Why We Gather

Why We Gather

July 7, 2017

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25 (NIV)

Devotion Graphic

I looked at those cute first- and second-graders and proclaimed, “Lettuce not give up meeting together!”

Well, that isn’t exactly how the Bible reads, but it was a memorable way to introduce the verse to my daughter Lucy’s class at church.

“It doesn’t say lettuce!” they giggled.

I proceeded to share the verse correctly, but to this day, Lucy will remember the verse if I give her the prompt, “Lettuce … ”

Whether you’re in second grade like my daughter or in your 90s, the church is an essential place for God’s people to meet together regularly. But I know many people — and possibly you do, too — who say things like:

“I can read the Bible and pray at home. I don’t need a church to be spiritual.”

“I’ve been hurt by the church and I won’t go back.”

“People in the church are hypocrites.”

Yet, the church, for better or worse, is the bride of Christ. The New Testament doesn’t give church as an option for the believer. We are told to meet together and not give up on assembling as some did. Apparently, some Christ-followers who once went to church had stopped for one reason or another. Perhaps they were led away by false teachers as the Apostle Paul warns about in Acts 20:29-30.

In today’s fast-paced society, weekly church attendance can be sacrificed for sports, weekend getaways or just extra sleep. We can listen to a sermon online and sing a worship song and think that’s enough.

But that isn’t enough.

Before I became a mom, I worked for an international radio and television ministry which is heard on more than 2,000 radio stations and accessible to 200 million homes. Often, the Bible teacher would say, “Make sure you get to your local church this weekend. This broadcast is not a substitute for church.”

If you can’t get to church because of illness or physical limitations, praise God for ministries that can come into your home to encourage your faith through radio, television or the Internet. But if you’re able to leave your home, commit to being part of a local church. Whether it’s a handful of people meeting in a living room or thousands in an auditorium, we are instructed to gather.

Part of becoming a Christian is being united with other believers as brothers and sisters in one family. We are to minister and work together in community. We become stronger when each member contributes his or her gifts. We experience the healthiest kind of peer pressure when other believers spur us on to love and good works.

I began going to church in elementary school. My parents brought me whenever the doors opened: Sunday mornings, Sunday nights, Wednesday nights. If there was an evangelist or missionary speaking for special weeknight meetings, we were there, too.

Some nights, I would pretend to be sick so I could stay home and watch television instead. But most of the time, I was glad to be in God’s house. I credit my parents for instilling in me the good, healthy and blessed habit of going to church.

As the Day of the Lord’s return draws nearer, we are to be even more diligent about meeting together. Since we will be gathered together as the Church in heaven, we would be wise to begin working together here on earth.

It isn’t possible to live fully as a Christian in isolation.

We need one another. When one is weak, the other can be strong. Being in a body of believers helps us stay faithful to God and His Word. So, “lettuce” never give up gathering with one another.

Lord, thank You for placing me in a family of believers called the church. May I be an active member in my local congregation. Help me bless others and bring comfort and encouragement to whomever needs it in the family of faith. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Ephesians 2:19, “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household.” (NIV)

RELATED RESOURCES:
Do you believe that God has a great plan for you? In Sharon Jaynes’ book, Take Hold of the Faith You Long For: Let Go, Move Forward, Live Bold, you’ll learn how to let go of past hurts and disappointments and take hold of sure-footed confidence to embrace God’s amazing plan for you.

CONNECT:
Visit Arlene Pellicane’s blog today to read her post, “7 Questions to Consider When Looking for a Church.”

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Are you an active member of a local church? If so, how might you encourage someone in church this weekend? If not, what is preventing you from attending regularly?

© 2017 by Arlene Pellicane. All rights reserved.

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Comments

  1. The Church is the bride of Christ. As a pastor’s wife, I’m sensitive to the Sunday morning absences: off to a game, sleeping in because of a wild Saturday night, don’t feel like it, last week’s sermon didn’t hit the target (or maybe it did and it hurt), don’t want to be in the same room as him (her), looking for someplace more comfortable. It grieves my heart. And I see the marital example played out from generation to generation: “If I’m not happy, I’m outta here.” It’s like divorcing your spouse every time there’s a bump in the marital road, or it gets boring, or someone else looks more attractive. It may be more fun and less painful, but without long-term commitment, you deprive yourself of the joy that comes with patience, perseverance and people who have watched you grow in your faith.

