Should I go to Church? Q&A

(Based on a manuscript by Benjamin H. Spalink. Scripture quoted is from the NIV.)

I was confident that nowhere in the Bible did it say I should go to church.

But then I read Ephesians 4:11-13: “It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some

to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare

God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be

built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the

Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness

of Christ.”

Then I wondered: If Christ gave pastors and teachers to prepare me for

works of service, shouldn’t I use them?

Then I read Hebrews 10:24-25: “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good

deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing,

but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” And I realized that being together with other Christians is

how God intends to encourage me to do what is right.

Then I read Romans 10:13b-17: “…’Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ How, then, can

they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in

the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone

preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is

written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’ But not all the

Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, ‘Lord, who has believed

our message?’ Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and

the message is heard through the word of Christ.” And I knew that Jesus sent these pastors and teachers to build my faith.

Then I read Matthew 16:18: “‘And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church,

and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.'” And I discovered that Jesus built the church, owns it, and protects it.

Then I read Matthew 18:20: “‘For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.'” And I found that when His followers

gather to worship Him, He joins them.

Then I read Luke 4:16a: “He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath

day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom.” And I discovered that Jesus himself was in the habit of attending church.

Then I read Luke 22:19: “And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying,

‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.'” And I found out that Jesus told us to use the Lord’s Supper to help us remember

that He died for our sins. If I stay away from church, I am also staying away from the

Lord’s Supper. I was convinced, but I wondered how I could convince my friends – I knew

what they would say about going to church: “If Jesus owns the church, why

can’t they agree? Why so many denominations?” I searched for some answers

to their objections and found this in 1 Corinthians 13:12: “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to

face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” And I knew that our inability to see Christ’s work clearly was the

reason for all these denominations. Some lean on one part of the Bible and others

lean on another. I also told my friends that what really counts is what you do

with Jesus. But I knew that my friends were really disgusted with how some of the

“regular” church members behaved. I didn’t have a good answer, because I also was hurt by things other members did.

But then I read Ephesians 4:32: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just

as in Christ God forgave you.”

 And I knew that forgiveness was so important to Jesus that He once told his followers

that if they refused to forgive others, then they would not be forgiven either.  (Matthew 6:14-15)

Another of my friends said to me: “I don’t need others to have a relationship

with God. I can be a Christian by myself.” So I showed him what the Bible said in various parts of 1 Corinthians 12: “Now the body is not made up

of one part but of many…The eye cannot say

to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’…there should be no division in the body, but that

its parts should have equal concern for each other…Now you are the body of Christ, and each one

of you is a part of it.”  Their final objection was the biggest: “We are too busy – Sunday is the only

chance we have to relax and enjoy ourselves.” I recognized it as a big issue because I felt this way myself at times.

 Then I remembered what Jesus said about priorities:

 “…others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries

of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come

in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.” (Mark 4:18b-19) “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things

will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)

See you in church!

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“A Woman After God’s Own Heart” – Chapter 4 – Heart Exercise

A Heart That Obeys:

Make notes here about what meant the most to you from Chapter 4 or offered you the greatest challenge or inspired you deeply.

*Get out that dictionary again…Look up the word “obedient”.  To crystallize its meaning in your mind and heart, write the definition out as simply as you can.

*In the section titled “Two Kinds of Heart,” we contrasted the disobedience of King Saul with the obedience of David.  Make notes on these instances of Saul’s disregard of God’s commands through His prophet Samuel:

           What specific instructions and promise did Samuel give to Saul in 1 Samuel 10:8?

           Seven days later, what happened (see 1 Samuel 13:8-9)?

           When Samuel finally arrived and asked Saul, “What have you done?” how did Saul answer in verses 11 – 12?                 (Or, put another way, how many excuses did he give and how many different people did he blame?!)

           What was Samuel’s assessment of Saul’s disobedience, and what was the result (verses 13 – 14)?

*For another look at Saul’s failure to obey the Lord, look at 1 Samuel 15:1-9.  What were Samuel’s direct instructions to Saul (verse 3)?  (If you think this command sounds harsh, look at Exodus 17:8-16.)

             What did Samuel do (1 Samuel 15:7-9)?

              When Samuel arrived (verse 12) and asked Saul, “What….is the bleating of the sheep in my ears…?”  (verse 14), how did Saul answer in verse 15?  (Or, put another way, how many excuses did he give and how many different people did he blame this time?!)

               Again, what was Samuel’s assessment of Saul’s disobedience, and what was the result (verses 21 – 23)?

