My first pastorate was the First Baptist Church of Erwin, North Carolina. It's a little mill church in the eastern part of the Tar Hill State. And I had been there about two or three weeks, about the same time I've been in your church, and I was standing, following the morning worship service, at the front door. And a lady came out and had four children. And she spoke to her pastor and she said, "Pastor, you will notice that I will be here along with these four children - boomp, boomp, boomp, boomp - every time the door of this church is opened." And I shook her hand and smiled and I thought that is the most wonderful thing, that's marvelous. And I was so impressed. I went home and I told Jo Beth, "You know, this lady ( I called her name) came down and introduced her children to me and she said they would be in the church every time the church doors opened." And I said, "Isn't that a fine thing? That's a wonderful testimony, isn't it?" You know, my wife was not very impressed with that. And I've discovered across the years that my wife had more intelligence then, than I did at that time. I hope I've caught up - just - you know, but, she has gone on. Because she said, "Isn't that a tragic thing. That every time those church doors are opened, that Mother is going to jerk up those four children and have them down at the church house." And you know she was exactly right.
Just say for example there are some folks here with a family and you say, "I want to have a Christian home." Look in your program - what night do you think we are going to have open for you to have a Christian home? And it's going to get worse! It's not going to get better. Programs, activities, meetings, visitations, suppers, dinner-on-the-ground, sharing times, prayer groups, circles, you name it - we have it going on every night of the week - there's going to be more and more and more. Just say for example that you have a family and you say "We'd like to have a Christian home." And the problem is we preach "be at church all the time, I want you to be at church every time the doors are opened - if you can't be a four star Christian, give the church priority." Something is wrong with us folks.
So tonight I am going to begin by saying a word about not going to church! Anybody ever heard a sermon on NOT GOING TO CHURCH? See, just all sort of strange things happening here. Now by that I mean - DO NOT COME DOWN HERE EVERYTIME SOMETHING HAPPENS. You have to look at the church like you do a cafeteria. Now there are some staples - nail down Sunday. Be here, Bible Study, Sunday morning, give it priority over vacation, recreation and what ever you do. Say, "As for me and my house, we are going to be at church Sunday morning and Sunday night." Give this time to the Lord. Make it that indelible thing in your life. Find time to be here in mid-week for Bible study on Wednesday night and other activities where you can serve and where you ...
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