Wednesday, May 4, 2011

What are you doing here?

This past weekend we were in Virginia and planned ahead of time to go to an Easter Sunrise Service. When we got to the place where the service was being held, a lot of the people looked at us strange. Like, “why are you here?” Even though we were supposed to be worshipping with other Christians on a special Holy holiday, they made us still feel like outsiders. Only 2 people actually spoke to us. Neither one of them was the pastor of a local church that was holding the service. May God bless those two.
Sometimes we wonder why our churches don’t grow. People visit, and no matter how they might be dressed, or you may not recognize them from the surrounding area, do you look at them like, “what are you doing here?”
Do you take any time to go up to them and introduce yourself and acknowledge them, or do you simply wonder why they never come to another service? I can tell you why!
When people make you feel like that, you have no reason to go back to the church. Your church gets labeled as being full of hypocrites because you are not friendly, it doesn’t matter if you are shy or scared to approach new people. It’s how you are perceived.
People wander into a bar, and chances are someone will start up a conversation. The bartender will ask them what they want to drink. And usually someone who is seated at the bar near where they are standing will start up a conversation.
So if partiers and drinkers can be friendly, and the church is unfriendly, why do you think the bars are full and the churches are empty?
People do not come to church anymore out of habit or respect to God. Most of them could care less about God. And why should they? When they go to church, all they will see is people standing and fidgeting during singing and prayers, acting like they are bored to death. Then some people even start to nod off during the sermon.
Bars have dancing. Bars have music. People will ask you to dance with them. Sometimes they may even get you to sing at a bar, especially if there is karaoke. So why go somewhere once a week where the atmosphere is different? Bland, boring, and anyone can tell that everyone in the place (and sometimes the pastor/priest) would rather be somewhere else.
We have got to get back to worship. We have got to include people in our worship. You see that someone is obviously struggling with something, and is sitting all alone. Get your rear end off of the seat and go sit by them, or stand by them if that is the case. Take their hand and hold it. Put your arm around their shoulder, and let them lean on you and cry if they need to. START PRAYING FOR THAT PERSON!!! It doesn’t matter what their trouble is. It doesn’t matter if they NEVER TELL YOU what their trouble is. Start praying. Ask for the Holy Spirit to come and give them peace. Beg God’s mercy upon them and whatever situation is going on in their lives. PRAY FOR THAT PERSON! THEIR FAMILY! THEIR JOB! THEIR HOME! COVER ALL OF THE BASES!
BE AN EXAMPLE!   Let other people see what you are doing, and they will know that this is a church that cares, and hopefully they will come to know that you serve a God that cares. Don’t wait for later. Do it then. It won’t be disruptive if they are silently weeping on your shoulder while you lift up silent prayers to Jesus.
If you see someone sitting by theirselves, go sit with them. It doesn't matter if they are there for the first time or the one-thousandth time. Go let them know that someone cares! God cares! And I would hope that you do too!
Just before Jesus was captured by the Romans and crucified, He was in the garden praying to His Father. He had asked the disciples to pray with him, but they fell asleep, maybe even figuring that He could handle it on His own.
Are we going to be like the disciples? Are we going to leave someone alone to bear the burden and anguish that they are going through, or are about to go through?
Let’s stand up and stand with our fellow brethren. Let’s start to be available to our brothers and sisters and anyone else who is around us. The world is hurting bad enough without Christians adding any more hurt to anyone else, especially in our churches.

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