EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD: What does a church have to offer?

2013-07-07T00:00:00Z EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD: What does a church have to offer?By Paul Appold nwitimes.com
July 07, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Everywhere we go, we are bombarded with advertisements of what stores and businesses have to offer.

Sometimes I wonder if people really know what a Christian church has to offer.

Although each church has a little different background, a Christian church brings true freedom to life in the name of Jesus. This freedom comes in many different forms.

First, the Christian church’s main job is to lead us to freedom from sin. So many people walk around with an assortment of spiritual and emotional wounds. These wounds often bring people to despair. The job of the church is to point people to Jesus, who died for their sins, and has forgiven their past. He also rose again from the dead so those who believe in Him would have victory over these sins, and have eternal life.

The church also brings freedom from sorrow. Everyone experiences sorrow. It could be from a sickness, a breakup in a relationship, or the death of a loved one. Although these sorrows might not always be healed immediately, the church brings us the basic message that we need to hear, that we are loved by God. We are here because God loves us and has us here for a reason.

Third, the church brings us freedom from hopelessness.

If you were to only watch the evening news or read the front page of the newspaper, you might conclude human beings are in a hopeless situation.

But when one steps into a Christian church, he or she has come into a place that has great hope. It is not hope based on government programs or increased neighborhood watches. Our hope is in Jesus. He is in power right now, providing for the people of the Earth, and He is far more powerful than all of the world's governments in the world.

He encourages us to pray to Him. He says, “Ask and it will be given, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened unto you (Matthew 7:7)."

Fourth, the church brings us freedom from loneliness. Many people stay in their own little place, rather than even venturing out into their neighborhoods. This loneliness leads to many other problems, such as apathy and despair. A church, like the one I serve, brings positive relationships with other people going through life’s ups and downs. It’s a place to sing, and laugh, and even cry together.

But the greatest relationship it can bring is a closer relationship to Jesus Christ, who cares for our deepest needs, and says to all of us, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28)."

So, what does a Christian church have to offer? Simply put, it offers us a brand new kind of life. It brings us freedom from the troubles of the world, and it points a believer in Jesus to his or her true home in heaven.

This past week, we celebrated the freedom of our country. But a Christian church that holds to the truth of God’s Word in the Bible brings true and lasting freedom. I hope you find a church that brings true freedom like this.

The Rev. Paul Appold is pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Lansing.

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