    • Karen Perry says:

      You are so right, and this article is on point, as well. More and more, I see the commitment level of professed believers dwindling. People tend to forget “But for the grace of God, there go I” when it comes to extending grace toward others or simply having the courage to “stick things out.” It affirms God’s Word that the “gate is narrow.” Revival needs to take place within the church body with a renewal of our minds, hearts and commitment toward the One Who saved us. Thanks for your insight. 😃

    • Well said Shirlee…may we prioritize church over the things you mentioned. May God continue to strengthen and bless you as a pastor’s wife.

    • Katrina Burton says:

      Great word!!!

    • Kim Paterson says:

      Beautifully said!!!

  2. Arianne Peterson says:

    Arlene & Shirlee, in a unique situation my parents attended church with us through watching Dr D James Kennedy on TV. Yet my mom wasn’t inclined to do this out of convenience but deep conviction desiring a church that met her doctrinal beliefs. We prepared before, watched the entire program, sang loud and along! Discussed it together as a family. Visiting churches over the years we had a family in Church Christ through our Homeschool group but hadn’t found home yet. Finally when my mom was dying of lung cancer my sister found a church that met everything we wanted and more. They ministered to my mom in the hospital. Never did they deny being there for her and she was made a member from her hospital bed. Now 17 years later I’m devoted as a faithful member of the bride community in my church. People have disappointed me and failed me but The Lord shows up to teach me in it, through the broken sinful mess even inside the church my Jesus never fails to make His truth, His love and His commitment clear. May anyone searching that’s watching a program treat it with reverence and commitment as well. Don’t treat it as a show, we forever were transformed by Dr D James Kennedy whose ministry to this day lives in my home as now a grown woman from what my parents respected and instilled. I think we should never avoid or dismiss we must and should be in fellowship and Bible studies and never give up the journey to find a church. I was 25 years old when we finally found a solid good church that met what we longed for in Biblical teaching, nature and people. Sometimes I wonder what my youth years may have been different with a church but every week we had Bible studies with others and Dr Kennedy, we walked with Christ in our habits at home. We attended another church about 5 years at one time in my youth but it was a longer drive away. May I encourage others to make it your purpose and passion to treat Jesus and seeking the Lord a daily habit and train up your kids weekly. Don’t stop making it the absolute priority, church and soaking up the Word by sermons and in fellowship will always return rewards of faithful lessons to nourish your heart and lifestyle. I pray for all sisters to find a church home. I’ve got an appreciation that’s profoundly deep after seeking a home in Christ’s community for nearly 20 years. Nothing compares to a church that blessed me with a husband, friends and fun and chances to give and receive. It’s one of life’s greatest blessings to walk into your church any day and say hello to people you know and they know you. We all can recognize we have had some situations that have been unpleasant or at odds but it makes it more sweet that we grow. Forgive. Learn. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

    • Roxanne says:

      Me and my family attend a church now after 36 years of not belonging oh the joy that comes w a body of believers ! Such a blessing thanks for sharing

    • Arianne, I think your words are wise. I am so happy for you that you now have a church community around you but I also see in your upbringing that your parents were very committed to bringing you a real, faith-filled childhood, and your family unit was perhaps strengthened too by sharing those times together. Community and fellowship are very important but even more so is faith that is real and sincere. Blessings to you and your family. X

  3. Thanks for the reminder! We visited a church on vacation this week that met all of the “7 questions to consider when looking for a church” from your blog, we were greeted so many times that I am not sure how many people spoke to us. They got up out of their seats and came over to us. In just the short hour we were there, it was obvious they were a praying and bible based church. It reminded me to be more welcoming and prayerful at my church. It is so easy to get in a routine. Great devotion and blog!

