Why the Church is Important

I grew up in the church and have served in the local church since my junior year in college, so it may seem overly obvious that I think the church is important.  There is an interesting “rub” when you are a part of the church as a member and also a part of the church as “paid staff.”  While you are a member, it’s also your job to be there, but that’s perhaps another discussion. Yesterday’s worship experience reminded my why the church is important.

The very quick back story is that a couple of weeks ago my wife and I took vacation and had a Sunday off. We enjoyed attending another church in our area and simply being participants in the service rather than leading.  As with everyone else I’m sure, the first week back from vacation is the “re-entry period.”  Catching up on emails and phone calls, getting back into groove of the work schedule and moving out of vacation mode.  So, this Sunday was my first Sunday back.  It was a great reminder why the church is important.

As we sang together, I was struck by the fact that I was worshiping with people I know – my church family and friends.  I know some of the challenges we have faced and how God has been faithful to us.  Even though we are broken people and dinged up a little (or a lot) by our life experiences, we stand together as His church and worship.  It’s not because of our goodness, but His grace.  Similar to what I wrote a couple of months back, I was struck again by the fact the God accepts us and wants us to worship Him.

During the message, the scripture was not just a challenge to individual followers, but to the church as a whole. While each of us is responsible for our personal development and growth, there is also the reality that we are in this together and God calls the church as a body to be just that – His body.  One person can’t be the church on his/her own.  We are in it together.

There are some who criticize the church and we do have our flaws, but yesterday was a good reminder to me that the church really is important.  I need the time together with my church family to worship, study and be reminded of what we are called to do and be.

Days With Jesus review

I was given the opportunity by author Jim Jackson to review his book Days with Jesus.  It is a book designed to help the reader understand the life and times of Jesus through the eyes of John.

Each day begins with a passage of scripture from the Gospel of John.  After reading the selection, Jackson then offers a brief story that introduces the theme of that day’s passage and then gives some devotional thoughts and teaching, which are followed up by questions the reader can answer to apply the truths from that day’s reading.

Along with the book, the website Days with Jesus offers other resources including videos shot on location in Israel, a blog page and a devotional page.  I watched a few of the videos and thought they added a nice visual touch to the readings in the book.

As far as the book, I thought Jackson’s writing style made the material easy to read and understandable.  The stories that were used at the beginning of each chapter introduced the topic well.  Many of those stories are from Jackson’s life and personal experience and it helps the reader relate to the subject matter.  He used a good mix of humor throughout the chapters.

Since Jesus lived among and spoke to a group of people who lived under Old Testament guidelines, it would be important for the reader to understand things like Passover, what a Pharisee was and what it meant for the Jews to live under Roman rule.  Jackson did a good job of providing background information without boring those who already understand that context and also not speaking over the heads of those who don’t.  A section in the back of the book called For Your Information provides additional information for those who would desire it.

As one who serves in youth ministry in the local church,I think  Days with Jesus would be a  good tool for students who are seeking a devotional resource or for a small group who desires to study the life of Jesus together.

If you are looking for a study of Jesus, looking for something different for your devotional time or wondering what to add to your reading list, pick up Days with Jesus.

Here is one of the videos from the website.  Jackson calls them docuvotionals.