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House Rules

By: Beth Jones, Valley Family Church, Kalamazoo, MI 49024.

(Here is one of those articles by someone else that I like to share from time to time.  Good, timely advice that will apply to nearly every church family, regardless of affiliation.) 

      “.I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”  (1 Tim 3:15)

We live in a culture of disrespect, sacrilege and dishonor.

Often, these same attitudes are transferred into our behavior in His Church. On one hand, most churches are doing their best to navigate effective ways to be culturally relevant without compromising the Gospel message; on the other hand, they are faced with a culture that doesn’t have a clue about how to honor God, esteem His Word and respect authority. It’s a challenge for every church these days. Perhaps it’s time for some “housekeeping”- to enlighten this new generation of believers on how they ought to behave in God’s house.

On several fronts, these house rules are important…

For God. As believers, we ought to want to honor God and the things of God.

For others. Eternal things are happening before, during and after church. Lives hang in the balance and we should do our part to assist in those things and not be a hindrance.

For yourself. Jesus is alive and well in His Church and the Holy Spirit has customized messages, encouragement and insights for you. Don’t grieve or quench Him by your improper behavior and miss out on the things He wants to get to you!

Here are seven house rules we need to consider as we think about how we ought to behave in God’s house.

Attend Regularly. God wants you to assemble with other believers so you can grow, mature and be strengthened.

Many believers mistakenly think they can mature and fulfill everything God has for them, even if they don’t attend church or assemble with other believers regularly. That’s one of Satan’s oldest tricks - to divide and conquer - so, don’t fall for it. In the same way that one log removed from the bonfire will eventually grow dim, your faith will eventually grow cold if you remove yourself from regularly attending church. If you’ve been away or gone AWOL on church-make a decision to go back! (Heb 10:25)

Show Up on Time. When you’re consistently late, it affects others. The volunteers have to cater to you. You interrupt those who did show up on time when you try to squeeze by them to get a seat. Be courteous of others and arrive early.  Then, on those rare occasions when you have to arrive late, people will understand and be sympathetic. (Eph 5:15-17)

Be a Participator, Not a Spectator.  When you attend church, engage your whole spirit, soul and body. God’s not looking for spectators who worship Him with their mouths only; He’s looking for participators who worship Him from the heart.

(Isaiah 29:13, John 4:23-24)

Don’t be a Freeloader. It’s okay to partake of all the good things your church offers-without giving-for a few months, but at a certain point you need to throw your hat in the ring and contribute. That means you need to support your church financially and through serving. You’d be surprised by how many people take, week after week, month after month and year after year, but don’t give. Nobody likes a leech, so start giving and start serving. God will reward you in this life and the life to come for both things and those around will appreciate you carrying your weight. (Mal 3:10, 1 Pet 4:10)

Serve When You’re Scheduled. A faithful person is hard to find, but how valuable they are when found! If you’re scheduled to serve in an area of ministry, keep your commitments and show up to serve. It’s the decent thing to do.

When you don’t fulfill your obligations, it puts a burden on others. God’s keeping good records, so make sure He finds you faithful. (1Timothy 1:12)

Give Honor. Be careful about being too casual or familiar or disrespectful toward your church leaders-especially those who serve as pastors. They are called to serve by leading and feeding the flock; and the flock is called to respect that office and to give double honor to those who teach the Word, in addition to their other duties. When you honor others, God will honor you. (1 Thess 5:12-13, Heb 13:17)

Turn Off Your Cell Phone and Don’t Text During Church.  This is a no-brainer, but make sure you aren’t being disrespectful to the Lord, those around you, or the speaker by playing games on your cell phone or texting friends during church.

Consider, are you honoring God in church?  If you’re not certain ask God for His help in this area of your life.

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Reader Comments (1)

I'm a little confused as to why the author of this blog blatantly twists Scriptures and takes them out of context to uphold her argument? Perhaps she is simply unaware?

The very first Scripture she uses, 1 Timothy 3:15, is also translated at "the household of God," (NLT) and in context is clearly not talking about an assembly of believers, but rather how the community should be set up, especially in regards to elders.

And in regards to showing up on time, the Scriptural reference of Ephesians 5:15-17 has absolutely nothing to do with her subject matter.

Those are just a couple examples, I won't go through every argument, but I hope you can see why her statements here are problematic.

Also, it seems most of these things are really based on traditional and cultural grounds - and that's okay. The problem is when we try to validate our traditions and cultures based on the Bible when they, in fact, are not.

I think most people would agree that it's thoughtful to be on time, be respectful (although I hope that respect isn't solely for "ministry" and is shared to all who you come in contact with. Jesus died for us all and loves us equally. Also, the first shall be last etc).

As far as the cell phone thing goes, my Bible is on my cell phone so I think I'll keep mine on. And in my assembly, it isn't a problem. Why is it that people are so hung up on rules rather than principles?

So while there are some decent things being proposed by the author, I would suggest that the rationale be reconsidered and the supporting data be radically altered.

June 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonApo

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