  4. It’s such a wonderful theory … I’d absolutely love to be involved with a church and fellowship with fellow Christians 🙁 life is difficult … very difficult … and I find belonging to a church makes life 1000 times harder. It’s so sad that I find non-Christians so much less judgemental, so much more encouraging and positive. I’ve been a Christian since I was 6 years old, I grew up a Pastors daughter, I’ve got a wonderful relationship with Jesus and a strong faith … it’s just unfortunate that after years of being involved in churches I came to the point where I could not handle the hypocrisy, the judgment. Through the church I have experienced judgement and conditional love. We have so much to learn as Christians for how we treat and love others. It never surprises me that people are put off from the church … but it breaks my heart that Christians have such a power to turn those away who need the church the most.

    • I love going to church, but it is difficult to find just the right church. 17 years ago I went through a divorce and our friends in the church de-friended me. I was isolated (or at least that is how I felt). I quit going to church for a long time. I have said every excuse mentioned in today’s devotion. Eventually I went back and made new friends in the church. There was probably 500 members or more so it wasn’t hard to make new friends! I’ve since moved and the church I go to now has 30 members. But they all welcome me and love me. There is only one problem. The minister is a traveling minister and is only there the 1st and 3rd of the month. The rest of the time it is lay people giving the sermon. To be honest, that is difficult for me. I want to hear a minister when I go to church. I still go as much as I am able but sometimes I struggle. I can listen/watch the church service online from my old church where they have an excellent minister but then I miss out on the fellowship. I like Shirley’s example of being a bride and being married to the church. I’ve heard this said several times before but when Shirley said “without long-term commitment, you deprive yourself of the joy that comes with patience, perseverance” it made me think of a real marriage, that just like a marriage sometimes you have to work at it. That hit home for me. Thank you for this devotion. And thank you, Shirley, for your insight 😊🙏🏻💜

    • I am so sorry you have found this in your church, Tracey. It is so sad when as a church we do not model Jesus’ love and forgiveness and grace and in doing so hurt others and make them feel excluded. I really want to urge you not to give up on church! Can you take your time and look around for another, more supportive and accepting community? There have certainly been times in my life when I’ve not felt good enough to attend a church, and when I have tried to go I felt like everyone else was more “good” than I and would judge me on my past sins. Two years ago we moved to a new place and took our time choosing a church which felt “right” to us, and where we felt God wanted us to be. I cannot tell you how much I love our church now and how blessed I have been through friendships and opportunities it has given me! Our church welcomes the homeless, drug addicts, people in rehab, the broken and marginalised. It runs a free community cafe, provides practical help, runs a mentoring program and helps get people into shelters and rehab. They don’t just say they accept everyone, they demonstrate that in their actions and they love them too. Christians in our church range from middle-class people who have grown up in Christian homes, to people who were addicted to heroin, living on the streets and using prostitution as a way to pay for their habit. Broken people have been transformed into passionate, godly men and women who are fired up about serving God and blessing others the way they have been blessed. There is no condemnation or judgement, just immense gratitude that our amazing God has broken ALL of our chains so that we can know freedom and forgiveness and LIFE. If your church isn’t modelling Jesus’ behaviour and you feel awkward and not made to feel welcome, please investigate some other local options! Believe me, I have been there with the churches which made me feel like a sinner. Now I know that I am a sinner, but my church makes me feel like the precious daughter of the King that I am. You are so precious to God, I pray that He will guide you and lead you to a church community where you can know love, acceptance, friendship, support and true family. Xx

      • John Bierenga says:

        Very powerful words Helen and so very true! My whole life has been changed when I moved to another church. It was the hardest thing I ever did because I was comfortable where I was but inside of me there was no intimate relationship with Jesus. Now it is all changed. Literally like the song says, For He walks with me and He talks with me…… Yes He truly does walk and talk with me! I praise Him for that!!!

  5. Laura Hernandez says:

    Good Morning!

