He raises up the lowly from the dust; from the dunghill he lifts up the poor to seat them with princes, with the princes of his own people.
Why do we do certain things in life? We go to school to get an education. We go to work to make money. We go to the gym to improve our health. We go to the mall to shop for clothes and the grocery store to buy food. We go to parks, games, and the theater for fun.
But church? Why come here? Why get up early on one of our few off-days? Why go through the hassle of dressing up and the getting ready? Why go to the trouble of finding a parking space nearby? Why go to church?
If weâ€™ve ever found ourselves wondering about that little question, weâ€™re not alone. Surveys tell us that as many as 79% of Americans identify themselves as Christians, yet only 20% of Americans attend church regularly. I guess some people look at going to church as a botherâ€”an unnecessary burden to be avoided or only a place for baptisms and funerals. Others see it as sort of like punching a spiritual clock or earning brownie points with their Maker.
But to someone who understands church and what itâ€™s really all about, going to church can be the most spiritually fulfilling, inspiring thing we do all week. It lifts us up higher if we are high and helps us stand if we are down.
The Book of Acts tells the story of how the church got started. Fifty days after Jesus rose from the dead, he sent the Holy Spirit to empower his disciples. They went out and began preaching Jesusâ€”the only way who gave us the Good News. Millions listened, thousands believed. Then at the end of Acts 2, we find a short snapshot of what life was like in the early church: All the believers devoted themselves to the apostlesâ€™ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals, and to prayerâ€¦ And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they hadâ€¦ And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved. I would love to be in a church like this! Wouldnâ€™t you?
Churches are springing up. There is a longing. In every place, in small broken down and big fancy buildings people are being lifted up. God is on the move for those who say yes to Jesus â€“ who invest the time to believe the promises of the All Powerful God. Church is the community of God â€“ where we are pulled up higher, where we will do justice, experience victory, and find true peace. Church isnâ€™t a destination; itâ€™s something we become. When we understand what it means to be the Church, we discover our lifeâ€™s true purposeâ€”to be a member of His family, magnify His glory, mature in His image, be a minister of His mercy, and to be a missionary of His grace. Be lifted up, lift up all. Now is the time.