Why Church?

Where does the notion come from that a professing Christian (also healthy and able) does not need to participate in a local church?

The gospel of Matthew states that Jesus himself established the New Testament Church. Matthew 16:18 – And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

At the very beginning of the Acts of the Apostles, we find the story of that establishment on the day of Pentecost. The Church of God at Jerusalem (I use a naming convention found in the new testament but i’m not endorsing any denomination) was begun! Documented in the opening chapters of the book of Acts, we find that Preaching, Teaching, Sacraments, and Fellowship are key components of life in the church.

Acts goes on to tell us about the spread of the church throughout Judaea and Samaria (modern day Jordan). The latter part of Acts documents the spread of the Gospel and founding of churches throughout Asia Minor (modern day Turkey), North Africa (the Ethiopian Eunuch), Greece, and Italy by the Apostle Paul and his assistants.

The bulk of the New Testament consist of letters from the Apostles, especially the Apostle Paul, to the congregations or churches in cities and communities across these areas. These letters contain multiple examples and instructions on the organization and conduct of the church.

Organization example:
Ephesians 4:11 – And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
Conduct example:

1 Corinthians 14:12 – Since you are so eager to have spiritual gifts, ask God for those that will be of real help to the whole church.

A great example is the book of Timothy, letters from Paul to a young Pastor named Timothy. According to tradition, Timothy was the first bishop of the Church at Ephesus.

1 Timothy 3:15 – …so that if I can’t come for a while, you will know how people must conduct themselves in the household of God. This is the church of the living God, which is the pillar and support of the truth.

Finally, in the Revelation of Jesus to his servants, we find the letters from the resurrected Jesus to the representative 7 churches in Asia with instructions, admonitions and encouragements and this final statement:

Revelation 22:16 – I Jesus have sent my angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.

In the New Testament, God characterizes becoming a christian as entering into a marriage with Christ (Ephesians 5, Revelation 19). One might say, “I believe in God and want to be baptized, but I don’t want to go to church”… that would be like a man saying to his bride, “I love you; I want to marry you – but I don’t want to live with you”. It’s saying you want the benefits of marriage but not the relationship that goes with it. Part of the Christian experience is having a relationship with fellow believers.

And therein lies the answer to the question I think: Relationships are not easy. They require work, sacrifice, discomfort, and sometimes pain. But most folks that have endured these relationship difficulties can also tell you of the flip-side, corresponding rewards… refreshment, praise, blessing, and love that also comes from a committed relationship!

So Christians, I challenge you. The Church of Jesus Christ needs you like never before. Come back to us. We need your spiritual gifts, your God given talents,  your praise and worship and your presence. Whatever it was that drove you away or is keeping you away… let it go, forgive. Pray that the Lord will lead you to the church where He has placed HIS name so you may participate with us in all that the Lord has in store for His Church through Christ Jesus.

2 Peter 1:4 – Whereby are given to us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world…

Come and partake with us!

Trust in The Lord

It's simple. It's short. Yet it's incredibly powerful. Proverbs 3:5-6 is one of the most familiar passages in the Bible–with good reason. It sets forth a life-changing truth that is worthy of our attention. Spend three minutes reading this article, and see if you agree.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Let's break down this life-changing truth to make sure we understand it.


Trust in the Lord.

It starts with trust. Any real relationship has to start with some level of trust. It's the only way a friendship will endure. It's the only way a marriage will work out. It's the simple reason why an employer hires workers, or why the workers stay employed. It's all about trust. Trust in the Lord, however, takes on an entirely new dimension. This is our trust in an eternal, all-powerful, all-wise, all-loving God. He is worthy of our trust. The trust is important, not just because of who God is, but because of the way in which we must trust him: with all your heart. It involves every fiber of your being. That's the kind of trust we can have in God–a complete, unshakable, deep, abiding trust.

If you are a Christian, you trusted God for salvation. You can trust Him with the rest of your life, too–every detail.


Read part 2, Don’t Lean On Your Understanding

Do Not Lean on Your Own Understanding

Read part 1 first, Trust In The Lord.

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.


Don't Lean on Your Understanding

The verse involves a positive–something you must do. But it also involves a negative–something you must not do. Don't lean on your own understanding. Basically, the verse is telling us that we ought not to be self-reliant. We cannot pursue a course of action, a financial decision, a business move, a relationship, or an educational choice, simply based on our own understanding. It must be founded in our trust in God.

Self-reliance is such a deceptive trap. We begin to pride ourselves in something–our savvy, our looks, our intellect, our spirituality, our family, whatever. And when we do, it takes away our trust in the Lord. It has become trust in self. The result is a dangerous compromise that will lead to destruction.


Instead, Acknowledge God. In Everything.

The antidote to this self-reliance is found in the first command of the verse. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart.” Which is developed in the next verse: “In all your ways acknowledge him.” The word “acknowledge” isn't merely a polite tip of the hat to the Man Upstairs, or a few words of grace over your meal, or even perfunctory attendance at church to let Him know we're still cool with what He's doing. It's way more. It's allowing Him access, control, command, and involvement in all your ways.

What's the result of this? Will God ruin your life? Will he be a Sovereign Killjoy? Will He rob you of fun? The verse ends on a promise. What is it?


He will make your paths straight.

The promise is put in the form of a metaphor. What does it mean to have straight paths? Several things. First, paths lead toward an end–a destination, a goal. Thus, trusting God wholeheartedly in every area of life gives your life a sense of purpose and priority. Second, it indicates that there will be a clear understanding of where you are going and what you are doing. It makes daily decision-making an easier and less painful task. You realize you are trusting Him. He, in turn, is making your paths straight. Thus, the way ahead is more apparent. Third, “straight paths” suggests moral purity. It suggests a life that has less of sinful compromise and more of wholesome attitudes, actions, and behavior.

That's the kind of life that God promises. It's the kind of life that you can have. It begins with trust. It involves acknowledging God in every way.