    I used to be active in a church but than it became a battle ground with me and my boyfriend. We would fight and than attend church and sit seperately. It was very embarrassing. We were starting to develop friendships and those friends would notice the immaturity. That’s not what I wanted. I finally found a church that didn’t give me anxiety just walking through the front door, I really really loved it. So, I started to find and make excuses, I even lost a Great friendship that I believe God arranged for me. Just writing this makes me feel and sound horrible. I am Esau. I traded my birth right for a quick fix. I let my emotions take the lead that lead me far away from church and friendships. I told myself ” I am the church and I don’t have to go to church to study the Bible or to grow in faith. But today, this morning I received an Proverbs31 daily devotion on the exact subject. Thank you everyone at Proverbs31!

  6. I miss a church family. I had gone to a church for years and never felt accepted. I didn’t dress right.( I had no money for clothes,dresses) wasnt in the same financial bracket,so I went with clean clothes and looked the best I could. Of course I was looked down upon or simply ignored. Then the preacher was arrested for child pornography and went to prison. My heart was broke as I had counciled with this pastor for my own past of child sexual abuse all the while he was doing what he did. I still don’t have much clothes and no dresses. I just never feel I fit in. I long for woman’s Bible study and growing together. It’s sad when they make it clear you don’t fit in with there status quo. I’m just not good enough.

    • My dear Myrna, oh I feel your pain and I feel it deeply … please email me tracey.rankin1@gmail.com you are not alone and you are loved, accepted and embraced for all the beauty that you are x

    • Oh Myrna,
      You are good enough! You are a beautiful child of God who is so precious to Him! Please search for a church family who will love you and lift you up! They do exist. Until then, remind yourself that our Father in Heaven knows the pain in your heart. He wants to help you become an overcomer! You are beautiful and wonderfully made! Lean on Him for strength!

    • Dear Myrna,
      Remember the church is full of the fallen too! Please do not let the discouragement you have faced at this church tug you off to finding a meaningful and lasting relationship with God! Keep searching for a church where you DO feel accepted! Always remember, the church is a body of sinners for we are fallen….that’s why we need Christ! I’ll be praying you find those connections, feel the love of other brothers and sisters in Christ and find a church home that feels just like that, home.

    • Myrna,
      You are loved by Jesus and all of us “out here”! Praying for extra-special Blessings to flow to you! Hugs to you whenever you need them (and when you don’t) from all of us! You are a part of His royal priesthood and He will guide you to a church home if it is His will. I have found that ‘serving His Kingdom’ has provided me with a wonderful fellowship that I never found in any of the many, many church buildings I’ve visited. As with all ‘serving’, the gift to ourselves is probably greater than the wonderful help we are providing. Perhaps my path was created by Jesus (oh! OF COURSE it was!). Just an idea to ponder where your heart, His Spirit, leads you. XO!
      BB

  7. Thank you Arlene. This was on point and needs to be discussed more amongst believers. Especially with the younger generation who are not as committed to the church since there are alternatives. Definitely instilling the importance of belonging to a church in my 3 year old.

  8. This is so true. Today’s devotions makes me think of the verses in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: ut woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up………And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” We need each other.

  9. GODONLYKNOWS says:

    I have been in to many churches.

    Churches are a group of people with their own aches, pains, and sorrows.
    But yet many people forget that just because they are going through something in their own life pathways, that is no reason to stone someone else that is going through their own trials and tribulations But many times that has been the reason on why I have been in too many churches. Many times people treat you like you have the plaque or a leper. To where that is not a Godly feeling to treat someone like they are unclean.

    Another reason for being in to many churches, is the principles of the doctrine of what was being taught didn’t match with the right foundation on what principles should have been spoken from the Bible.

    False leadership in another church was another reason to exit a church.

    What comes to my heart and mind the most with reading this post is the last church I was at for a season then left and then went back. But was only there a short season again when I was told TO LEAVE!! To where the leadership had written a letter stating for me, and my family to never come back to the church. I was not the type of person they felt was spiritually fit to be in the church. Plus a whole lot of other garbage. Since leaving the church, we have learned of several more people who received a letter to leave the church. To where I often ponder how that could ever be right? let alone what Bible verse correlates with telling people to leave your church you are building in leadership and to have a flock to follow?

