From the time I was a little boy, I have loved going to church. This is not an accident. My parents loved going to church, and they instilled in my sister and I a love for going to the house of God. I love the music in the church. I love the children’s program in the church. I loved being a teenager in the church. I loved getting married in the church. I loved getting ordained in the church. I loved being a pastor in the church. I love being sent out from the church to reach the Deaf world.
I guess I’m trying to say that I have loved everything about the church. Before you become too critical of me, I am well aware that there are problems in every church I have ever attended. I also know that those problems are there because people just like me attend there. No one attending church is without flaws, so the church will not be perfect, but it is the institution that Jesus Christ established (Matthew 16:18).
Jesus established this place for we believers to go for many reasons: it is a place for us to focus our attention on God and to learn more about Him. It is a place to go for encouragement and to be challenged. It is a place to establish friendships that are genuine and that will be there for you when you need it the most. The church is a great place to raise your children. It provides spiritual training and a place to develop a love for God and His Word.
Today I read, “LORD, I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the place where thine honor dwelleth” (Psalm 26:8). I just heard the testimony of a couple from our church in which the wife testified that she had not heard the world “salvation” until she was in her early twenties. When I heard that statement, a tear formed in the corner of my eye. It broke my heart that this young woman, who had a heart to do right, and wanted to please God; had to wait until she was that age to hear the word salvation.
I agree with David … “I have loved the habitation of Thy hours, and the place where Thine honor dwelleth.” I will be eternally grateful for parents who sacrificed for us to be in the house of God every week of our lives (including when we were on vacation). I am so thankful that they made going to church a priority in our home. I had no choice as a child and teenager. Now that I have the choice, I wouldn’t miss church for anything. I don’t want to miss anything that God might teach me through the Bible study time or the preaching times. I don’t want to miss the music that is done either. God ministers to my heart in the church, and I love it!