Josef Gabor grew up in Czechoslovakia when it was dominated by communism, and religion was despised as weakness. His father taught communist doctrine classes. But Josefs mother, who believed in Jesus Christ, took Josef and his brother with her to church.
They got up early each Sunday morning and took a 3-hour train ride to Prague. Then they walked to the church and sat through a 2 1/2-hour service. After eating lunch in a nearby park, they returned to church for another 2 1/2-hour meeting. Then they took the 3-hour ride home.
Today Josef Gabor is a missionary to his own people in Czechoslovakia. When he tells about going to church as a child, his eyes fill with tears of gratitude for a mother who cared enough about his spiritual welfare to help him come to know and serve Christ.
“If there are any churches which are scriptural in their membership, in their maintenance of discipline, in their preaching, and in all that concerns their public services, we do not know where to find them. We have traveled completely around the world but there is no church known to us where we could hold membership.” So he and his wife remained at home on Sundays for the last three decades of his lifethe ultimate house church!
It wasnt like Scott Kregel to give up. He was a battler, a dedicated athlete who spent hour after hour perfecting his three throw and jump shot during the hot summer months of 1987. But just before fall practice everything changed. A serious car accident left Scott in a coma for several days. When he awoke, a long rehabilitation process lay ahead. Like most patients with closed head injuries, Scott balked at doing the slow, tedious work that was required to get him back to normalthings such as stringing beads. What high school junior would enjoy that'
Tom Martin, Scotts basketball coach at the Christian school he attended, had an idea. Coach Martin told Scott that he would reserve a spot on the varsity for himif he would cooperate with his therapist and show progress in the tasks he was asked to do. And Toms wife Cindy spent many hours with Scott, encouraging him to keep going. Within 2 months, Scott was riding off the basketball court on his teammates shoulders. He had made nine straight free throws to clinch a triple-overtime league victory. It was a remarkable testimony of the power of encouragement.
Now it came to pass that spring turned to summer again.
Gods people raised their voices and said:
“Recreation is my shepherd, I shall not stay at home;
He maketh me to lie down in a sleeping bag;
He leadeth me down the Interstate each weekend.
He restoreth my suntan; He leadeth me to State Parks for comforts sake.
Even though I stray on the Lords Day,
I will fear no reprimand, for Thou art with me;
my rod and reel they comfort me.
I anointest my skin with oil, my gas tank runneth dry;
Surely my trailer shall follow me all the weekends this summer,
and I shall return to the House of the Lord this fall.”
But then it is hunting season and thats another psalm.
Some people dont need much of an excuse to stay home from church. If it even looks like it might rain, they dont want to risk getting a little wet.
The hymn writer Frances Havergal gave several reasons for attending churchespecially on rainy days.
1. God has blessed the Lords Day, making no exceptions for stormy days.
2. I expect my minister to be there. I would be surprised if he stayed at home because of the weather.
3. I might lose out on the prayers and the sermon that would have done me great good.
4. For important business, rain doesnt keep me home; and church is, in Gods sight, very important.
5. Bad weather will prove how much I love Christ. True love rarely fails to keep an appointment.
6. Those who stay home from church because its rainy frequently miss on fair Sundays, too. I mustnt take one step in that direction.
7. Christ said that “where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20).
8. I dont know how many more Sundays God may give me. It would be poor preparation for my first Sunday in heaven to have slighted my last one on earth.
Enough said! P.R.V.