    But since then, God told me and another family to return to a church we had been at long ago for a season but had left for a season because of ill words spoken to us by the leadership, and some flock members. New leadership and a new breathe of freshness is in the church, that after a year back, what a Blessings! things have been in the church in so many ways. I never dreamed God would have opened a window designed behind the scenes to allow me to continually be used in many ways with the Godly talents he provided, into a certain active position in the church.
    What has been even more interesting is the Pastor is teaching a class on how to learn to get along with other people. He has also brought that into his Sunday morning teachings. Along with how to live your life by being taught the right principles from the foundation of the Bible. But the Holy Spirit and the Lord is definitely in the church. What has also been interesting is those that at one time had stoned me or other family members when we were there before, they have now opened their arms and showed respect and the love of Jesus. Which has been amazing to see a change in the offenders being defenders with the Spirit of the Lord.

    When one goes to church, one should think, if they were to show the Love of Jesus, they better be careful with their words, actions, and opinions, because you can either cast stones to hurt someone. Or you can build an alter and pray along with someone. Then continually ask the Lord to help you be an encourager for not only yourself, but to show the unconditional love of Jesus to others.

    • That is IT, G.O.K. (thank you)! If every church taught a (required) class on how to get along with other people and stressed the importance of that topic Every Week (with corresponding results), then that church congregation Would be “BEING” God’s SECOND Highest priority, to love one another (Jesus in Matt. 22:37-40). To feel ‘less than’ in a church environment because of the “un-right” behavior of a majority of congregants (e.g., bible studies and everything) shows that their ministers have missed the mark with Jesus’ HUGE message (God’s GREATEST COMMANDMENTS: that’s #1 and #2!!! Matt. 22:37-40 as repeated in Mark & Luke AND foreshadowed in the O.T. often!). If the minister(s) miss the mark with God’s 2nd greatest priority, that is a discerning red flag to those who read, study and have been incorporating His Word into their ‘new man’ behavior. The ‘world’ teaches we must love every skin color (yes!), but God teaches we must love everyONE (e.g., personality, clothing attire, etc.) and not just support those who are WIRED the same way as the % majority of ‘similars’ (e.g., social butterflies, like-personalities, clothing fads) who popularize one another as if they are the ‘chosen ones’ while making it very clear that (they think) everyone else is “UN-chosen”. Why go to that church (or bible study) of un-followers of His Word? (Jesus & Paul say that THEY should be counseled and, if needed, booted.) Should believers attend to tell the congregants & minister that they are missing the mark? Yes, I think Jesus would like us to carry that cross! But anyone causing that conflict would be booted out the door (it WAS the behavior of Jesus… our role model… to stand up to hypocrisy in the “church”). We send that message with our ‘walking feet’ out the front door of those churches. Institutional churches are NOT the “Bride of Christ”… the collective whole of True believers IS the “Bride of Christ”. The early church met in homes and split up when the participant numbers grew too large to support true “fellowship,” and tithing didn’t go to support monstrous church buildings. The Bride of Christ is NOT the collective whole of those who ATTEND church, nor those who practice good works (although good works are pleasing to God and may be done outside of a church environment as well); “the Bride of Christ” is made up of only those who truly believe that Jesus is the resurrected Son of God and their Lord & Savior (whether they kneel by their bedside, sit in a pew or in a prayer closet or an African hut). Romans 10:9-10. Each true believer is part of God’s royal PRIESThood, the Veil has been RIPPED in half, allowing EACH person who believes in Jesus (with our whole hearts and souls) to read, study and learn (with His amazing, indwelling Holy Spirit) His Way (and grow & improve)… to be a minister to themselves and others with added wisdom from His Spirit through heart-felt prayer & communion with God! Flawed, imperfect humans (like all of us) can be titled ‘priests’ and ‘ministers’, but if they don’t even get it right with Commandment #2, the congregation should go elsewhere. Unless “churches” can contribute to that learning (of ALL of God’s Word, especially #1 & #2 Commandments), that “church” is actually harming ALL participants, including the social butterfly cliques who Might one day hear, “I Never knew you” unless they are corrected on this earth (The Pharisees ARE the same as those attending church who act with blatant hypocrisy to God’s commands… including His #2).

