I hear that some do not want to go to church because they feel they can go to church 'in nature' . Do these people really go out on Sunday and sit on rock with their Bible and use nature as a catalyst to talk to Jesus? The commandment to love the Lord your God should include being in his house to worship. Sure there are phony churches out there or ones that are too strict or too legalistic but there are also many churches 'on fire' for the Lord and you just have to search and find them. Satan does not want you in church as the farther you are away from God and his people the more he has a chance to capture your heart for his kingdom as opposed to God. If you say you are a Christian you should want to have fellowship with believers and honor Sunday as a special day. It is not a day to do what you want. You can enjoy Sunday but why not start out first by going to his house to worship? You can not walk with the Lord and with Satan too. You can either be hot or cold, if you are lukewarm he will spit you out of his mouth.(See Revelation 3:16).
I know the feeling of having to go to church somewhere new the first time. It is uncomfortable. Especially if you are in a smaller church where everyone knows each other you feel like you stick out like a soar thumb. My suggestion is to find a non denominational church where they tend to have less man made rules to determine how close you are to God and where the music is alive and spirit of worship is evident. Sometimes for those who have not been in church for awhile it is more comfortable to go in to a less formal church than it is where everyone is in a suit or tie. Regardless, God does not care how we dress. Some 'church people' care and some get mad if you sit in 'their pew' at church but God does not care. He does not have assigned seating. If you live in a smaller community sometimes it is harder to find a non denominational church and you may have to drive to find one. Now I am not being critical of denominational churches but for those who are stragglers and not in church sometimes going in a less formal atmosphere is just what they need. Go somewhere where it is not about a denomination but more about being a Christian.
It is crucial if you are a believer and want to stay on fire for the Lord to make it a priority in your life. If you do not, your fire will soon go out and Sundays will become a day to sleep in and go to Sunday Brunch somewhere and that is all. It is the enemy who is trying to make you distracted and keep you filled with excuses about why you choose to not attend. Satan would love to snuff out your spiritual fervor.
First, attending church is one of the Ten Commandments. It should be something you choose to do and not feel like you have to go. Check your heart. Do you love the Lord with all your heart? Pray and ask God to give you more of a desire to get in his word. We all know if you do not stay in the word it is easy to start doing things against the word of God and becoming 'spiritually deaf' as Joyce Meyer calls it.
I know through Moms in Touch prayer ministry that one of our biggest prayers has been that our children desire fellowship and want to be in Bible study and church. 3 John 4 is a Bible verse that I 'happened' to see on a license plate one day when I was with my family at a restaurant in Birmingham. This verse says "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth." It breaks a parents heart when they find out their children do not think church is important anymore after raising them to love the Lord and his word. You can not force them to go and you can not orchestrate it. It has to be a conviction and desire in their hearts or it will not happen. The Holy Spirit living inside of them has to speak to their hearts and give them the desire to make Sunday a special day set aside to worship God. Some have jobs that prevent them from worshipping on Sunday but there are other times to attend as well.Some I know have even started 'home churches' if they can not find a church that preaches God's word in their area.
John 14:21 says "Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” The command to attend church is there and many believers choose to believe the worlds' lies and be enticed by worlds' pleasures and ignore it. In Exodus 20:8 says "Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy." 1 John 2:15 says "Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him." Are other things more important to you than worshipping the Lord? Do you not know that Sunday was a day set aside to spend time in worshipping the Lord? The things of the world will entice us and draw us away from God and his people. I challenge you if you do other things on Sunday to find yourself a good non denominational church that is in your community or drive to find one and get plugged in and see if your Sunday does not turn out to be better and you may even find you have more time that day for other things.
Sure you can still be a Christian and not go to church but it is hard to desire the Lord and stay in love with Jesus if we ignore this special day and do our own thing. Now granted there are many folks out there who simply 'punch a ticket' on Sunday and think that is all they need to do who will be surprised on the day of their death. The most important thing is to have your heart right with the Lord. Yes you can be a Christian and not in church but why not seek a body of believers who love Jesus and make a commitment to be a part of them each week? Small group Bible studies are good too to grow in Christ during the week.
2 Timothy 3:15 says "and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus." You know deep down in your heart what is the right thing to do. All the excuses in the book are really lies from the enemy who does not want you to be in church and hearing the word of God. If you still choose to stay home why not at least open the Bible to the book of John and read one chapter followed by reading one chapter of Proverbs. Pray for God to open your heart and mind to what he would have you learn and pray for him to give you a desire to be back in fellowship with a body of believers.
Isaiah 58:13-14 says "If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on my holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight and the holy day of the Lord honorable; if you honor it, not going your own ways, or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly; then you shall take delight in the Lord, and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth; I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken."
PRAYER: Lord God help me desire you more than gold. I know it is not your desire I sleep in on Sunday. Help me desire to worship in a church with other believers. Guide me to one who loves you. Forgive me Lord for the times I have not desired to have fellowship and have done my own thing on Sunday. Help me make it a priority to get to know you better. In Jesus name. Amen.
NOTE: for those of you searching for a church home I found this nifty Internet tool below. Use it and then listen to the song I attached as well. Be blessed.