New Year…Fresh Start – Go to Church!!!

And let us consider each other carefully for the purpose of sparking love and good deeds. Don’t stop meeting together with other believers, which some people have gotten into the habit of doing. Instead, encourage each other, especially as you see the day drawing near (Hebrews 10:24-25, Common English Bible).

There is a quote that has floated around both online and on t-shirts. It says, “Don’t go to church. Be the Church.” When I first saw it, I confess, I liked it.” The more I have thought about it, however, the less I like it. In fact, it’s a lie.

I liked it because I just really saw the second half. I like the idea of us, all of us being the Church. We are called to be the Church. Of that, there should never be a doubt. The lie is in the idea that we can stop going to church and still be the Church.

Being the Church implies that we should go out and serve the world. And, without a doubt, we should. But, that is not, in and of itself, being the Church. If I want to serve I can do that through the Boy Scouts or the Lion’s Club or Habitat for Humanity or any other number of other organizations that serve the community and the world.

There is one thing the Church does that is not replicated by any other part of society. It isn’t service. It isn’t fellowship. It isn’t study. It isn’t even generosity. Many people are generous who are not Christian at all. What the Church does that is not done by any other part of society is worship.

Some would say that they can worship God without going to church. I used to agree by saying, “You can, but probably won’t.” I would still say, “If it were possible, you still probably wouldn’t but it isn’t even possible.” It isn’t possible because Christianity is not done in isolation. It is not a Lone Ranger religion. Christianity is a religion of God’s people, gathered together, having fellowship together, studying together, serving together and worshiping God together.

In order to be a faithful Christian you have to gather with other Christians. To be the Church, that service, it has to be with the Church, the Body of Christ, the people of God. You cannot love God and not love God’s Church, not love God’s people.

We are called to gather as God’s people. Our lesson above reminds us that we are to meet together, regularly with other believers.

A member of a certain church, who previously had been attending services regularly, stopped going. After a few weeks, the pastor decided to visit him. It was a chilly evening. The pastor found the man at home alone, sitting before a blazing fire. Guessing the reason for his pastor’s visit, the man welcomed him, led him to a big chair near the fireplace and waited.

The pastor made himself comfortable but said nothing. In the grave silence, he contemplated the play of the flames around the burning logs. After some minutes, the pastor took the fire tongs, carefully picked up a brightly burning ember and placed it to one side of the hearth all alone. Then he sat back in his chair, still silent.

The host watched all this in quiet fascination. As the one lone ember’s flame diminished, there was a momentary glow and then its fire was no more. Soon it was cold and “dead as a doornail.” Not a word had been spoken since the initial greeting. Just before the pastor was ready to leave, he picked up the cold, dead ember and placed it back in the middle of the fire. Immediately it began to glow once more with the light and warmth of the burning coals around it.

As the pastor reached the door to leave, his host said, “Thank you so much for your visit and especially for the fiery sermon. I shall be back in church next Sunday.”

So, I want to change that quite I opened with to say, “Don’t JUST go to church, be the Church. That is the life we are called to live.”

I will close by simply saying this, “Sunday is God’s Day. Get yourself to church. That is part of being the Church.”

Monday we will close out this series and we talk about an alternative to New Year’s Resolutions with an idea for an alternative for New Year’s Resolutions.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy and Peace,
Keith

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Published by drjkbroyles

I love Mike Ashcraft's book, "My One Word." For the past nine years I have participated and encouraged others to participate to in the "My One Word" Challenge. My first word was discipline was my word the first year. Since then my word has been focus, sight, jungle, peace, concentration, serve, genuine and this year is fit. I seek to be fit for my health, my family, my church, my ministries. I seek to be fit in any are of my life where God might point to me. I also have a nickname, "Dr. B." When I was a public high school teacher, Dr. B. is what most of my students called me, at least in my presence. I am still called that by many people though I no longer teach in public schools. I am the author of "Average Joe: With an Extraordinary Story" (available on Amazon). The book fits into the genre of "Biblical Fiction" or "Christian Fiction" and features some of the Bible's lesser known characters. The name of my blog is, "Fork in the Road." Life is filled with forks in the road. It isn't a matter of if we encounter a fork in the road, but when will we and how many will we experience in a lifetime. I love to strum my guitar. I am not a great guitar player but I enjoy it. I also enjoy writing music. I get excited with I feel a new song emerging. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog, "Bishop" in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 30 years as a United Methodist pastor, serving churches all over east and southeast Texas, from just north of Tyler to south of Houston, from the Gulf Coast to east of Madisonville. I currently serve Perritte Memorial UMC in Nacogdoches. I spent one year in the classroom, teaching High School government, economics, psychology, and sociology. Cindy and I have been married for 43 years. We have two grown sons and six grandchildren, three boys and three girls. I enjoy preaching and all it's aspects from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading. I have dabble in drawing and "painting" with pastels as well as woodworking and woodcarving. My current projects are two ukuleles. I collect, repair and restore guitars too. I play the guitar (badly, but I still do) I also enjoy working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, TX, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. This blog started out as devotional writings. In August of 2020, I made a major change to the blog, switching to a daily theme format. Sunday Sermon-usually my manuscript sermon Miscellaneous Monday-misc. writing, poetry, ministry Tuesday Thoughts-Devotion Wed. with Wesleys-hist. & theol. of early Methodists TED Talk Thursday-Video & appl. in current theology Five for Friday-5 things I've seen & my thoughts Sing-Along Sat. - Usually a new song I have written I write, "Strumming a G-Chord with Dr.B." to get my thoughts onto something permanent. After all, they say, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. Seeking the Genuine, Keith Lufkin, Texas August 2020

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