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Churches provide a community that loves
By Brad Grow
When I was 10 years old, I thought I was smarter than my parents. My father was a minister, and we attended church every Sunday unless we were traveling. One Sunday, I had had enough church and decided I wasn’t going to get up that morning.
My mom came to wake me, and I had concocted the perfect response for why I shouldn’t go to church that day.
There’s a verse in Revelation that says: “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other. So, because you are lukewarm — neither hot nor cold — I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”
In this verse (3:15-16), Jesus explains to a church that while they are claiming to be Christians, their actions say something else – they are living lukewarm.
Now, me being the scriptural genius I thought I was, I took this verse and told my mom, “I don’t want to go to church today, and Jesus would rather I live ‘cold’ than go to church and be ‘lukewarm.' While I was expecting applause and a request to go back to sleep, what my mom told me was quite the opposite. She said, “Brad, Jesus told that church they were living lukewarm because he wanted them to strive to live ‘hot.’ You should do the same.”
This is one of the many examples in my life where I’ve found wisdom in my parents. As the holidays approach, I think of this story more and more.
There are many people in America that I like to call “C&E Christians.” That stands for Christmas and Easter Christians. They only come to church on those two Sundays, and don’t attend the rest of the year. A lot of times we try to “spruce up” our Christmas or Easter service because we’re expecting a lot more people to attend than regularly. We hope that if we can really “wow” them on these two Sundays, then they will attend more regularly.
Sometimes this works, and sometimes not, but when I think about C&E Christians, I can’t help but think of Revelation 3:15-16. If you asked the majority of them about their faith, they would claim to believe in God, and perhaps claim to be a Christian, but what does their life look like the rest of the year?
Now don’t get me wrong, I am in no way pointing fingers and saying that I am holier than thou. Sometimes my life can look worse than people who don’t claim religion whatsoever. My point is to reflect on your life, right now.
Maybe you don’t believe in God (we live in a part of the country where a lot of people don’t). Maybe you ask a lot of questions, and are wondering why so many people cling to faith. While I can’t really answer that in a small article, I can tell you one thing about the church that I have found over the years: This is a community that loves.
I have met and grown relationships with people in the church that have lasted my whole life, and these people care more about me than anyone else. No one is perfect, and we’re not claiming to be. We’re just trying to live lives that are pleasing to God, and show his love to as many people as possible.
As Christmas approaches, take a second to ask yourself if you want a community like that. Some people are scared to enter a church, but you may be surprised at what you find if you do.
Brad Grow is the Youth Minister at Bellevue Church of Christ, 1212 104th Ave. S.E.; bellevuechurchofchrist.org