Make A Choice

February 27, 2018 by  
Filed under Pastor's Corner

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Soccer or God. That’s how one of my colleagues laid out the choice. He was struggling with families missing worship for sporting events on Sunday mornings. At the moment, he could only see two choices. For him, one of them was clearly wrong, a failure of faith and priorities.

We’re all aware that Sundays (and Wednesdays and weekends and entire schedules) are not what they used to be. Gone are the days when going to worship on Sunday morning was the only planned activity of the day. Stores were closed. Front porches were full. Going to worship offered the spiritual rest and social connections we needed on a day of physical rest. Maybe for your family it wasn’t even a question or choice of what you’d be doing on Sunday morning: church.

Today we have so many more choices, on Sundays and all week long. We have many commitments and opportunities to prioritize. Our date books and wall calendars (and Google calendars) can get packed. With good things, too! You name it, we have many reasons we miss worship. On our recent worship survey, we received dozens of write-in reasons why we miss worship, in addition to the popular options provided.

We do have a choice to make on Sunday mornings (and Saturday evenings, for us), but we have more than two options. We can choose to be at a soccer field and to worship and love God. It’s not either/or. It can be both/and. Maybe you share family prayer time in the car on the way. Maybe you listen to the sermon online when you get home. Maybe you reach out with kindness to fellow spectators and players. Your options are actually countless! You can live your faith and make Jesus your top priority wherever you need to be on Sundays, and all week long. That’s actually the goal of the church! (For the benefits of gathering for worship, see Time magazine, February 26, 2018, “Do Religious People Live Longer?” They do, particularly those who congregate regularly.)

In the midst of obligations and commitments, sometimes it might feel like we have no choices. We can feel trapped by our schedules and oppressed by our obligations. Certainly some things cannot be changed, like a chronic illness. But even then, and always, we have choices. We can choose to say yes or no, to go wherever or to not go. We can choose our words and our actions. We can choose our attitudes. What a gift and a responsibility it is to manage our choices and freedom.

One great man understood the power of choice very well – the Reverend Billy Graham, who died on February 21, 2018, at the age of 99. When he was 16 years old, he made a choice to follow Jesus after hearing the Gospel from a traveling evangelist. In his more than 60-year career, Rev. Graham preached the Gospel to hundreds of millions of people around the world. He used revival meetings and pioneered the use of radio and television to share about Jesus. He invited people to make a choice to love and follow Jesus.

Every day we have the choice to love and follow Jesus. For all those people who responded to Rev. Graham’s invitation to trust Jesus, Graham no doubt knew they needed to make that decision daily. It isn’t one and done. Will we turn our ears to God’s word in scripture? Will we turn our attention to God in prayer? Will we open our eyes to see the beauty of God in front of us? Will we notice the needs of our neighbor beside us? Will we speak words of kindness and encouragement? Will we trust God to see us through the storms? In faith as in life, we have choices to make. Sometimes we choose well, sometimes we don’t.

No matter how we choose, there is One who chooses perfectly, without fail. Jesus chose to give his life for our sake. He said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord” (John 10:11-18). Whether we choose right or wrong, soccer or sleep, worship or work, even when our priorities get flipped, Jesus chooses to love us without condition. How we respond to that love is our choice to make.

In Christ,

Pastor Matt

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

-Hebrews 10:24-25



  • Brooke Fraser

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