As I answered the phone yesterday morning before church, imagine my delight when my husbands voice greeted me all the way from India. They had just preached at an open-air church, which is against the law in India. You can 'teach' in a building, but you are not allowed to 'preach' in the open. The people have no building to meet in, so for now, they meet outside. Eagerly seeking the Word of God. Even among the persecution that they suffer there, they were seeking. It was late evening there (9 PM) and they were on their way to their last stop of the day for a dedication of a newly formed church. The people had been waiting 4 hours for them to arrive. Patiently and gladly waiting. Jimbo is always so amazed at the spiritual fervor people in other countries have for God once they get a taste of Him.
As I look around at the churches in our area, I see apathy and detachment. I see complacency and a lack of commitment. I see temples that are lying in ruins. Physical and spiritual.
In these perilous times we live in, it is hard to comprehend why our sanctuary's aren't full and even overflowing. It's hard to fathom that we, as a people of God, don't sense the urgency around us and desire to do something about it!
In view of the problems facing most of us these days, it appears that many have either lost their hope or perhaps haven't gotten to the place in their lives where they see or even recognize hope. I fear that our churches have failed to become the place where that hope is born.
Our church should be a safe haven. A place of shelter and security. A place to learn and grow. Our sanctuary's should loudly beckon to the weary and the faint.
When we feel like all else is failing, we should be able to run like the wind to the church. Fall at the feet of God and cry out for mercy and grace. For healing and direction. Seeking and yearning for a vision. A vision of Christ and what He can do in our lives. And we should know that we are welcome there.
When the world is closing in and we feel like we have nowhere to go, we need to know that the church is there for us. We need to know that the sweet fellowship of our brothers and sisters in Christ is there for us.
There to edify. To encourage. To walk beside us. To strengthen one another.
The church needs to be that one place where there is no condemnation.
Only love and forgiveness. The place where doubt meets truth. A place where hope abounds. Where we point others to Jesus. A place filled with the glory and splendor of God. A place where the Holy Spirit abounds and His presence dwells.
We need to know that He is just waiting for us to come. Waiting for us to lift our heads, throw out our arms, open our hearts and prepare to receive the awesome things He has for us. Things that will utterly astound us! Things that will remain in our hearts for all eternity.
The deep things.
The hidden things.
The treasures of the Lord.
It's time we start rebuilding that physical temple of our churches so that we can minister to the spiritual temples that enter in. Let's fill the temple with His glory! Let's fill it so full of His glory that it bursts at the seams and His glory fills the whole earth! Let's go eagerly and expectantly to the House of the Lord to give of ourselves in praise and worship. Let's give so that others can receive. Let's enter into His gates with thanksgiving in our hearts!
Let's have church!
"The LORD your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing."