Thursday, April 30, 2009

Stop Dating the Church

Two weeks ago I was talking to a lady in the atrium after church about the importance of coming to church regularly, consistently, and in a committed way. It was a follow up to a story I told (in my message) about the early years of mine & Renae’s marriage – how that we made “going to church” a high family value and that it paid enormous dividends for us over the years. At any rate, she’s telling me how she has made a spiritual transition from “am I going to church today?” and if I go “what kind of blessing will I get?” to “now it’s not even a matter of discussion. Sunday comes, my family and I get up, get dressed and go to church. No question about it. Now, instead of ‘what I am going to get out of it today’ I come to say, ‘Thank You, Lord for your goodness to me.’”

I was very glad to hear this.

That’s why we do what we do! We start with people where they are and eventually God leads them to the place where they need to be! She stopped dating the church and has now entered into a committed relationship with the church. She has moved from me-centered to Christ-centered.

For those of you who are still dating the church, you need to understand that it’s not (only) about what the church can offer you (programs, activities, social interaction, etc), but what YOU CAN OFFER the church!

Church-daters are like the couple who lives together without being married. You get the “perks” of marriage without having to be committed to marriage. As long as there is a personal benefit to be received, such a person will hang on loosely. But it’s also just as easy to walk away. Commitment cuts against the grain of “me-ism.”

Three signs of a church dater:
  • Me-centered. “What can I get out of this relationship.”
  • Independent. “I go to church but I’m not getting involved… especially with people.”
  • Critical. “I don’t like this one, so I’m window shopping for another.”

In truth, the church is EARTHS SINGLE BEST PLACE – God’s designed place – to start over, to grow, and to change for the honor of God. It is a COMMUNITY where we learn to love God and others, where commitment is cultivated and developed, where we are strengthened and transformed by the Word, where we are taught to pray, worship, and serve, where we can invest our talents for eternity, and where we can grow in our roles as fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, brothers, and sisters in the Lord.

How much does Christ love the church? So much that He gave up His life for her.

You should love what He loves. Fall in love with the family of God and stop dating the church.

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