No secret service christians
The Upward Look, by Jon Forrest
No Secret Service Christians
“A man was coming out of church one day. The pastor was standing at the door ready to shake hands.
The Pastor grabbed the man by the hand and pulled him aside saying to him, "You need to join the Army of the Lord!"
The man replied, "I’m already in the Army of the Lord, Pastor." The Pastor questioned, "How come I don’t see you except at Christmas and Easter?"
He whispered back, "I’m in the secret service."
Attendance at church is declining around the country. Many folks think that going to church is a waste of time. Others feel the church has no relevance for their lives. There are people who think of church as a place or a building and see going to church as dead religion.
The problem is more of a perception than a reality. Perhaps they have the idea that church people think they are better than others who do not attend and are put off by such arrogance. There are some who have had negative experiences with church people or with pastors who were hypocritical in their behavior. Some who don’t attend find that going to church is a dead ritual that is outdated. There are also some who would just rather be doing something else that is more fun.
The first century church was far from these perceptions. The first century Christ followers (disciples) were energized by the message of those who had walked and talked with Jesus and who had witnessed His death, had participated in His burial and had talked with Him after He rose from the grave. The dynamics of that church were not fed by nice church buildings, smooth talking preachers or stimulating musical performances.
These were people whose lives had been transformed by the presence of Christ in their lives.
Simultaneously, there were government leaders and established religionists who despised everything Christ stood for and everyone who followed Him and who embraced His message of hope. When the church assembled it was not for entertainment, or ritual, or to impress one another with fancy clothing or false piety. Attending church gatherings was necessary for survival and encouragement. These followers of Jesus were living for the purpose of expanding the influence of Christ in the world. They craved the connection with others who were part of this daily struggle for Christ. They came together every chance they had because it was a matter of survival.
For many today, church has become a spectator sport. People who want to sit on the sidelines while preachers and worship leaders strive to hold their interest through entertainment or guilt trips. To them, church is just something they do to make them feel better about themselves. Sadly, church leaders have often fallen into this mentality and helped to perpetuate the false perception.
We forget that Jesus Christ died for the church. We forget that He promised to build His church on the sold rock of who He is and what He came to do for us. The word “church” comes from a Greek word that has to do with “people being called together for a purpose.” Jesus said that His church would break down the gates of hell. Friends, spectators don’t break down anything. Spectators just want to be impressed or entertained.
The 10th chapter of Hebrews inspires Christ followers to remember their calling and to come together for the purpose of celebration, encouragement and survival. The reason we attend church services and activities is because we NEED EACH OTHER! There is no such thing as a “Secret Service” to the church. We are the Bold, Excited, Courageous, Inspired, World Shaking, people of God!
Where else could you want to be when this bunch gets together?
This Sunday First Christian Church will have her annual “family (congregational) meeting. At our morning service we will sing songs that lift up the name of Jesus and I will share a challenging message from Hebrews 10:19-25 titled Since We; Let us or Why Bother with Church? This message will teach us the why of being part of the church of Jesus Christ and challenge us to be the church that Christ created.
Following our morning time of worship and inspiration we will have a meal, come together to choose our leaders for the coming year and talk about ways we can be more effective for the mission of Jesus Christ. I can’t imagine being anywhere else.
Standing together with His army,