Missing Church

missing-church

I John 2:28-29 (NLT) And now, dear children, remain in fellowship with Christ so that when he returns, you will be full of courage and not shrink back from him in shame. Since we know that Christ is righteous, we also know that all who do what is right are God’s children.

I will be missing church today. After a fun-filled girl’s weekend, I am serenaded by wiped out sleeping people this morning. In just a little while they will begin to stumble out of bed and pack up to head back home. Meanwhile at home, everyone is preparing to head to the building called church and praise our Savior. Part of this weekend included worshipping Jesus in an open stadium under a starry sky. I believe that could be considered “church”, too. Just because it is not an organized event with a published schedule and streamlined program doesn’t make it any more “church”.

We are the church. Collectively and corporately and more importantly individually – we are the Body of Christ being knit together in His Love, Mercy and Grace. It is hard to see this important truth when caught in the rigors of routine. This morning I miss my church. I would love to be there serving and worshipping with my husband, family, friends, acquaintances and even the visitors who may wander in. It is possible and entirely likely that the Holy Spirit will meet them there even though I am not. So I think I will have church here in the quiet of the morning, I can miss my church family but I don’t have to miss my church.

Genesis 5:23-24 (NLT) Enoch lived 365 years, walking in close fellowship with God. Then one day he disappeared, because God took him.

Enoch was the son of Jared (Genesis 5:19–21), the father of Methuselah, and the great grandfather of Noah. Not very much is written about Enoch, yet what little there is points to a tremendous man of faith who lived in complete unity with God. The kind of unity that Jesus prayed for in John 17. Living 365 years, one might think there might be more details of his life shared with us. Or maybe God wanted to shine a spotlight on the most important component of our religion. It is a true relationship with Jesus Christ. United with His Will, Word and Way living on purpose so much in fact that the world becomes dead to us. It is the point when all we want, need and desire is to be one with the Lord.

Hebrews 11:5-6 (NLT) It was by faith that Enoch was taken up to heaven without dying—“he disappeared, because God took him.” For before he was taken up, he was known as a person who pleased God. And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.

Ironically, Enoch was in the same situation that you and I are. He knew of the Messiah and that He was coming but did not live when Jesus lived. He did not hear of His Birth or witness His Death, but Enoch had faith. So much so in fact that he was “taken up to heaven without dying.” He simply disappeared because God swept him away. I love the lost feeling in worship. When we begin to praise the Lord until every weight and worry melts off our shoulders so we can lift our hands. The moment bondage ends with chains falling from us and our heart captivated with lesser things is finally free to commune with our Savior again. God made it clear from the beginning in the cool breezes of the garden that His Intent was to live with us, be with us, walk and talk with us. God loves us.

Micah 6:8 (NLT) No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.

It is easy sometimes to get lost in this life. We are presented the opportunity to worry, stress and become anxious with mounting responsibility, peer pressure to perform, and a church lost in religion that sometimes forgets it is all about a true relationship with Jesus Christ from beginning to end. Everyone will have a grave marker with a date. The date usually has a little hyphen between the day that we enter this world and the one God chose for us to leave it. This is the brevity of life. It is our opportunity to take our faith and give it to the Lord. Perhaps, that is why God made it so simple and the enemy uses its simplicity to make us stumble right over it. We are to do what is right. We are to love mercy. We are to walk humbly with God. That’s it. Coming back to the heart of worship is the realization that we make more out of worshipping the Lord than what it should be. We give Him everything we can yet fail to give the Lord our heart, surrender our way to take up our cross and follow Him. Just to walk with Jesus – day by day and moment by moment.

Amos 3:3 (NLT) Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction?

My girlfriend and I took four girls to Walt Disney World. Before leaving on the trip, we bought matching t-shirts with monogrammed Mickey Mouse ears on the front and #Disney Squad on the back. It really was just a cute gesture in the beginning. I discovered it to a great tool in the park which was exceptionally crowded. I could easily pick out the girls in the midst of large groups of people. It unified our little “squad”. Throughout the day, we would discuss where to head to next and what each person would like to do or see. It was important that we agree and walk together so no one became lost along the way.

