You could fill your Sunday mornings with all kinds of activities. In a beautiful city like Austin, the options are endless. You could rent a kayak on Lady Bird Lake or take your dog for a run through Zilker Park. You could visit a museum, an art gallery or a coffee shop on South Congress. You could snuggle under the covers in your own warm bed or enjoy the sunshine on your back patio. So why go to church?
Why get up, take a shower and drive across town? What’s the big deal? Is it really that important?
We could be a little biased, but we believe it’s a pretty big deal and here’s why:
The atmosphere you hang out in has a way of influencing the way you live. Every concerned parent knows the power of atmosphere. We know that smart kids do stupid things when they hang around the wrong crowd.
Spend time with negative, cynical people and you might hear their words come out of your mouth. On the flip side, spend time with enthusiastic, energetic people and you’ll find yourself feeling more optimistic.
Jesus spoke about the power of atmosphere in Mark 4:26-28
This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head.
It’s incredible. All by itself the soil produces grain.
That’s how it works in God’s kingdom. When a seed is planted in the right soil, surrounded by the right atmosphere, it produces good fruit!
Just like a seed, you need to be planted in the right atmosphere in order to grow and flourish. So what is the right soil for you and me?
Those who are planted in the house of the Lord
Shall flourish in the courts of our God. Psalm 92:13
When you are planted in the house of God, in his church, you will flourish and everyone around you will enjoy the fruit.
Yah, we know there are lots of churches. Some are unhealthy and some have lost their way. There are no perfect churches because there are no perfect people.
But there are healthy churches that celebrate the beauty of God’s love and the gift of his grace through Jesus. They provide the perfect atmosphere for transforming imperfect people.
In a healthy live-giving church you will find:
Acceptance – God loved us while we were still sinners. (Romans 5:8) He accepts us just the way we are. No ifs, ands or buts. Paul instructed the early church to follow suit, “Accept one another just as Christ accepted you.” (Romans 15:7)
Authenticity – Jesus was 100% authentic. He never pretended to be something he wasn’t. A healthy church will express and embrace authenticity. No hiding and no pretending.
Hope – Life is not always easy. It takes a swing and we get the hope knocked out of us. The Bible is filled with hopeless situations being turned around for good. A healthy church will offer heaping helpings of hope.
There is plenty of time to enjoy life in Central Texas on Sunday afternoons. Join us Sunday morning. Soak up the atmosphere of acceptance, authenticity and hope and enjoy the fruit of change in your own life.
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