Every time the church doors are open, my wife and I are there... but then again, we are the pastors.
I'm certainly in agreement with most of what has been said about time restraints, burn out, children responsibilities etc. But, sadly, there is a far more pressing reason.
If we were in a courting relationship we would not miss a single opportunity to be with the one we loved. And before you say, "OH yeah, here we go. I can feel a guilt trip coming on!" hear me out.
Our life with Jesus is not just about responsibility or obligation; IT IS a love relationship. Sadly, and many pastors are to blame for this, it has become an obligation with guilt piled upon condemnation and warped messages about tithing, attendance and service.
And yes, you don't need to attend church to love Jesus. But I bet you visited your fiancé's
house a lot before you were married.
So here's a big part of the problem.
Mat 24:12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
That word iniquity, when broken down and understood in context, basically means 'not subject to the law of God'... not understanding Torah, the Law.
We have the wrong concept of the Law. We say we are under grace, not Law... but that is because we only think of the Law in terms of dos and donts; the verbal law passed on down through the ages. But actually the Law still exists if we believe in it or not. The law of gravity does not change because you stop accepting it as truth; nor does the Truth of the Law of God.
Deu 6:5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
Lev 19:18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.
1Jn 4:19 We love him, because he first loved us.
Gal 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
The Torah, the True Law of God, is not about what we do or don't, it's about the way in which He loves us and reveals Himself to us. Part of the Hebrew concept of Torah is about God revealing His character to us so that we can become like Him; just as any kid looks up at their daddy and say; "When I grow up I want to be just like you."
Rev 2:4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
I don't want anyone to feel guilty about not attending church. I don't want people to get all heated up, frustrated and worn out BY attending church.
But love isn't really preached in Truth today. Love has become acceptance. We accept you no mater what. Jesus accepts you no matter what. That just simply isn't true... ask the goats who walked up the hill to meet Him on judgment day.
Imagine one of your kids gets into drugs. Of course you still love them and accept them; but I bet you love them enough to help them to get off those filthy things and to change their life around. YES! Jesus accepts us as we are, but He loves us too much to leave us that way.
Bring back true love to the pulpit, without being legalism, a really tough balance to achieve, without trying to push attendance and attendance will take care of itself.
Seek ye first.