“The Living Church”
Rev. Doug Johnson, Senior Pastor, Bethel Temple Assembly of God in Huntington, WV
I recently came across a list entitled “Top Ten Reasons Why I Never Bathe.” The purpose of the article was to show the ridiculous reasons some people give for not going to church by merely substituting the word “bathe” for the words “attend church” in their excuses. Here is the list:
10. I was forced to bathe as a child.
9. People who bathe are hypocrites– they think they are cleaner than everybody else.
8. There are so many different kinds of soap, I can’t decide which one is best.
7. I used to bathe, but I got bored and stopped.
6. I only bathe on special occasions like Christmas and Easter.
5. None of my friends bathe.
4. I’ll start bathing when I get older and dirtier.
3. I’m too busy to bathe.
2. The bathroom is never warm enough in the winter or cool enough in the summer.
1. People who make soap are only after your money.
Did any of these excuses sound familiar? It never ceases to amaze me how some people can think of the silliest excuses for not helping themselves. Now, don’t misunderstand me– going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to a garage makes you an automobile. But attending church gives you a chance to experience the fellowship of other believers, the thrill of worshipping the Lord together, and the opportunity to feel the presence of God. And after a rough week that sounds mighty good!
A survey was conducted by the Princeton Religion Research Center asking, “Which institution do you have the most confidence in?” According to those that were polled, 59% expressed “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the church, putting it at the top of a list of ten institutions. It also stated that 41% of Americans, nearly 100 million people, attend church on a weekly basis.
I’ve heard some people say, “It doesn’t matter what church you attend– just attend!” To me, that’s sounds like, “It doesn’t matter what you eat– just eat!” That’s silly because it does matter what you eat. If I am hungry and can choose between worms or chicken… I’m going to eat chicken! And if I have the choice between attending a live church or a dead church… I’ll go for the live church any day.
So what are the signs that a church is living, vital and active? Here are a few answers that question: live churches have many people who bring their Bibles and read them… dead Churches don’t. Live churches are filled with sounds of joy and thanksgiving…dead churches are apathetic and lifeless. Live churches usually have parking problems…dead churches never have to worry about parking. Live churches center on serving people…dead churches focus mainly on problems. Live churches are filled with love…dead churches are filled with suspicious, critical, and bickering people. Live churches emphasize evangelism, discipleship, and involvement… dead churches ask for little and get it. Live churches have lots of children and young people…dead churches don’t.
Why not make plans to spend some time with your family in God’s house this weekend? You’ll be glad you did.