This morning I attended my church. Nothing new; nothing unusual; a routine easily taken for granted. However, I had missed my morning worship service for the last four Sundays (all of January) due to illness, so I treasured it a little more than I normally might. I tend to be sick most all mornings now (dysautonomia caused by Sjogren’s Syndrome) and being able to get to church is getting harder and harder. I arrived a couple minutes late, which is actually quite good for me, but had to hit the restroom (bladder problem due to Sjogren’s Syndrome) then drank a half of cup of coffee to try to gain the alertness to get through the service. While I was drinking my coffee, shaking off my dizziness and getting the courage to enter church I was hearing the sound of the congregation singing our usual opening song, the old doxology “Praise God from whom all blessings flow….” I tend to grow bored of that same old song (in my often wrong-thinking old flesh). But this morning, as the song rang out, I was struck by the sheer beauty of it. All those dear voices, those dear brothers and sisters in the Lord still believed it, still gathered to sing it. I still had access to a wonderful church family that still was faithful, still believed in Jesus as much as I do, still were willing to make the effort to gather together in obedience to Christ’s Word, to sit under and be willing to humbly apply God’s Word, who were still genuinely following Christ in humility by grace through faith as I am. I thought – what if – what if the church did not remain faithful? What if I was the only one who still believed? I walk alone in my marriage and family for the most part in my passion for Christ. What if I had no church family? As I entered the church and chose a pew near the back, I settled into my seat and continued to join in the worship via singing songs filled with truth and encouragement. A quiet, simple guitar solo soothed my soul. I submitted and cooperated and participated while our faithful pastor led us through repentance and a statement of our faith. I watched a good number of sweet children of various ages scamper off to be taught the Bible at their own age level by faithful teachers. What a gift to see so many faithful church leaders and volunteers making church happen for me and for all our body. Then I had the privilege of receiving a live sermon from 1 Samuel. This section of the Old Testament is not a personal favorite part of scripture, but of course all of God’s Word is good and important and needs to be studied. The pastor was able to provide significant, relevant application to my personal life from the lessons from the history of Israel that are impacting my heart and walk with Christ. I had the privilege of taking communion with my true family—my church, remembering Christ’s sacrifice for me and my commitment to Him by grace. After church, I had the privilege of greeting some visitors, socializing and fellowshipping with dear friends after church and at our monthly potluck lunch. I experienced true connection with true believers. Is my church perfect? Of course not. Might this church have issues or fail me as other churches have done? It might. But as of now it is a right Bible church under humble good leadership filled with genuinely sincere Christ followers, with Christ as its head. My heart grieves for so many believers around me who don’t seem to see the relevance and importance of being a part of a Biblical local church family. It is hard to work it into our lives in our present culture, but it is so worth the commitment. I hope and pray for everyone I know to discover the beauty and the gift of being part of a church home. Be in touch with me if you’d like to visit my church with me, or if you need any help in discerning how to select a Bible church. This book is really helpful in this regard. “What Is a Healthy Church” by Mark Dever (9 Marks). Thank you God for the gift of my church and help me to be grateful and have fresh eyes to see its beauty and relevance in my life every single Sunday, every single day. Please be glorified through my church by Your grace and protect it and preserve it. Thank you for the faithful servants and volunteers You have provided to keep it strong and available to me in my illness.
Here is a link to a review of the “What Is a Healthy Church” book. https://www.challies.com/book-reviews/what-is-a-healthy-church-by-mark-dever/