PSALMS 92:12-15: “Righteous people flourish like palm trees and grow tall like the cedars in Lebanon. They are planted in the LORD’s house. They blossom in our God’s courtyards. Even when they are old, they still bear fruit. They are always healthy and fresh. They make it known that the LORD is decent. He is my rock. He is never unfair.” (GW)
OBSERVATION: Does going to church really make a difference? This is a question that every family should really consider carefully. There is an old adage – “The family that worships together…stays together.” I am not simply talking about warming a seat on a Sunday morning. I am speaking of a family that truly worships together, prays together, and practices the presence of Jesus Christ as a natural part of their lives.
I grew up in a home that went to church every Sunday morning, prayed before every meal, and made Jesus the center of Christmas and Easter. As a youth I rebelled and did not want to go to church, I never read my Bible, and I seldom prayed. Yet, all those years of my childhood, by going to church, there were seeds of faith that had been sown into my life. I know that when I was struggling my parents were praying for me. The years that we had spent “planted” in the house of the Lord, and practicing the presence of Jesus Christ, would soon take root. My rebellion would sprout into repentance. My doubt into faith. What would have happened in my life if those seeds had not been planted?
As the Lord called me to give my life in service as a pastor, I have always held this close to my heart. I wanted our corporate worship to be more than just a service. I wanted it to be a time when families came together to truly worship. This meant that we would not get upset with the sounds of small children in the midst of our worship service. If small children do not learn to worship by watching their parents worship, how will they ever learn? And when you have an entire congregation of sincere worshippers gathered together, this time of corporate worship each week has a powerful and lasting impact upon a child, and a family!
Recently, as I was closing our time of worship and praise in prayer, my one and half year old great niece cried out from the back of the church – ‘AMEN”! The entire congregation erupted in laughter, but it was more than laughter – it was joyful celebration acknowledging that what they had witnessed was the most sincere and transparent expression of praise they had witnessed in a long time. Jesus said – “Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have perfected praise!”
I can remember my daughter learning how to enjoy the presence of the Lord each and every Sunday morning. We belonged to a church plant that met in a School auditorium. She would like to be in the back and twirl with delight as the music would play. The pastor was wise enough to understand that this was not a child simply playing around, but a child truly being caught up in the presence of the Lord. I would be very careful to make sure that there was no disruption or distraction for anyone else, and that my daughter could really express herself in worship. To this day, as a Senior in College, she continues to be one who loves to worship the Lord with all her heart.
Over the years I have seen and witnessed the marriages and families that have truly worshipped together, regularly assembling with the saints in church, and practicing the presence of Jesus Christ in their homes. And may I tell you this – it truly does make a difference! Marriages make it through the difficult times of life. Children grow up to be youth who continue to honor and serve the Lord. A family of faith is the fertile ground for the fruit of the Spirit to be planted and cultivated in the hearts and lives of all – both young and old. The Psalmist was emphatic as he wrote about the blessing of the righteous – “They are planted in the Lord’s house.”
Lord, thank You for the privilege of being planted in a loving and sincere family of faith! As every thing in this life is competing for the time of coming together as a family to worship with my greater family of faith, may I guard and protect this time of worship each week. May I not only go to church each week, but grant me the grace to be an active part of the life and ministry of the church. May my life be a living example of faith and worship to my children, my children’s children, and generations to come!
In Jesus Name!