Observing the Sabbath- Wednesday, October 27, 2004
Creating a New Hope huh D?
You already know!! :)
I’m glad you post those Bible lessons every week, I really enjoy them.
Do you go to church?
Naww, I listen to different gospel shows on the radio or on the TV from time to time, but I don’t go to church.
I dunno..a combination of things. Sundays are normally the only day I get to sleep in and really get some rest, and then by the time I wake up and get something to eat, it’s time to watch football. Ya feel me?
Yeah, I feel ya…as a matter of fact that used to be my routine every Sunday.
Really?? The way you write, I thought you were all ‘Mr. Church’ and thangs!!
(laughing) ‘Mr. Church’?
Why are you laughing??
I’m laughing because this is another prime example of how God will grab your heart and change the whole way you think and behave when you step out there on faith. From the time when I was a little boy, my parents and grandparents MADE me go to church, it was never something I wanted to do for myself.
Yeah..Sunday mornings always had a way to ‘bring out the devil’ in me. I always just wanted to do whatever it is I wanted to do, so having to go to church and sit down and be quiet and LISTEN to the service taught me patience and obedience.
What do you mean by ‘bring out the devil’??
I dunno, it seemed every Sunday morning I was always tired or in a grumpy mood. I never wanted to get cleaned up and wear those uncomfortable ‘church clothes’. I always just wanted to sleep in, watch cartoons or just go play. But going to church regularly allowed me to learn and grow with a religious discipline to my life. Looking back on it now, if I didn’t have the structure of religious worship in my life…I would be a lot different person right now.
I guess that’s what the Bible means when it says, ‘Train up a child in the way that they should go..’
Unn huhh..(smiling) you know what Word says!
See..you didn’t think I knew that Scripture huh??
No, that doesn’t surprise me..I know your mama trained you up right!
I’m down with God, I’m just not with all these phony church folks and stuff. Seems like everytime I go to church, I see something throwed off and it makes me reluctant to go, because I never feel like the people there are really sincere in their worship..most of them just want to be seen and most of the preachers don’t seem to care about saving souls or preaching the Word of the Lord, they just want my money.
Sounds like you need to move around then..and start checking out different church services until you find one that you feel comfortable joining in fellowship.
It’s not just that either tho D…there’s some things in my life I’m really not ready to put behind me and I don’t want to go in the church acting all holy holy, and then when I come out of the church, I’m still doing all the things I was doing before. I don’t want to be a hypocrite about it.
So you’re going to wait until you ‘get right’ before you start going to church??
Yeah..I guess you can say that.
But you’re not going to be able to ‘get right’ by yourself, you’re going to need the Lord’s help to strengthen you and guide you. And when you start fellowshipping and worshipping and learning more about the Lord, that’s when you start seeing the change in your heart. You’re supposed to come as you are mane, God will take care of everything else.
Maybe I’ll start going after football season…
They have a lot of churches with early morning worship service, you can be out before football starts.
But I like to sleep late on Sunday’s.
They have a lot of churches with service on Saturday evenings too.
I thought Sunday was the day we were supposed to go to church??
Well..that depends who you ask. Most Protestants, like Baptist folks, observe their Sabbath on Sunday’s to honor Christ’s resurrection. But the Sabbath was originally observed on Saturday, which is the 7th day of the week and a lot of folks still worship on Saturdays. Jews, Muslims and Christians.
Which one is right then? Saturday or Sunday?
Well..if you want to be ‘technical’ about it, Saturday IS the 7th day that God rested on after the Creation, but I don’t think it’s something to start a war over or anything. As long as you take that time and observe the Sabbath on ANY day, then you’re showing your religious commitment towards worshipping God.
What happened to you though? You used to be one of those football followers every Sunday too!
I still watch football on Sundays, but I make the effort to get up and go to church and learn in Sunday school every Sunday first.
What made you start going back to church?
My kids. I started noticing how quickly they were growing up and I knew how much the Lord had strengthened me from all the times my parents and grandparents made me and my sister and cousin go to church every Sunday. And when I started realizing that if it wasn’t for that religious structure that going to church gave me, I wouldn’t have been nearly equipped to handle a lot of the pressures that the world has put on me. I didn’t want my kids to miss out on that blessing, so my wife and I re-committed our lives toward training our children in the Lord. It’s the biggest grip we can give them.
See..I don’t have any kids..so I don’t have that same motivation to go.
No..it’s different for everybody. But rest assured, you WILL reach that point in your life when you get tired and you’ll start feeling restless and that’s when you’ll know that God is trying to tell you something.
D’mn D…you making a n’ga feel like he gotta change some thangs.
All I know is that the longer you stay away from worshipping the Lord, the harder it is to go back in to the house of the Lord. All you have to do is make that first step towards Him. When you seek God diligently in worship and in truth, He will meet you more than halfway…but it’s still on you to DO it. Everybody wants God’s blessings, but so few are willing to make sacrifices and SERVE Him.
