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Wish you could’ve been there

Pastor Ken Haskins
For the Appeal

A youngster prayed, “Dear God, I had a great time in church today. I wish you could’ve been there!”

Is it possible to have a great time in church and yet not sense the presence of God? Is it possible to have a great time in church and at the same time to lock the Lord out of the very church for which He died? Yes.

There is a famous painting depicting Jesus standing outside and knocking on a door. He’s obviously been standing and knocking for some time as the weeds have grown up around Him. When one looks closer at the painting, one notices that there is no handle on the door. This door must be opened from the inside.

Jesus doesn’t force His way inside, but when the occupant opens the door and invites Him inside; Christ comes in and brings abundant life with Him. Jesus addressed the church in Laodicea, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.”

As the church in Laodicea locked Jesus out, the church of Christ is in danger of doing the same thing today. How? When we become more concerned with production and performance than prayer and preaching of the gospel, we lock Him out. When we become more devoted to the dramatic than the apostles’ doctrine and discipleship, we lock Him out.

When we replace the Bible with the latest bestseller, we lock Him out. When we replace the communion table with the café, we lock Him out. When we replace the cross with convenience, we lock Him out. When we replace the worship and service of Him with the entertainment and pleasing of ourselves, we lock Him out.

Too often the youngster is correct, “Dear God, I had a great time in church today. I wish you could’ve been there!”

As the church, let’s fix our eyes on Jesus once again. Let’s lift Him up. Let’s worship and serve Him instead of ourselves.

• Ken Haskins is pastor of First Christian Church in Carson City and a member of the Carson City Christian Ministerial Fellowship.