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Do you have to go to church?



Bible Study for May 7 - 14, 2000

This week's scripture:  
Ephesians 2:22     And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

 This week's study is about going to church. Do you have to go to church to be a Christian? It sure does help a lot!

 Paul wrote the book of Ephesians. It was a letter to people who were already Christians. In this part of Ephesians he was talking about how we are an important part of the church. Most of the time when we think of church we think of a building. It's not! A church is a group of people, Christians. Every Christian is a part of the church, even if they don't go to one. If we don't attend a church we aren't doing our part to hold the church together. And, we can't have the support of the other parts (Christians) of the church. Paul was telling us that when we come together as a church we become the dwelling place for God. We need the friendship, worship, teaching, and preaching. We also need to be a part of it!
 Something has happened to the church.  These days if you need bread or milk you go to the store and pay money for it. The same thing if you need a doctor visit, karate lessons, a pair of jeans or a bicycle (unless you win one by becoming a member!). A long time ago, though, people didn't have or need money. Although people still lived in houses with their close family, the community of hundreds of people was sort of a family and they all depended on each other. They used what is called the "barter" system. They all lived in a big community and swapped services.  You might bake bread and swap it for a toy. You might have laying hens and swap eggs for piano lessons. And people shared in church, too. They would all get together. Some would sing, some teach, some listen, some pray, whatever their gift or talent was.
 Then people started making money to make the barter system better. The community was less dependent on each other. Instead of having to know your neighbor to swap goods, you just took your money and pay the price they had set for their product. We started getting independent about church, too. If we don't need our neighbors, do we need the church? Isn't just having God OK? We can send our tithes to the TV preacher. We can call a relative's pastor and pay him $50 to marry us or bury us. Why do we have to take the time to listen to a preacher on Sunday morning and night to go to heaven?
 We need to use and be used. There are a lot of places in the Bible where it tells us to use our gifts and talents for God. It tells us to stay away from unbelievers. Where are we going to meet believers or use our talents if we don't go to church? When you get to dating age, are you going to find a Christian husband or wife at a party? You have a better chance in a church!
 Paul said in our scripture that we are being built together as a dwelling place for God. If we don't become a part of the church we will be weak. We will not be built up on the foundation of the church (the prophets, apostles, with Jesus as the chief cornerstone). Imagine that all Christians are bricks. All of the bricks are being put together to form a building. Those that attend will be cemented together and strong. If you are not cemented with the others, you will still be a brick, but just thrown out in the yard. Since you are not cemented with the others, it will be easy for someone to steal you, drop and break you, or just be covered with dirt and grass that builds up. Either way, it's hard for you to be close to God. The bricks that are cemented together have a lot better chance of standing the test of time and weather.
 My parents won't take me to church. That's a tough one. If you think your parents are Christians, get them to read this lesson with you. If they aren't, maybe they will let you go. Your parents love you, but they like to get a break from you every once in a while! There are churches that will come pick you up for church and then drop you off at home again. If you need help finding a church that will do that, E-mail me. I will find someone to take you to church.

How about you? Are you a brick cemented with other Christians? Or are you a brick thrown in the yard, where grass can grow over you?

This week's prayer:
Dear Jesus,
 Help me to remember that I need to go to church and become a part of it. Help all of those kids that can't go to church to grow closer to you anyway.
 Amen.


Story for week May 7 - 14, 2000
Fred:   Hello human Elder Everett. How are you today?

Elder:   Fine young man. I'm looking for Joey. Have you seen him?

Fred:    Sure. He's down the street. Would you like me to get him?

Elder:   What did you say about getting slim? Are you on a diet?

Fred:    Never mind human Elder Everett. Iíll get Joey for you.

Fred leaves and Joey comes up.

Joey:    Hello Elder Everett. I hear you've been looking for me.

Elder:   I don't know anything about farming, but since you are hear I need to ask you about
             something.