Without agreeing on the direction two people cannot walk together and most certainly one must yield their way. God is perfect. He does not lie or change His Mind. Once He said it, He does it and it is complete whether manifested in our life or not – it is finished. With this in mind, Enoch yielded his life completely to the Lord. He lived in total and complete agreement with the Lord. This included living a life of true religion which is godliness, righteousness and self-control.

Here are some thoughts from Matthew Henry’s commentary on Genesis 5:23-24. These are qualities and characteristics that led Enoch straight into Heaven never to experience the sting of death:

  • Walked with God setting God before self.
  • Acted as though God was always present.
  • Lived in communion with God in both ordinances and providences.
    • Ordinance – He obeyed God’s Authoritative Law.
    • Providence – He lived in God’s Divine Care and Direction.
  • Made God’s Word the rule.
  • Made God’s Glory the end.
  • Constant care and endeavor in all things to please God.
  • Did not want to offend the Lord.
  • Complied with God’s Will.
  • Concurred with God’s Design.
  • Worked with God.
  • Followed the Lord always.

If I want to experience a life like Enoch, I must follow his example. It is a good one. To be honest, sometimes I forget that the excellence and perfection in my life are Jesus Christ and nothing I can do or say. I must simply, humbly, soberly and completely follow Jesus to be with Him forever. Selah.

Galatians 2:20-21 (NLT) My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.

Enoch lived true religion. He also lived a new religion. Enoch was entirely dead to this world. Enoch did not want to chase God or even follow Him at a distance. No, this man wanted to walk right beside Him. The Lord cannot stand next to me in my sin not yet covered by grace or His Goodness will consume it. The Light must overtake the darkness by rule so it means that I can only pursue God until I completely repent with a heart intent on not sinning for the love of my Savior. Enoch walked without earthly ties. He did not “get caught up in civilian affairs” but was a man on a mission to be with His God. He lived his residency in heaven while still on this earth. Lord, teach me to live a new religion just like Enoch did.

I Peter 2:9-12 (NLT)  But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. “Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people. Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy.” Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls. Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world.

Enoch lived true religion. He lived a new religion. Enoch also lived a “do” religion. He was a priest by profession. In most legacy passages in the Bible, it simply states the individual “lived” but by divine inspiration, Enoch’s legacy passage says, “walked with God.” God was the business of Enoch as a priest. You and I are part of a royal priesthood thanks to Jesus Christ so we are called to the same business. Christ is our business. Salvation is our business plan built to prosper our life by faith. Are we working the plan correctly or failing miserably? It is question of faith nothing more or less. Enoch lived as a “temporary resident and foreigner” in this world completely consumed by His Creator’s Love. Do I live that way?

Our life should give evidence of the joy and support experienced in Jesus Christ. This satisfaction that emanates from our life can only be reflected when the Lord is glorified in and through our walk with Him. Without a true commitment and consistent relationship with Jesus Christ including repentance, surrender, submission and humility, we will never come close to walking with God as Enoch did. Our life is a continual process of producing spiritual fruit such as love, joy, kindness, goodness, kindness, patience, forgiveness, and self-control. I cannot make these characteristics consistent in my life only the Lord can. His Spirit lives in me and thrives all the more in His Presence.

John 4:24 (NLT) For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”

Today I am missing church – the building I go to and the people that fill it. I am not missing church completely. God is a Spirit. His Presence is with me always. His Spirit lives inside of me. I have everything I need to worship the Lord every day, all day and all by myself. If I want to live like Enoch and experience the same kind of communion and fellowship that he had with the Lord, then I should probably do the things he did. I need a true religion that is based solely on walking WITH my God. I need a new religion not bent on rules and regulations but rather one that brings Heaven to earth along with all the miracles, signs and wonders that reflect the Glory of God in my life. Finally, I must live a “do” religion always representing the royal priesthood I am a part of with commitment, consistency and consecrating my life to Jesus one day at a time.

Psalm 15:1-2 (NLT) Who may worship in your sanctuary, Lord? Who may enter your presence on your holy hill. Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right, speaking the truth from sincere hearts.

 

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