Don’t go to church

By Gilbert Owens - Contributing columnist

Let me begin quickly by saying, this article is not suggesting, in the least, that you no longer go to church. But this article is saying, specifically; do not go to church every Sunday. Please read this carefully to understand precisely how this suggestion will greatly benefit you.

God encourages all believers in Hebrews 10:25 to not forsake the “assembling of ourselves together.” That clearly suggest we should never completely stop going to church, but it does not suggest or command that we should do so all the time. That same verse encourages us to go to church or to attend the assembly of other believers for the purpose of reciprocal encouragement, strengthening and fellowship. For it is indeed a truth, that iron sharpens iron. The church is an interacting body and God wants us to interact with one another. But what holds all of that together and makes it possible is having a personal intimate relationship first, with the Lord.

As I have said at least a thousand times, in order to have a close intimate relationship with the Lord, one must spend a lot of personal time with the Lord. What this article is suggesting does not apply to everyone but I do believe it may be beneficial to most. In addition, I am 100 percent certain that those of you who try this suggestion will end up with a more fulfilled walk and life with the Lord. Here it is…

Instead of going to church every Sunday, take one Sunday of every month to stay home for the sole purpose of using the time you spend getting ready for church and going to church and use that same time to spend with God.

Think about your typical Sunday mornings of going to church. For many of us we (1) get up in the morning and maybe have breakfast, coffee or juice. Then we (2) may or may not have a prayer and short devotion. Then we (3) get dressed for church and leave for church. (4) Then we arrive for Service, greet some people, sit through and participate in worship with others, and fellowship afterwards with some after the service. And then (5) we go back home. We either do all of this alone or with other members of our household.

Now conceptualize the amount of time all of the above takes on any given Sunday. Not think about using that same about of time staying home to spend that same amount of time time alone with God. I am not merely talking about an idea; I am talking about something I do and experience at least one Sunday per month.

To be completely transparent with you, this is how it works for me. I will get up and of course have my morning cup of coffee. I then immediately begin talking to the Lord and sometimes that conversation, (same as what we call prayer) can last for an hour or so. Then I purposely read the Bible. Sometimes I read familiar favorite passages, or something I have been studying, or sometimes I just open it and start reading what I opened it to. At every occasion, I talk to the Lord about what I am reading. Sometimes I have music playing and sometimes I meditate before, during or afterwards on the words of the music. I also take time during all of this to sit still and be quiet so I can hear the Lord speaking to me. At a minimum, this time with the Lord is two hours but I have experienced up to all day with the Lord as a result of making the effort to spend time with Him instead of going through the Sunday morning ritual of going to church.

What I described above may not be for you. There are many different ways to spend time with God. Choose what works for you. The most important thing is to take the time to spend with Him!

I can say with complete veracity, that every Sunday when you take the time to do this, God will speak to you. You will finish this time, no matter how short or long, with complete peace and joy in your soul. You will know without a doubt, you have been in the presence of the Lord. You will also walk away every single time, (1) feeling good about yourself, (2) knowing all is well with you and the Lord, (3) moving a little higher in faith and (4) feeling motivated, enlightened, encouraged and strengthened.

This is also a time when you can truly be yourself with God; you can cry and laugh with Him. You can ask things that you do not want anyone else to know about and you can also thank Him for things He has done for you that you do not want anyone else to know about. But most importantly you do not have to be religious with Him.

This is not always the case when we go to church on Sunday mornings. The church does, at times, have the capacity to mess you up. You can return home from church being upset, angry, and confused. You can also be at risk of becoming a product of conformity and losing your originality as a child of God. Spending time with God allows you to put everything in its proper perspective.

Both my wife and I do this together. We both start, of course ,with our cup of coffee. She will be in one room and I will be in another. Sometimes we will pray together and sometimes, more often than not, we will share what we have read and ask each other questions.

I strongly suggest you try this at least once a month either alone or with other members of your household. Every church congregation is comprised of individuals and families. How can the church assembly truly worship in spirit and in truth if the congregation is not doing so at home. I am only suggesting not going to church every Sunday morning because that is the time when most of us have the time available to do this at home alone or with other members of our household.

Many believers have been convinced that what they need and desire from the Lord can only be received by going to church. That is a lie from the devil, because what we need and desire from the Lord can only come from Him and He said I am with you always even until the end of the world. Why don’t we make an extra effort to be with Him.

I highly encourage you, do not use Holy Communion Sunday to do this unless you are mature enough to give Holy Communion to yourself and/or your family. Also do not use this as an excuse to use your tithes and offering for something else. Hold on to it and give it when you go to your church the next Sunday.

Remember, God said, “If you will draw close to me, I will draw close to you.”

By Gilbert Owens

Contributing columnist

Gilbert Owens is a native of Roseboro and a columnist for The Sampson Independent.

Gilbert Owens is a native of Roseboro and a columnist for The Sampson Independent.