Church or No Church

Church or No Church – His Plan; His People

By Gerry Wakeland

Church DNA – Part 2

Does the church still have value? Or is the church a farce? These are questions that are regularly asked by millennials, individuals that were born between the mid 1980’s and the year 2000. Continuing in his current sermon series, Church or No Church, Pastor Michael M. Cook addresses these questions using 1 Peter 2:9 -10 as his scriptural reference.

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” 1 Peter 2:9-10 NIV

Last week we examined what it looks like to be a chosen people, called by God to serve God.  This week Pastor Cook focuses on the concepts of what it means to be a royal priesthood and a holy nation.

Justin Bieber is a self-proclaimed follower of Jesus Christ. When asked about his personal relationship with the Lord, he was quoted as saying, “A lot of people who are religious get lost in their religion. They go to church just to go to church. I am not trying to disrespect them, but for me, I focus more on praying and talking to Him (God). I do not have to go church.”

Pastor Cook responded to Bieber’s statement by saying that he (Bieber) is missing the New Testament church connection found from engaging in a local church. “He has no community, no discipleship, and no accountability.” Bieber is a prime example of millennials who ask, “Why do we need to be a part of the church?” To answer that question Pastor Cook takes us back to the beginning.

In Genesis 1:1 we read that “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”  Verse 2 uses this phrase, “and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” In verse 26, we read, “Let us make mankind in our image…” These three scriptures introduce the reader to the concept of the Trinity, three personalities, distinct yet separate.

Genesis 2:18 introduces the idea of community, saying “It is not good for man to be alone.” God has a purpose. We were created with a need for fellowship with one another and with Christ. This community is called church. As Pastor Cook put it, “We are made to be with one another, in harmony, unity and fellowship.”

Called to be a Royal Priesthood

As a church we are out of a priesthood that is

  • everlasting
  • born out of adoption, every Christian is adopted
  • brought out of mediation, the act of intercessory prayer

Called to be a Holy Nation

The word holy means set apart. The church is distinctively separate and different. At least it should be.

That takes us back to the millennial generation. These young men and women tell us the number one reason for vacating the church is that the church is judgmental and hypocritical. It’s possible that to them the church looks no different than the world. Or maybe this just gives them an excuse to avoid being part of a community that will provide sound teaching and hold them accountable. Sadly, this holds true for more than just the millennial generation.

Yes, our churches are imperfect and flawed. We are all sinners. Perhaps that is why Christ wants us in the church.

At the church’s lowest point in history, when He cleared the temple of money changers and corrupt priests (see Matthew 21:12), Jesus still loved the church. Jesus has always loved the church. This is not about a religion. It is about a love relationship with Jesus Christ and one another.

So where are you? Are you ready to accept the call to be a chosen people, a royal priesthood, and a holy nation? Are you ready for an amazing relationship with the Lord and his church?

“I believe that God will take broken, sinful people and do something amazing.” Michael M. Cook

Listen to Pastor Michael M. Cook here.

Church or No Church – His Plan His People

By Karen Polich

Church DNA Part 1

Millennials say they have abandoned the church because church members are judgmental. Church is unfriendly and unwelcoming and they don’t connect with people in the church.

Too often as individuals we look for a church based on what it can do for us when we should be selecting a church because of the impact we can make. We are called to be the Light, serving others. We have not been called to be served.

God has chosen us and issued a call on our lives. We have been called to magnify His name. This is our purpose. God also called the church. It is His, not ours.

As a church, this is what should be seen by anyone entering the doors. Within the teachings, worship and people in the church, Christ should be visible. Pastor Michael Cook shared the biblical importance of the church and how the church should transmit the majesty of Christ. (1 Peter 2:1-10, Acts 2:37-40)

Recent church history shows that we are not taking seriously the call of Christ to BE the church. Some are frustrated with the church; they are also frustrated with many components of their lives. Often we work to shape the church into our image instead of God’s image. We “play” with things that should be taken seriously, like sin.

Pastor Cook reminded us of the importance God placed on the church. He chose us to stave off the degeneration of the world. Are we displaying His majesty?

Listen to Pastor Cook here.