Wednesday, February 18, 2015
A week ago today, my wife and I attended an event for senior citizens that probably attracted 500 or more people. We arrived a few minutes before the program began but even so, not much parking space was available. When we noticed saw some cars parking in an adjacent lot, we looked for our spot there too. Once parked, I noticed several signs which read that it was private church property and that any vehicle parked there not belonging to it’s members or those attending the church service would be towed. I quickly glanced at the entrance of the building and sure enough, the name of the church was right above it. Even though I thought that they probably wouldn’t mind if cars parked there on non-church days, I decided to look for parking elsewhere. I’m glad we did because bout an hour into our seniors event, I noticed some commotion and soon after saw many people get up and leave. Someone had come inside to announce that cars were being towed from the adjacent lot. Of course, I was relieved that we had moved away, but as I thought about the situation I said to myself, “that church has just sent many people here a message, but it certainly isn’t the right one.”
Throughout the many years in the ministry, I have heard countless testimonies of people who have left their church because of a bad experience they had with the pastor, or with a member, or with the church in general; maybe you have too. Sadly, many of these quit attending church altogether. In the case of the church in our story, I didn’t notice but I hope “community church” was not part of it’s the name because it was definitely not friendly to the community. The Bible says in Proverbs 18:24 KJV: “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly” and in outlining the qualifications of a bishop, (pastor) Paul told Timothy that, among other things, “he must have a good report of them which are without”, in other words, a good reputation with outsiders. (1 Tim. 3:7) These guidelines apply to churches as well.
Individual believers, as well as churches, have a responsibility to be like Christ, and it is not a matter of being perfect but making a sincere effort to treat others as He would treat them. We have to remember that the only exposure some people will have to the gospel is the one they see portrayed in the lives of God’s people. If we behave more like the devil’s children than God’s, we will be driving people away from Christ, not to Him. It can begin with something as simple as being friendly. Many churches and it’s members have been the reason some people don’t want anything to do with any church, pastor, or Christian, and will have a lot of explaining to do on the day we all stand before Christ. Lets not be them.
Memory verse for the week: (Proverbs 3:13) “Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding.”