Eight Reasons to Commit to One Church

Working with young Christians (preteens to late-20’s) has its fair share of difficulties. For the college/young adult age-group in particular, there is one gem that stands out among the rest:

a lack of commitment.

They go from one college group to another, failing to commit to an actual church. No matter how picture-perfect the church is, they always find something wrong with it…and bail. They’re kind of like those guys who date every girl in town: they date girls while they’re cool and hot and then ditch ’em as soon as someone else catches their eyes rather than choosing to commit to one lady for the rest of their life.

No cost. No commitment. No crime, right? Wrong.

God calls the church His bride. Just like a husband is to completely commit Himself to His bride, so are we, Christians, to commit ourselves to God’s bride, the church (yes, there are some circumstances that call for a change in churches).

There are many causes for this young generation’s achilles heal and I will address them in the near future. For now, I’d like to speak directly to those of you who are young Christians and yet fail to commit to a local church. You say things like,

I like Jesus, but I don’t like the church.

The church is full of hypocrites.

I don’t need the church.

You ask questions like,

Why do I need to go to church? My relationship with God is between Him and I.

Why do I need to commit to one church? Don’t all churches make up one universal church?

Although there are countless reasons why you as a young-adult Christian need to commit to one local church, I’d like to give you eight:

  1. God eternally exists in Christian community (the Trinity); don’t you think you should, too?
  2. Jesus lived his adult life with a community of believers.
  3. Jesus went to the temple (or church) as a child. Though we only have a few records of His childhood, one of the scenes written by Luke shows Jesus attending and participating in the life of the temple (Luke 2:41-52).
  4. The New Testament has at least fifty-nine commands that require you live in a community of other believers; we refer to them as the “one-anothers.”
  5. Let’s be honest: you need the accountability and support. Deal with bitterness? Anxiety? Depression? Gossip? Difficult time not watching porn? Going too far with your girlfriend or boyfriend? Wrestling with addiction? The list goes on…God gives Christians the church so that they can grow and walk together (Hebrews 3:12 & 13).
  6. God uses your relationships with other Christians to display His glory to the unbelieving world (John 13:35).
  7. God gave the church elders to keep watch of and care for their souls like a shepherd does for their sheep (Acts 20:28). The author of Hebrews calls for believers to submit to these very elders, for they are the ones who will give an account to God (Hebrews 13:17).
  8. It’s God’s plan. In Paul’s letter to a younger pastor named Titus, he tells him that Jesus laid down His life to redeem and purify a group of people, namely the church (Titus 2:14).

Though God’s church is filled with sinful people, God is doing something in and through these people that no one else in human history has ever nor will ever be able to do: He is perfecting imperfect people from every tribe, tongue, and language, uniting them to celebrate and enjoy His glory and splendor for all of eternity.

Why wouldn’t you want to be a part of that?

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A Prayer in Response to Isaiah 66:2

 

“But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my Word.”

– Isaiah 66:2

May I be as so,

May I see your son and His generous humility

disregarded His deity

became as you and me

obedient as could be

only to be hung upon a tree

buried and on day three

conquered sin, death, and the enemy

proving the One true King

on our behalf, intercedes

that we may behold His majesty

May my spirit be humble and contrite

choke at the delight

that I take in my sin

the evil from within

murdered an innocent man

clean were His hands

yet He was placed on trial

as though His heart and hands defiled

His very nature

the essence of His stature

deemed guilty but was not so

our sin He did own

May I tremble at Your Word

as a worm reacts to a bird

break me into countless pieces

deal with me as You reason

for far higher are Your ways

everlasting is Your reign

Your eternal kingdom, we proclaim

the Name above all names

may I behold the weight of Your worth

the glory that extends from heaven to earth

may I be broken and undone

as You reveal to us glimpses of Your infinitely glorious Son

Calming the Storms of LIfe

In times of fear and vulnerability, we need comfort. Our souls long for security, the confirmation that all is well.

As a child, I sought this from my parents, in particular my father. When the night would reach its darkest, I’d long for just a glimmer of light. I think this is why often children sleep with night lights: we need comfort through the pain, light during the darkness. Whether I thought there was a ghost in my room or that monsters were flooding my nightmares, I sought the comfort of my father. At any hour of the night, I could wake him and be reminded that he would do anything and everything in his strength to ensure that our family was safe.

Today, fear is not distant from the doorstep of my soul. I’m more vulnerable that i’d prefer. Death seems to be anywhere and everywhere. Often, she invades the borders of our lives without warning. Just as often, she takes her time, dragging it out like an inevitable and painful teenage-breakup.

Homemade bombs in Boston, a longtime-loved local musician murdered in a robbery, multiple students in youth ministry wrestling with suicide, many due to prior sexual abuse from their childhood, an elderly gentleman from church on his deathbed due to cancer, the list goes on. All the while, I am reminded of that dreadful night.

Nearly one year ago, I witnessed a middle school child innocently riding his skateboard get hit by a car, thrown twenty yards, and pronounced dead instantly. I can still see it. I can still hear his mother’s cries as she arrived at the scene, receiving the breaking news of her recently deceased son. The news broke her to sand grains, i’m sure.

Death is inevitable; this, we all know. As are trials, but more often than not, these aren’t greeted with welcoming smiles and embracing arms. Instead, they’re received as acts of terror, invasions of our safety and comfort, declarations of “war” on all that we’ve known to love and hold dearest.

