Pulpit Reflections by Rev. Joe Villalobos It seems like every place you go you find yourself in a crowd. Our society likes to do things where there are a lot of people. We go to football games and join in with the other fans cheering our team on to hopeful victory. If you attend a basketball game, there we are again jumping up and down as the excitement on the court intensifies.
Have you ever been to a mall where there was no one there? I don't think so. Who in their right mind would want to be at a mall on Christmas Eve at noon?
In our desire to find pleasure in our lives we seem to be attracted to crowds. How about the quiet get-a-way into the mountains or camping along your favorite river? If you know of such a place let me know because everywhere I've been there are crowds. We may complain about the crowd but for some reason it makes us feel better that there are others who are in the same situation sharing in a time of desired purpose and pleasure.
There is a place where I believe it would do us well to be in a crowd. A place that was intended to be filled with people who were on a definite mission. A place where everyone was happy to see one another and the excitement was no less exciting than rooting your favorite sports team on to victory. Would you be surprised to find out that such a place was your local church of preference? It seems that churches throughout our nation are being less occupied than at other times in our nation's history.
Do you remember when there was a time when the family got up on a Sunday morning, had breakfast, then jumped into the car and pulled up to church? Church attendance was something that was very important to most families.
Times have sure changed in a few short years. In the book of Hebrews 10:25 it says: "not forsaking the assembling together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much more as you see the Day approaching. The communion of the people in church service is a great help and privilege. When we gather together in the house of the Lord we are inviting a time of great celebration and union with our God."
When moms and dads throughout our nation are not leading the way to church on Sunday mornings they are sending a message to their children. What they are saying is that church attendance is not important. We should not look at the church as a place to visit only when there is a wedding or a death. If we as a nation would return to the house of God we would find fewer social problems existing and people living at a higher level of peace and joy.
There are too many churches here in Vermillion that have empty seats. Let's return back to our religious roots and once again fill the churches that await us. You may have your reasons for not attending a weekly church service, and the excuses are innumerable, but if you really look at all the reasons why you should be there you will find out those reasons will benefit you most.
Church is not an end in itself but a means to an end. If you have not had a good experience in church in the past for whatever reason don't give up. Why not go on a journey and find a fellowship that preaches the Word of God in truth and experience a time of worship that brings Christian energy back into your life?
There are many good churches in Vermillion. Why not do yourself and your family a favor and on Sunday morning get up and have breakfast together, hop in the car and pull into a church parking lot and stride into the church and see how refreshing it is to join with others in worship before God?
Whenever you lose something you are always so very glad when you are able to reclaim it. Experience the same feeling as you return to Sunday morning worship and see what the Lord can do for you. You will never be the same.
In closing I would like to leave you with some Scripture that I hope will challenge you and encourage you to be faithful to the house of the Lord.
Psalm 26:8 � "Lord, I have loved the habitation of Your house, and the place where your glory dwells."
Psalm 27:4-5 � "One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in His temple. For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; in the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock."
Psalm 122:1 � "I was glad when they said to me, 'Let us go into the house of the Lord.' "