Nutritionists tell us that we need to obtain our vitamins through food as opposed to pills and that our daily intake should contain at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. This is good advice, but I watch in amazement as a newborn child only needs one item for their complete nutritional needs as provided by their nursing mother. While on this milk they vibrantly grow stronger each day. Their skin is beautiful, their eyes are like engaging jewels and their bodies grow stronger right in front of your eyes.
But what about their spiritual needs? What about our spiritual needs? Just like mothers milk, there is only one thing we need and that’s a right relationship with Jesus in our life. Everything falls into place once this happens. We get baptized, the Holy Spirit inhabits our lives, we partake of the Lord’s Supper regularly, we pray daily, we make offerings to our Lord, we gather to worship and praise, we read God’s word and through all of this our faith builds over time. When you attend church, you should leave feeling spiritually fed – regardless of your background and age. Start to ask some very serious questions if this isn’t happening because the problem can be either you or your church.
Picking the right church is a bit tricky. Here’s my litmus test:
1. All Christian churches regardless of denomination will profess to teach God’s word in truth and purity so this in effect is not a good enough discriminator. You need to know the bible yourself to make an informed assessment of this.
2. Look for churches that read God’s word regularly, in every single worship service, and also verify that all portions are being used throughout the year – every book, every verse and every word is important.
3. Look for churches that administer the Sacraments according to God’s word. Yes, you need to know that much as well.
4. Look for churches that pray together in every service.
5. Look for preaching that is based on God’s word and that uses some scripture throughout.
6. Look for churches that confess their sins together, that are reminded of the forgiveness of sins and receive the absolution of their sins on a regular basis.
7. Look for churches that start their worship in the name of the Triune God.
8. Look for fans of the coffee hour, jello, the Green Bay Packers and Star Wars (just kidding, you know who you are.)
The common theme here is God and His word, not man or his feeble traditions.
Make it your New Year’s resolution to find a church if you don’t have one already.