Like the disciples in the storm, we are overwhelmed by death’s knock on our door. As the waters begin to break into the boat, slowly sinking it below sea-level, we run to Jesus, waking Him up to see that He is still in control.

My Father used to walk me back to my room and make sure that everything was fine. Jesus rebuked the wind and sea, ensuring that everything was fine.

I almost always felt safe and secure after I was comforted by my father. I can only imagine how the disciples felt after Jesus calmed the storm. Rightfully so, He rebuked their doubt of His power and control.

And even to this day, He rebukes me in my fear and vulnerability. I’ll confess that I doubt Him even though I bear no warrant.

Even more so, He knows and understands my emotions. The Father had to abandon Jesus, leaving Him vulnerable to any and every attack. And He faced the greatest attack of them all.

I wonder what it was like at the cross: for all those people to hear the cries of Jesus. In agonizing harmony, His mother supports the melody of His love. What was it like for the disciples to hear them, knowing that they had abandoned Him?

Though we encounter minor waves in minute seas, we can be comforted that Jesus faced and embraced the most frightful of waves in the vastest of oceans: the wrath of the Father. In doing this, He swallowed up the seas that we encounter in our own lives. He made them as nothing for our joy. He’s made them as a means to our greater joy which is to be found in Him. Jesus faced the storms of His people while on trial, He embraced them while on the cross, and He disgraced and disarmed their power through His resurrection and ascension from death to life.

He has more comfort for us than we can desire. He has more safety and security from all that we fear than we can comprehend.

He has left our storms voiceless.

The Church: She Needs You

So you don’t think you need to go to church? You’re right. Going to church is pointless if that’s all that you do. Allow me to explain.

Think of your own home for a moment. Dad, mom, perhaps a few siblings. When there are things that need to get done around the house, who does them? Do dad and mom do all the work while you and your siblings sit around the house watching?

Growing up in my house, we each had assigned tasks and areas of our house that we needed to keep maintained. Dad typically handled outdoor things such as the lawn and garden, washing cars, etc. As I grew up, I began joining him in those tasks. Mom mainly focused on mopping, laundry, cooking, etc. Over the years, my sister and I would take turns cleaning bathrooms and vacuuming the house. And dishes? At some point during the week, everyone would get their hands wet.

Everyone played a part in maintaining our home because each of us lived there.

For some reason, this mentality seems to get lost when we walk out our front doors and into our church buildings every Sunday morning. We approach church the same way that people approach their favorite sports teams: we watch them compete for the win, but we don’t ourselves participate.

The Church and the Lakers: Two Different Things

Since before Kobe Bryant entered the league, I’ve been a die-hard Lakers fan. Each year, I’ve followed them extensively, watching every single second of every single game. I watch all the post-game interviews, read all the articles and blog posts, and memorize all of the players stats. In all of this, I’ve never actually helped them win a game. I wasn’t involved in the blockbuster trade for Dwight Howard. I didn’t hire Mike D’Antoni as the new head coach. I’ve never helped Kobe work on his jump shot (contrary to popular belief). I watch the Lakers, but I don’t play for them.

Believe it or not, church and the Lakers are two different things.

The Body of Christ

In one of his letters to the church in Corinth, Paul likens the church to a body: “Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it” (1 Corinthians 12:27). In this passage, Paul describes each Christian as being an individual body part of the body of Christ. One person, for example, is a foot, another is a hand, someone else is an eye, and so on. If a foot were missing from the body, the body could not move as adequately as it could if the foot were still attached. Sure, the body will go on functioning but not as well as it could. Each body part needs the others for the entire body to fully function in the manner in which it was created to.

When Jesus calls you to Himself, you are now a member of the body of Christ, the household and kingdom of God.

Which Part Are You?

What gifts do you have? What’s your talent? What passions do you have? What moves your heart? What do you enjoy doing? Why not use that gift, talent, passion, and/or heart for the advance of the gospel and the glory of God’s Name through the church?

The bottom line is that Jesus calls you to be a part of the church. He doesn’t call you to simply go to church and watch the pastoral staff serve like you watch the Lakers compete; Jesus actually wants you ( He wants YOU!) to be a part of spreading the gospel and advancing His kingdom here on earth.

Sure, the church has her problems. Yes, you’re likely to get burned by someone. But those are the people that Jesus calls to Himself: “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:17). Instead of running from the problems of the church, we are called to face them, using our gifts, talents, and passions to advance the gospel through the church:

  • the church has problems; help fix them
  • the church has holes; help fill them
  • the church is filled with liars; help keep ’em honest
  • the church is unfriendly; help bring a smile
  • the church is messed up; help her
  • the church is hurting; help comfort her
  • the church is divisive; help unite her
  • the church is out of touch with culture; help her engage the gospel in culture
  • the church burns people; so you’re gonna burn her?
  • the church is judgmental; is that a judgement?
  • the church is intolerant; can you tolerate that?
  • the church is filled with hypocrites; you fit right in

God has given you some sort of gift, talent, or passion to use so that you can bless the church and serve a dying world. My mother would’ve slapped me if I refused to do my chores in our household. You are a valuable member of God’s household; do your chores. We are called by Jesus to participate in the life the church. But the Lakers? Let’s just let Kobe do his thing…

The church is filled with broken, sick, hurting, people; dear Christian, you fit right in.