Joey:    Sure Elder. What's up?

Elder:   I didn't say anything about ketchup.

Joey:    I didn't say anything about ketchup either, I said what's up. Please turn up your hearing
             aid!

Elder: OK OK, you don't have to shout. I noticed in the Sunday school records that you haven't
            been coming for the past few weeks.

Joey:   Nah, we've been busy lately. But we have been watching that funny preacher on TV
            every Sunday.

Elder:  No, I don't want an Ice Cream Sunday. But you need to be going to church. You need to
             be around other Christians.

Joey:    Maybe so. Iíll ask Fred Red about it. He seems to be a pretty good Christian.

Elder:  Very good young man. Iíll see you later.        (They both say bye and leave)

Later in the day:

Elder: Hi there Joey, did you talk to Fred Red yet?

Joey:  No, sir. I haven't found him yet.

Elder: Here he comes now.

Fred:  Hello human Joey, hello human Elder Everett!

Elder: Hello Fred Red.

Joey:  Fred Red, you're a pretty good Christian aren't you?

Fred:  Yes, human. I was saved a few months ago and now God lives in all three of my hearts!

Elder:  What did you say about sweet tarts?

Joey:  He said his 3 hearts!

Elder: Oh, well Joey has a problem and hasn't been going to church lately.

Joey:  Yeah, we've been busy lately, but we've been watching a TV preacher.

Fred:  That doesn't matter. We need to be a part of a fellowship with other believers.

Joey:  Why?

Elder: Because when we come together we become a house for God to visit.

Fred:  And if we don't build friendships with other Christians we will build friendships with
           sinners. Then we're not at strong Christians as we should.

Joey:  Maybe you're right. But it is hard to get up on Sunday mornings.

Fred:  But shouldn't you get up as early for Jesus as you do for school or to watch cartoons on
           Saturday?

Elder: I don't know about  balloons on pateí but we need to worship together.

Fred:  And the music is as cool as a Plutonian popsicle.

Joey: Yeah, I do like the music. And it really is fun sometimes.

Elder: And you grow closer to God.

Fred: That is the important part, human.

Joey: I guess your right, Elder Everett. I do need to be going to church.

Elder: Very good. Iíll see you at church.

Everyone says bye and leaves.



Game
Find the words!
I H M H A J S S U W I W Q M D
X W T O H R J N G C V K G B E
E S Y N N Z N N A Y L V F R T
L U A P E E I Y C I O A D I N
H U E L J L Y U M N S J K C E
G T E R L C H U R C H E S K M
X Q X E O Y W M F F W G H Q E
V J W Z G E J T D X Q P X P C
X D X R C M G I A M L M P V E
H I A N O I T A D N U O F B T
U S I C Z F U S J S Q H N Y E
S Y W C H C A Z W H F N H F Z
M M F J O B E Q A F O U T O F
B J S W C R Y S Z M Q W C Q Y
V N R Y P E A J U L S R U D Y


THIS PUZZLE INCLUDES THE FOLLOWING WORDS:
BRICK
CEMENTED
CHURCH
DWELLING
EPHESIANS
FOUNDATION
GRASS
MONEY
PAUL
USE


Answers for word game May 7 - 14, 2000

I H M H A J S S U W I W Q M D
X W T O H R J N G C V K G B E
E S Y N N Z N N A Y L V F R T
L U A P E E I Y C I O A D I N
H U E L J L Y U M N S J K C E
G T E R L C H U R C H E S K M
X Q X E O Y W M F F W G H Q E
V J W Z G E J T D X Q P X P C
X D X R C M G I A M L M P V E
H I A N O I T A D N U O F B T
U S I C Z F U S J S Q H N Y E
S Y W C H C A Z W H F N H F Z
M M F J O B E Q A F O U T O F
B J S W C R Y S Z M Q W C Q Y
V N R Y P E A J U L S R U D Y


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Copyright 2000 by Gene Powell