Tag Archives: shopping

Is Church Worth It?


Is church worth the time and effort?

No.

If you only attend once a week just to make sure you’ve done your Christianly duty, then it has no true benefit to you.  If you hear the sermon but never put what you heard into practice, then what’s the point of showing up? If, during communion, your mind is everywhere except on the sacrifice and grace of Christ and the family with which you are communing, then why participate?

So many people wonder why they don’t get anything out of their church experience.  They complain that the messages are boring.  They complain that the church members never visit when they’re in need, yet they aren’t around enough for people to get to know them and their needs.  They complain that there aren’t enough programs for their kids.  They jump from church to church never planting roots, and they wonder why church doesn’t bring any true benefit to their life.

Does this sound familiar?

Is the church worth the time and effort?

If you come to the assemblies to give (not just to get), then you find that you are blessed beyond measure, and your life will be changed.

If you spend more time than simply during the worship assembly once a week with your brothers and sisters in the church, then you will build relationships that allow for many great benefits in life – not the least of which is real family. So many people are questioning the necessity of Sunday and Wednesday evening gatherings.  I, too, have wondered about their relevance.  However, when people overlook those assemblies, they miss out on a much more intimate time of fellowship and discussion that brings relationship growth in the body of Christ.  Those who attend the peripheral gatherings (Sunday morning class, Sunday evening assembly, Wednesday evening classes and others) find much more fulfillment in their church membership. This is due to the relationships that are fostered in these gatherings and the discussion that happens which brings spiritual growth.

If you come to experience the presence of God through worship and a message from the Holy Spirit through the Word of God, you will find God, and He will bring healing to you.

If you come to commune with your savior and your family in Christ, you will find renewed salvation and unity with your brothers and sisters in Christ.

If you come to offer love to those you encounter, you will leave feeling loved by others and by your Father in Heaven.

If you come to fellowship, you will find relationships that help drive out loneliness and can even help heal depression. You will find connection to something bigger than yourself.

If you come to volunteer, you will find that there are ample opportunities to serve, and those programs you wished were there could be manned by your involvement.

If you come looking for ways to connect – not ways to simply exist – you will find that church is well worth the time and effort.

Are you finding fulfillment and spiritual growth through your involvement in a church gathering? If not, I would like to suggest you try two things in this order:

  1. Get involved.  The more involved you get, the more you will find yourself in the middle of the relationships in the church.  This will bring community and connection that will help foster purpose and fulfillment in your calling to be a disciple of Jesus. This will allow you to experience the love of the body of Christ.
  2. If you’ve gotten involved, or tried to get involved, but the church is obviously lacking in its ability to love, then talk to the leadership of the church about your experience.  Don’t be shy.  They need to know.  If they listen and change things, GREAT! If not, it may be time to find another gathering where you can attempt number 1 again.

Church shopping shouldn’t be a trend, yet it seems to be. Instead of jumping from place to place looking for the coolest worship or the hippest preachers or the most energetic children’s ministries, get involved where you are, and see if you can help the church where you’ve been planted grow into the church it should be.

One last thought: A church that isn’t loving is not a church that is of Jesus.  If the church doesn’t follow the greatest commands (love God and your neighbor), then finding a church that does love seems to be the only viable option.

I know a great church in Aztec, NM that loves one another and seeks to invite others into that love.  If that’s what you’re looking for, then come be a part of our family at Aztec church of Christ.  God bless you all.


Christmas Fatigue

I’m tired.  Aren’t you? 

Week after week there is so much to do between work and schooling activities and extra-curricular children’s functions and shopping for needed goods and visiting people. Even the fun times when we plan something extra for the family is usually involving some activity outside the home. 

Then Christmas comes along, and the schedule goes from fast to super-sonic. Now there are Christmas parties and recitals and Christmas gift shopping and trips to the post office and lines…oh, the lines! 

I feel like I’m aging more quickly every day. 

When I consider my exhaustion, there are two things I consider, and I recommend you do too:

1. What is the primary motivation behind my busy-ness?

Am I consumed with self? Am I trying to meet the status quo? Am I trying to live up to others’ expectations? Am I busy serving or receiving? Where is God in this busy life? Is He a motivator or simply a spectator?

