IT’S THE BIBLE QUESTION OF THE WEEK.
It comes from Igal German, who wins a free copy of one of my books for the effort. Igal, email me.
Here’s how Igal put it:
Why do people struggle to attend their church regularly?
Oddly enough, Netflix comes quickly to mind.
I subscribe to their watch-it-now service for about eight bucks a month. In recent months I’ve been thinking I should probably Tweet something like this:
- Netflix is the world’s best collection of movies you’d never want to see.
Could it be that as far as many God-loving souls are concerned:
- Preachers are the world’s best repository of words you’d never want to hear.
Sometimes the words are mean. “I’m so sorry but your dead son didn’t profess faith in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. He’s burning in hell now. Try not to think about it.”
To make a judgment call like that, no preacher knows your son that well. Or God that well. What many preachers do know is what they think they know.
Sometimes the words are bossy. “If the church manual says we don’t drink alcoholic beverage, then we don’t drink alcoholic beverage.”
Pharisees made up their own laws, too. Jesus called those guys anything but good.
Sometimes the words are boring. “Probably one of the most grievous offenses perpetuated by the sons of men – is a boring sermon in the Name of Jesus Christ….Why is that? Well, our living Creator is a fount of inexhaustible knowledge.”
Those words, sad to say, come from a sermon about boring sermons.
Knock me out with a hammer.
I have attended church regularly since childhood.
Through mean-spirited sermons, theologically ignorant sermons, and sermons so boring that I started bringing a book to church to read while the preacher sedated everyone else including his wife – probably especially his wife.
I have been ruined by good preaching.
Most of the churches I have attended throughout my life have been led by mediocre to boring preachers who were, more often than not, wonderful pastors. I tolerated their preaching because I thought preachers, by nature, were boring public speakers. I never gave much thought to why. If I had, I probably would have concluded they were boring because they talk too much. They run out of interesting things to say.
When I moved to a different town I began attending a church like none I had ever attended before. We had two preaching pastors, both of whom were engaging – week after week after week. I couldn’t believe it. Interesting preachers.
In time, they moved on. Our district leader replaced them with a man who would have made a wonderful Walmart greeter. Personable. Wide smile. Nicely groomed.
His sermons were more difficult to describe.
Let’s say you have claustrophobia, a hangover, and you’ve got to pee. But you’re stuck in an elevator with a class of preschoolers headed home from a field trip to a squirt gun factory.
All you know is you gotta get outta there.
These are some of the reasons people struggle to attend their church regularly.
Plus, it’s nice to sleep in on your day off.
Or to get up early and golf.
Or to pack the pickup for tailgating.
Anything but a sermon.
For the lucky ones like me, however, Sunday worship is a highlight of our week.
“Some people have gotten out of the habit of meeting for worship, but we must not do that. We should keep on encouraging each other,” (Hebrews 10:25).
We need each other.
That’s why I go to church regularly. My friends are there. So is God’s Spirit. It’s a place I really want to be. It’s not just a place I think I should be.
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