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I can’t tell you how many times I have heard this statement, “I don’t have to go to church. I can worship God anywhere.”

They are right. You can bask in the glory of God wherever you stand.  You can praise God wherever you go.  You can read your Bible anywhere.

I have friends who seem to find themselves in the Church of the Great Outdoors during hunting and fishing season. When the air temperature is just right and the deer, duck, pheasant, or fish are ripe for the taking. Usually, I hear people say they worship God in the blind, stand or boat.

Other people suggest that church is completely unnecessary, while others say it is irrelevant. Sadly, those accusations are sometimes true. However, we do not usually take advantage of those moments. People are focused on the hunt, not bowing to worship God. People get too busy throwing back a cold one that they forget to throw back their lives to The One in submission and worship.

But church is different.  It is to be a place of refuge and focus. We don’t call it a sanctuary without reason. The place where we gather is just a big room, but the reason we gather is bigger than the universe. A large gathering of people for one purpose meets.  Our focus is on the One True God. Our hearts come into alignment. Our minds clear of all other thoughts except for God.

At least that is what we are supposed to do. Meeting God in this way is important.  We find an early example in Leviticus:

“If any native Israelite sacrifices a bull or a lamb or a goat anywhere inside or outside the camp instead of bringing it to the entrance of the Tabernacle to present it as an offering to the Lord, that person will be as guilty as a murderer. Such a person has shed blood and will be cut off from the community. The purpose of this rule is to stop the Israelites from sacrificing animals in the open fields. It will ensure that they bring their sacrifices to the priest at the entrance of the Tabernacle, so he can present them to the Lord as peace offerings. Then the priest will be able to splatter the blood against the Lord’s altar at the entrance of the Tabernacle, and he will burn the fat as a pleasing aroma to the Lord. The people must no longer be unfaithful to the Lord by offering sacrifices to the goat idols. This is a permanent law for them, to be observed from generation to generation” (Lev.17:3-7).

God instructs the people that it is unlawful to try to shortcut worship.  In God’s eyes, it is not enough to just have some service at the rodeo, home show, golf course, or duck blind. It is not enough to rationalize that we are too busy to leave what we are doing in order to go to church. It is not enough to say that the family altar will do.

God is serious about church ,and so should we.  Going to church reveals honor and obedience to God. Going to church reveals a submission to God more than self.

Do as God prescribed for the priests. Be cleansed. Be prepared. Be in attendance. Be blessed.