      Those who are part of Christ’s royal priesthood (ALL genuine believers) may shine His Light in other places where His Light is sorely needed rather than put up with a “less than” attitude within the walls of so many church buildings (and the cherry-picking of God’s Word, including the tough love). Once “love one another” is implemented in congregations, THEN an effort to incorporate true ‘fellowship’ can be meaningful (since ‘fellowship’ doesn’t generally have anything to do with sitting in pews on Sundays).

      Being different from the majority is a challenging cross that God gives to many (for His divine reasons). There is NO worse type of rejection for a Christian (on this earth) than to make an attempt at Christian fellowship only to be treated as “less than” by those who pretend to be Christians in a church environment.

      The message above from GodOnlyKnows should be shared with every church minister! In Jesus’ Name and following His Word of Truth!

      • Victoria says:

        BB,
        Thank you for this, especially the last paragraph. I moved across the country & left behind a wonderful, Christ centered church family I belonged to for a decade. In my new city I have searched for another decade, trying to find a church home that is similarly Bible focused, Christ centered, welcoming & loving. It is amazing to me how many churches are so unwelcoming, even when I go out of my way to smile & greet others, week after week. It’s so disheartening for me and I’ve been a believer and follower of Jesus for over 30 years. I’m afraid I’ve become disillusioned and have very little interest in “gathering together.” I know today’s devotion was meant for me and I’m praying God will lead me & my family to a church where we can find a family of believers. Thanks again!

        • Hello, Victoria!
          I just found this website: http://www.churchfinder.com/
          While I only spent 1 minute on this site, I LIKE the fact that it has church reviews… by His People!
          I also like the fact that the one church in my vicinity that I highly recommend for “Love” (population >100,000) is rated 4.7 out of 5 stars. That church’s Mission Statement reflects the “Love” their members genuinely share with visitors and one another! The reviews also reflect that same “Love”.
          Maybe “we, His People”, can spread the word about that website and include constructive comments on the churches we visit which will help visitors like ourselves find a church-fit and, perhaps, help some ministers re-think their priorities to God in guidance of His Flock.
          Love to you! See you one day “soon”! 🙂

  10. Melissa Taylor says:

    I am with Myrna and Godonlyknows, my family and I home church. For the same reasons, we are so unaccepted because we don’t dress the part and quite frankly we are not the rich tithers. We have chosen for me to be a stay at home Mom on a simple policeman’s salary, the church and people in the church want the rich, not the poor or struggling. It has broken my heart, mainly for my daughter who is now turning 17, she does love the Lord and she does read her Bible every night, but she is hurt by the church. We have exhausted the churches in our area, so we stay home watch Dr. David Jeremiah and my only prayer is that if the Lord wants us in church, to send someone to my daughter and let her go with a very good friend. If not we stay home.
    It is sad and it breaks my heart to tears. we want to be part of a church family, but we just can not find that.

    • Tracey Rankin says:

      Thank you for sharing.. and I’m so sad to be able to understand completely what you are going through. Something needs to change! i haven’t been to a church in a long time (not from not wanting to but because I couldn’t handle the rejection)… where is the church going wrong? Jesus ate dinner with thieves and prostitutes.. he LOVED everyone .. I don’t understand why we mere humans aren’t able to learn and strive for that same love … Melissa, you aren’t alone in your confused and sadness with the church. Thank you for your message. I’d love for you to email me even just for a support along the way tracey.rankin1@gmail.com x

  11. I understand that attending church helps believers to grow and strengthen one another. But I do not believe that because a believer does not attend he or she cannot be an effective witness. My husband and I have been more effective spiritually since now that we don’t attend. There is too much corporate and political agendas in the church. We understand there are some churches that have good intentions but the structure of church is not the same from the days of the book of Acts. Believe me, I have experienced so much and remained because I believed i was doing God’s will. I am still friends with prior church members. I stop miss going at times but I know we have been called to do more than just be like a social club. Prisons are filling up, homelessness is increasing and immorality is so bad even within the church. Watered down messages, less prayer meetings and hardly any street evangelizing..the list goes on. My husband and I will stand in the gap and plan to visit a church from time to time..We used to have regular bible study meetings until his schedule changed but will resume soon.