*The fact that you are reading this book and doing this study indicates your desire for a heart that obeys.  So…it’s time for honest personal application and heart searching!  Can you think of any situations in your life where you are making excuses about your disobedience?  Or blaming someone else for your disobedience?  Or obeying God only halfway?  As I wrote on page 48, “the heart God delights in is a heart that is compliant, cooperative, and responsive to Him and His commands, a heart that obeys.”  Obedience is a heart issue, so take the time to examine your life, your relationships, your marriage, and your conduct for areas of willful disobedience or half-hearted obedience.

                Write out a personal prayer of committment to make yours a walk in obedience.  You may want to use a piece of paper.  Then set about to take the step below.

*Here’s a list of several proven guidelines from pages 51 – 54 that can help us to walk in obedience.

                  Concentrate on doing what is right – What warning does James 4:17 give?

                  Cease doing what is wrong – What is the instruction of Proverbs 16:17?

                  Confess and wrong – What does 1 John 1:8-9 teach us?

                  Clear up things with others – What does Matthew 5:23-24 exhort?

                  Continue on as soon as possible – What principles do Philippians 3:13-14 give us?

 

***VERY IMPORTANT NOTE:   Everything that is in this blog comes from Elizabeth George’s Book and Workbook, not me.  I am learning as you learn***

“A Woman After God’s Own Heart” – Chapter 4 Heart Actions

*No matter what we are attempting to nurture – whether a plant or a heart wholly devoted to God – our first step is to prune out and eliminate whatever is detrimental to growth.  Read 1 Peter 2:1 and begin a list of heart attitudes and behaviors that hinder growing a heart of obedience.  Which, if any, are hindering the growth of your heart?

*Read Ephesians 4:25 – 32 and Colossians 3:5-9 and then add to your list those actions and attitudes which need pruning.  Again, what do you need to prune from your heart?  Be specific.

*Now focus on the positive and consider cultivating what is necessary for growth!  Read 1 Peter 2:2, Ephesians 4:25-32, and Colossians 3:1-17 and list those heart attitudes and behaviors that enrich your life as a Christian.  What one or two areas would you like to cultivate?

*In prayer, lay your life before God and open your heart to Him.  Ask Him to reveal to you where seeds of disobedience have been sown or borne  fruit.  As forgiveness and then, resolving to take steps toward training a heart that will be responsive to God and obedient, as Him to help you.

 

***VERY IMPORTANT NOTE:   Everything that is in this blog comes from Elizabeth George’s Book and Workbook, not me.  I am learning as you learn***

Convenience

First, I want to apologize for not blogging this last week.  I know Chapter 4 is due to be posted, but it hasn’t been “convenient” for me.  Ouch!!!  That sounds harsh.  If I wasn’t blogging right now about convenience, I would have said “I apologize I haven’t posted Chapter 4, but you wouldn’t believe how busy I’ve been”.  Now, that is not entirely a lie, I have been busy.  But, I could have made some time to post.  So, I really am very sorry!

Now I’ve got that out-of-the-way, I want to tell you about an article I just read.  It was about Convenience in the church.  The author was saying how many churches these days are on such a time schedule, that some sermons are down to less than an hour.  One person commented that if she was going to get up, get dressed and go somewhere that important, she wanted it last more than an hour.  I agree!  Our church service lasts well over an hour, but I often leave wanting more.  Now, I have been guilty of thinking “what’s for lunch?”, during the sermon, but learning about and being in the presence of God is nothing to rush.

Think about other areas in your life that convenience is a factor.  We have fast food, online bill pay, debit cards, buying things we can make ourselves, etc.  Just this week, I actually made my own laundry detergent.  It’s so much cheaper than the “convenience” of buying from the store.  No, it wasn’t convenient at all, but I made the time, because we are pinching pennies.  What about your children?  Ha ha, so funny to me how you can do and do and do for your children (which at times is very inconvenient), and when you need them to do something for you, it’s so not convenient for them. Gotta love ’em!!!

So, once again, I apologize for not posting Chapter 4 yet.  I will do that today. This “convenience” thing is definitely one area in my life that needs a major overhaul.  If you are like me at all, you need to start spending more time with God, even when it’s not convenient for you.  I tend to tell myself I am too busy, have too much going on, need to do this, need to do that….I will do my bible study or Pray later.  Then, when later comes, I either forget or am too tired.  There are thousands of excuses we can give.  But in reality, I for one need God to help me do all those things and shouldn’t just assume that He is gonna get me through without including Him.  Life would actually be so much easier if I would include Him more.

So, is it convenient for you to spend time at the hem of His garment today?  Yes there are things I need to do today, but my “Present Help” is waiting for me to include Him in those things.  ALL THINGS!!!  So let’s go, call on Him now and I guarantee your day will go much smoother.

Trusting in Him Daily,

Kim

God has a positive answer

I’m not sure where this came from.  It has been taped to my desk for years, but I wanted to share it with you.

