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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN

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Looking for the Perfect Church

Occasionally I am tempted to get bent out of shape with the congregation of God's people where I worship. But experience has taught me that when that happens, the more serious fault is apt to be in me than it is in the church itself The feeling that the church grass is greener on the other side of the fence is just like anything else that looks greener on the other side — we can jump'or climb over, but the problem in getting to and enjoying the greener grass is that we have to take ourselves over the fence, too. And if I have an angry heart or an unforgiving spirit or a dissatisfied soul on this side of the fence, those same soul-withering attitudes go with me unless I, with God's help, change them. If  I don't change them, then I am the same exact person on the new side of the fence as I was on the other. If that's the case, greener grass won't satisfy very long, no matter where I'm grazing. If I do change my own bad attitudes, I just might find that the grass on this side looks greener, too, now that Pm looking at it through a cleaner window. Danny Nunn wrote in a church bulletin article: "Marry people spend a lifetime church hopping, searching for the perfect church. Everywhere they go they see flaws with the church. When we look closely, we will always find faults, because the church is made up of redeemed sinners. The contrast between the divine ideal and human performance, which was evident even in the New Testament church (at Corinth) is still the realistic life situation of God's people on earth When many see the contrast between the two, all they can do is gripe, go somewhere else, or do nothing and never find satisfaction. "

Bible students know the church at first century Corinth was plagued with a truckload of spiritual problems. Yet when Paul wrote he addressed hem as the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints" (1 Corinthians 1:2). He will have very tough things to say to them as the book moves along, but he begins by reminding them there is no need to go searching for greener spiritual grass. They have been called to be saints right where they are. They can be in Christ even. in Corinth. The key? Scan the first four verses in this book and you will find Paul makes at least nine references to God and Christ. The spiritual grass can be green where you are if you keep your focus on the Lord.  Anything else is bound to disappoint. As Charles Heismath said, "The chief trouble with the church is that you and I are in her." We just wouldn't fit in a church filled with perfect people. Are you focused on finding a perfect church or helping to improve the imperfect one where you are?

Dan Gulley
church of Christ
Smithville, Tennessee