another church.
My parents were of the belief in letting their kids choose what they want to believe or not when they are old enough to choose for themselves.
Life went on and I will tell you I did have a good growing up life experience. I have loving, supportive parents.
When I was fourteen I meet a sixteen year-old boy, a PK, Preachers Kid for those that may not know the term. I met him through the youth pastor at that time, we were neighbors. The youth pastor’s wife came over and ask my sister if we would like to go to the youth group Bible study, my sister chose to go. I stayed home. Some time went by, she continued to invite us to the Bible studies and different things they would do. I still refused to go. Never did I have any encouragement or discouragement from my parents. One Saturday morning, Cindy, the youth pastor’s wife, caught me in the yard and asked me if I would go with them tonight, they were going to the lake for a bbq. So sure I decided to go. Why? I was asked! Me! It wasn’t by word of mouth through my sister for the invitation, but one directed to me, personally. But, I did not want to go alone. I ask my sister and two other friends to go with me. I went and had a great time. This is where I met my future husband…who would have ever thought. Not me, not at the time.
He, Preston, my boyfriend, at age 14…almost 15, continued to invite me to church and youth group. He only would ask me to church. My parents taught me from a very young age of the birds and the bees and dating do’s and don’t’s…oh so very grateful! mom did a great job, but dad was more informative about boys behavior, ya know, being a boy himself…once. I was daddy’s girl, any question…anything, he would tell me and give it to me straight. Dad helped a lot in my growing up years. So I was glad to only go to church events, it was safer that way.
I heard the Word being taught, but didn’t understand. I was in left field and goo-goo eyed over this great looking guy.A few months past and the church was having a family church camp 4 hours away in another state and this boy asked me to go. Do you hear the screeching tires…..I didn’t and at the time, I didn’t think my parent did either. They let me go. by the way my sister and I both went. We were stay ing with a family I had only known for a few months and my parent met them ONCE. What were they thinking…I wasn’t a bad kid, were they trying to get rid of me or something. God had a plan I knew nothing about.
At that camp in July of 1976, at the age of 14 I receive Jesus Christ as Savior of my life. I was still not sure what all this meant, but I knew in my heart I was longing for something.. there was a void. Sounds cliche’ish, but true. I was told there was a God as was growing up, so I did believe there was a God out there somewhere. But a God that loved me, to give His only Son for me-if I were the only one here on earth God would have paid the highest price for me to go to heaven to be with His Son because I wasn’t good enough to get there on my own…I don’t know, I just knew. A dear, dear friend prayed with me, the people we stayed with at that camp. He has the most gentle way of talking to you and his eyes showed complete love. It was if I felt if I was looking into the eyes of God at the time and as Rick explained salvation to me, he cried. It was real to him, not just something that was expected to do as a church going person and to get more going to church. But to talk of Jesus was and is a real experience to this man. This is also the same man who prayed with me a few years later at a youth camp to be filled with the spirit. We prayed for a while, several of us young people we being prayed for to be filled with the spirit…speaking in tongues, and as I was about to give up someone else spoke up, they just need to let go and let the Lord fill them, they are the one doing the trying. Rick kinda laughed and I stopped praying and just said in my mind “ok Lord Yu know how much I want You and if this is a part of You, You want me to have right now I want it.” As I lifted my hand and praise Him, the words that came from my mouth were not my words. I began to laugh and cover my mouth. Rick pull my hand away as he was laughing also, and said, “keep going the Lord has more for you.” He did. I don’t know how long I sat there by the fire leaning on another friend, Leon, as he was doing the same. Basking in the blessed Holy Spirit of God as He poured Himself out on us. Wonderful is our God.
After I was saved, this guy I was gaga over, started asking me out, but not just to church. He would not ask me out until I knew the Lord. Wow! ya! My curfew was 8 pm on week nights, but could only go to church meetings and if I had a game I played in. So dates were not happening on week nights. On weekends until I was 15 was 10pm. After 15 it was 11 pm. But I could only go out one night a weekend because I had a game usually on Friday nights. I played volleyball and was a cheerleader….ok I can hear some of your chuckles. This continued through my junior year. Preston, my boyfriend at the time, decided to move to Denver for a year, we were starting to get too serious and we need to find out if were to be together and marry. So he left to seek the Lord and find out wha the future was to hold for us. I quite cheering and playing ball. I had no desire to date. This guy is and was the only guy I have dated. I went out with friends and had a good time. But I wanted to see what the Lord wanted also. That year was a real struggle. But God met me. He returned for my senior year, but we did not remain as a dating couple until we knew what the Lord wanted. It wasn’t until January of my senior year, he asked me to marry him. The thing is I knew before he did. God had spoken t omy heart, “The time has come. Now wait.” I had to wait for him to come to me. You know the most precious thing to me in this is he asked my dad a week before he asked me. My dad (and mom) kept it secert for a week. Amazing! Dad did say, “yes, son, that way you’ll be at your home more than you are at mine. Take good care of her.” My daddy…..
