Devotional Observation By Susan Niswonger / last year Share Tweet Pin Share Recently, Steve was talking with a man who wanted to change his life. He confessed that his attempt to change on his own wasn’t working; he could be good for a short time and then his desires would overwhelm his efforts. Steve, of course, began to tell him that being filled with the Holy Spirit was his answer. It is only through the Holy Spirit that we have the power to overcome our sinful nature. As the conversation continued, the reasons for his resistance began to spill out; he had been failed by the Church. It wasn’t really “The Church” but people who claimed to be members of “The Church.” He had been betrayed by people who talked “Christianize” but didn’t carry it through to the action phase. Been There!! I have yet to find an individual who has NOT been disappointed by a church member or a church member who has NOT disappointed someone. I have been let down by pastors, SS teachers, Christian “friends,” choir members and the list goes on. Then on Sunday afternoon I realize that I am the one who disappointed that member who needed encouragement, a friend or someone just to care. Yes, The Church is full of imperfect people; people who get angry, act hateful, betray trust, are insensitive and even sin; people just like you and me. If you talk to enough disgruntled people or read enough religious news you will begin to get the picture that The Church is just a “Club for Hypocrites.” Is there anything good about The Church? This is an excerpt from a devotional by Christopher J. Harris called The Church Has My Vote. I’ve seen church members that take their faith serious and walk that out in their daily lives. I’ve seen Pastors have such an encounter with God that they live what they preach. I’ve seen choir members that were the same righteous people in public and in private. I’ve seen more preachers that were committed to their wives than I have seen the opposite. I’ve seen more Deacons support their Pastor’s than the opposite. I’ve seen church members that love people so much that they’ve given money, time, and their talents just to help someone that they’ve only met a few minutes ago. I’ve seen people cry together and laugh together. I’ve seen men connect with other men when otherwise there were walls of mistrust. I’ve seen women get restored when they’d decided they would never trust again……….That’s the other reason why I’m sold out to the church. It doesn’t belong to any one person. It is God’s! I was introduced to the church at 10 months old and 52 years later, I still love The Church. It was a place where I learned to love God’s Word. Beginning with wonderful Sunday School teachers who lovingly taught me not just Bible stories but the awesome truths they contained. I had pastors that cared about their congregations and sacrificed personal opportunities to follow the call of God and preach salvation to lovable and unlovable sinners. It was surrounded by The Church that I gave my heart to God and received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit at 9 years old. It was The Church that encouraged an awkward teenager to sing, teach and learn to play the piano, and then use them for God. Church has always been a place of safety, where I could feel an arm around me as I poured my heart out to God. There are so many good things about The Church but the best thing about The Church is that I have been accepted as a member. Now it’s up to me. My behavior and attitude will determine if seeking people can find something good about The Church. Will they find welcoming arms or an exclusive club with a closed membership? Will they find the truth of God’s Word or an ear-tickling, back-slapping homily that leaves them unchanged? Will they find the power of the Holy Ghost or dead religion? God, help me to be a part of what’s good about The Church.