April is here and hopefully so is Spring. God’s blessings on you from the great folks at the Red Roof Church in Bulverde, Texas. Lee Harder, the senior pastor at St. Paul, coming to you for another week with some thoughts to share. I’d like to invite you to join us for worship this Sunday if you’re close by. We celebrate Christ at 8:30 AM and 10:45 AM. In between, there is coffee, donuts and good fellowship. Hope you’ll stop by.
With the coming of April it means Easter will soon be upon us. We pastors look forward to Easter because it’s the only other day during the year where you can count on vast crowds coming to worship. It’s when the C’s and E’s show up at church. For those not familiar with the term C’s and E’s, I’m referring to the Christmas and Easter Christians who finally make it to a house of worship. When Christmas or Easter rolls around, they make an extra effort. Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad they come which is why I never condemn or brow beat these “occasionals” for showing only on these days. What is sad is there are a lot of them.
It’s surprising how many Christians feel no need to come to worship the Lord every week. According to the Barna Group, where once Christians came to church for worship every Sunday, they now show up only once every few months. I am afraid of this growing trend, especially as I look at our young.
I mention this because I have been made aware of several people in their early twenties who have taken their own lives. Some close to here. Another who is related to dear friends from my ministry days up north. I’m not insinuating that these young people didn’t have faith. What I am inferring is that too many of our young people don’t have the depth of relationship that could be enhanced and built up by frequent worship and fellowship with other believers. This occurs in a worship setting, which is why God put such importance on our need for worship. It’s not because God is waiting around for us to praise Him, but that He knew we needed it to strengthen our own faith to take on the challenges of this life.
Regular worship gives us the opportunity to build a closer, deeper more meaningful relationship with God. We hear His Word read from Scripture. If the preacher is doing his or her job, the sermon focuses on those Scriptures as they help us meet the challenges, trials and difficulties of today’s world, not to advocate a particular politically correct social agenda. Yet, that’s only the beginning of the blessings that come in worship.
We gather together with fellow believers and gain strength from them even as we share our strength of faith with them. Whether it’s in the hymns sung or the prayers prayed, we do it together. When we come to the Lord’s Table, we communion (partake of the body and blood of Christ in the bread and wine) as the whole community of believers. You can’t do any of that isolated by yourself.
God made us to be social animals. Meaning, we need each other. Nowhere is this more true than in the church. Oh, I know the excuses used by those who argue that church (Sunday worship) isn’t for them. “The church is filled with hypocrites and sinners.” “It’s boring.” Well, as to the boredom, I’ll admit it can be a little slow, but compared to watching a golf tournament or baseball game or some of the mindless pablum on TV, it’ll blow your socks off. As to being filled with hypocrites and sinners, it is. Fortunately there’s always room for another. I promise, you’ll fit right in.
Please, come and worship our Lord this Easter Sunday. But give the Sunday after a try. You might discover a gift from God to hold you up in hard times. Besides, the donut/coffee lines after worship are shorter on the other Sundays.
And those are my thoughts.
Pastor Lee R. Harder