Thursday, May 6, 2010

Church, Love It or Hate It -- Spiritual Exam # 4

Did you go to church last Sunday? Perhaps that word, “church” turns you off. Maybe this is a better question for those reading this on the internet: Do you have a faith community you regularly attend? Call it what you will, I still love church.

Most of what I know about the Lord and about real Christians I have learned in the local church.  It was in the church that I learned the importance of the Bible.  It was there that I learned to worship.  In the church I received encouragement and learned to build up others. I learned to share my faith and to be a witness for the Lord.  My first glimpse of world missions came through the Lottie Moon International missions emphasis at Christmas time.  In the church I witnessed lives being transformed, heard missionaries speak of Christ working in far off countries, and saw souls won to the Lord.  It was in the church that I learned to really pray, to give to the Lord’s work, and to preach God’s Word.

Church attendance nourishes and strengthens the spiritual life, but research has also shown other benefits. Josh Ulick, in a 2003 article in Newsweek magazine, reports that people who regularly attend church live longer. In studying the relationship between religion and health, researchers came upon a strong and persuasive finding: Those who did not attend church lived an average of 75 years; less than weekly attendance, lived 80 years; once a week 82 years; and those who attended church more than once a week lived an average of 83 years. Research indicates a person attending church weekly is less likely to become depressed, and more likely to exercise, quit smoking, and stop drinking (Josh Ulick, "Why Religion Helps," Newsweek, (11-10-03), p.47;).

In Psalm 26 David has asked the Lord to “Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; Try my mind and my heart.” And then he shows areas in which the Lord can exam his spiritual health. The one for today is: Do I regularly and wholeheartedly worship with God’s people?

David writes in Psalm 26:6-8  I will wash my hands in innocence; So I will go about Your altar, O LORD,  That I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving, And tell of all Your wondrous works.  LORD, I have loved the habitation of Your house, And the place where Your glory dwells.”

David loved to gather with others at the house of the Lord to worship. His worship included:

  1. Cleansing from sin – “I will wash my hands in innocence.”
  2. Gathering for worship with others – “I will go about Your altar.”
  3. Giving thanks to God – "I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving.”
  4. Testifying of what God had done – “tell of all Your wondrous works.”
  5. Expressing love for God’s presence – “loved the habitation of Your house.”
  6. Honoring God – “the place where Your glory dwells.”
Do you have a regular and wholehearted time of worship?


  1. I had a conversation just today with a lady that is calling everyone to leave what she calls "the church system." While I agree with her that there are some problems with church in America today, I still believe that the power of God manifests itself when we gather together and not scatter ourselves.

    I think the biggest frustration for many is that we have turned church into a boring commercial. It is the same thing each week. This is also frustrating for me at times. However, we cannot forsake the assembling of ourselves together. Instead of going our separate ways we should be looking for ways to allow each of us to express our hearts towards God when we gather.

    Good Message!

  2. Thanks Larry, your thoughts about church being a boring commercial have given me an idea for another post: How to Cure Your Frustration with Your Church

  3. Goodness, what a thorough post. Stats and research and organized narrative. It's like my anti-blog. Thanks for visiting me today! I may roll my eyes at the blogging lessons, but I am really enjoying the community I've tumbled into at 31 DBBB. Have a great weekend.

  4. Erica,
    Thanks for coming over to Daily Discipleship. And thanks for the help with the comment re-direct thing. I don't think Blogger has something like that. It may be another good reason to switch to wordpress. It seems I have found several reasons this week that I don't especially like blogger. I wish I had known all this before I started.

  5. Very well put Richard. We don't love the church because the church deserves it, we are to love the church because we love Jesus and He loves the church.

  6. Nolan,
    It really does show the amazing love of Jesus that He loves His church. And the good news is that same love is a fruit of the Spirit who lives in us.

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