North Santa Rosa

Living With Purpose 

    As a child, I discovered in our community there was no lack of church houses to attend. You could scarcely go no more than 5 miles and you’d pass another place of worship. Baptist, Methodist, Pentecostal—the diversity of congregations abounded. The choice to not go to church because you couldn’t find one, was not a valid reason, it was only an excuse.    How to make attending church attractive is one of the social problems of our day due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the busy lifestyle so many have chosen to follow. Setting time aside to attend church can be an uplifting experience when people gather in a unified spirt and where men, women, and children feel welcomed to engage in the services and programs.

    I recall one pleasant afternoon I was preparing for an evening message I was to give at the little country church I pastored. I was sitting on the back porch of the church. The sun was setting, and I noticed a few wrens chirping away on a nearby tree limb. I spoke to them and one flew to the picnic table beside me. It stayed long enough to look around then fluttered upward to a corner post of the church’s wooden awning. Looking up, I noticed she had built a nest underneath the northwest corner of the church porch.

    While continuing to read my evening text, I came to the verse Psalm 84:3, “Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow builds her nest and raises her young at a place near God’s altar, O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, my King and my God”. I had to read it a second and third time. It was a timely illustration for the sanctuary of God’s House. I was filled with wonder and a warm peace that God’s Spirit resided in our little church, for why would this Scripture be so descriptive of the attraction nature has for God’s House?

    As the Scripture suggests, being near the church and attending, promotes refinement of personal attributes. Theses attributes work for the good of a person—sensitivity, consideration, tact, diplomacy, restraint, understanding, positivity, awareness of etiquette, and good taste. When a person learns how to be refined and practices these techniques, they have good manners and good taste. Someone with a refined taste in most any subject, has learned how to make judgements about what is good and what they like.

    Jesus’ parents took him to church regularly. One day after leaving church, Mary and Joseph noticed Jesus was not with them. They returned to the temple and Mary said, “Why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been frantic, searching for you everywhere.

    Jesus asked, “But why did you need to search? Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?” Then he returned to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people” (Luke 2:48-52). Jesus was refined by attending church with his parents.

    The effect of going to a church that is ordained by God, at least 52 times in the year, and year after year—is positively incredible. The humble, red brick house I grew up in was just off a county highway that was and still is a central route to the city. If I walked to the extreme northeast corner of our property, I could see the steeple of the church we attended. Going to church was something my sister and I were taught. Fun and impactful times were spent there. The opportunity for refinement in my character was presented in my formative years. I could chose to practice what I learned, or I could resent my parents for taking me. To resent them and the opportunity granted to me, would be choosing to stunt my personal development. I wish I could say I learned every lesson I needed in life the first time. But my own mistakes and misfortunes became an additional refinement process for me. Humans are frequently like tea; the real strength and goodness is not properly drawn out of them until they have spent some time in hot water. A year of pleasure passes like a fleeting breeze, but a moment of misfortune seems like an age of pain.

    Attending church doesn’t make a person flawless, but the Spirit there in can draw you to its light, safety, and protection. Even a bird can find safety in the corner of God’s building. Appreciate the value of attending a Spirit-led church and let the right church refine you for the better.

• This bi-weekly column is written by Matthew Dobson. He’s a Public Health Services Manager for the Florida Department of Health, former U.S. Army Reserve Chaplain, and the Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church in the New York, Florida community. His “Living With Purpose” Book series can be found and purchased on www. You can contact him by email:

Posted by on Feb 7 2021. Filed under Church News, Churches, Living With Purpose, Local, News, Top News. 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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