Revive Our Hearts Podcast

How to Get Involved

Leslie Basham: According to Nancy Leigh DeMoss, we can't give you everything you need on the radio.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Listen! Radio and tapes can dispense information, but they can't replace community. We need to hear the Word together. We need to live it together. We need to walk together in our faith.

Leslie Basham: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. It's Tuesday, August 9th. We're in the middle of a series called Who Needs the Church? Have you ever left your church saying, "I didn't get anything out of that?" Maybe the problem is that you didn't put anything into it. Here's Nancy.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Who needs the church? Well the answer is: I do, you do, and every child of God needs the church. It's not an option. If you are a child of God, as we've seen in this series, once you were baptized into Christ, you were baptized into the family of God and the body of Christ. You are part of the Church, capital "C" whether you like it or not, whether you realized it or not. You are part of what the Scripture calls the Church, the called-out ones, called out to belong to God, to be the body of Christ, the bride of Christ, the building, the temple that God is making for Himself.

Well, we're also seeing that it's not enough to be a part of the Church, capital "C". Scripturally, if you're part of the Church, you also need to be a part of a church, a local expression of the body of Christ wherever you live. I want today and in the next session to give some practical suggestions for how to plug into the life of a local church, how to get connected.

Let me just start with something that seems so basic, but it's something that a lot of people are missing today, and that is: be there. Attend faithfully. Now some wonder and have raised the question, "I can get good teaching a lot of other places, so why go? I'm just going to a building. I'm hearing some message and maybe not a message as good as I could hear on radio or television or tapes."

Listen! Radio and tapes can dispense information, but they can't replace community. For you to be absent or for you to hit-and-miss in your attendance is like a marriage or a family where people don't ever see each other. They're not ever with each other. They don't ever sit down for meals together. They're scattered. What kind of a relationship can you develop as a family if you're never together?

You end up if you're not connected to a local church, if you're not attending, you're going to end up isolated, alone, bitter. And I would say, "Go when you feel like it, and go when you don't feel like it."

Now, assuming you're going to church, how do you go to church? Well, can I just say, don't go to just sit and spectate? Don't go to just park your body in a seat on Sunday morning and listen to the program, spectate, let everybody on the platform entertain you, make sure the preacher is a scintillating, spellbinding communicator, make sure the music is something you can really enjoy like going to a concert, and you just sit back and enjoy.

Now there is a sense in which we let all of that wash and bathe us with the Word of God, but don't go to just sit and spectate. Go to meet with God in the company of His people and realize that as you go, you're not only going to meet with God--because you can do that in your bedroom. But what you can't do in your bedroom is meet with God in the company of His people, in the company of His body.

It's not just those who are gathered in your big or little church on Sunday; it's those who are gathered all around the world who are worshiping the Lord with you joining their hearts together. I love this picture that all throughout the day there are churches in different time zones around the world who are meeting together in the name of Christ and you are part of that great union and communion of saints. So go to meet with God, and go to meet with God's people.

Go to be a blessing. Go to church to serve, to give. Then I know somebody is thinking, "But I don't know the people in my church, and no one reaches out to me. Church is so unfriendly." Well, it sounds kind of simple, but can I just say, "Walk up to somebody and say hello." Meet people! Greet people. Make the first move.

Listen, I'm single, and I know a lot of times as a single person it's hard to go to church by yourself. It's hard for me to walk up to new people and introduce myself. I have to, well the Lord has to help me, but I know it's important so I do it. Introduce yourself, learn people's names. Over and over again in Paul's letters to the New Testament churches he says, "Greet one another." That could be considered a Biblical command at least seven times in his letters.

Romans chapter 16, at the end of the book of Romans, Paul names people he wants to greet there. He says, "Greet Priscilla and Aquilla. They have been co-workers in my ministry for Christ Jesus. Greet my dear friend Epaenetus. He was the very first person to become a Christian in the province of Asia. Give my greetings to Mary who has worked so hard for your benefit. And then there are Andronicus and Junia, my relatives, who were in prison with me.

"Say hello to Ampliatus whom I love as one of the Lord's own children, and Urbanus, our co-worker in Christ, and beloved Stachys" (paraphrased verses 3-9) On and on and on and he ends with this word. Verse 16: "Greet each other in Christian love" (paraphrased).

In that one passage alone Paul greets 26 people by name. He knew about those people. Many of them he didn't just say their name, but he said something about them that he knew and appreciated about their service for Christ.

That speaks to me the importance of relationships in the body of Christ. It says that people are important. They matter to God. Their names are important. They need to matter to us. You can be sure all those people--Andronicus, Ampliatus, Urbanus, Epaenetus . . . you can be sure that all those people had needs spiritually. They all had rough edges, just as we do. There weren't any super-saints in that church in Rome any more than there are in your church or in mine.

