REPOSTToday’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Ryun Chang (AMI Teaching Pastor), was first posted on July 21, 2015.
Devotional Thought for this Morning
“No Church? No Problem”
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
This year’s Christmas falls on a Sunday; therefore, some churches are planning to cancel their Sunday service because, among other reasons, only a few people may show up for the service since many congregants will be travelling. In response, George Barna, the renowned Christian pollster, may say, “No worries.”
“No Church? No Problem,” said the heading of an article appearing in a 2006 Christianity Today, which dealt with Barna’s book Revolution. According to Barna, there were “some 20 million people . . . who live ‘a first-century lifestyle based on faith, goodness, love, generosity, kindness, and simplicity’ and who ‘zealously pursue an intimate relationship with God.’” But these folks no longer attend church—which was just fine with Barna because, to him, the “meeting-in-a-building” model is a social construct (i.e., man-made) that can be deconstructed for a more relevant model.
Barna is right if you believe that the Church is a Church only if you congregate inside of a building with a pulpit in the front, surround by stained glass windows. But Barna is wrong if he believes that a lone individual seeking God constitutes the Church that God had in mind. While individuals ought to constantly seek God, our communion with Him isn’t complete until “two or three [believers] are gathered in [His] name” (Matt. 18:20) to praise, pray, partake of His word and share the sacraments. In that collective moment, the sense that God is “among us” is truly enhanced. We worship God when we gather as a body of Christ, however small or large. The church is not like retail business in which it may make sense to close the store early or not open at all for a day or two, that is, if not doing so will result in a financial loss because of few customers.
So don’t just go to church out of habit. Worship God with others (whether a few or many), and then encourage one another to strive for God’s honor in this increasingly secular and rudderless society.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I exalt You today because it was by the blood shed on the Cross that the Church was constituted through the Spirit. Forgive me for my spiritual negligence in missing the corporate meetings of my church over frivolous reasons. Help me to be the Church as well to seek you daily and to encourage others. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: John 14
Lunch Break Study
Read Acts 2:46-7: And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
Acts 12:12-3: When Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.” 12 When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying.
Question to Consider
1. In what sense did these gatherings constitute a Church?
2. Note where these believers met: What does that say about what constitutes the Church?
3. How can we incorporate Barna’s comments in our walk with God without giving up on the Church? How is your commitment to your local church?
1. A collective group of believers was gathered to praise God, pray together and break bread (i.e., sharing sacraments and a meal afterwards).
2. They met at homes as well as at the temple. Either way, it was a place where a group of believers gathered to worship and pray together—that’s the Church.
3. While we meet as a corporate body at a designated time and place, individually we should seek God and do good deeds on our own—it doesn’t have to be aneither/or.
Have you ever seen yourself as a Church—a place where the Spirit dwells? That makes you a temple of the Holy Spirit. So when you go to your secular workplace, in a sense, you are bringing the Church there. In that light, how did your coworkers, fellow students, or family members benefit by your presence today? Can you think of one thing that you did or said that made someone think about God and His goodness? Pray for a more meaningful day tomorrow.