Why Do We Go To Church?

Today is Friday, May 19, 2017. One more day until our family reunion.

Quote of the Day

“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.” ~ Joseph Addison

Word of the Day

Purloin ~ to take dishonestly; steal; filch; pilfer.

Today is Pizza Party Day! Sadly, it appears that I will not likely celebrate today. Perhaps next year.

Friday has arrived. This evening, after work, I will be driving to Mineral Wells to pick up my mother for our weekend in east Texas. We’ll be leaving as early as we can manage, tomorrow morning. I don’t know if all the cousins will be there tomorrow or Sunday, or even both. Whatever happens will be great.

The Rangers continued their winning streak yesterday afternoon, beating the Phillies 8-4. They have now won nine consecutive games. This evening, they will face the Tigers in Detroit, with Martinez on the mound. The Tigers are 20-19, while the Rangers are 22-20, so they are very close. They remain in second place, 7.5 games out.

The Red Sox, sadly, lost to the Athletics in Oakland, 8-3. They will play again tonight, with Chris Sale on the mound for Boston. They remain in third place, four games out.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are ESV unless otherwise noted

Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!
Psalm 105:4
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on me.
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on me.
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, grant me your peace.

O God, you know my folly; the wrongs I have done are not hidden from you.
Psalm 69:5
When iniquities prevail against me, you atone for our transgressions.
Psalm 65:3
Remember your mercy, O LORD, and your steadfast love, for they have been from of old. 
Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O LORD! 
Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
For your name’s sake, O LORD, pardon my guilt, for it is great.

Psalm 25:6-8, 11

(From Living the Message)

Our pastor once asked us, “Why do we go to church?”

“The people in our congregations are, in fact, out shopping for idols. They enter our churches with the same mind-set in which they go to the shopping mall, to get something that will please them or satisfy an appetite or need,” says Eugene H. Peterson.

Theologian John Calvin considered the heart as “a relentlessly efficient factory for producing idols.” The pastor is usually thought of as the “quality-control engineer” of the factory.

While it is true that the folks who gather in our churches are looking for help through difficult times or meaning and significance to their lives, they want God on their own terms. They don’t want the “jealous God, and probably not even the “‘God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ Mostly they want to be their own god and stay in control but have ancillary idol assistance for the hard parts, which the pastor can show them how to get.”

“John Calvin’s insight plus Henry Ford’s technology equals North American Religion.” Sadly, in our culture today, the pastors have the same success rate as Aaron did in Exodus 32.

“Be wary of false preachers who smile a lot, dripping with practiced sincerity. Chances are they are out to rip you off some way or other. Don’t be impressed with charisma; look for character. Who preachers are is the main thing, not what they say. A genuine leader will never exploit your emotions or your pocketbook. These diseased trees with their bad apples are going to be chopped down and burned.”
Matthew 7:15-16 (The Message)

Father, teach us the truth in our churches. May we be people who are seeking you and your strength, seeking your presence continually, as Psalm 105:4 tells us to do. May we not be seeking idols, nothing more than a panacea for everything that ails us. May we be seeking you and you alone, for you alone are worthy of our worship and praise. I like to think that our own little gathering of “saints” is different, but I fear that many of the people who come suffer from the same issues described above. Help our pastor to change them in your strength. I pray for our church; I pray for all churches, that the truth may be taught as presented by Jesus. Let us follow his words and his actions, obeying what he told us to do, rather than simply hoping for a band-aid to soothe our latest foible.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.

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