Thursday, December 16, 2010

Why Go to Church?

A guest post from one of the elders here at Hope, Mark Kloempken:

"Most reasons for skipping church on Sunday are all pretty hollow. It’s boring. I get nothing out of it. I don’t like. I don’t like the Pastor or the congregation. Someone said something to me. Someone failed me in some way. I, an autonomous individual have decided I have spiritual authority and I don’t need church.

"Basically, none of us have got past Genesis 3, “you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Since the days of Adam and Eve, we have lived in the age of the autonomous individual. Some newspaper editors sent G.K Chesterton a question, what is wrong with this world. He replied, “I am.” G.K. Chesterton got it. He was the problem. God was the answer. But how does God get that answer to us?

"And why go to church. The biggest misunderstanding we have is that we go to church so that we are doing something for God when it is precisely the opposite. We go so that God may do for us through the word and sacrament. It is not that we may do but that God may do for us. What is the obedience of the Church? It is the reception of God’s gifts. It is all counterintuitive and foreign to our way of thinking, in other words bassackwards. God created you without you and will save you without you. And the way in which He does this is through Word and Sacrament. You may not think it. You may not feel it, but when you hear the Word proclaimed and preached God is at work. You may not feel edified. You may not feel an emotional high, but it is true none the less. God’s grace is communicated through the Word and the Sacraments. When a child is baptized, the child is present, the parents are present, the sponsors are present, the congregation is present, the Pastor is present and God is present and He is at work. Through the waters of baptism and the proclamation of the word, God gives the child the gift of faith. But God does not just tip his hat and wish the child well with the fond wish that the child will make it to heaven. He continues to work through the Word and the Lord’s Supper to strengthen and preserve that child’s faith unto eternal life.

"By rejecting Church, we are making ourselves our own saviors and rejecting God’s salvation in Christ. When this country was settled, some men were known as pathfinders. The explored the wilderness and then showed settlers the way through the wilderness. Fathers are pathfinders for their children. They lead the way through life’s wilderness. There have been studies that have shown that children are most likely to continue in the faith when their fathers by their behavior show that they value their faith. This includes study of the Word, behavior toward the neighbor and attending church. We live in an age where everyone would like to see God do something and we refuse to met Him in the one place He has promised to work – Church. And that is the reason why we go to church – it is where God is at work."

Monday, December 6, 2010

Look. at. that.

You don't post in a month, and then you post your monthly newsletter article and the good folks at Issues Etc. take notice.