  12. Janice Alston says:

    Great article that really explain that the church is a place of worship and gathering. As we grew up we went to church as a family every Sunday. But.as we got older we began to stray away. My, mother and dad envourge us to continue to attend cchurch I faithfully attend church, bible study and other church functions. But, not every Sunday. I can remember my mom as she got older, and she became ill, suffered from Alzheimer, she always said I can serve God right here in my bed. I can serve God , and pray. He hears my prayers, so I feel she was truely serving God as she laid sick in her bed. Church is a gathering place, and she faithful instilled in her familg to serve God. But, some people can’t go to church, can’t get out of bed, and there are many people tgat just don’t believe in going to church. But, I do encourage my family too.

  13. Thank you Arlene for this post since it emphasizes the need for a healthy assembly of believers at a local church as we are instructed in Hebrews 10:24-25.God bless you and your family.

  14. We can’t hear enough times and ways to embrace our church families like real family. Because that’s what we are.
    There’s no room for that “you’ll never be one of us” attitude in the church.

  15. Elizabeth says:

    Thank you! Very encouraging words!

  16. Traci L. says:

    I am so done with churches. 2 years ago I was told that I wasn’t good enough because of my past to assist with the youth group. I left and never looked back. For me its about the relationship with Christ and not all the “rules”. I am closer to God and my prayer life is more red hot than ever. Getting out of the church and focusing on God and having a relationship with Him was the best thing I could have done. I watch sermons online and have been very active in online bible studies. People in the churches I tried were so fake. This way I can enjoy my family on the weekends and still make time for God. Its amazing how much better my day goes when I spend my lunch hour deep in bible study and prayer. I don’t have to worry that I am not put together or t have to hide my past anymore… no more fake hugs, just me and God and bible study. I am happier now than I have been in years.

  17. Thank you I am a part of Of God community/ Church with this P31 app Bible I listen to your video with the Bible study Iam feel the friendship of the group with this today devotion I was reminded that I am part of God community so thank you

  18. Jennifer Palacios says:

    I am an active member at a local church and I love it! I look forward to church every weekend and if there is any other time we can go, I absolutely try. I have brought my daughter to church with me ever since she was a baby. I didn’t let terrible two’s stop us…well, most of the time anyway. I fell away from the church a few years ago, but finally made my way back home and I couldn’t be happier. I know I am not perfect and have missed a Sunday here and there, but I try to be there no matter what.

    For those who might be struggling to go for one reason or another, I get it. I was there. Sports, family outings, vacations or just because you don’t feel like Church is a big deal…I’ve experienced it all. But, just try again…just take that small step back into church. Make a commitment to go and I know you won’t be sorry that you did!!

  19. Yes, I am an active member of a local church in Monterey, California. I recently signed a membership covenant with the lead pastor of Shoreline Community Church. Praise God.

  20. Liz Strik says:

    I have been a member is my church for 8 years. I became a Christ follower because of an invitation to this church. But I still struggle with explaining to people why they should come or attend a church. I think it’s because we as a society have a problem admitting that we are broken. I think if we could really open up and share our struggles and stories those far from God would understand the need for church.

  21. Jessica says:

    This was such a great devotional for me. I have been so upset with people my age the Mose that think Church isn’t a priority. Our church kids aged teachers even dismissed all kids classes through the summer. Another parent stepped up to teach my two kids and her 3 kids since they still wanted to come and I wanted to attend the women’s Bible study. We have both been bad mouthed and ridiculed for going over their heads. Granted these are people that only come on Sunday morning if convenient and just drop their kids off on Weds. How do we enourage them to be dedicated and faithful.

  22. I’ve been struggling with going to my current church for a few months now. When I do go in my mind I am saying why did I come here. A lot of it stems from how the people treat you, fakeness, starting to feel disconnected, Pastor talks about people personal issues over the pulpit. I am not blaming everything on the church. I love being surrounded by other believers that love on you, encourage you, help you, tell you the truth, iron sharpens iron. I love to be involved in church and help. I want to go to church and hear the word not people personal problems, not about what this church is not doing, what kind of people a church is not reaching, this church started and how it closed. Like I am at a church that is in competition with other churches. I do make sure I do listen to messages on my phone or t.v, devotions as well.

