National “Back to Church Sunday” was widely observed on Sunday, September 16, 2012. Earlier “Back to School” advertising specifically spelled out what every child needs to be in style. Quite a change since my first year in school.
There were many people who decided it was time to go back to church. Some years ago one family said, “Pastor, we will be gone every Sunday this summer. We have bought a new camper so we will be camping somewhere each weekend.” The rest of the story is that they never came back to church.
I was in church last Sunday with some who had not attended church recently. The pastor, Dr. Melissa Pratt, gaining a reputation as one of the finest preachers in the nation, began her sermon with, “This is a good place to be. I can give you several reasons why it is a good place. Here are just 10 of many.” On a scale from 10 to 1, with one being the best of all.
10. It’s a way to get a healthy glow without makeup.
9. There is nothing good on Sunday morning TV.
8. Goodness and mercy will follow you all the rest of your life – which are better than the IRS or FBI.
7. In this economy, it might be good to be hooked up with Someone who can feed a multitude with a few loaves and fishes.
6. You can walk down an aisle and approach an altar without having to gain a mother-in-law.
5. The Biblical admonition to “greet one another with a holy kiss” boosts your social life.
4. Hard times? Kids getting on your nerves? Free coffee and child care at church!
3. The sound of money dropping is the offering, not your stocks.
2. Candles and music… and it’s less expensive than a spa.
1. It’s just possible that you could meet God here and it could change your life forever!
Dr. Pratt suggested that we get back to two basic things: “(1) Letting God Guide Your life. (2) Letting God Guard Your Life.” An Old Testament passage was chosen for a superb exposition and application for our day. You may read it and think seriously about it: Exodus 13:17-18 and 21-22. Moses had been chosen by God to lead the Children of Israel out of bondage and through the wilderness toward the Promised Land.
What about our plans for life – yours and mine? We often establish our goals and develop our one-year, five-year and ten-year plans. Have you ever wondered if God had a plan for your life? If you look to Him, you may learn that He does have such a plan just for you. He said, “For I know the plans I have for you, … plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).
In our day of turmoil and confusion, it is easy to imagine that God has forsaken His people. It was a gift of confidence for all who believe, given through the prophet Isaiah, “The Lord will guide you continually” (58:11).
Bishop Fulton J. Sheen once said, “Civilization is always in danger when those who have never learned to obey are given the right to command.” We see the tragic evidence of that every day.
God also guards us as illustrated in Exodus 14:19-25. Also, consider that “… the Lord will go before you, the God of Israel will be your rear guard” (Isaiah 52:12). Pratt reminded her audience, “God has you covered! God has your back!”
I hope you will attend church every week. It could be the greatest experience of your life.
Dr. William “Bill” Ellis of Scott Depot is a weekly syndicated columnist who writes on a wide variety of subjects. Ellis has spent 25 years as a radio and television broadcaster and as a guest speaker and teacher on college campuses.