But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 1 Peter 2:9-10
My “feature” photograph this morning was taken mid-December, but I’m using it because I believe it does a good job of telling the story I want to share. The message is this – News bulletin: Church may be the best – and most effective – “Life Hack” yet.
“Hold on, hold on,” you may say. “When will you tire of singing the same song, over and over?” Never! At least not until I have done a better job with the singing. Let’s not confuse poor messaging with a poor message.
Church improves life across the board!
Fact is, most of the people who stay away from church are not rejecting Jesus and they’re not avoiding the body of Christ. What they are staying away from is the flamboyancy and the falseness of the televangelists, the lack of life and irrelevancy of many mainline churches, and the politicized religious nationalism that is consuming much of the evangelical right.
They have not said “no” to Jesus, I believe, because they have never been properly introduced.
So I enjoyed this great conversation with a young man the other day. He is intelligent and thoughtful, with a wide-open heart. He’s Catholic, and very much a traditionalist. But his wife is Baptist, with more of an ascetic spiritual sensibility. Nothing really fits so they don’t go to church.
Here’s what I believe. If the family – and they have several children – came to Wake Forest Presbyterian Church they would find a community not where their disparate doctrinal preferences would be neatly satisfied, but where their souls would find rest, where they could worship God gladly, and where their lives could be more firmly grounded in Jesus.
That is the purpose of church, and the experience people want and need! – but it’s not something that’s generally in the public consciousness because there’s far too much religion out there that has lost its way.
- where our souls can find rest,
- where we can worship God gladly,
- and where our lives can be firmly grounded in Jesus.
And, yes, of course I invited him to come and see.
Jesus makes everything better:
Just as I wrote yesterday (that everything is better when we invite Jesus into whatever it is we are up to), our experience of life is better when we find a faith community and call it home.
Here are some of the key factors (perks): Community, inspiration, service, encouragement, support, accountability, a place to worship (worship nourishes our soul), rejuvenation, sanctuary, peace.
None of these benefits require 100% agreement – they just are there, natural occurrences in response to an open heart.
Life is difficult, friends, we need each other and we need the depths of God’s grace and mercy to percolate through our lives. Church is where this happens.
A Life-Hack you can count on:
Church is the best decision we can make both for ourselves and our families. Church is the most effective and natural “Life-Hack” available. Church is not about being told how to think, it’s about being loved completely by God, accepted unconditionally by the other sinners, and being encouraged to live victorious, redemptive lives.
There is nothing that compares. Nothing. Come and see.
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.