In John 10:10 Jesus promises His followers abundant life. This blog is about my life as His follower.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Why I love the Church

During my prayer time this morning I felt led to write a note to my youngest son Daniel. He's 16 years old and really remarkable. Unfortunately he's not a fan of mine currently, in fact he thinks I'm rather terrible. A lot of this has to do with the negative influence of his biological father who consistently makes subtle, negative comments to Daniel about me. Plus, Daniel is 16 and going through that whole individuation, separation thing. What I felt led to do was to write him a short note letting him know some of the things that I admire and respect about him. One of those things was that he participates in the church community. He isn't particularly involved in the youth group, but he serves in music, is frequently lending a hand to others serving on Sunday mornings, and he has relationships and invests into the lives of others in the church who do not appear similar to himself - I really like this about Daniel. As I finished writing the note to Daniel I found myself thinking about how much I love the church.

Just for clarification, when I say "church" here I'm referring to a local gathering of Christians. In my mind it could be a traditional church, a small group Bible study, or any other kind of consistent meeting of a group of Christians to encourage one another in their faith and God's Word.

I've read a ton of negative posts concerning the church on the internet. I honestly can not say that I totally disagree with the ones I've read. But, for me, it's like I responded to one wonderful brother in Christ on his blog, the church is still the best gig around.

It seems to me that the reason we're told in Hebrews 10:23-25 to not stop meeting regularly together is because God knew that we need each other. I've noticed in both my own life, as well as others, that when I stop participating in church it's easy for me to drift away from God in other areas of my life, a bit at a time.

I love this whole thing of community in the church. Of being a part of the group, of being very much like a family. Knowing each other, being interested in what's going on in one another's lives, wanting good for each other's lives, praying for one another, encouraging one another. For those of you who we read and comment regularly on what each other has to say, you know that I'm shy. It's not easy for me to come into community. It probably takes me longer than the average person. But throughout my life I've moved a few times because of work, so I've participated in several churches, and I can tell you that community has always eventually "happened" for me. I've currently lived in this town for almost 4 years and I can honestly say that I'm now experiencing community in our church. I love these people and know that I'm loved in return.

Another thing I love about church is that these relationships challenge me and make me better. I'm reminded of how in Ephesians 4:1-3 and Colssians 3:12-14 we're told to bear with one another, to overlook offenses, and be kind. I sure like this aspect of the church community because I need it; the older I get the more I realize that I mess up frequently, that I can be an annoying human being, and that I'm grateful for a lifestyle of forgiveness. Fragile human that I am, I am challenged by the annoying behaviors of others, people sometimes irritate me. I'm grateful that God set up the church so that we are to love each other through our petty annoyances and so become better for the relationships.

I love how the faith of others in church encourages and grows my own faith. There's something about being in an environment that's focused on God, where we're studying His Word and choosing to believe what He says, that nourishes my soul. This kind of environment causes that small amount of faith inside me to grow. I find myself encouraged to face whatever challenges are before me.

I love getting to sing and worship God in that way together with other people. As I write this I think about a small group that I get to be a part of that meets every other week. There are only four of us women who've met for this past year together. One of us is talented with the guitar and she brings it every time so we can sing together. Words can not express the joy this activity brings me, there's such a sweetness in it. Although I routinely spend time in the mornings or during my day singing to God, there's something so special about joining with others to sing and praise God. One of my favorite parts of Sunday morning service is to sing with others in a congregational service.

The church is like me in that it's not perfect. There are a lot of things wrong with it. But I still love the church.

What about you, what are some things that you love about church?

14 comments:

RCUBEs said...

I'm glad that you found a church that makes you grow in your faith. It is true that we feel that sense of belonging, because church is after all, His family.

May the Lord continue to guide your son and protect your relationship with him. Have a great weekend sister Tracy.

Victor S E Moubarak said...

Best wishes to you and your son. I hope that you grow closer together in your church and in your family.

God bless.

covnitkepr1 said...

I’ve enjoyed looking over your blog. I came across it through another blog I follow, and I’m glad I did. I am now a follower of yours as well. Feel free to look over my blog and perhaps become one as well.

Funny Animals said...

well. me too

Lloyd said...

I really enjoyed reading the posts on your blog. I would like to invite you to come over to my blog and check it out. God bless, Lloyd

730A_ngelinaRabideau0 said...

你不能左右天氣,但你可以改變心情......................................................

Mike said...

I love that Daniel is a 16 year old man after God's heart! I love that you are receptive to what God is doing in/thru him and that you'd take time to write an encouraging note to him to press on! That's far better than any 4 walls could ever be! Great job! And that's what I love about the Church...the encouragement to continue thru the muck and mire.

David-FireAndGrace said...

Well, I love all those same things about the church! In addition, I love mission trips, supernatural ministry and intimate times with Jesus.

I confess, I have had the worst time these last 4 years since I moved. I guess I am a little jealous that you have folks that you look forward to seeing. I keep finding places that only have time for religious activities - but nothing else.

I am fortunate that Tony C and Dave T. call me a lot. And I had a bonus day, a friend from my old church was in Boston and we had lunch together.

As you know, it is possible that I have new opportunity. Even if it is over an hours drive each way, I am going to invest in it the best that I can.

Glad that you are able to communicate with the 16-year-old. I am working on it with the 19-year-old, but she has withdrawn since I sent the letter telling her how much I love her and how proud I am of her. Interesting response - we'll see where it goes.

Thanks or being grateful.

Michelle said...

Sorry to hear about the situation with Daniel. I came from a seperated home so I can understand some of what is going on there. I hope the letter encourages him.

We spent our first SIX years without a church family. We were believers and stayed in the Word a lot. We just could not find anyone as "reformed" as we were. I am just now beginning to experience what you described and it is amazing. It has helped so many areas of our life! Our home, our study, our parenting, our relationships with others, and how we view worship!

I love the Church, too, Tracy!

May said...

Excellent post...I too love church...for me church begins in the heart.

photogr said...

Great thoughts Tracy. It is wonderful that you found a place to fit in.

I find I am closer to the Lord when worshiping and giving glory to Him in song and music.

Still having difficulty in the fellowship part with others in this particular church we go to now. I think I have built a defensive shell and trully don't now even try to meet others there.

It is probably time to seek out other more receptive Bodies of Christ.

photogr said...

JD:

I will take you up on that offer once I get settled in a new church.

Tracy said...

JD you're so great - AND practical!

Duane Scott said...

I'm catching up on blog posts from people I read regularly so sorry this is late.

What do I love about my church?

I love how it always feels that by Saturday, I'm badly in need of church. The hymns we sing soothe my soul, the words spoken heal the hurts, the fellowship helps me realize others are in it with me.

Also, I love that you wrote your son a note. That's great.

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