If you’ve never been to church or you don’t normally go to church but you’ve been thinking you’d like to – this week is the time to step out and go. Easter is my absolute favourite period in our church – I have some great memories of Palm Sunday parades with our kids church, Good Friday communion is so special and by the time we get to the awesome celebrations of Jesus’ resurrection on Easter Sunday the church is full of excitement – it’s what it’s all about.
Jesus died for me
Yes He died for me
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what stops people from going to church. One friend recently told me she was put off going to her local church because she heard they’ll be asking for 10% of her earnings. What an indictment of the church that the amazing message that Jesus died and rose again for us is totally missed?! Don’t get me wrong tithing is an important teaching but my point is that it shouldn’t overshadow or prevent people from connecting with the gospel.
I recently saw a post on social media criticising people who came into church late and those who went out to the toilet during the sermon – is that really sending the right message and welcoming people into the church? What if that single mum was a little late because the babysitter didn’t turn up on time, or that man was late because he witnessed a horrific accident on the way to church, or what if that lady who nipped out to the loo has a medical problem that means she can’t wait and what if that teenager who just walked in off the street 15 minutes into the service was contemplating suicide while you were picking your seat and settling yourself in to be “blessed”!
In my Father’s house, there’s a place for me
Quite frankly – it’s none of our business what is going on with other people. Every single person is as important as the next and we should be focused on our own relationship with God and how we can reach out as disciples and share the Love of God with everyone and anyone not judging people on their timekeeping and toilet habits.
What about that family struggling to keep their toddler or autistic child settled during the sermon – wouldn’t it be so much easier if they stayed home on a Sunday?! It might be easier for them and quieter for you but why should they? Instead of tutting and giving them dirty looks why not help them by offering some help or a way to distract their kids.
Churches (and let’s face it, Christianity generally) are perceived as stuffy clubs full of rules and restrictions – and I genuinely think people are put off by that perception even if they do believe in God and his ability to work miracles.
So let me set the record straight… having a personal relationship with our constant friend is just that – PERSONAL. It’s about realising that HE loves YOU, that HE wants what is best for YOU and HE is there for YOU no matter what you’re facing.
I heard today’s Worship Wednesday track just last week and it kept coming into my head as I was thinking about this post. It sums up so well what coming to church is really about. It’s not about allowing people to judge you or criticise you – it’s about coming into your Father’s house and resting in the knowledge that you are welcome, there is a place for you, you’re chosen, and as a child of God you are who HE says you are! You are NOT the person anyone else tells you you are or makes you feel you are!
YES I AM!
So tonight listen to this tune and rejoice in the beautiful words and message…
I am chosen
I am who You say I am
You are for me
Not against me
I am who You say I am
And if you haven’t already made plans to go to church this weekend and celebrate the awesome power and resurrection of Jesus Christ then please, do me a favour and go join the party!
Easter is the most exciting celebration and it shouldn’t be missed – it’s a perfect time to forget all the perceptions and all the rules you’re scared of breaking. What have you got to lose?! Trust me when I say there is so much to be gained!
If you have been invited to join friends or family at some Easter services or you have a church nearby you please do think seriously about joining them.
To my friends, family and blog followers in Belfast I extend a welcome to our Easter celebrations at House of Worship on both Sunday morning and evening – you’ll be greeted by a great bunch of people who will show you what God’s love is really about but most importantly our constant friend will be there and he has a place saved just for you.