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Nature's Cathedral?
Theme of the Week: Real Disciples Do Church
Ernest Herndon
Wednesday, April 25, 2007

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Key Bible Verse: "So we promise together not to neglect the Temple of our God" (Nehemiah 10:39).Bonus Reading: Hebrews 10:23-25

When editor Charles Dunagin interviewed me for a reporting job in 1979, he asked what, if any, church I attended. "The church of the woods," I retorted. He was unimpressed.

I later learned that Dunagin was a churchgoer and a passionate quail hunter. Though well acquainted with the glories of nature, he knew that the outdoors is no substitute for church. Since then I've also become a churchgoer.

Those folks who claim the outdoors takes the place of church don't typically spend their outdoor time in worship. Back when I missed church during deer season, I was watching for antlers on Sunday mornings, not seeking spiritual instruction. The Bible praises the wonders of nature; and Moses, Elijah, and Jesus withdrew to the wilderness to commune with God—but not to the exclusion of His house.

The woods can't deliver what church offers. We experience a unique closeness with fellow believers as we praise God in song, communicate with Him though prayer, respond to His Word preached, and partake of Communion.

But you'll still find me camping out on several weekends each year. And I don't think God will fault me for it.

—Ernest Herndon in Nature Trails and Gospel Tales

My Response: Does recreation or corporate worship have prior claim on my weekends?

Thought to Apply: Being a Christian without joining others in church is like being a soldier without an army or a football player without a team.—MRS. WM. JANZEN

Adapted from Nature Trails and Gospel Tales (InterVarsity, 2004) by permission.

Prayer for the Week
In my community, Lord, help me to be a functioning part of Your body as You intend.

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