A while back, I saw a post on a friends Facebook page. It went something like this: If your excuse for not coming to church is because you think it is full of hypocrites, then you will fit right in! Please join us in the pews! I loved it, because I use to think that way. I have had my fair share of bad church experiences. My most memorable went something like this….
I was in Junior high and it was around the time when the jr. high kids transitioned to being the sr. high kids. There was a lovely trip to the beached planned for us, and I was excited. I really wanted to go. That of course is when; the adult sponsor called and told my folks that I could not go, because they did not want the responsibility of having a diabetic child on the trip. I would like to tell you that I was ok, but in fact, I cried, and I cried a lot. At that impressionable age, I felt singled out, left out, and discriminated against. It only took the one bad experience to make me not want to go to church or participate in any of the church programs.
As I grew, I attended church sporadically. My motto then was, I just want to go and listen to the word, and then leave. I do not want to invest in any of the people who will just ultimately disappoint me with their lack of Christianity. (Insert HUGE laugh here! REALLY, I don’t know what I was thinking; the only perfect example is Jesus.) I guess I had this idea of Christianity but no clue as to the real relationship with Jesus it is suppose to be. I just figured that Christians were Holier than Thou and always out to judge you. I was wrong, so very wrong, and not in the right Church.
I have learned that in the right church, fellowship can be so much more than expected. There is nothing like assembling with a group of Christians who are struggling with the same struggles, but at the same time-sharing, the same laughs. I will take this moment to give a BLOG SHOUT OUT to my Bunco girls! They are crazy, funny, and sweet women that God uses in my life. I know that in this group, there are friends I can count on that will pray for me faithfully when I need it. There is nothing more refreshing than a room full of Christian women laughing together! My husband and I also attend a Sunday school class. They are a wonderful group of people that share in our lives. The group has a genuine quality and sense of care for each other. As a Sunday school family, we lift each other up as needed. They are the people we consider friends, even if we have to “Bible” them! (Bible is our code word for letting some one know they have talked too long, or gotten off subject.) We learn about God, share His love, and have a few laughs too!
I guess the reason this is on my mind is, without fellowship in the name of the Lord, life and struggles would be harder. The people that you share God with are also the people who will pray with you, lift you up and hold you when you cannot. I have a dear friend who is struggling with Cancer. She is the epitome of humor and love. The people, who are in fellowship together, praying for the same goal, have magnified the effect of prayer in her struggle. This is how she describes the fellowship of prayer for her:
“I want to start this out by telling you a story...Everyone is asking me how do you feel and I (am) going to describe the feeling. You know how at rock concerts they body surf a person through the crowd? Well I feel like everyone is holding their hands up in prayer and you all are body surfing me through with prayer. Everyone is touching me with their hands in prayer, chanting and thoughts, as I go through this crowd. IT IS AMAZING!!!! I wish everyone could experience this sometime in their life, without having to go through a hard time of course. So this is the best way I can think of to tell everyone that every prayer, every thought and every chant is felt, and is holding me up high. WOW!!!”
I know that people often say, “Church just isn’t for me,” but there is something special in a fellowship of believers. As a community of Christians, we need each other. We need to pray together and for each other, our community and country. The Bible says in Matthew 7:7-8:
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
I don’t know about you, but if fellowship coupled with prayer can lift me up and send me body surfing through a crowd, on my way to a miracle rock concert lead by the King of Kings, I am in!