If I am busy for reasons that don’t really have anything to do with my relationship with a God, then that reflects on my priorities. If I am busy to the extent that I am distracted from my relationship with a God, then that is a tragedy. If I am busy because there is much to do for the Lord and for others in His name, then that is good, but only in moderation. 

There is also a biblical precedent for rest. 

When we get tired, it is biblical for us to take time off for rest. This is the reason most people get at least one day per week off. It isn’t just physically important, but spiritually as well. 

If I pour out a pitcher, there will come a time when it is empty, and I can no longer pour anything out. Without times of rest and refreshing, we get burned out, exhausted, and become useless. We need to be refilled.

This is one of the many reasons meeting with your church family on Sundays and Wednesdays is important. 

2.  I’m looking more and more forward to the rest that is eternal, spoken of in the scriptures. 

In Hebrews, we are encouraged to seek after that rest – living our lives in such a way as to achieve that rest – as long as it is still available for us to achieve. The rest referred to is heaven.  The presence of God is the most peaceful place to reside. This is the promised culmination of a live lived in devotion to God. 

I don’t achieve this rest if I have taken all the rest I need here on earth. Why would I need rest in the presence of God if I have never done anything for Him here that would exhaust me? Why should I get to rest in Him if I’ve never needed Him before? 

I pray that this holiday season you may find time to rest, and during that time you may find refreshing that is from the Lord whether through His Word, through prayer, or through the encouragement of your forever family. 


If You Love Jesus You’ll Buy This

20131214-095201.jpg

The other day I was listening to a local Christian radio station and I heard a commercial for a “gift this Christmas”. I’m not going to tell you what it was, but the people gave all these reasons why someone should buy this item and give it to someone. Then, at the end of the commercial they said “honor The Lord by giving this gift”.

Really? Honor The Lord by buying some Christian merchandise? Shouldn’t we better honor The Lord by living our lives in service to Him and being content with what we have? Do we really need more stuff?

I see this all the time. “Christian” companies using their religious preference to get you to buy their goods. Is there such thing as a Christian company anyway? Sure, there are Christians who own companies. There are companies who deal with merchandise that promote Christian symbols and ideas. There are Christians who work for companies, but the companies themselves cannot be Christian or non-Christian.

I hear commercials by companies who have no direct tie in their business to anything specifically Christian. They aren’t selling Christian goods or teaching Christian ideals, and yet they are advertising themselves as a Christian company.

1 Timothy 6:5 gives warning that there are some who think that their godliness is a means to financial gain. He warns to watch out for these people. He says rather to find godliness with contentment.

As you live your life, don’t use your status as a Christian to manipulate or coerce people. You should gain people’s trust and friendship by the way you live. Christianity is not a badge we wear but a life we live. And if the fruit of our lives don’t match up with the faith we profess then that makes us a hypocrite, and Jesus had a lot of negative things to say about hypocrites.

We are called to be consistent in how we live. When we make a commitment to something, we follow through because we have made our “yes” as good as a promise. When we talk to people they are able to hear Jesus reflected in our speech. When we do things, whether working or playing, people are able to see that we are doing everything to the glory of God. When we run a company or work for a company we should be the most highly sought after people because of our reflection of the attitude and lifestyle of Jesus in our lives.

May you be people who reflect Jesus in everything you do. And may you be content with what you have (Hebrews 13:5-6). God bless you!


Shopping in Houston: A Gift-Buying Fiasco

20111221-084400.jpg

The other day I drove into Houston to pick up my daughter for Christmas. While I was there I decided to look for a few Christmas presents to finish off my list. One of those gifts happened to be a new pair of shoes for me. But these weren’t just any shoes, so I had to find the few stores that carried them, and then I had to find the one with the best price.

Fortunately all of this was initiated fairly quickly over the phone before ever traveling up to Houston, so I set off on my journey – the Tuesday before Christmas. This trip started with two kids in tow (one not feeling so hot), so I had a heightened awareness of the busy-ness of the region as I carted my two little ones through crowded stores.

