As one whom the Lord has sent to look after you (Hebrews 13:17), I am sending you this letter to offer a challenge to you for this summer and beyond. I have been your pastor for fifteen months and I am so grateful that the Lord led me to be your shepherd, and I would not want to be anywhere else. I desire to be here for the long haul. I came here because I desired to come to a church that wanted to grow spiritually and to make a difference in this community for Christ, and you clearly shared that desire by calling me to be your pastor. In order for this to happen the people in our church need to be fully committed. As I write this, I realize that some of you are very committed to Eureka, and I am grateful for the example that you set for everyone in our church. But I write this letter out of concern for a lack of commitment that is centered on a misplacement of priorities. Jesus told us that the greatest commandment is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). How do we know we love him more than anyone or anything in the world? It shows in the way we live our lives (John 8:31).
The Lord accomplishes his purposes in the world through the church (Matthew 16:18). He calls his people to be committed to the church (Hebrews 10:24), of which Christ is the head and we are the body (Colossians 1:18). We fulfill God’s plan in our lives as we strive to grow in Christ together, ministering to one another, leading to maturity in each person (Ephesians 4:12-13). I write this as summer has arrived. A time when you may be tempted to be drawn away from what God desires of you. One of the ways that you can have confidence that God is number one in your life is if you are deeply involved in his church, showing it to be a major priority. Are you serving the church (and building it up) with the gifts that God has given you (1 Corinthians 14:4)? Do you minister in the local church where you give of yourself and you receive the blessing of others (Ephesians 4:15-16)? If you are not, your words that he is number one ring hollow.
The big gathering every week is our Sunday morning service at 10 am. If you are only going to make one meeting a week, this is the one to prioritize the most. We have almost seventy people in our directory who are able to make it on Sunday’s (a few in their old age are not able). I realize there are some good reasons to not be there on a Sunday morning, but many reasons are not good ones. I encourage you to evaluate yourself. When you are not there do you absolutely have to miss, or could what you are doing wait till later that day? If you are going to grow, and if we as a church are going to make a difference in this community for Christ, it is very important to be there. You need the gathering of believers for own spiritual health, and you need to be working in unity with your fellow church members to reach the lost (Ephesians 4:3; 4:12-13; Matthew 28:19). How can these two objectives be accomplished if you have sporadic attendance? As your shepherd, I need to speak out when I see something concerning. Please do not let the beautiful weather and other obligations keep you from gathering with the community of believers at Eureka Baptist.
Each Sunday when we meet God’s presence joins us in a special way. Scripture says that when we meet together the people of God become the temple of God as the Spirit dwells with us (1 Corinthians 3:16). During the preaching of the Word on Sunday’s God the Father and God the Son are with us looking on in a special way (2 Timothy 4:1-2). Think about this. Do you miss this wonderful gathering each week for something that should be much lower on the priority list? The Bible commands us not to neglect to meet together (Hebrews 10:24-25). You will be tempted to do something else in its place, but do not listen to those distractions. I encourage you to prioritize our gatherings at Eureka for your benefit and the benefit of our whole flock. At the end of your life you (and I) will have regrets. Something you will never regret is prioritizing meeting together with the people of God.
Grace and Peace,