Yesterday when you were getting ready for church were you threatened by a masked swordsman or gunman?  Did he tell you proceeding to church would result in the loss of your life? Did he march you down to a beach, make you kneel and remove your head?  Of course not.  We live in the United States.

However 21 Coptic Christians, who I’m sure would have loved to worship in secure church buildings without threat of punitive action, were shown in a video released yesterday losing their lives for being Christians, or People of the Cross.

Their blood wasn’t shed on American sand, but sand thousands of miles away.  It’s inconceivable for Christian Americans to comprehend the duress these men felt. In fact Christian Americans rarely encounter life-threatening situations based on their faith alone.

The deaths of these men should press Christian Americans into action by taking inventory of our own faith, walk, actions, convictions, attitudes, relationships and worship.

Do you know Christ as your Savior? Are you a child of the one true God?

Empty pews, a sign of the times

While going to church doesn’t mean you’re a Christian it’s a good place to be when the doors are open. I’ll be the first to admit, my family is absent at times from church services or Wednesday night Bible studies.

With the death of these 21 men a question arose in my mind. Am I taking for granted the right as a Christian, living without physical persecution, to worship freely and study the Bible with fellow Christians in a public facility?

The answer would be – yes.

Being around other Christians for worship, discipleship training, mission work, Bible study, ministries and more is how we thrive.  We can’t live alone, we need to be around fellow believers.

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One day the ‘assembling together’ freedom could disappear.  One day persecution of this magnitude could be on American beaches instead of Libyan shores.

Shouldn’t we as Christian Americans take advantage of every opportunity to worship freely with fellow believers?  I know life happens. Kids and parents get sick and we can’t make it to a worship service. I completely understand.

Public worship of our Savior is a privilege Christian Americans should never take for granted, ever.

Praise God we have a chance to fill the pews of our place of worship as often as we choose, for now.

Photo courtesy of Reuters

Photo courtesy of Reuters