Locked doors, empty darkness, silence, a for sale sign out front – these describe the buildings which once were vibrant places of worship to God for Christians in our country. For decades, there have been reports that people in America are leaving the “church”. Not just young people but people of all ages and backgrounds. Why have they left? Where did they go? If church is not the answer then what are they looking for?
You see, they really haven’t left a church building. They have really left God. They have no interest in God since they are “in control” of their own lives. They want a god that fits their lifestyle, their time or their morals. Those who once followed God and worshiped Him have walked away searching for purpose in other places but not finding it.
And perhaps those who still attend a church service weekly, monthly, or once a year only do so because they always have. They attend social gatherings and events but their heart for God has grown cold. Going through the motions, they take no thought of having a close relationship with God or having Him direct their lives. It’s not that people could care less about going to a church building but they could care less about God, about knowing His Word.
Walking away from God hasn’t brought happiness or a better life. Instead for many it has led to hopelessness, fear, pain, brokenness and absolute darkness. When we miss out on God we also miss out on His blessings, his goodness, His love and forgiveness. We forget who God is:
“But you O Lord, are a God of compassion, and mercy, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.” Psalm 86:15
People don’t need to return to a church building. They need to return to God. And God in His love is calling those who once knew His closeness to come back to Him. Then as they fall in love with God again, they will come flocking to meetings and gatherings to worship Him.
Five years ago, God asked me to pray for American’s who call themselves believers in Jesus to return to Him. God longs to forgive and show them His grace and love again. He is sad that their hearts are cold and they love this world and it’s evil. God once told His people:
“…thus says the LORD: if you return, I will restore you, and you shall stand before me…for I am with you to save you and deliver you, declares the LORD.” Jeremiah 15:19-20
Out of my prayers I recently wrote a book called, Wake Up! Return to God. After much prayer and guidance from others the book is now available on Amazon.com . It will soon be available on ebook and audiobook as well. As I wrote in the book:
“God’s deep desire is for us to return to Him. However, too many Christians are missing out on His goodness and peace because of an apathetic heart that has strayed from Him. They have been put to sleep by the world and its desires…and have lost sight of their Savior and God. He is forever calling His followers who have strayed to return to Him. His love and grace motivate us to return so that He can revive us and bring us back to life…”
Perhaps many closed church buildings will be open again, packed with Christians praising God because they have returned to the God who loves them. It is time to wake up! Have you left God? He wants you back with Him. Do you need to know God personally? Turn to Him who offers forgiveness.