When we were in Nicaragua last year (for months), we missed our Church SO much! Live Stream did NOT cut it! The first note from the worship leader sent us running away in tears. Oh, it was bad. But GOOD. Really, it was such a blessing to have a church family so worth missing. And when we came home and turned into our neighborhood, there was our church, waving flashlights to "light our way home". I still get teary remembering our welcome home... Seven days a week, I am "doing life" with those in my church. I LOVE my church, love it!!
I see so many articles on what is wrong with *the church*. I want to say, "You came to my church? I didn't see you there!" (Tongue firmly in cheek).
I am not saying it's not ever effective to point out something that needs changing. But honestly I don't understand where these articles are pointed. At their own church? At the Church as a whole? It just feels like buckshot. It kills everything in its path, good or bad. It's impossible to defend against because it's spoken to people with which the author has no relationship or experience.
Each Sunday morning, before we are dismissed, our Lead Pastor says, "Go and be the Church." I find this statement SO inspiring!!
BE the Church. Once you start BEING the church, there's really not a lot of time left over. It kind of takes care of the rest!! And it is RELATIONAL. It's worshiping together and learning together, praying for one another and being there for one another. It's celebrating together and mourning together. It's having fun together and serving together. And when your BROTHER is caught in sin you lovingly point it out and they know your heart even if they don't always agree with you. And they point it out in you when you are caught in sin. It's loving, it's relational. It's the church, the real church!
But, brothers and sisters, when we were orphaned by being separated from you for a short time (in person, not in thought), out of our intense longing we made every effort to see you. For we wanted to come to you—certainly I, Paul, did, again and again—but Satan blocked our way. ~1 Thess. 2:17-18