These three homophones are going to help me explore reasons people go to church. There are many motives that people choose church: it’s a great way to have positive friends, it is nostalgic, it’s good for business or maybe it is just where you are supposed to be on certain Sundays of the year. Those church attendees are called CEOs. You know…Christmas, Easter and Other important Sundays.
The motives that present themselves in the homophones Phil, Feel and Fill are a little harder to discern. My Pastor’s name is Phil. I get a blessing out of his sermons every single week. Some Christians go to church to hear a good sermon and there is nothing wrong with that. However, if you fail to live during the week what you said Amen to on Sunday, something is lacking in your church experience. If we are going to get our “Phil”, then your connection is to the pastor, not the Savior.
Secondly, many Christians associate a good church service with the emotions they experience during the service. I do get emotional in church, especially when our praise team leads worship. I am very moved by music and lyrics that glorify God. But I have also been moved to tears and gotten goosebumps during musicals and the crescendo of an orchestral soundtrack in a movie. If I identify church as the place where I get my “feel”, then I could easily replace an emotional experience with something other than church.
So, if a “feeling” isn’t a truthful church experience and “Phil” isn’t it either, then why should we go to church? That brings me to the third homophone, “fill”. It is incredible to walk into a place where pastors, musicians, greeters, teachers, and believers are all poised to provide church. But church is not a conference, or a concert, it is the Bride of Christ that He promised to FILL with his Holy Spirit, not just once or once a week, but continual renewal!
Church is not a filling station where you get refilled and then come back in next Sunday empty and in need of a new emotional experience or sermon. A body of believers is living and active every day whether they are together or apart, they are the church. The church house is more like the twenty-four-hour buffet on a cruise. It never runs out and offers variety and exceeding bounty that brings people together to be filled.
To come to know through experience the love of God that passes knowledge and may your entire being be filled to overflow with the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:19. The experience of church should fill you to overflowing so that between Sundays, God’s goodness can spill over onto others. I once heard Bill Johnson say it like this, “Fullness is not measured by the contents of a container, fullness is measure by the overflow”. The same can be said of what you are getting out of church. If you are filled to overflowing, then no “Phil” or no “feel” will become more important than being FILLED!