I went to the first store, near the Galleria, and they searched all over but lo and behold they were out of my size (unless I wanted pink). They checked their computer and the store at the Memorial Park mall had two of the exact size and color in stock, so off I went.

On the way over there traffic was super busy. It was five o’clock AND the Tuesday before Christmas, so this was no ordinary driving day. As I travelled, I called the store to make sure that they really did have two in stock, and I waited on hold as they checked. It turned out that they didn’t have my preferred color, but they had the next best one. They only had one, however, and they put it at the register for me with my name on it.

When I arrived at the mall, we saw Target, and one of the gifts on my list was at that store, so we quickly went inside and found the gift rather easily. Standing in line to check out was less than easy with crowded electronics department check out lines in a small area and me with a child seat cart (one of those with the two extra seats for your toddlers). At one point as I stood waiting, I looked over and my children were gone. My heart dropped. It turned out that they were just a foot to the left of where I could see in order to watch a particular monitor. I got them back in place and was able to stay in my spot in line.

After Target, we picked up my daughter at the mall and proceeded on to the store that was holding my shoes. They did have my shoes behind the counter waiting for me, so I though this was going to be great. When I opened the box, however, one shoe wasn’t the same as the other. One was the one I wanted, but the other was a different style and size. The clerk searched and searched to no avail. So this turned out poorly.

I decided to try one last store. I knew they had one at the Katy Mills mall, so I called them and verified that they had the shoe I wanted. They said they did, but I had them put their hands on it and check the box this time to make sure there were no more mismatches. Everything looked to be right this time. With my three kids in tow I took them to eat dinner then off we set to find the store in Katy.

When we got to the mall, we found the store immediately, and everything was looking up. At the counter they had my shoes, so I decided I better try them one one last time before handing over the cash for them. While putting on the shoes, my youngest daughter (3) decided she wanted to play hide and seek, although she told no one of her plans. Now my daughter had disappeared in an unknown store crammed with people. My heart sank again.

We finally found her. I got to try on the shoes, and we finally got to actually purchase (at 8pm) what I’d been trying to buy since 4:30. To celebrate, I took the kids to the play area to get their wiggles out before the car ride back home. This time I noticed that my son no longer had on his jacket. I asked him where he left it, and he said he took it off in the bathroom (on the other end of the mall). I frantically rushed back to the bathroom to look for the jacket, but it wasn’t there.

When I returned to the play area, my son wasn’t nearly as upset that someone had taken his jacket as I was. After sufficient play time we headed back to the car. I got the kids seated and asked my some one more time if he was sure he hadn’t just left his jacket in the car. He looked at his feet and said, “oh! There it is!” it was in the floorboard of the car the entire time.

I was exhausted.

I had worked so hard to find one gift for me. I had not been required to work so hard to find gifts for those others in my life that I love. This gift was something I had wanted for a few years now, and I finally had the opportunity to get it. So I was determined to make this wish come true in my life.

What do you wish for? This season we celebrate the birth of Christ – the greatest gift to mankind that God has ever given. Do you desire him? What had you been willing to do or sacrifice to find him and have relationship with him? He requires that we sacrifice our life for him, but it’s not a worthless sacrifice. I’ve never met anyone who sacrificed everything for Christ and was disappointed in their decision.

As you celebrate Christmas this year remember that it is because of Jesus you have been offered the gift of salvation. You have the opportunity to have eternal life. You can have intimate relationship with the Creator of the Universe. These are gifts we should be willing to brave more than just the holiday rush in Houston in order to receive.

This gift is readily accessible. You don’t have to go to multiple stores to find it. But it is expensive. It will cost you your sin. You will be asked to exchange all the junk in your life for the peace that comes through Christ. I don’t know about you, but it sounds like a pretty good exchange to me.

What do you say? Are you ready to receive the ultimate gift this Christmas? If you are then call me or email me. I’d love to visit with you about this and help you find your way. If I can help you in any way, call me at 245-1611 or email me at jddobbs@verizon.net.

Merry Christmas, and may you allow God to bless you this Christmas season.


%d bloggers like this: