Saturday  July 20

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What about Your Experience with Church?

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If you attend a church and you feel you're not experiencing God there, you either need to change your church or change churches. Remember, it was never intended for the church to be just a building. The church was to be a gathering of people who placed their faith and trust in God and Christ. It was to be their primary focus to take that message with which they had been entrusted to those who hadn't heard or understood it. If you are part of a church that isn't growing and that is not involved in constant efforts to reach out to the community around you, there is a problem in your church, and it's not necessarily the fault of the pastor alone. The blame belongs with each and every member of a congregation that tolerates that kind of apathy.

The church should be the training ground for Christ's people. The church exists to prepare God's people for works of service and thereby "become mature attaining to the whole measure of Christ" (Ephesians 4:12, 13). There's another interesting aspect about the church and that is that Christians are not to exist as lone rangers, but as a family supporting and caring for one another. The church is to unite as a community all races and peoples (Colossians 3:11). Christ calls His church to carry the message of eternal life to the lost, the oppressed, and the outcast. The church also exists to hold all its members accountable to one another to obey Christ's commandments.

To those suffering from nature's terror, hurricanes, earthquakes, mental illness, disease, hunger, oppression, and oh so much more, the church is to bring Christ's love and message of hope. Nothing demonstrates the reality of the love of God more than when Christians help those whom society considers expendable. The church does not exist to serve itself but to serve others.

If you feel the church is working too hard to accommodate a changing world, you may be right. A lot of changes that have been made in the church are good, but many have been made only with the intention of drawing people in to increase the numbers. In so doing the church has far too often compromised the Word of God and misled people into a false sense of security. It is the church's responsibility to make it clear to people that there are two possible locations where they will spend eternity. One is Heaven and the other is Hell, and to make it clear who goes where and why.

If you don't attend church, perhaps because of a bad past experience, but yet have a desire to learn more about God and the Bible, you are the main reason Village Church is being established. Everyone is welcome and welcome on the basis of equality. In God's eyes you have no color, no gender, no economic status, no nationality, and no anything else. If some people think they're holier than others, they may be in for a big surprise when they stand before God, because the only question he'll ask to determine if you get into heaven will be, "Did you believe in the death of my Son for your sins." Nothing else will matter.

God extends to everyone the promise of an eternity in Heaven if they are willing to accept it as a free gift. There are no hoops to jump through and there is no to do list, and you can own that free gift the moment you believe that Christ died in payment for your sins.

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