How many times have you heard:  “I don’t need church, I can worship God out on the mountain top”?  How do you argue with that?

First of all I don’t recommend arguing at all.  It never has been an effective method of evangelism, and you might lose.  Frankly, when I am on a mountain top, I tend to worship God while I am there too.  The problem with worshiping God on the mountain top is that I don’t get up there very often.  I suspect neither do my friends.  The problem is not where or how often they worship God (after all, do YOU worship Him often enough dear Christian?).  The problem is their perception of church.  If that is all church is, it is no wonder people are not coming!  They CAN worship God in the mountain tops, and in the car, and at home and, and, and…..

Church has to be more than that – it HAS to be.  The writer to the Hebrews advises we should not stop gathering together (Heb 10:25), he says instead we should continue to encourage each other, because the days are getting more difficult.  The word that is used here is parakaleo, it literally means to come along side.  It carries the implication that we help each other to remain faithful to God. Worshiping God, encouraging others.

The verse just before this one tells us to thing about how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds.  This word is paroxysmos and literally means to provoke each other to love others and do good to them.  Worshiping God, encouraging others, provoking (in a good way).

There are more than just these three, as we will see in our study of Acts.  Friendship, giving hope, serving, loving, leading, accepting, teaching, to name a few more.  All of these things need to be happening at church.  I need to warn you here; yes, I said they need to be happening at church.  However, do not do them because you need to.  We need to be doing them because it’s what Jesus does for us and as we are conformed into His image, we naturally will do what Jesus has done – and greater.