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Dize:  You be that angel entering the church

I have a wonderful friend who shares church-related emails with me. Here is one I’d like to share with you.

A churchgoer wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper complaining that it made no sense to go to church every Sunday. He wrote: “I've gone for 30 years, and I’ve heard about 3,000 sermons, but I can't remember a single one of them. So, I think I'm wasting my time, the preachers and priests are wasting theirs by giving sermons at all.”

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This started a real controversy in the Letters to the Editor column. Much to the delight of the editor, it went on for weeks until someone wrote this clincher: “I've been married for 30 years now; my wife has cooked some 32,000 meals. But, for the life of me, I cannot recall the entire menu for a single one of those meals. But I do know this: They all nourished me and gave me the strength I needed to do my work. If my wife had not given me these meals, I would be physically dead today. Likewise, if I had not gone to church for nourishment, I would be spiritually dead today!”

Thank God for our physical and our spiritual nourishment! Most people look for a church that will fill their needs instead of attending a church that could use their help. Perhaps we need to think of the church as a charity giving our time, personality gifts and monetary funds. A church is a terrific arena to show all the traits and beliefs we have learned from that religious teaching.

Churches split their membership because the members are unable to compromise. That is why there are so many religious denominations created from the same basic beliefs. Churches have problems like any other organization because they are made up of people; and some people have hang-ups, baggage, egos, resentments, jealousies, antagonisms, are stubborn, have personal problems and so do pastors.

Checking in on the reality of life is the first thing one needs to assess when entering a church. Don’t look for angels inside; you be that angel entering the church.

Jesus said that it would be by our fruit that people would recognize us. Live a life of integrity with each other and outsiders, and that church will become a magnet, not a repellent.

Church can create a lifetime of friendships, put you in touch with people who truly care about your well-being, people who willingly help you in your time of need, give a wonderful education base for the family — setting world views and values for the children. And humorously, church will give you more than two cars behind the hearse when you die.

Next time you walk through those double doors that say, “Everyone is Welcome,” make sure your perspective is to see how you can make a positive difference in that church. Greet people with a smile, be friendly, ask to talk to the pastor about the message. Afterward, ask if there is any help that the church needs, offering your gifts. And look forward to attending next week, remembering the pastor’s message all week long.

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