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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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The Blessing of a Church Building

When the average person hears the word "church" they automatically think of a church building. When the average person some nineteen hundred years ago heard the word "church", a building was probably the last thing on their mind. The word church in the scriptures doesn't mean a building, but rather a saved body of individuals that have been called out of the world and added together by the Lord (Matthew 16:18; Colossians 1:18; 1s Peter 2:9; Acts 2:47). Early Christians met in houses, caves and underground catacombs (secret places due to persecution) putting more emphasis on who was being worshiped and not necessarily the place where worship was taking place.

This being a fact doesn't negate the fact that we are blessed with a regular meeting place today where we can have Bible study classes and worship services to God. We are blessed to have air conditioning and central heat with indoor plumbing, reliable electricity (all of these were not necessarily available fifty years ago!), and a good leak-free roof over our head. All of this available by the grace of God through the financial sacrifices made to Him and by the blood, sweat, tears, and prayers of previous generations of brothers and sisters in Christ. These reasons alone are enough to show the importance of taking care of the building we have.

Children should be taught that the church building is a place that needs to be taken care of and respected with all adults (not just Mom and Dad) being a good example to them. It is so easy to be a good example. No one has ever gone to the emergency room with a broken back from bending over to pick up a piece of paper they dropped on the floor. Hymnal holders are not a substitute for trash cans. If you must put your candy wrapper somewhere, use your pocket —you can't forget about them there. When candy or trash is placed in the holders, it can damage the songbooks we use, which are blessings as well. Children learn from us. They are like sponges (which are also used to clean).

The blessing of a great church building can be taken for granted and abused if we do not pay attention to it. The church isn't a building, but the building still belongs to God. And what a blessing it is. Think about it.

Eugene Atkins preaches for the church of Christ at Keltonburg, Dekalb County, Tennessee