Sunday Morning–Wake Up!

 
I understand we cannot live in the past.  And I understand that most everything changes over time.  And I believe that a lot of change is both necessary and for the best.  However, when it comes to Sunday morning in America, I have a grave concern.

Not too many years back our weekly “Christian” schedule included:

1.  Sunday School

2.  Morning Worship

3.  Evening Worship

4.  Wednesday Service

5.  Revival Services, and

6.   Other church events

For many believers church life was their social life.  The two intermingled.  Of course, not all Christians attended all the above opportunities, but my point is these opportunities typically were held in high esteem by both culture and the Church.

As the years passed, culture gradually stole affections from the local church.  Do you remember the “Blue Laws” of yesteryear, when most businesses were closed on Sundays to allow their employees and “John Q. Public” time off?  School and community sports were suspended, while churches conducted Sunday services. 

I remember when schools also withheld from conducting Wednesday evening activities to accommodate mid-week services.  Professional baseball games were scheduled for Sunday afternoons.  Cleveland great, Bob Feller, used to go to church on Sunday morning and THEN pitch for the Indians in the afternoon.  Pastors were invited to speak at baccalaureate and graduation ceremonies.  Church was considered a viable part of life and community.

Not so today.  Most churches, including Hope Community, meet corporately once each week.  Many churches have discontinued Sunday evening services; Wednesday evening services are rare and protracted revival meetings are definitely a thing of the past.

But even these realities do not represent my bone of contention.  Without the fear of being branded as legalistic, the past 50 years have been crafted by the enemy of our soul, the enemy of the Church, to steal away valuable time for church ministry.  What am I saying?

I believe two cultural dynamics designed in board meetings in hell, seconded and voted upon by evil master minds have subtly and skillfully turned Christ followers away from what really matters.  Godly affections and biblical teachings regarding faithfulness and righteous living have been stolen.

1.  We have fallen prey to “busy-ness” that leads to barrenness.  Our days are full of activities that lead to stress, fatigue and anxiety, but fall short in the “fulfillment department.”  People are always headed somewhere but like Henry David Thoreau wrote, they continue to “lead lives of quiet desperation.”  It’s a “go-go” world.  Family time has been sacrificed at the altar of busy-ness.  I’ve never seen so many busy, yet unhappy people!  Family table discussions are all but gone, replaced by drive-thru restaurants and eating on the run.

2.  We have more events, places to go and things to do than ever before!  Our Sunday choices are innumerable.  Years ago, people said concerning Sunday mornings: “We WILL go to church.”  Today, many ask, “WILL we go to church?”  Or subconsciously, “Is there a better option?” And the answer is many times “no” to church and “yes” to some form of entertainment or family function.    Recent Barna research indicates that 38 percent of America goes to church.  But then they follow this percentage with the “real” picture.  Out of the 38 percent, only 19 percent attend regularly.  The other 19 percent attend church once every six weeks.  In their minds, better, more exciting choices come their way.

I’m heart broken.  And I’m mad at the devil.  Is that okay?  Sunday mornings in a narcissistic culture run amuck, are now filled with sports events, fun parks, family reunions, parties of all kinds and descriptions, Christians hung-over from Saturday night drinking (don’t get me started!) and a host of other pre-scheduled events that steal people away from the local church.

Misplaced priorities have rendered the church as just one of many options on Sunday morning.  I’m usually not this bold, but I’m calling for Christ followers everywhere to wake up and realize that we have been duped.  Jesus Christ thought the Church to be so important that He died for it.  God chose the Church to be earth’s saving agency.  The writer to the Hebrews emphatically reminds us to “Not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encourage one another – all the much more as you see the Day approaching” (10:25, NIV).

My friend, wake up!  If you have fallen into this snare of the enemy, repent and make Sunday morning church non-negotiable in your life.  Clean off your “busy plate” and understand that I’m dealing with an eternal issue in this blog.  You need what the Church offers.  You need the rich community and friendships that only Church provides.  Everything else can wait until Sunday afternoon.  Please hear what I’m saying.  My pastor’s heart is broken because many have absented themselves perpetually from the very source that makes life meaningful and keeps eternity in view. Hope Community is one of many Christ-honoring churches in Ashtabula County.  Be in one of them next Sunday morning!

No, going to church does not save you, but faithful attendance to a local church can and will make your life so much more rewarding.  Sleeping in a garage all night will not make you a car, nor will going to church on Sunday mornings make you a Christian, but when seen as one option until something better presents itself could possibly bankrupt your soul in the meantime!  

  

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