Friday, March 1, 2013

Building Your Own Church

A Jew, a Catholic, and two Baptists were shipwrecked on a deserted island. The Jew built a synagogue. The Catholic built a Catholic church. The two Baptists built First Baptist Church and Second Baptist Church!

Some people just can't get along with others.  They are offended by the smallest things.  They can’t tolerate anyone who doesn’t think exactly like them, so they pull away and live in their own little world.  Perhaps someone at church hurt them, so now they stay home, watch a TV preacher, and worship at home in the church they build for themselves.  They don’t realize that Satan has them right where he wants them.

The problem with the “worship by yourself” church is God calls us to be a member of the body of Christ, which means we must gather together to make this happen.  Hebrews 10:26 says to “not forsake the assembling of yourselves together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another all the more, as you see the day drawing near.”  When you withdraw yourself, God cannot use you to help others.  How can you involve yourself again with others?

1.Find the church that is preaching and living God’s Word.
Perhaps you are turned off by those churches that are just religious systems. Yes, there are a lot of really bad churches out there that I would never recommend to anyone, but there are also some really good churches that are doing a lot of good things.  Don’t let the bad churches keep you from the good one where God wants you to get involved.  It doesn’t have to be a large church, where you can get lost in the crowed.  It can be a small gathering.  Remember that no church is going to perfect, so don’t expect perfection.

2.Forgive those who have hurt you.  
If you have never been hurt by someone at church, then you have never been to church before!  Don’t throw out the baby with the bath water.  Don’t let an offense keep you from fulfilling your destiny.  Forgive the person who hurt you and let it go.  Forgiving others is one of the greatest things you can do as a Christian.  When you forgive others, God will reward you for doing it.

3.Agree to disagree.
We need to agree on the doctrinal foundations of the faith, but give liberty to disagree on the non-essential issues.  Romans 14:5 says, “One man regards one day above another, another regards every day alike.  Let each man be convinced in his own mind.”  Paul is giving permission to disagree in opinions and both people can still be right—if they will keep their hearts right. We can be brothers without being twin brothers. Col. 3:14 says, "Put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity."

We can’t let our differences and offenses keep us from doing our part in the body of Christ.  If we do, everyone will end up building their own church.

Coming in April 2013: Slaying Your Giants by Kent Crockett (Hendrickson Publishers)