One of my goals of this blog is to get Rick Ross to respond which finally happened on Monday.  Woo-hoo!  If you haven’t read Rick’s response, you should because it says some things I meant to write on Tuesday but didn’t get around to finishing.

I enjoy going to “church” now more than ever.  Yes, MORE than ever.
It’s not because of the preacher (sorry, Rick).  It’s not because of the song leaders or the songs or the classes or the prayers or anything else.  It’s simply because I am with people who have held me up when I wasn’t sure I could go on and we come together in the presence of God to worship.  It’s because I am there with people who jumped down in a foxhole with me when the battle was raging and the enemy was winning.  
I used to feel bad because I would take my son to play baseball on some Sunday mornings.  In my old way of thinking, it was just bad.  Plain and simple.  Then, I felt like I started to rationalize not being at church with my analysis of what “forsaking the assembly” really meant.  Then I met another Jeff from another town who’s son played baseball with my son.  Jeff thought it was funny when I told him I hated missing church for baseball.  He thought religion was a joke and the people who bought into it were part of the “suckers born everyday” group.  Over the next 14 weeks I was able to share some struggles I was having and how I knew God was working in those places.  I got to tell him about some people at church who meant the world to me, who I would run through walls for because their love for me was so great and that I believed God had led us all together because of our trials.  I don’t think I changed Jeff’s mind about religion but I believe I helped him see God differently and see church differently.  I never would have had those conversations sitting in church.
Choosing to go to church isn’t an either/or proposition.  While I don’t agree with telling people they need to be there instead of option A, B or C, I am fully in favor and personally look forward to the times of gathering with people who love God and love each other to worship, to love and to show adoration for the Lord of our lives and to journey with those around us during good times and bad times.  If I’m not going to be at church, I hope the Lord will give me an opportunity to glorify him wherever I am and when I am in church I hope he allows me to continue feeling the peace I experience there.
Grace and peace.