Settle It - Church Attendance (Part 2)
As I was growing up, my parents were evangelists, missionaries, and when needed, pastors. Thankfully I learned from the earliest days a love and a passion for the house of God. The winter that I was eleven, my parents were pastoring a small church in Vista, Missouri. It was one of the coldest winters in many years but thankfully we lived on the church property and could walk to service. Regardless of whether we had 5 or 150, we had church. One Wednesday night during a major snowstorm we got ready for service and walked over to the church only to find that there was no one there. We went in and sat there on the front pew, waiting. Come church time I turned to dad and asked “What are we going to do?” “Well, What did we come here to do?” he asked. “Well dad we came over here to have church,” I replied. “Did God give you and your mom songs to sing for tonight?” “Yeah.” “Well, He also told me what he wanted me to preach and I don't think this weather surprised Him much. Let's just have church anyway, really have church.”
I will never forget that night because mom and I sang and praised God just as fervently and joyfully as if we had a houseful. We took up an offering (I gave a dollar) and I saw my dad preach just as hard at mom and I as I'd seen him preach to huge crowds of hundreds. And guess what? God responded in a big way. We had an altar time. We cried, we prayed, and like the woman with the issue of blood, we pushed through till we touched God and He touched back. At the end of the service dad put his arm around me and said “You know, Bub (that was my nickname back then) I guess God intended for me to preach that just for me. Some services are there for the folks and others are there for the pastor and workers. But if we hadn't stuck it through tonight, we'd have never known.”
Looking back on it, my dad was trying to teach me through example about the importance of faithfulness. Every time we miss a scheduled encounter with God's presence, it's impossible to measure what we may have just given up in our lives. Ask yourself this question before you miss: What if this service is the one where my calling, my deliverance, my miracle comes and I'm not there? Does God guarantee me repeated opportunity if I squander this one? By the way, the answer is no. Faithfulness to God's house maximizes His opportunity to change you and your circumstance.
Men, give your families the rock-like security of feeling expected and at home in the church every time the doors are open. There is a HUGE spiritual difference in the statements “That is where I go to church” and “That's my church.” It's a question of commitment and belonging. God understands that sometimes we have to work unexpectedly or that we get sick but make no mistake, God also knows when we are just finding a reason to stay away. As my dad used to say, “God understands that sometimes you have to miss church because your prize ox fell in the ditch and you gotta go get him out. However, if it happens too often, you either need to shoot the ox or fill in the ditch.”
Unstoppable Church attendance: Settle It
Not forsaking the assembling of yourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.