By Ben Giselbach
Serious talk. Guys, I’m a little bit scared. When my elders announced we would be resuming class at the church building on Wednesdays, of course I was excited. BUT—and here’s what I debated sharing publicly because I’m embarrassed—there was a part of me that was disappointed about “having” to be at the building Wednesday again. Disappointed.
Why? Because it’s been over 3 months since the church met together for Bible study. I’ve grown accustomed to coming home from work, eating dinner with the family, and then relaxing in the living room watching some sort of canned Bible study on my TV (with my family). I’ve officially gotten out of the habit of the family getting ready for Bible class and driving to the church building on Wednesdays. So there was a part of my heart that was actually disappointed—bummed—over the “burden” of going back to Bible study. And that scares me.
Of course I’m taking my family back. That’s not a question. I’m excited! (And I’m the preacher, so I kind of need to be there!) There’s no danger of me or my wife “falling away.” I’ve just gotten out of the habit. And psychologically, my mind has grown accustomed to it. I don’t like this about my heart. And in my prayers, I ask God to rid my heart of sinful desires like this (like the desire to stay home when I can assemble, which is a heart problem).
Here’s another scary thought to me: What if I was 18? That time was an impressionable time for me. I look back, and I sometimes think I could have gone one way or another with my faith. I would have been vulnerable to this if this happened to me then. I NEEDED the assembly—every assembly.
What if I was 5? Or 10? Or 13? Kids that are that age are going to remember this. And we have deprived them of assembling with the saints in some major, important ways.
What if I was a new Christian? What if I was a weak Christian?
If I felt disappointment in my heart, think what others may be feeling at the thought of “going back to church.”
I still think the churches, collectively, did the right thing in postponing their assemblies for a number of weeks. But elders did this to better assess the situation. At first, because of the unknowns, the virus was a major concern. And it still is a concern. But over 3 months later, at what cost?
This virus isn’t going away any time soon. At some point, we need to think, “What is the end game?” Am I willing to be absent from the assembly of my church family for another month? Three more months? Six? 2021?
(Why even go to church anymore? Let’s sell the building and do everything online! Is that what some of us are good with??)
At some point, we have to ask: what’s a greater threat to the church: a virus? Or the effects “scattering” is having on the church after months of isolation?
I don’t want to oversimplify things. But if your conscience isn’t as burdened over this anymore, then—I say this kindly but bluntly as your brother in Christ—you have a heart problem. The virus is no longer the biggest danger in your life.
God designed His church to be an ASSEMBLING church. Online “worship,” while I’ve been thankful for it, will never be a substitute. His people need to be willing to take a little bit of RISK to follow His plan and ideal. We need to have a little bit of FAITH—not that God will miraculously protect us from getting the virus—but that assembling with His people is more pleasing to Him than cutting ourselves off from the church.
Let’s take safety measures. But I need “church.” I need to be in relatively close proximity to my brethren. I need the friendships. I need the encouragement. I need the congregational singing. I need the classes. I need the accountability. I need to hear YOU—in person—push me to keep going, “and all the more as we see the Day drawing near.” Let’s not give Satan one more inch.
Justice, Mercy and Grace
By Steve Melton, July 11, 2020
Justice, mercy and grace are attributes of our God.
They come in various degree.
Now, let us consider,
The relationship between the three.
Justice upholds the law,
Without it chaos would ensue.
There must be punishment,
For justice to be true.
Pure justice and mercy can rarely,
Happen at the same time.
Mercy can triumph over justice,
If the price is paid, mercy can shine.
We all have broken God’s law
His justice is holy and fair.
Jesus brought mercy to that justice.
Now, it is God’s grace that we share.
Mercy must come before grace.
Grace is a gift to one not deserving.
Jesus became our mercy and grace,
By obeying His Father, whom He was serving.
This is why we love Them,
And want to obey our Father’s will.
He calms the storms of our life,
Tells us, “Peace be still”.
We are all under God’s justice.
Will we receive mercy and grace?
It will only happen if we obey.
For Jesus took our place.
THINK Before You Speak
T - is it True?
H - is it Helpful?
I - is it Inspiring?
N - is it Needed?
K - is it Kind?
Test Your Bible Knowledge -- “Who Am I?”
1. I said: “Is there any taste in the white of an egg?” __________
2. I said: “My punishment is greater than I can bear!” __________
3. I said: “Who is the LORD, that I should obey His voice?” __________
4. I said: “Take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.” __________
5. I said: “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” __________
6. I said: “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?” __________
7/26/20 AM - Why Do We Love the Lost?
PM - Living with Gomer
8/2/20 AM - The Idol of Safety
PM - “As We Sing Here On Earth” (A Sermon in Song)
8/9/20 AM - Comfort from the Second Coming of the Lord (Part One)
PM - Comfort from the Second Coming of the Lord (Conclusion)
8/16/20 AM - An Unhealthy Fear of God
PM - Job’s Exposé of Satan
8/23/20 AM - God’s Will Be Done (Part One)
PM - God’s Will Be Done (Conclusion)
8/30/20 AM - “In His Time”
PM - Stumbling in Only One Point of Law (Requested)