Even when writing to the Corinthian church, riddled as that church was with conflicts and carnality and doctrinal confusion, Paul says at the end of 2 Corinthians 13, "Greet one another with a holy kiss" (verse 12). Greet each other. He doesn't say in this church that has humungous problems, "Quit the church or go find another church." He challenges these believers to deal with one another and to deal with these issues in genuine love and humility.

So when you go to church, don't wait for people to approach you and be friendly. Take the initiative; reach out; be friendly to others. Show an interest in them; show an interest in their children. Look for people who are there alone if you're there by yourself and feeling alone. Look for other singles or women who are married to unbelievers that don't go to church with them, for widows.

Proverbs 18 says: "A man who has friends does show himself to be friendly" (paraphrased, verse 24). Dale Carnegie said, "You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you." So ask people questions: "How are you doing? Really, how are you doing? How can I pray for you?"

In my church there's a woman who comes up to me almost every Sunday, anytime I see her. Invariably she says to me, almost the first thing out of her mouth, "How can I pray for you?" And Cathy prays for me. She lives some distance away, so we don't see each other except on Sundays, but she prays for me. "How can I pray for you?" Pray for people, and pray with people and do it at church.

I tell you what, church would start to be a lot less like an organization and a lot more like an organism, like a functioning healthy body, if we would just stop and pray with each other. I look for opportunities when I go to church for God to bring people across my path who need a word of encouragement, who need somebody to pray with them. Not just brush past people you know like marbles clanking around in a big tin can just bumping up against each other. Get close to each other. Say, "How can I pray for you?"

Just in recent weeks I had the opportunity in my church to pray with a woman who has a debilitating physical condition, it's chronic. She's a young woman, and it puts a lot of pressure on her family. We just stopped there in the foyer of the church and prayed for her.

I had the chance not too long ago to pray with an expectant mother. She was just about due, and she is a mother of a lot of children, and she was exhausted. She was having a hard time late in this pregnancy, and we just stopped there in the aisle of the church and prayed for God's grace to be on her and on that baby during that week.

I had the chance a week or so ago to pray with another exhausted mom who's husband is going through a mid-life time when he's rethinking his career, and we just stopped and prayed. It wasn't long--just a matter of minutes.

Another woman said to me Sunday, "I need to talk to you. Can we talk?" So I called her on Sunday afternoon, and she poured out her heart about her son who's making some wrong choices, and she's heavy-hearted. And we prayed together. You say, "I'm not comfortable doing that." Well you know what? You'll never get comfortable doing that until you start doing it. Just do it. You don't have to be eloquent; you don't have to be any great leader or teacher or super-saint. Just say, "Can I pray for you?" Just lift that person up to the throne of grace.

Other people . . . when you go to church, bless. Bless these moms with all these kids hanging on them. Encourage those moms. Tell them, "I'm so thankful for your heart for your family." Notice their children; bless their children as Jesus did. I try when I'm around other people's children to just put my hand on the shoulder of that child or to give those children a hug and to bless them in the name of Jesus.

Be the body. Greet one another; encourage one another; pray for each other; show genuine interest. Can you imagine if everyone would do that or if just even a lot of people would do that in our churches? You say, "I wish they would." You do it! Even if you're the only one in your church who does, do it. Reach out. Get beneath the surface.

Even between weekend services, set a goal to connect with at least one person from your church once each week during the week. There's nothing . . . I don't mean to be dogmatic about that, but that's just a simple little goal--a phone call or a lunch together or getting together with your kids. Set a goal to connect with somebody from your church once during the week so that we're breaching between weekends. We're ministering to each other.

You say, "I can't reach out to everybody." God didn't call you to reach out to everybody. Just reach out to the people God puts in your path, the people God puts in your aisle at church, the people God brings across your way. You be sensitive; go to be a blessing. And you know what? When you get home you'll say, "I got blessed. God blessed me because I reached out and blessed others."

Leslie Basham: That's Nancy Leigh DeMoss challenging us to do more than just show up for church on Sunday mornings. Joshua Harris has written on this topic in his book called Stop Dating the Church. He has a chapter called "Rescuing Sunday" which can help you set up some habits to make your experience at church more meaningful.

It's all made possible by listeners who give. Your donation can help us continue investing in women like the one from Tennessee who emailed and said, "Until very recently I did not really look forward to hearing my radio alarm sound every morning. However, I am now blessed to wake up every morning at 5:15AM to hear the sweet voice of Nancy Leigh DeMoss speaking the truth of God's Word. It is a most encouraging way to get my day started."

The ministry of Revive Our Hearts is going on at all times of the day, and you can be a part of it by donating online at ReviveOurHearts.com or you can call 1-800-569-5959.

We've talked today about the importance of meeting with believers on Sunday mornings, but we need them through the week as well. Find out more tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

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