The Church of Rock n’ Roll
The companion blog to “Not Falling Away – Part 3” from July 23, 2017
Spring 2003 had finally started to awaken the world in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Being a newly single mom of three kids and new transplant from Long Island, New York, everything was new to me here. As any parent knows, your daily world can revolve around the care and activities of your children. My three social-butterfly-magnets made sure of that with a plethora of extracurricular activities and hoards of high energy little friends.
One such group of friends lived next door. My kids instantly became bonded with these two siblings and invited them to church with us. The six-year old boy replied, “Sorry, we can’t. We go to The Church of Rock n’ Roll”. Funny, I hadn’t heard of this church in my search of our town’s one hundred and fifty-four different churches.
Believing that the little boy must have been referring to one of the evangelical mega-churches in town with a more modern Christian praise band, I inquired of his father as we passed on the side walk that Sunday morning. His front door was open, rock music blaring, bacon wafting and a skimpily clad girlfriend dancing and singing in the living room with the children. The realization to both of us as to what the child meant by The Church of Rock n’ Roll came in an instant with his red-faced embarrassment. Apparently, they said a prayer to God before diving into their weekly pancakes, and listened to rock n’ roll and their father’s excuses as to why they weren’t going to church. All of this had given the boy the idea that this was what church meant for them now. It was, after all, probably the height of family time for this child each week.
I would come to learn the real story from the mother of these children. She had been afflicted with a degenerative muscle disease while pregnant with their third child and her husband had taken up with the dancing-pancake woman. He subsequently divorced his wife and left their life-long church in order to pursue his own happiness; all the while claiming to be a Christian who loves and worships Jesus.
Maybe my neighbor never had a real believing faith in God to start with or had fallen away from his faith for a time. Either way, he believed he could do this life without the church.
In the series Not Falling Away (July 2-23, 2017), Pastor Wilson takes Hebrew 10 and helps us to understand that Christians are in an unending battle against unbelief. In this series we are challenged to see that we must live grounded in the certainty of our faith and future hope of eternity, and that none of us should imagine we can live our Christianity apart from God’s people.
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25
You Go to Church for Others, Not Yourself
In “Not Falling Away – Part Three” (July 23, 2017), Pastor Wilson points out how in the original Greek, the object of the verb “consider” is referring to “one another” not the “stirring up”. We are to consider one another and how we can spur our Christian brothers and sisters on to be more loving and do more good works for the advancement of the kingdom; hence God’s glory. Then God further instructs as to where to strengthen our belief and faith because He knows the temptations that pull at us from the outside world.
It is clear that God wants us to consistently meet with His people (church) and increasingly encourage each other to love and good works. If God calls it neglect when we don’t habitually meet together; then we must surely understand it to be a duty or command to do so. Regularly attending church is about submission to God and His command that we love one another.
“…when we skip church we put other people at risk. The first sin of skipping church is the sin of failing to love others. Gathering with God’s people is not first about being blessed but about being a blessing. It’s not first about getting but about giving.” Blogger Tim Challies, The Worst Consequence of Skipping Church
You can’t love others if you refuse to be there for them, doing the work God says is necessary for them and the kingdom. We can talk the talk but unless we are humbled enough to walk the walk of submission, we are refusing to be where our Maker tells us to be and do what He tells us to do.
The Jesus of Your Imagination
“To say, ‘I love Jesus, but I don’t submit to His word’ is a lie. ‘If anyone loves me, he will keep my word’ (John 14:23). Jesus founded the church… So the choice of Jesus over church implies a choice of your opinion over the Bible, because the Bible is where we meet Jesus. You can’t make Jesus up… He is the Jesus of the Bible or He is the Jesus of your imagination. If He is the Jesus of the Bible, you take the whole Jesus. You can’t carve Him up in pieces. And the whole Jesus is the Jesus who loves the church. He died for the church.” Pastor John Piper, DesiringGod.org audio clip.
I would learn years later that the abandoned wife re-married a Christian man who took care of her and her children despite her dire health. She was cared for, protected and restored within her church family. The neighbor and his girlfriend were later in an accident that left them both with significant injuries. Our first thought might be that this situation is ironic or just-desserts, if we identify with the wife, but I challenge you to see the possibility that God was at work loving His children. I hope my neighbor was grieved over the sin and mayhem he’d caused in so many lives and fell on his knees in front of the God he once worshiped. What greater witness of the power, love and restoration of a faithful Father, than to welcome this child back into the family of Christ’s church.
I hope that you, the reader, do not hear me saying that tragedy will befall you if you do not attend church and that all blessings will be gifted you if you regularly attend church. I attest that the wife’s tragedy was surely for her good, not because she had a good outcome, but because it drove her to the cross with a certainty of her faith and future hope of eternity. I was blown away by her joy in such a time. She was most certainly poised to stir up any believer she came in contact with; as she had so obviously been stirred up by her family in Christ.
Simply put, we need to love one another with our presence. God said so … and He is always right.
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