North Santa Rosa

Living With Purpose

A man was driving down the street upset because he had an important meeting and couldn’t find a parking space. Looking up to heaven, he said, “Lord, take pity on me. If you find me a parking space, I promise to go to church every Sunday for the rest of my life and give up cussin’.” Miraculously, a spot opened right in front of the building. The man looked up and said, “Never mind. I found one.” Some people will go to great lengths and use every excuse they can find to ignore going to church.
If you are a frequent reader of Living With Purpose, you know I always encourage church attendance at the conclusion of the column. I grew up in the church and it made a tremendous and positive impact upon my life. It wasn’t a perfect church, because there is no such thing. But, it was a place where the gospel was taught and mission action was emphasized and practiced. Fortunately, I had some passionate Sunday School teachers and mission education leaders. Vacation Bible School was always an annual highlight. I’ve also seen what disagreements and disharmony can do to a congregation. But, isn’t that typical when any group of people get together regardless of it being a church or not. Differences of opinion are natural. It’s the response of the people in how they handle the issues that’s important. It’s critical to any witness of a church, that its members remain humble and yield to God’s Spirit and not self.
Allow me to share some positive thoughts concerning the church. A church founded and anointed by God produces a mood and atmosphere containing healing powers. That’s one reason you need to go—it’s good for you. This power can heal the great plagues of society. You know what they are: fear, inferiority, doubt, tension, anxiety and other kindred troubles. At New Bethel Baptist Church, where I’m the Bi-vocational pastor, we seek to offer healing from these things. I firmly believe if you can treat these things in a person you will have helped them to be more sensitive to God’s purpose in living. That purpose includes the discovery and exercise of their own God-given gifts and abilities.
Church going is of value to everyone who goes expecting to receive something. The idea of Christianity as a divine technique can help overcome the problems that individuals and families have to face. I am certainly a believer in the “Old Fashioned Way” of being happy at church; worshipping the Lord through praise and handclapping. The Bible says, “Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs…enter His gates with Thanksgiving and Praise His name…” (Psalm 100:1-4 NIV). Make a joyful noise unto the Lord! I also believe in periods of quietness and reverence within worship: “Be still (quiet), and know that I am God…I will be exalted in the earth” (Psalm 46:10). In the quietness of worship you can open your mind to the re-creative power of God. This power regenerates the soul and brings a healing influence to anyone who opens themselves to it.
People are people regardless of who they are or what their backgrounds may be. Yet, there are different kinds of churches that meet the spiritual needs of its members. The universal emotions of fear, anxiety, nervousness, frustrations, disappointment, hardness, and insecurity can be healed by any God-led, Holy Spirit-filled church. This is the healing prescription. There is no force greater to heal someone than the working of a spirit-filled church. Worship and the touch of God can reach to the depths of these human ills. At New Bethel Baptist Church I try to preach on these themes and emphasize prayer, faith, and obedience as the solution to these problems.
Jesus gave very practical advice for living in his “Sermon on the Mount” (Matt. 5-7). And he said, “Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock” (Matt. 7:24). Later in Matthew 16:18, Jesus continued, “…and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it.”
The New Testament church was built on spiritual power. Christianity and the church believes, when Jesus says, “But as many as received him (Jesus) to them he gave power to become children of God” (John 1:12). And again it states, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you” (Acts 1:8). Don’t you want this? A church with these kinds of “power built” people, can overcome anything this old world throws at it.
If a man, woman, or child will go to church and attune themselves to the mood and atmosphere, they will turn from negative and self-destructive thoughts that agitate the mind, to positive and affirmed faith in God. Faith is the contact point with God’s power. Almighty God has the power to take you, an ordinary person, and make you extra-ordinary, if you will yield yourself completely to His power. Believe it can happen to you! You need not be defeated by anything. See you at church on Sunday!
• This weekly column is written by Matt Dobson. A graduate of Florida State University, Univ. of West Florida, and Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, he is Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church in Jay, Florida and is a Captain (CPT) in the U.S. Army Reserves Chaplain Corp. Matt can be reached by email: He welcomes your thoughts concerning faith, belief, and Christian living. Visit the Living With Purpose website at

Posted by on Jun 8 2014. Filed under Living With Purpose, Local. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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