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Back to Church

Recently I was away from the pulpit of New Durham Chapel for five weeks. Each Sunday that I was away I was able to enjoy part or all of the services that were going on at the church through our streaming ministry. I watched the service three times on the church’s website, one time on our YouTube channel, and one time going back to northern Michigan from the Detroit airport with my grandson driving, I found the service live on the church’s Facebook page. I watched two services in Michigan, one on a roadway in Pennsylvania, one on a Sunday in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, and then finally Debbie and I watched the service from up at Lake George, NY. I am truly grateful and thankful for all of those who have made this a very viable ministry outreach and have contributed in continuing to reach out to people who are not able to be at church. But having said that I must also observe that watching online is not the same as being at the service. Recently a long-time friend of mine, Harry (whom I was best man at his wedding way back in 1977), posted on Facebook some songs from a Lionel Ritchie concert that he had attended. Can I suggest to you that the videos of the songs that were posted couldn’t possibly capture the experience that Harry, his wife, and friends were having at the concert? Something is lost in the medium.

I believe there is a powerful presence of the Lord that is found in community worship. I know for some, as a result of health concerns and physical needs, worshiping in a live service is not the best option. But I believe for others it’s become just a matter of convenience, it’s just easier to stay home and watch from home. I know from my own experience those five weeks it’s much easier to be distracted and to be multitasking even while you’re taking part in the worship service. Worshiping the Lord should be a time of focusing our energy and time on Him and listening for His voice to speak into our hearts. I would suggest that it’s much more difficult to do in an isolated setting. I think we also miss the blessing of interacting with the body of Christ when we’re not in a public worship service. When we show up and share in the worship experience, many times we might end up being a blessing to someone who really needed to see us. I appreciate what Tracy was sharing on Sunday when she stated, “Get up and come to church because you want to be the “light” to those around you”.

I also think there’s great truth in what the writer of Hebrews wrote nearly 2000 years ago when he stated, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching,” (Heb.10:25 NIV). I think it’s interesting that in this NIV translation, they choose to capitalize the word “Day”. That indicates they are referring to the day of the Lord and the Lord’s return. I don’t know about you, but it seems to me there are some pretty strong signs of the fact that the coming of the Lord is at hand. Just read 2 Timothy 3:1 – 5 and see if that doesn’t sound exactly like the day and age that we are living in. As we draw closer to the day of the Lord’s return we can be assured of many more spiritual struggles and that even possible times of persecution await us. The anti-God forces in our world have gained great authority and momentum and we need to be encouraging and ministering to one another, not looking for excuses to not be in God’s house.

This week I’ve used the opportunity of “Back to Church Sunday” to invite some of my friends from the gym to join us for worship. I also want to take the opportunity to invite all of you who are the readers of this blog to join us as we celebrate the Lord’s Day this coming Sunday. Also please be reminded that we will be serving lunch afterward and we hope that you can plan to come and stay and fellowship and be a blessing to me and everyone else who will be glad to see you! See you on Sunday, Lord willing.

In the King’s Service,

Pastor Rich Sivo

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