Where have you been? We’ve missed you on Sunday mornings in the Crosspoint Living Room! Are you ok?
24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
This verse is not just about attending a Sunday service. It is much more than that. The idea here is that we’re family, we’re in this together, and so when we have an opportunity whether it be a community group, a meal, a gathering at a house, or a Sunday morning, we make it a habit to be there. Not out of legalistic ritual or a weekly checklist, but because we’re in covenant relationship with one another and we’ve been made family through being adopted as children of God. The early church lived life together, both in the temple and house to house. (Acts 2:42-47).
Here are some reasons why you might not have been for a while…
You have ongoing unrepentant sin in your life. Let’s face it. You might’ve fallen back into some old sin pattern and frankly, you don’t want to be convicted about it. So you’re going to stay away. Don’t believe the lie that sin is worth it, because in the long run it isn’t. It leads to destruction. So bring your sin and your pride, and I’ll bring mine, and let’s be changed by and reminded of the Gospel of God’s grace which has broken the power of sin.
The occasional missing due to other obligations has slipped into the habit of choosing not to attend. You didn’t wake up one day and think to yourself, ‘I’m not going back’, but over the course of weeks and months, a habit was formed. It is time to break it. Instead, let the habit be of gathering and being together when given a weekly opportunity.
You’ve been hurt by another Crosspointer. I get it. It happens, and it still hurts. I’ve been hurt by fellow siblings in the family of God too. Sadly, I’ve also hurt and sinned against others who I am called to love. Maybe they gossiped about you, or didn’t reach out when you were expecting them to, or they forgot something significant. Maybe something much worse and deeper. Unfortunately, because we are imperfect this side of Heaven, even the earthly saints will hurt one another. And when we do, we identify with our Savior Jesus, who calls us to forgive one another because He has first forgiven us.
You’ve messed up and you have shame now. You’ve got a mess on your hands, whether it be relational, financial, spiritual, or something else. And in your head, you have begun to believe the lie that you need to ‘clean up’ before coming back home or ‘well, they would laugh at me if they saw me.’ Read Luke 15. The Prodigal Son didn’t clean up the pig slop first. He just ran home, and the father rejoiced! There is no shame in the Gospel of grace, because we are not saved by our good works or how well we obey the rules. So bring your shame, your tired, your weary, and come and find rest.
You’ve begun to think the podcast is enough. It isn’t. Maybe for a season with sickness, work or being out of town, but not forever. It is a great supplement, but should not be a substitute. Because the podcast lacks face to face relationship, or singing, or serving, or praying together. It is just one part of a Sunday morning gathering. So yes, listen when you’re gone, we’re grateful when you do. But we sure would love to see your face.
You found another church. That happens, and that’s ok. We’re not the perfect church, nor do we pretend to be the end all of churches. Our style doesn’t suit everyone. Maybe you found one closer to your home, or one where you connect better relationally. That doesn’t change the fact that we love you and still consider you family in the larger Body of Christ.
You only attend when you are serving. This is an easy habit to fall into, especially with a church full of highly engaged volunteers. But if you only attend when you are serving, then you’re seeing your connection to the church more as a contract, than a covenant relationship. You’re also on your way to feeling burnt out because you have constant overflow, but no inflow. Inflow meaning where you are simply attending as a Christ follower, listening to the Word, singing to God, sharing with the family, and building friendships. When your earthly family gathers for meals and large gatherings, there is a time to step out of the kitchen to no longer serve, and rather share life. The same is true for your spiritual family. Yes, be in the kitchen serving one another, but don’t let that be your only connection.
Eh? It is tough to put your finger on the exact reason, but a distance has grown between you and your connection to the family of God. Maybe the warm fuzzies have worn off since attending those first few months, or maybe you felt like the ‘messages no longer spoke to you’, or maybe you think you don’t really need a connection to a local church anymore. Almost where the church is like a car mechanic and you only bring it in when something is broken, or in crisis, or in need of a quick fix or repair. All I can do is point you back to Hebrews 10:24-25 and Acts 2:42-47. Don’t let your feelings dictate the expression of your faith in the context of community.
Crosspointer, here is what I know for a fact. Not just speaking for myself, but on behalf of other Crosspointers…
People care for you.
You are truly missed.
You are thought of and prayed for often.
You are loved deeply.
You are needed. The Body of Christ is not the same without you.
You are missing out. There is just something about being together to sing, give, greet, serve, encourage, listen, and be reminded that you’re not in this life alone.
Maybe this blog post seems loaded because I’m the pastor, and I preach on Sundays. But believe me, it is not. I’m not the attendance police, nor the Holy Spirit, nor trying to induce a heavy burden of guilt or a spirit of begrudging obedience to Hebrews 10:24-25.
A weekly church service doesn’t save you, God won’t ask for your track record of attendance as a factor on if you enter Heaven, and God doesn’t love you more because you show up.
And yet don’t let those truths then lead you to believe the lies that you can follow Jesus in isolation or grow separated from the family. The ‘one another’s’ in Scripture can’t be practiced without being in community with others, including on the weekend.
At the end of the day, you are family, and we love and miss you. The Living Room just isn’t the same without you. We can’t wait to see you again, and please know the door is always open.