Do you take your faith seriously?  I don’t mean, “Yeah, sure I do.”  I mean, “YES LORD!!  AMEN & AMEN!!!”  Do you attend church on as many Sunday’s as you are able?  Or do you skip because the pastor is at a conference (the shepherd is away, so the sheep will play)?  Do you read your Bible every day, or at least most?  Or is it that you skip most days, and read it occasionally?  Do you take time to pray every day? Or do you pray at mealtimes…when you remember?  What does Christianity mean to you?

I was in church this morning, half full.  Perhaps because our pastor was gone, or perhaps because it is summer and it is much more enticing to be at the lake with a fishing pole or water skis.  During the service, I noticed that at least 3 cell phones went off.  And one adult person was using their smart phone for something other than reading an online version of the Bible.  The service is only an hour long.  Can God ask that much time of us?  Shouldn’t it be possible to sit through a one-hour church service without having to answer a cell phone or surf the web?  If church is not important enough to give your undivided attention to, then why attend?  I’m not perfect.  I have skipped church because it is inconvenient, or I am tired.  I have had Sunday mornings when my mind wandered to so many places during that one hour that I would have needed a map to find my way back home.  But I wonder, what does this kind of behavior say about the value I put on my faith, and on what Jesus did for me?  Shouldn’t we all be more than willing, eager to go to church to worship and praise the one, true, living God?  Shouldn’t we yearn to delve into the Scriptures and devour whatever message the Holy Spirit delivers through the pastor?

Speaking of the Scriptures, I see a lot of people being spoon-fed at church.  There are so few people who bring their Bibles to church anymore.  Why?  Too lazy to carry it?  Is it forgotten because it is so seldom opened during the week?  Is it because the pastor always puts the words up on the screen anyway?  Let me ask you something…what if he is putting up the wrong words?  What if he is taking the verses out of context?  Just a thought.

There are a lot of reasons to bring your own Bible to church.  One is to test the words of the pastor. Recently I was listening to a nationally known pastor speak.  He is a true man of God, and I have a great deal of respect for him.  But, as I was following along with his message in my own Bible, I realized that he had taken the verse out of context.  He was preaching a true message, but the verse he was using had nothing to do with what he was saying.  This is bound to happen.  The scary thing is that sometimes it is done intentionally, and a congregation is led astray by meanings twisted and warped to stress a particular agenda.  If we believers do not have our Bibles in front of us, how will we know?  We must be on guard at all times.  Peter warns us of this in 2 Peter 2:1 – There used to be false prophets among God’s people, just as you will have some false teachers in your group.  They will secretly teach things that are wrong–teachings that will cause people to be lost.  They will even refuse to accept the Master, Jesus, who bought their freedom.  So they will bring quick ruin on themselves.”

False teaching aside, how can we learn from the Bible if we do not study it?  I don’t know about you, but when I was in school and had a test coming up, I hit the books.  If I needed to rely just on my memory of the lectures, I would have been a straight F student!!  I sat down with my notes, and my text books and read.  I poured over the words.  I jotted notes.  And re-read what I had read before.  The same is true of studying the Bible.  Even in church, you can be studying.  Look at it as school.  A college class that had a fee to attend.  You didn’t pay it, but Jesus did, and it was a high price.  Don’t waist the opportunity to learn!  Pour over the Bible passage that the pastor is preaching from.  Read the verses before and after.  Write notes in the margins.  Underline.  Highlight.  Re-read.  Make that time worth the effort it took to get out of bed that morning.  Get down to business in church.  Come to worship.  Come to praise.  Come to learn!!

Take your faith seriously, Jesus did.  He died for your faith.  Dig in.  Get down to business.  Stop the child’s play.  It is time to grow up, and stand firmly on the promises of God, and the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Jesus is coming again soon.  Would you rather be caught studying His Word or reading a text?

Come Lord Jesus, come!!!