When we got married a little over two years ago, we found a great church as a couple, got into a small group, and finally felt like we were getting involved in the church community. We were making great Christian friends as a couple (since we dated semi-long distance, we never made couple friends during our dating years) and felt like we were growing stronger in our relationship with the Lord through it all.
Jump forward a year and a half later, out comes our precious baby boy, we move back down to Justin’s parents’ house, away from our fresh community and church. The craziness that comes with being a first-time parent made it hard to stick to a normal routine and attending church took a big hit.
Lately, or even over the pass few months, as we have really figured out the whole parenting thing, and Cedric being older and a little easier to handle, Justin and I have both felt a huge pull and conviction to make a pact to ourselves and to God to get back into church. No excuses, just do it. For any Christian/follower of Christ, church is a priority, not an option.
It is a huge must for the single, the dating, the married, and the families. Now having a child, the biggest prayer, desire, and hope is for our children to one day acknowledge the Lord as their Savior, to follow Him, and to happily desire all the ways of the Lord. We would be ineffective as parents if we did not take our children to church. Not for the sheer act of going, but for the connection to God and His word, His people and community. This last year of sporadic church visits left us feeling a lack of community, isolated, seemed to run into more personal problems with each other, and of course not as strong of a relationship with God.
It really just hit us. A better family life starts with a better church life. We must make a choice now. Every Sunday we will go to church. We need it, not just for our personal relationship with God but also to set an example for our family. And this is with a joyful heart, not a frustrated, forced decision, but a willingness to obey our Lord. We cannot expect our children to go in the way we teach them when one of the most important aspects of being a Christian is the church community.
Excuses. Oh the excuses. We have all been there. Let’s take an honest look at what these really sound like.
When it comes down to it, we are sinful humans, and we will always find an excuse not to go to church. It is amazing how I sometimes dread the idea of going to church on Sunday. Then I go, have an amazing time of worship and hearing from the Word, get this great spiritual high, and think how amazing it was that I was able to go this week. Who doesn’t want us in fellowship? Satan, and he will do what ever he can to make up excuses and play with our minds to try and show us better things we can be doing on our day off.
Here are some of the most common excuses we have probably all struggle with, but are they that important to not be in your church community?
Benefits of going for children.
Benefits for the family.
In the end: It extends far beyond hearing an hour sermon on a Sunday morning.
Again, remember that being a Christian is two-fold. There is a God side and a demonic side. Our adversary does not want us to go to church, to worship, or deepen our relationship with Christ. So us not going is our own sinful nature’s desire. Following God’s direction is not always the easiest choice, but in the end the highest pay out. What a blessing and rejuvenation I feel at the end of a church service!
This has been on our hearts for sometime now and I felt the need to encourage you all as well. It’s funny how I was talking to one of my best mom friends the other day and telling her what we felt God had on our hearts to blog next about. She told me that she had this exact talk with her husband the night before. Hmm, I think God is trying to tell us both something!! In the end, it doesn’t matter if you have five children or are single, the Bible clearly commands us to be in fellowship and get to church.
Hebrews 10:23-25 (NIV)
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, 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.
Our prayer is that this post may be the wake up call to others like it has been to us. Today is better then any other day to consider making a pact with your spouse and family to make a choice now to make sure God is your number one in your life and your families, and get back into the church body.
How has this opening of our hearts resonated with you? I would love to hear you view on the subject!