It’s been a busy weekend. Friday we attended a homeschool co-op picnic to celebrate the end of the school year. I enjoyed spending a few minutes with my lit class as I returned tests and other papers. Good fellowship, good food.
Yesterday we attended the graduation party for one of the young ladies in our church. She is a gifted artist, and it was amazing to look through her portfolio. Again, a time of good fellowship and good food.
And of course, this morning we’ll be in church, enjoying the fellowship of our church family as we join in learning and growing together.
So, as I type these words, I’m thinking once again about how church has influenced my life. Not just church, not just the ritualistic attendance for the sake of looking “spiritual.” No, it’s so much more than that when you are a true believer, and your church friends become like family; when the Bible is a topic of conversation outside of church; when music is a source of joy and fellowship; when others of like faith influence and help, edify and encourage each other.
I gave my heart to Jesus when I was five, in a Sunday school class.
I was baptized by Dr. Richard V. Clearwaters when I was 8.
I became a “preacher’s kid” when I was 10.
I started teaching two-year-olds when I was 12, and I’ve been teaching ever since.
I started singing in church, doing duets and trios, the choir, whatever, when I was 12; also started playing the piano at about the same age when the regular pianist couldn’t be there.
My first boyfriend was a young man I met in church.
I attended a Bible college, also centered on the same Bible truths I learned in church.
I met my future husband in church, My dad baptized him after he trusted the Lord. We’ve been married for 48 years.
We’ve reared our kids in church, and they are doing the same with their own children.
It is not “The Church” as an entity or organization of authority that I love so much. It is knowing that the churches we’ve attended have held the Bible as their authority for faith and practice; that the center of attention is not a liturgy or a tradition, but the clear teaching of God’s Word.
The church is under attack today, as it has always been. Satan wants to destroy it, but of course we know he can’t. Persecution has always served to simply drive the church underground, where it thrives and grows. Persecution of the first church in Jerusalem simply resulted in believers dispersing to other places in the known world, carrying their faith with them and spreading it wherever they went.
Jesus said, “Upon this Rock I will build My church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it”(Matthew 16:18).