 
You say:  “It’s impossible”    God says:  All things are possible            (Luke 18:27)

You say:  “I’m too tired”      God says:  I will give you rest            (Matthew 11:28-30)

You say:  “I can’t go on”      God says:  My grace is sufficient         (2 Cor. 12:9 & Ps. 91:15)

You say:  “I can’t figure things out”    God says:  I will direct your steps     (Prov 3:5-6)

You say:  “I can’t do it”           God says:  You can do all things       (Philippians 4:13)

You say:  “I’m not able”          God says:  I am able                         (2 Corinthians 9:8)

You say:  “It’s not worth it”        God says:  It will be worth it          (Romans 8:28)

You say:  “I can’t manage”          God says:  I will supply all your needs     (Philippians 4:19)

You say:  “I’m afraid”       God says:  I have not given you a spirit of fear  (2 Timothy 1:7)

You say:  “I’m always worried”      God says:  Cast all your cares on ME    (1 Peter 5:7)

You say:  “I’m not smart enough”     God says:  I give you wisdom     (1 Corinthians 1:30)

You say:  “I feel alone”      God says:  I will never leave or forsake you       (Hebrews 13:5)

“A Woman After God’s Own Heart” – Chapter 3 Discussion

I absolutely LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this chapter!!!  Prayer has been one of my biggest weaknesses lately.  I use to pray constantly all day every day but, for some reason that stopped.  Prayer is one of the main reasons I started this blog.  I needed to be accountable for my quiet time, prayers and bible study and this is definitely working for me.  I do hope you are getting what you need out of it.

Now, about Chapter 3….having a heart committed to God.  I want that kind of heart, how about you?  I long for the kind of relationship with God that is always first in my life, always on my heart, always showing for others to see.  As Elizabeth says in Chapter 3, “no matter where we are…you and I can be in tune with God through prayer”. 

She suggests that we start small and write out a prayer list.  I think I will call it my “To Do” Prayer List.  I have literally written out the specific people who are on my heart, that have asked for prayer in person or on Facebook, that I know need prayer, etc.  Beside the names I have put specific requests or needs.  Also on my list, I have listed my personal needs and prayers.  Specific prayers for my husband and my children, the needs for our family, our finances, and even my blog.  It looks like a “To Do” list.  This way, my scatter brain can’t miss a single thing.

I encourage you to try this and see how your relationship with God grows.  Keep me updated, I want to hear all your concerns and/or accomplishments.

Trusting In God Daily,

Kim

My Beloved…Letter from God

A very dear friend and sister in Christ wrote this for me and I would like to share…

My Beloved,

I knew before I created you the earth that you would accept My love for you, In the beginning I created the heavens and the earth.  Then at the right time and in the right place I created you in my image so that you and I can express love to each other.  I created you inner most being, I created every part of you, I knit you together in your mother’s womb.  You were carefully and wonderfully made; my works are wonderful, and you My beloved are my work!!!  How precious are my thoughts for you!  If you were to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.  I have call you by name; you are mine. 

Come and live in My shelter, in the protection of the Most High, and you will find rest in the presence of the Almighty.  I will shield you with My wings.  I will shelter you with My feathers.  My faithful promises are your armour and protection.  Nothing can separate you from my love.  When you are in trouble and distress My love is with you.  When you are persecuted My love is with you.  When you are hungry and cold and naked My love is with you.  When you are in danger and threatened with death My love is with you, I will be with you forever.  No matter how high you go, no matter how deep you sink, nothing in life and not even death, no demon or any other power in hell can separate you from My love. 

Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do no know.  Everything that you care about, I care about also because it concerns you.  Cast all your cares and anxiety on Me because I love you.  Trust in Me, with all your heart, do not depend on your own understanding; In everything acknowledge Me, and I will direct your paths.  For I order My angels to protect you wherever you go.  Do not worry about anything, but in everything big or small, just pray, with thanksgiving, present your requests to Me and I will give you My peace that is beyond all human understanding.

I will never leave you, or reject you.  For the plans I have for you are to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Oh and please do not forget all my benefits, I forgive all your sins and heal all your diseases, I rescue your life from the pit of destruction and crown you with love and compassion.  I satisfy your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagles.  For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is My love for you; as far as the east is from the west, so far have I removed your sins from you. 

The most intimate relationship you can have is with me because you and I are becoming one.  You were designed for this purpose, nothing else will ever satisfy your deepest needs, your deepest desires, only I can satisfy your heart with perfect love, joy, and peace.  You are Beautiful!  Precious!  Valuable!  And Treasured!  Oh how I delight over you.  OH, if only you could see yourself the way I see you!!!

Love,

The One who really see You!

Thank you KJ