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For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and members one of another.

Romans 12:4-5


The above verse, written around 2,000 years ago by Paul to the church in Rome, reveals a timeless truth that we as believers are knit together by our faith in Christ and we are one body in Christ. We are interdependent of one another and need each other to fulfill God’s purposes for our life. Paul also writes in a letter to the church in Thessalonica that we need to encourage one another to grow in our faith and to do good with our life. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)  I, along with most every pastor I know, has been watching and praying to see how our church and the world would emerge from the Covid Pandemic that disrupted life as we knew it starting in March 2020. What has resulted from the pandemic seems to have affected most every church in our nation to some degree or another in every denomination. The isolation that the lock downs and restrictions produced has impacted many people and institutions for the negative. As always, children suffer the most in any hardship, and all the research is showing that children have not only dropped in educational scores and development, but also in social skills and the ability to cope with change. Division, violence, crime, anxiety, drug use and suicide have escalated in our nation to epidemic levels. When people lose the ability to relate and connect with one another, the cost is great. This is true for church bodies as well. We need to spend time together and help each other in person or we will all suffer for it as we are interconnected by God’s design.

It is a true statement that we as people are largely creatures of habit. We find routines in our life to help us do whatever are our priorities in life. The pandemic has forced many a person to change their habits to become more isolated and preoccupied with other matters. Since we have all had to deal with the changes over a period of two and one half years, new habits have been developed by all of us. My hope all along was that everyone who claimed to be a believer in Jesus would use their time to seek God in greater ways and draw closer to Him in fellowship. I also hoped, along with many pastors I know, that once we could meet again that everyone would be hungry to do so and we would see it in attendance and engagement by our church members. This has not been the case for the majority of  churches in America. What has happened is that people have filled their Sundays and other days with other things and the habit of worshiping God on Sunday has no longer stayed a habit. In other words, worshiping and serving God is no longer a practice for many people, it is sort of an after-thought or lower priority. Of course there are valid reasons for some to not be able to attend like health challenges, work schedules and even occasional travel, but when these are not it play, going to church to worship, serve and fellowship should be of the highest priority to someone who says they are a child of God who has been saved, forgiven and filled with God’s Spirit. What may need to happen is the willful change of habits by many of us to put God first as we are commanded to in both the New Testament and the Old Testament. We need to check our heart to see where we are in this matter as time in this life is precious, and once spent, can never be reclaimed. A final thought, when I was in seminary, and even after that time, I have heard often that how a person treats their church family is how they treat God Himself, not matter what they may say. If a person is casual or lazy in their church involvement and engagement, they are likely that way in their walk and devotion to God. I have thought about this many times in my ministry and have learned that it is almost always a truth. Let’s be sure we are all giving the Lord, who has been kind and gracious to us, our very best in not only word, but in deed and action. If we need to change our habits, let’s get that done for God’s glory and the benefit of ourselves and others in our church body. Blessings will follow for sure!


Love in Christ,

Pastor Gary Houdek