From the Pastor
A single day in Your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else!
It has always been the priority of God's people to meet together in order to worship God. But over the past 12 to 18 months the pandemic has created a downward spiral in Church attendance — and that's a great concern for me and you. When the regular routine for attending worship is broken, you often find a slow drifting from spiritual practices; we may become negligent in prayer, studying God’s Word, and shrugging off worship or practicing stewardship.
The Psalm writer reminds us of the importance of meeting with God's people! He wrote that "one day with God's people in His presence" was more valuable than a thousand days spent anywhere else!
Now think about the most incredible day you've had! Maybe it was a trip to an amusement park or a special Christmas as a child. It could've been tickets to a championship game – and your team won! Your wedding day or the day your child was born! Now take a thousand of those days and think about this: one day gathered with God's people in God's presence is better than a thousand of your best days!
That description should change the way we view our gathering with God's people! We need this spiritual discipline, and others need to see you in His “courts” for their own encouragement, too!
History tells us that the Christian Church has experienced surprising growth through trial and troubles. And we certainly are in that kind of time now!
In Communist China, Christian believers went underground, meeting in secret for many generations because Christianity was outlawed – but that’s when God brought tremendous growth to His Church! The blessings God brought to those who were desperate for fellowship and prayer with other believers are too great to count! That story of Christianity could be repeated in other hotspots such as Iran and Afghanistan... people desperate for fellowship with God’s people and hungry for His Word were fed! New believers came to experience faith in Christ in the midst of religious persecution.
Because we live in a culture with so many pleasures, so many comforts and conveniences, it’s easy to live as though there is no need of God. The real danger is that we don’t understand the urgency of our need for a Savior – while Christian cultures in other parts of the world understand it very clearly because their life is on the line for their faith, and they know that Jesus Christ makes a difference!
Today, the threat of communism in China to the Christian church is replaced by the threat of a pandemic. Covid-19 is real and it’s not to be ignored, and so each of you needs to be cautious and intentional in how to follow through with your spiritual formation. There are still ways for God’s people to connect with one another, understanding the value of faith-connections at a time when there are so many misleading imitations to real Christianity.
Stay connected! You can do that right now through live streaming of our worship if you have a smart phone or computer. You can join a weekly online study group; just contact the Church or myself. You can attend the Sunday evening Prayer Warriors group as friends gather to pray for the power of God’s Spirit in our lives, our Church, and our Community. And if you have other ideas, we want to help you connect! Please get off the sideline and get into the game for your spiritual formation!
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Steele Memorial United Methodist Church
P.O. Box 346
733 Shaw Street
Barboursville, WV 25504