By Pastor Doug Cox
Some of you won’t understand what I’m talking about because you had a drug problem in the past. You were raised in a Christian family and were drug to church, so you don’t understand what I mean when I ask everyone else if they remember how nervous and afraid they were the first time they went to church. I was drug to church my whole life, but it was to the wrong one. I became a no show as soon as I was able to work on Sundays.
I didn’t like all the rules and regulations that my church had, so I walked away and became very worldly. I liked to party, get drunk and stoned, even though I knew it was wrong. It was messing with me and my relationship with Jana, but I kept it up anyway. That is until we started having kids. After they arrived my conscience started bothering me. I had been taught to be a good example all my life. I rarely was, but now that message was hitting home. I didn’t want my kids following the example I was setting, but still I did little to change.
Then one day while driving up to the mountains to cut wood, fish and drink a little beer a voice spoke to me and said, “don’t let it happen to you.” It was as real to me as if someone spoke audibly to me. After getting home from the mountains I was stacking the firewood and Jana came out and told me how one of my cousins had died in a head on car collision the night before. He had been partying.
At his funeral I heard the voice again, “Don’t let it happen to you.” I knew what it meant. If I didn’t change, I could be the one lying in the coffin. So, from that point I turned my life back to what I had been taught, and the church I was raised in, only to find out a little later it was wrong. Without going into all the details, I found that I had been serving a false Christ. I discovered that everything I needed for salvation was found in the Bible. I found out that instead of having to work my way into heaven I could be born again like Jesus said. (See John 3:6-7 and Ephesians 2:8) (Hear my testimony here).
I said all that to say this, it was scary for me to start going to a different church at that time. If one church could deceive me, how could I trust the others? Well with a little prodding and encouragement from other family members who found the Lord we started going to Christian church. We started learning more and more and fell in love with the experience of being together with other believers at church and worshipping the Lord. Many of you may have a similar story, of how you left the world for the Lord and started going to Christian church. The question is are you still growing.
Some believers quit going after a while for one reason or another. It becomes common and uninteresting. My advice to them is to realize they are choosing the less valuable experience. I know some will say its all about “them and their ‘personal’ relationship with the Lord.” Meanwhile the gifts they have are not being used to help others in the body of Christ. Others can’t share their gifts with them either, because they are not around. It’s a sad state of affairs when God’s children fall into that selfish trap. I pray for missing believers to get back into church and fellowship. It will put a smile on Jesus’ face and other believers as well.
Now to those who have been going for a while but are not really growing like they once did. You are used to the setting, the songs, the preaching and the people. The problem may be that you don’t realize there is more. In Rebekah’s message last Sunday, she talked about how there was an old church that was lit by lamps the people would bring. There was a spot for a lamp by every seat. Well, if a person was missing, the church would be a little dimmer that day. Also, if the person came without bringing their lamp, it would still be dim.
The message for you today (and I realize this is probably longer than you wanted) is to make the decision to be a light to those around you. Be an example of diligence and faith. Do more than invite people to church ask them if you could bring them. Pray to the Lord and ask Him to help you grow. Let’s overcome complacency and go deeper in our faith.