After my senior year, fresh out of high school I married this wonderful man. I graduated May 23 and married May 31. By the way my curfew didn’t change until I was engaged, it was now it the door at 12 mid-night, at 18-years-old. I was in at 10 pm the night before I got married…dad said so. Good dad and mom. 🙂
We have gone to the same church most of our married life….31-1/2 years. We did move for a bout 7 years and went to a wonderful and similar church there.
Our 3 children were raised in church and all its activities and unless there was something out of the ordinary, we were there when the doors opened. My two boys are grown and gone. Both are now married and one we have a beautiful one year old grandson. We still have a 14-year-old daughter at home. We/I know the ups and downs of raising toddlers in church. The prayers and tears of teen tears with my boys. There was some rebellion and choices they made that were not good, but they knew come Sunday and Wednesday night they were going to church with us. There were no questions asked, they just knew and why we went. When my boys left home they stopped going to church. It is heart wrenching to see your kids make some of the decisions they do, but we gave them to the Lord long time ago and they belong to Him. They were saved at an early age and they both have had some wonderful experiences with the Lord. They are returning back to church slowly, but I know just as God is not through with me, he has not finished with them. They are doing things concerning the Lord that I thought might not take place again. “Oh ye of little faith.” They have come to their dad and I, at different times and told us thank you for making them go to church. Some times I wonder why. BUT they have said we could not have done, gone through or be here now if it wer not for us making them go to church and learn about the things of the Lord. They say we have tools to lead and show our families that we would not have otherwise. This may not seem big to you, since they are not “fully” back in church, but this is a big deal to a mother that has watched her kids lives go in many directions. I praise God for my sons and their families. I love them, but even better God does too.
Our daughter knows this is what we do and why. She is such a paradox. Some of the typical teen stuff and then “where did this come from.” We have had talks about church vs this or that and church usually is where you’ll find us. She keeps me on my toes and surprises me.
Just like with many teenagers, you struggle to get them to open their Bibles in church. There are times ya think, did they pay attention with all the doodling they did. What are you looking at, counting the fly specks on the wall? Do your finger nails or fingers taste that good? What shed some light here for me.
You see I didn’t feel this way. I looked forward to church and just about every bit of it as a teen. It wasn’t until my boys, two and half years old and a new-born, I began to struggle. I had or need to take care of two babies and at that time in the church we were going to did not have a babysitter for toddlers, I seemed to get nothing from church. I was in the cry room, with a speaker on, crying.
That pasted with much encouragement for the church family and prayer….as much as young mom with two babies could get.
Back to my daughter, the other day, a few Wednesday evenings ago, I was not feeling well. We had someone else speaking instead of my husband….By the way, my husband is now the pastor of our church, his father before him pastored for 40+ years before that…..Someone eles was speaking, I was not feeling well, sad but true, I didn’t ick up my Bible and open it and follow along. My daughter was applauded. She kept nodding at me and looking at my Bible. I knew what she was doing, I had done the same to her and her brothers. The scene was all to familiar, but in reverse. When we got home I got the third degree. “Mom, what is the matter with you? Why didn’t you follow along? Is there some kind of problem?” Woe!!!!
The benefits from going to church are for many reason. It’s not we have to pay tithe, we are privileged to give a tithe. The offering basket is passed around, but nowhere on it does it say, “for deposits only” or “we will take anything you spare.” God does not need our money. Scripture does tell us we are to tithe, so we take into consideration the heart here – AND that is God’s business. We have some padded pews, not all are padded, the back four are not…we ran our to materials and it just stayed that way. 🙂 The padding does seem t wear thin at times, but if you start getting stiff sitting there, no one is going to tell you to sit back down. There are times the worship team springs a new song on us and that is always harmonious. There are some of us that sing off key…some worse than others and at times they seem to be the loudest. We have a piano, cello and drums and occasional guitar. I DO NOT have an ear for music. But there are times I can tell when one of those instruments hit a wrong key or sour not or a bit off beat occasionally. People may tend to get loud once in a while. And God just keeps blessing them. And we continue to enjoy the blessings as well. Once in a while some one might not speak to me before they get out the door. It happens. I have to dart out the door at times before any one can speak to me. People get fidgety. Babies cry. Papers get shuffled by toddlers learning to sit there with their parents and you will also her occasional scribbling until the parent gives them something quieter to scribble with, like their highlighter, or maybe not. Now the pastor is an other story. I need to be careful here, I live with him, or he lives with me….oh well, that is my dear hubby also. He can get long-winded when he gets going sometimes. Do we have the altar call after the sermon…Oh wait “Sue” is facing some tough issues with her family. Oh, and last week when we prayed for “Kyle” he just see beyond his situation and dealing with his migraines…this was a few months back now and has had very few sence. And also “Jane” is facing surgery and not sure of the outcome. And “Kelly” wants to stand in behalf of her ailing parents. So do we not have prayer after the sermon? How about one that has visited for the past few months and it is asked “is there anyone that would like special prayer today, please let us pray for you, come on up and we will pray for you and your need?” So “Joe” the new guy, slowly reaches the front and says, “I need Jesus.”
