Joy in the Church…A couple of challenges (part six)

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This is my last post on joy in the church…at least for right now. Maybe if I visit too many more joyless gatherings, I’ll have to revisit my thoughts. Here’s some final food for thought (remember eating together brings joy). 🙂

In spite of many news reports to the contrary, there is a lot of joy in the church today. There are many churches that are devoted to the four pillars of the early church. To those churches and church members, I say, “Thanks for your devotion.” To those churches that feel like joy is lacking, maybe we should ask ourselves, “what’s missing?”

However, if we personally lack joy, each of us must ask, “Am I devoted to all four?” To the degree that we aren’t committed to all four, our joy will be diminished and so will the joy of the whole church.

Here’s a story that might help you consider that challenge.

There was an article in the New York Times a while back about all the tall steeple, white clapboard churches on the windswept prairies of North Dakota. They are closing down by the hundreds because their members are moving away from their farms and small towns. David Haslekaas, a 34 year old Norwegian farmer, bought his old church just to keep it open. He explained his rationale. “I remember my parents’ words to me when I was a young boy and I would go out to play in the fields. They told me, ‘If you get lost in the tall wheat and you can’t see where home is, look for the church.’” Go to it, and it will help you find your way home to the joy of the Lord.

Then a word for you non-churchgoers to consider while you read these blogs with a likely bit of skepticism. That word is this: “Come home.”

Here is a story that might help you consider that challenge.

My grandson, Billy, just moved into a nice new home. He’s just two and he had lived his whole life in a cute little house, but now he has this bigger new home. He played happily in the new house that first day after they moved. But then at the end of the day, he said, “I want to go home now.” His mom said, “We are home, honey. This is our new home.” No,” said Billy, “I want to go to my real home.” I want to invite you to go to your real home, to God through Jesus. No other place will be the same.

In the end, all of us – regular church goers and those who don’t attend – need the same thing: The joy of belonging to God in Jesus Christ. Wouldn’t it be great if we found it in the same place…the church? Wouldn’t it be sad if we didn’t? That is what the church is all about.

How about sharing your story of finding joy in the church and sharing the joy?


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