  23. Dee Smith says:

    This is part of the issue dear heart. I don’t GO to church. I AM the church. Christ said it, I believe it.

  24. Susan G. says:

    Thanks for this!

  25. Lisa Mack says:

    Hi Arlene, I first heard you speak at Hearts at Home in Normal, Illinois in March of 2014 or March of 2015. I loved your stories. Your photograph is in my scrapbook! The photo that you displayed on the screen of you and your father on your wedding day is priceless.

    We are planning a women’s conference in Peoria, IL. To be held in the fall of 2018 or spring of 2019. Do you have a schedule for speaking engagements that you would be able to forward? Thanks Arlene!

  26. Thank You.

  27. I grew up in the church where my father was a pastor. We went to church all the time and I developed very close friendships with those in the church. When I married, we attended church with our young children up until about 4 years ago. We were unhappy in the church we attended and planned to return to a church we had once gone to regularly. It just wasn’t the same when we went back and our attendance became sporadic and then non-existent. Some big changes were happening in our world as this was going on and we were hoping for the loving support of other believers. For a time I didn’t even read the bible much, although I did still pray. Someone I had gotten to know hosted an on-line bible study. I got involved in it, but got busy and put it down. This summer I decided to continue with the study and it has been a blessing! I pray more regularly and really long to go back to church. The last time we attended church, I felt like an outsider. I am wanting to look for a new church, but don’t know where to start. My husband was not raised in the church and it doesn’t bother him to not attend church. I really want our kids to have that foundation of Christ. I am met with resistance from those in my own home. I have often thought about going to church on my own, but I feel weird going without the rest of my family. I really think that if a friend invited me to church that I would gladly attend with them.

  28. Praying this morning for those who are struggling with past hurts. have many friends/family who are also no longer involved in a local church for some of these very reasons and I know the pain. I have also been disappointed and my heart has ached over situations that have happened at my church. It can be overwhelming. I encourage you, though, to pray for God’s guidance to a family of believers. Whether it’s a small home church or a small group within a larger church, as Christians, we need to have a family that we “do” life with. You will be disappointed from time to time, but I encourage you to be the change you want to see in the church.

  29. Taylor Burris says:

    God is amazing. I was thinking this morning and praying thanks to God for my church family. I currently go to Powerhouse Fellowship and it is a complete blessing. The power of being surrounded by people that love God and talking about the Lord is truly a gift that we all need. I pray that everyone finds a church family where the feel the love of God.

  30. Jessica says:

    This is a tough tough topic for me because I am at a point in my life where church attendance is something I do not do but strongly desire. I have things working against me however because I do not belong to a denomination that there is a church on every block. I am a Seventh-day Adventist so attending church on Saturday is of utmost importance to me. There are only 3 SDA churches in my city, one is kind of far away, one has services at an extremely inconvenient time of day, and the other, the church I grew up in and have loved and adored is not meeting my needs according to the 7 Questions by Arlene Pellicane. I long to attend church again and to be a part of a community of believers but I cannot seem to connect with people of my faith in my town. It’s heartbreaking really.

  31. You don’t have to go to church, meaning a church building, to meet with the church aka the Body of Christ. You can meet them outside of the church building. This idea in the United States that we HAVE to go to a church building on Saturday or Sunday , or Wednesday night, to be with or spend time with other believers is not true. When believers are gathered together we are part of the body of Christ and that doesn’t change whether it’s in someones home or at a coffee shop or at a park , etc. . Christians can meet together any day of the week besides just Saturday or Sunday. And I don’t see in that scripture posted above anything about meeting in a church building. I’m not suggesting people stop going to church in a building on the weekend, I’m just saying that church in a church building on a Saturday, or Sunday or Wednesday isn’t the only answer to meeting together.

  32. So true. Thank you!

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