So why do I go to church? Why do I see church as benificial? Why do I see church as important?
First of all I am command to (Hebrews 10:25) Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
I have life to be much easier with the help of the Lord and church family then on my own. My strength and abilities wain to nothing. (2 Corinthians 12:10) Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. Yes I would rather take my suffering and trial with the Lord than without. This is where I find His grace-(2 Corinthians 12:9) And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. And His grace is enough.
I hear and learn God’s desire for me through His word. (Psalms 22:22) I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee. (Psalms 40:7-10) Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, 8 I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart. 9 I have preached righteousness in the great congregation: lo, I have not refrained my lips, O Lord, thou knowest. 10 I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation: I have not concealed thy lovingkindness and thy truth from the great congregation. (Psalms 107:31-32) Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! 32 Let them exalt him also in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders. (Acts 13:44) And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God. Wouldn’t this be wonderful.
There are just as many reason to go to church and the benefits and importance as there are excuse people make to not go. There are so many reason possibly not to go to church, but the reason to go to church far out weigh any other possible reasoning. It is the House of God. A place of Worship. It is where Christ meets with the body. There are things/needs/changes/help/direction/etc. you will recieve from the Lord and other people, that you will not get any other place, ever.
But Joshua made a good claim. Joshua 24:15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: BUT as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
Now hear the rest of the choice and decisions in this story.
Joshua 24:13-31 (Amplified Bible)
13 I have given you a land for which you did not labor and cities you did not build, and you dwell in them; you eat from vineyards and olive yards you did not plant. 14 Now therefore, [reverently] fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and in truth; put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the [Euphrates] River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. 16 The people answered, Far be it from us to forsake the Lord to serve other gods; 17 For it is the Lord our God Who brought us and our fathers up out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, Who did those great signs in our sight and preserved us in all the way that we went and among all the peoples through whom we passed. 18 And the Lord drove out before us all the people, the Amorites who dwelt in the land. Therefore we also will serve the Lord, for He is our God. 19 And Joshua said to the people, You cannot serve the Lord, for He is a holy God; He is a jealous God. He will not forgive your transgressions or your sins. 20 If you forsake the Lord and serve strange gods, then He will turn and do you harm and consume you, after having done you good. 21 And the people said to Joshua, No; but we will serve the Lord. 22 Then Joshua said to the people, You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen the Lord, to serve Him. And they said, We are witnesses. 23 Then put away, said he, the foreign gods that are among you and incline your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel. 24 The people said to Joshua, The Lord our God we will serve; His voice we will obey. 25 So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and made statutes and ordinances for them at Shechem. 26 And Joshua wrote these words in the Book of the Law of God; and he took a great stone and set it up there under an oak that was in [the court of] the sanctuary of the Lord. 27 And Joshua said to all the people, See, this stone shall be a witness against us, for it has heard all the words the Lord spoke to us; so it shall be a witness against you, lest [afterward] you lie (pretend) and deny your God. 28 So Joshua sent the people away, every man to his inheritance. 29 After this, Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died, being 110 years old. 30 They buried him at the edge of his inheritance in Timnath-serah in the hill country of Ephraim, on the north side of the hill of Gaash. 31 Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua and of the elders who outlived Joshua and had known all the works the Lord had done for Israel.
This says a lot for Joshua. I would like it to be said of my family also.
So I pray, “Lord help me to be this example and bulwark in my family. I may not have been, this is my hearts desire. I am trusting You just as Joshua did in the first days of his leadership for Israel. You promised Joshua You would be with him just as You were with Moses, not to be afraid and to be of GOOD courage. You said You would strengthen Joshua as he trusted You. Teach me to trust You like that. You also gave Joshua promises. I want to stand on those very same promise for me in my everyday daily life. I know as I lean on You an d learn of You, You will cause me to see the unfolding of many of those promises. They may not happen tomorrow as it did for Joshua as they crossed the Jordan, but I know the tomorrows will come. You have promised. I thank Yu Lord Jesus for this hope in You. Your grace is overwhelming at times, cause me to see how amazing your grace is everyday. I thank You and praise You I am Yours and You are mine. I bless You Lord Jesus. Amen.”
Until next time Lord bless you. With love ❤ & prayers /\’s