all for Jesus ...

"What about you? What precious perfume is locked inside your heart that could be lavished on our Lord? The little treasures you and I struggle to hold on to may hold back opportunities to worship Him with extravagant praise, releasing ministry and service to Him that will bless all those around us." Angela Munizzi

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

weekly gem #4

"The church is never a place, but always a people; never a fold but always a flock; never a building but always a believing assembly. The church is you who pray, not where you pray."  Anonymous

The gem that God has given me this week is a reminder of the importance of regularly gathering and worshiping with other believers. For various reasons, I have been unable to attend church for the past few weeks. What I miss the most are not the various aspects of the service, though I love to worship, hear the Word, tithe, etc., but the people. We are the church. I am the church.

Sometimes it's easy to fall into the trap of thinking that my presence in church doesn't matter that much - that things go on just the same without me being there. There is some truth in that statement, but it does not take into account what God says about the importance of fellowship.

We read in Acts 2:42 that the early church "devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer." Further into the New Testament, the church is compared to the human body. You can read about it here. While this scripture talks about spiritual gifting, it also speaks of how we need one another - that we are a unit who, together, glorifies God. Every part of the body, every person, has his or her own job to do and each one is significant.

When I am absent from church on a Sunday morning, I am not merely missing a service. My absence takes away from our church body. I am not there to pray for and with others. I cannot weep with those who mourn or dance with the joyful. My voice is not lifted up in agreement with those of my church family while bringing praise and glory to God. I do receive the fresh message God gives to us. Even if I "listen to the tape" during the week, it does not compare with being there to experience the moving of the Holy Spirit.

God specifically asks us not to neglect meeting together as believers. In Hebrews 10:19-25, it says:

"Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 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."

What better place to "spur one another on toward love and good deeds" than in God's house?

And so I look forward to this coming Sunday not only as a person who is hungry for more of the life God gives freely to me, but is also hungry to see more of His life and light in everyone else.

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