I hear ya mane..I guess that’s just something I need to pray on.
You and me both.
As most people that know me can tell you, I’ve always been a bit on the buckwild side, I always just wanted to clown like you see me doing in this picture as me, my sister and my cousin Peaches (wazzup El Dogg! :) were on our way to church with my grandmother in Arkansas. I have never been one to willingly abide to a religious structure or format. I went to church because my parents and grandparents MADE me go. I didn’t want to worship, I always just wanted to have fun and church was never fun to me. It seemed like a waste of a perfectly good weekend day, that could be better spent enjoying life, not sitting up in some ol stuffy church. The good thing is that I DID go every Sunday and the lessons I learned in church stuck with me and gave me an edge that a lot of my playmates and friends who never went to church did not have. It’s an edge of being trained in the Word of God that allowed me to always know the difference between right and wrong. I didn’t always CHOOSE to do right, but growing up with a religious structure taught me a discipline that has paid immeasurable dividends throughout my life.
The wild part is, if I had never had children of my own or gotten married, chances are high that I would still be ‘out there’ doing whatever it is my heart contented me to do. But once I realized that it was my responsibility to prepare my children for this world, I knew that I had to make sure they had a good foundation to build their relationship with the Lord. Don’t get me wrong though, I still don’t enjoy structure. Sometimes when I sit in church even today, my mind drifts away to other things during the service or I start getting fidgety and looking at the clock, ready to go home and watch football or golf or whatever. I’m not into the fashion statements or those folks who want everybody to know how much money they gave to the Lord every Sunday, but I do enjoy listening to the Word of the Lord. That meat..that solid food, I crave it constantly. Fortunately, with cable TV and radio, we can tune into thousands of services throughout the world. Listen to some Tony Evans or some T.D. Jakes, check in on some Joel Osteen or some David Jeremiah. But as good as these virtual ministers are, it’s still not the same as entering the house of the Lord, praising God and fellowshipping with other Believers.
My parents used to remind me from time to time,
'Son..you need to make some time for the Lord. When you know He’s been good to you, you need to thank Him and praise Him for all He has done for you.’
Usually when this topic came up, I would avoid it, because I wasn’t trying to hear that, I still wanted to keep all of my time for me. But being a father made me step outside of my comfort zone and re-committ myself toward leading my family along God’s path. You’ll just reach a point where you know that God expects all of His children to be obedient and David laid it out for a lot of fathers to learn from, ‘As for me and my house, we shall serve the Lord.’
I still have a ways to go in increasing my worship commitment. There’s still a large part of me that doesn’t like a lot of the hypocrisies that are so prevalent in the church today. But I know I don’t go to church for the people, I go to praise the Lord..everything else is just people doing what THEY do, I know I can’t let throwed off folks deter me from my walk with the Lord.
The day after Uncle Elga’s funeral, I drove to Port Arthur to attend a revival at my uncle’s church.
“You betta get down here to hear this if you can nephew..this n’ga preaching the revival is bad”.
Now since this preacher was a man more than threescore and ten, he was able to lay one of those heavy real life stories on us that will make you snap to attention. He spoke of his days in college as a young man at Bethune-Cookman in Florida back in the early 50’s. And his parents lived about 40 miles from the campus, so every weekend he could, he would catch the bus and go home, ‘cuz it ain’t nothing like eating at mama’s table.’
One day he and some friends were catching the bus to their hometown, but they were running a bit late. By the time they reached the bus stop, the bus was set to go. But as they ran up to the door, right when they got to it, the (white) driver closed the door in their faces. And when they started to bang on the door, he yelled out to them,
You niggers get back!!
And after that he gave them a sneer and drove off. The problem was that there was only one bus that ran every day, so this meant they would miss a whole day of being at home, so of course their remarks towards that white bus driver on their way back to their dorm room wasn’t very ‘Christian’, if you know what I mean. So the next day, they made sure to arrive before the scheduled bus time, and on their way they noticed the early morning newspaper headlines...
EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT!! BUS CRASHES AND KILLS EVERYONE ON BOARD!!
There were some powerful emotions that went through their souls when they saw that this was the same bus that denied them access just the day before. Imagine that..a racist redneck had saved their lives! Some folks may call it weird or ‘spooky’. Some call it providence. Christians call it Amazing Grace. The key point he made though, was that although we all have a common misery in which we share..black folks..poor folks, lonely folks, whatever..we should all remember to thank God NO MATTER WHAT. Because we never know how God is working toward His purpose. Sometimes flat tires are meant to save you from a car wreck, or obnoxious people that cut you off are meant to shield you from a larger dilemma, we never know. But no matter what happens, we need to thank God for it, for we KNOW that ALL things work together for good for those who love God; for those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will direct your path ya’ll…FO-REAL!!