Is Not Attending Church a Sin?

Pleasant Hill

I have had the discussion, more than once, about whether or not it is a sin to not attend church. Often the argument is thrown out that, “I don’t need to attend church to have a relationship with God. I can read my Bible from my home.” at which point the opposing side will counter with, “Do not forsake the assembling of ourselves” which is a play off of Hebrews 10:25 which, in its entirety says (this once I’m quoting in KJV so you can see the resemblance between the two quotes), “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”

…and thus the argument continues back and forth with no one actually reaching an agreement or decision. So what, exactly, is the answer? Well, I’m not sure there is a solid one. First, there are too many extenuating circumstances to give a blanket answer. I can, possibly, address a few situations with my opinion and see if that helps.

First, one of my pet peeves is when anyone takes just a portion of the Bible and runs with it. I think that in order to fully understand what God is trying to tell us then we need to look (at least) at the passage as a whole. From here out I’ll be using the Holman Christian Standard Bible. The passage from Hebrews that is often used to as a defense of mandatory church attendance really should be backed up to, at least, verse 19 and reads like this:

19. Therefore, brothers, since we have boldness to enter the sanctuary through the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way He has opened for us through the curtain (that is, His flesh), 21 and since we have a great high priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water. 23 Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. 24 And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works, 25 not staying away from our worship meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near. Hebrews 10:19-25 HCSB

To me, this passage speaks about so much more than just getting your butt to church on a regular basis. It also talks about the emotional experience of church. Well, what happens when something has affected that experience? Then where do you go and what do you do? What if you truly long to attend church (I’m not talking about just slackers, if you are slacking then turn off the tv and get your tail to church; there, I addressed that) but, rather, have had a spiritual battle that prevents you in one way or another from attending? What do you do then?

Well, I can tell you what my husband and I did.

Figure it out? That’s right, you keep trying. Either, you attend your church-despite the spiritual struggles-or you look for a new one. And, even when you go week after week after week and you still don’t find the one that you belong in, you go again until you hear God speak. I won’t lie and say that we were faithful and kept trying like we should, but I wish that we had. If we had, if we hadn’t given up and spent months at home moping, then we would have found the fellowship and love that we have now sooooo much sooner. I know how hard it is when you have been wounded spiritually, and I know that sometimes you need time at home to talk to God and pray; personally, I think that it’s ok to take that time. However, I do believe that God intends for us to be in church regularly to hear His Word, to be ministered to, and to minister to others. God will heal our wounds, if we’ll let Him.

Love,

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A Challenge for a Better America

Munch

One of the most wonderful blessings God has granted me is the bond of my family. Whether we are in the middle of a crazy whirlwind or celebrating a personal victory we are hand- in- hand facing it together. During moments where we cannot be physically with each other we are in constant communication letting the others feel our presence and love. We have lived through our share of tribulations and, through God’s grace, have learned how fortunate we are to have the family unit He knowingly chose for us.

My brothers and I have an especially close connection. Our unique raising (aka moving a trillion times) enabled us rely on each other more than I think traditional families do. Sure, we fought and tattled and tortured each other like other siblings do; but we also dropped our grievances instantaneously to defend each other’s honor, played for hours on end with green army men, gave up our last dime to buy gifts for special occasions, and drove (or rode a train through a thunderstorm) to spend a few needed moments with each other.

Since Josh is eight years younger than me, I was able to observe him as he changed from a toddling torture into the man he is today. I have watched him accomplish things that others said was beyond his reach. I stood in the doorway of our parents’ basement and watched him, as a young pre-teen, bent over misbehaving computers with the “Jones tongue” peeking out and his brow creased in determination. It didn’t take long for him to discover the computer’s ailment and breathe life back into his patient.

I remember the immeasurable pride I felt as I watched him build his business bit-by-bit. He started his business at only eleven years of age! He continued expanding it while finishing school (graduating at sixteen) and has managed to grow his company from a one man show to an imposing corporation that is quickly becoming known as “the” IT company/ managed service provider for businesses of all sizes (and has several locations around the state). He accomplished all of this while still balancing a personal life that gave me a beautiful sister and allowed me to become an aunt (several times over).

Though a decade or two has passed since I first spied on him, you’ll still find me leaning against his door frame watching him (in true awe and fascination) remote into a company’s system and resolve every concern while simultaneously answering three emails, participating in a conference call, messaging two different associates and talking with an employee who popped in his office to get Josh’s thoughts on a tricky repair or advice on life (sometimes he does all this while holding a sleeping toddler).

Josh has never been one to halfway do anything. Whatever he does he puts all his energy and heart into and competes his project/ work with integrity. His life proves that if we work hard and believe in ourselves (and our support unit) we can make the impossible happen. He is the embodiment of the American dream.

Josh is passionate about several things. God, family, and our country. If he feels that any of those are threatened he will quickly come to their defense. Knowing this I was not surprised when he told me last night that he was creating a video challenging Donald Trump to a debate. Josh sees Trump as a bully, a man who pushes past those with weaker defenses to get what he wants without regard to consequences or who gets hurt. Trump is a threat to our country, not an asset, and needs to be put in his place. I, for one, think Josh can do it. What we need in this country are people with solutions, not people who parade around shouting that we have problems. WE KNOW WE HAVE PROBLEMS! How about coming up with realistic solutions and then working towards their accomplishments? This is OUR country, I say it’s time we take it back.

Love,

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