Devotional for Saturday and Sunday November 28-29

Good Morning Everyone,
 
Our theme for this month: “Be thankful”
 
Our Bible verse for today: “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and bless his name.” Psalm 100:4 (CSB)
 
Our thought for today: “Be thankful for your church”
 
I once heard a church derisively referred to as “Six Flags over Jesus”. It was a reference to the amusement park chain known as “Six Flags over New Jersey” or “Six Flags over Georgia” or “Six Flags over Texas”. In this case the reference was to a mega-church that had a huge multi-million-dollar church campus that happened to sit on a hill and did in fact have numerous flags flying on very high flag poles. In this person’s estimation it was “Six Flags over Jesus”, a religious amusement park.
 
In my mind I contrast that with a worship service where I had been invited to preach in Haiti a few years ago. It was a congregation of about 3000 people. Their church building had been partially destroyed by an earthquake a few years earlier and they didn’t have the funds to repair it. Part of the roof was missing and was covered in tarps. Some of the concrete walls had been reduced to rubble. Much of the “sanctuary” was open to the elements, wind and rain could easily enter. But it didn’t seem to matter. The people gathered with joy and enthusiasm. There were smiles and animated conversations, there was loud singing, lots of amens! and halleluiahs, and there was enthusiastic worship all around.
 
That scene helped to remind me that church isn’t about the building it’s about the people. It doesn’t matter where you gather, just as long as you gather with a joyful spirit and a heart that is ready to praise God. Many people read David’s statement in Psalm 100:4 and assume he was writing about entering the gates of the Temple complex, and praising your way into the inner courts of the Temple. That could be one application of the verse, but I think the larger reference is about God’s people entering into His presence with praise and thanksgiving. The “gates” and the “courts” being referred to in that verse are spiritual not physical.
 
I suspect that when you gather with your church family tomorrow it won’t be at Six Flags over Jesus, or in a partially demolished building like the one in Haiti, but probably something in-between those two extremes. However, it shouldn’t matter. If the spirit of the people is right then you are going to participate in a wonderful worship experience regardless of the physical location.
 
Regardless of the kind of facility you meet in, if you have a church family that truly enters into the presence of the Lord with joy and thanksgiving, you have much to be grateful for and I encourage you to be thankful for your church.
 
God Bless,
Pastor Jim
Copyright © 2020 Oak Hill Baptist Church, All rights reserved.

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