Monday, November 14, 2011

The "Joy" of Church

"Church should bring you joy...not suck it out of you."

I had to laugh at the above quote, on a church sign no less! As I drove past, I kept laughing. What a funny quote.  And, is "suck" a church word?  Cause we don't use that word at our church. (*smile*) As I continued pondering, I realized that while it's a nice thought that church should bring you joy, and mine certainly does, I don't want to attend a church that only brings me joy.

I want a church that challenges me, convicts me and pushes me to grow...sometimes even when I don't want to!  In the book of John, chapter 6, Jesus preaches some hard teaching.  It says many of his disciples left him that day.

On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you?"    From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.  “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”   John 6:60-61, 66-68

Today, so many of us want a "feel good" message and we certainly don't want a church that is going to point out our sin and challenge us to change.  However, Jesus' preaching offended many, and he was willing to lose disciples over it.  But those closest to him realized that only he had the words of eternal life.  

So, I'm thankful for my church, which is willing to preach the hard lessons, and while it might not bring me joy on every Sunday, the end result is eternal life.  And that brings true joy.

Reflection Question:  Would you rather attend a church that shares an easy message each Sunday, or a church that challenges you (encouragingly) to grow? 

Chatty Kelly


Sonya Lee said...

I'd much rather be at a church that helps me grow spiritually. I went back to read what Jesus's preaching was. He spoke of being the bread and how we need to feed on his flesh and drink of his blood. He talked as if it were literal. I wonder how his 12 core disciples knew it was figurative? Interesting.

Carmen said...

Good post, Kelly! I definitely want to be challenged!! I love hearing the truth regardless of how hard it hits me.

I've also been in a church that saw their people as servants to the extent that you felt used/taken for granted. That said, our focus should be to serve the Lord in all we do and not to look to men. In that is joy! :)

Sharon Sloan said...

The Word of God is a double-edged sword. Teaching at our churches should convict, challenge and encourage. I am with you!

Hebrews 4:12
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

Jennifer said...

I want a church that will challenge me. But, I also want a church where I can contribute.

Too many people just want to be entertained. I don't want to be one of those people.