People will often tell me how they used to go to church, but they don’t go anymore. The reasons are usually the same: “You would not believe what so-and-so said to me! All they talk about is money. The church was too political. Or, I can worship God on my own.”
I would like to suggest to you that regular church attendance is very important for your life and your spiritual life. Not attending church regularly is like what happens to my motorcycle when I don’t ride it all winter and go to crank it up – It won’t start! The battery has become weak because it has not been charged on a regular basis. The same is true for our spiritual lives. When the storms of life come (and they will come), we need to make sure we are plugged into the Source of Life and have the power to face the days ahead. Consider these reasons on why you should attend church regularly.
1. It is an obedience issue. “Honor the Sabbath Day and keep it holy.” The Sabbath was made for rest and worship. It is intended as a gift to us (Mark 2:27). This holy day we have turned into a holiday, and this is not what God has intended.
2. Jesus is our example. It was his custom to worship each week (Luke 4:16). If he needed to worship each week and he was the Son of God, what makes us think we don’t need to?
3. Worship - Yes, we can have worship by ourselves; I try to worship every morning. But something happens when you are gathered with the Body of Christ. Jesus told us that when two or three are gathered together in His Name, He would be in the midst of them. God inhabits the praises of His people, and true worship allows this to happen.
4. Discipleship - We attend regularly to be taught and modeled the Word of God and how it applies to one’s life. A CD or Podcast may give us intellectual knowledge, but the Christian life is caught, not just taught. We need to see it in action.
5. Fellowship - “Iron sharpens iron so one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17). True fellowship shares life together and how God is involved in one’s life.
6. Outreach - It is important that we be challenged to think outside of our “me, myself, and I” mentality and to reach out to people in our communities making a difference in their lives. Following Jesus isn’t just about “me.”
7. Our Children - Where are our children being taught the Ten Commandments and other Christian values? School? TV? The Internet? Little League? The Church is about the last place where parents are assisted in teaching these important truths and how to have a relationship with the Lord.
8. You may miss God or what He wants to say to your life. Remember Doubting Thomas? He was absent from the church when Jesus appeared on the first Easter. However, the next week he was in his place and Jesus appeared and spoke a word to Him.
The list could go on and on. Find a church. Get over your past issues. Find a Bible-believing, Bible-teaching, Jesus-loving congregation, and deepen the roots of your Christian life.
Am I Ready to Pray? (Bude, Cornwall, UK)
INTRODUCTIOIN -- Prayer is: 1) spending time with God – acknowledging God’s presence in all our lives’ activities; and 2) conversation with God – listening to and talking with God. Prayer reflects on our relationship with God. Why don’t we pray. The Apostle James, in James 4:2-3, provides a perspective regarding Prayer Life: “You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions."
SUNDAY MESSAGE – In James 4:3, we are told: “You ask but do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.”. As followers of Jesus, we are given the awesome privilege of being able to come before God, the Creator of the Universe, in our prayers. We are given a multitude of alternatives for our prayers that include prayers of "petition" (praying for one's own needs) and prayers of "intercession" (praying for the needs of others). God wants prayers of "petition" from us -- all our needs and concerns should be brought to Him in prayer because He loves and cares for us. However, God want us to, also, focus on others and their needs (intercession) -- physical and spiritual. "Intercessory prayer” is fundamental to deepening our prayer life and our personal relationship with God.
However, we often enter into our prayers unprepared – there is sin in our lives, or our prayers are all about “us”; and we seek “our will” and not “God’s will”. Therefore, we need to learn to “pray rightly”.
To “pray rightly”, we need to consider: “1) Am I “clean” before the Lord – have I confessed the known sins in my life that I have not repented? 2) Am I in “communion with others” – are there people with whom I am not at peace? 3) Am I “confident in God’s Word” – do I believe God’s promises are true? 4) Am I “committed to God’s will” – am I committed to act on and obey God’s answer to my prayers even though His answer is not my desire? 5) Am I “centered in the Holy Spirit” – am I focused and tuned in on the Lord, filtering out the “noise of the world”? and 6) Am I “concerned for God’s Glory” – the ultimate purpose of our prayers is uplifting and glorifying God’s name?”.
Additionally, in both our worship and our prayers: “Are we expecting to encounter God?”.
Remember, Jesus taught us that: 1) God is more ready to answer prayer than we are ready to pray; and 2) we must be persistent in our prayers until we have an answer.
Pray specific prayers, in the Holy Spirit and in Scripture, for ourselves and for others -- be persistent.
TODAY’S AFFIRMATION: I affirm that because of what God has done for me in His Son, Jesus, I AM RIGHTEOUS IN GOD’S EYES. God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21).
A WORD FROM THE LORD WEBSITE: www.AWFTL.org.
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SCRIPTURE REFERENCE (ESV): James 4:3; Isaiah 59:1-2; 1 John 1:8; Matthew 5:23-24 Matthew 6:14; 1 Peter 3:7; Luke 11:9-13; Jeremiah 33:3; Philippians 4:6-7; 1 Peter 5:7; Hebrews 11:6; 1 Peter 5:7; 1 John 5:14; Psalms 37:4; John 14:23; James 1:5; Romans 8:26-27; John 14:26. (Click the blue below to read the full Bible text for these scripture references in BOLD.).All Sermons by Archbishop Foley Beach