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Church is Not a Country Club for Perfect People

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What has been your experience with church? Maybe you are a faithful attendee somewhere, but maybe you aren’t. Most people are familiar with Christian churches on some level. Some people have attended a church or two at various times. Some people have seen churches and church people on the news. Some people merely have family or friends that they know who “go to church”.

So what’s your experience?

The are many different kinds of churches out there, and like all things there are good and bad churches in the mix. Some churches are doing magnificent things to help the people and communities around them and around the world. Some churches have great motivational speakers with enormous campuses and loads of money. Some churches are known because of the hatred they spew on anyone who thinks or acts differently than them.

I want to stop right now and say that if your experience with church has been negative in any way, I’m sorry. I’m sorry if you were shunned or ridiculed. I’m sorry if people hated you. I’m sorry if you weren’t treated with love, grace, and respect. Those “churches” and church people aren’t followers of Jesus. They are merely role-players involved in a country club that calls itself church. That’s not what church is supposed to be.

Church is for everyone. Church is for you.

Jesus said the church was meant to be a hospital for people dealing with the hurts and hang-ups that life throws their way. It is meant to be a place of healing and love. It is to be a place where grace is not merely spoken of and accepted, but it is given freely. Church is a place where those who are alone can find a family.

The church is meant to be a place of joy and fellowship. It is a place where the bible is studied and taught. It is a family that laughs and cries together. It is a home away from home.

Churches that follow Jesus know this. They will welcome you – no matter who you are. They will accept you where you are, as you are, but they will love you enough to encourage you to walk with them as they strive to become more like Jesus.

Jesus died for the church. He rose from the dead for the church, and he opened wide the gate to anyone who wants to be a part of His church. He didn’t set men up to dictate what the church should believe. He sent His word through the bible to tell us His plan for us. People who truly follow Jesus study that word, and not the whim of some sinner.

I hope you have a wonderful church to which you belong. If not, you are welcome to worship with us at the Aztec church of Christ. We are a bunch of people who aren’t blood related but treat each other like family. We don’t dress up and don’t expect you to either. We serve Jesus, and we study His word in the bible to know how to be more like Him.

Come visit sometime. You can find out more about us on our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/AztecChurch or on our website at http://www.aztecchurch.org. You can even call our office and speak to me at (505) 334-6626. We would love to get to know you and welcome you as a family member. God bless you.

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Peaceful Easy Feeling

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The days ahead are uncertain. Our world is changing. Our climate is changing. Our country is changing. Or children are changing. There is much to be unsure about.

Does it make you nervous? Are you worried about your ability to provide for yourself or your family? Are you the least bit nervous about what your children will have to deal with as they grow into the new world being created by the leaders of today?

I deal with thoughts of this continually. I have been charged by God to provide for my family, but as each year goes by it becomes harder and more uncertain. Frustrations rise and worry clouds judgment as we focus on what might happen in the future.

When I get caught up in that place, however, I have to remember a couple of things:
First, the future hasn’t happened yet. I can only control a certain amount of what may or may not happen in the future, but the vast majority of the future is beyond my control. This may seem disconcerting to some, but it can be a relief when you understand your role in this. You are not meant to change the future. You are meant to change today. All you need be concerned with is how you live today. Allow the concerns about tomorrow to cease and you’ll be free to live today to its fullest.

Second, in times of uncertainty, there is a God who does not change. Jehovah is not wishy-washy. His promises are not “pie crust promises”. His promises endure through the ages. He promises to take care of us today (Matthew 6:33). He promises that he has a great plan for our future (Jeremiah 29:11). And He promises that when things don’t work out the way we had hoped or expected He is still working all things out for our good (Romans 8:28).

He is the God who brings comfort to the troubled. He wants to bring you peace in uncertainty.

When you focus on Him and live for today you find that you don’t have much time for worrying about tomorrow. Sure, I will still prepare my children for whatever life they will have to endure, but in the meantime I will enjoy them and love them. I will trust that those promises I rely on are also relevant for them.

May you find peace this year. May you be able to overcome the uncertainty in your life by trusting in the One who does not change. He is a rock, a foundation that cannot be shaken. Your trust is secure there.

If you’d like to know more about having a closer relationship with Jesus I’d love to visit with you. I am now the minister at the Aztec church of Christ in Aztec, NM. You can reach me in the office at 334-6626 or via email at jddobbs@verizon.net. You can also comment on this or any other of my articles at http://www.mrdobbs.org.

God bless you as you find your peace in Him.


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