In Acts 2, we meet the first Christians and right off the bat, they are doing a lot of "religious" things ...Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
That all sounds like pretty religious stuff to me.. Baptism, listening together to sermons, fellowshipping together, taking the Lord's Supper together, praying together, going through crisis together, sharing life and resources together, worshipping together in larger groups, fellowshipping in homes and witnessing together all across their community. That's pretty much what organized Christian faith is all about still today.
Almost nothing on this list of things that the first Christians did can be done at home with Joel Olsteen or on the lake by yourself. With all due respect toward Mr. Olsteen's TV show and all those who seek to use it as a substitute for "church," church is about a lot more than giving out or hearing information. God established the local church as a place where real people could cooperate together to love God, each other, and their world. We need other people to help us along the spiritual path. The Bible knows nothing of this modern idea of a personal spirituality that finds no place for community expression. While we do need some time for personal spiritual experiences, a personal spiritual life without a religious life is a glass half empty.
This is a great time of year to find your way back into a local church. God has a lot to teach you and many ways He wants to encourage you through involvement with His people. What's more, you have some things to give the Lord and the world that you can only give when you are in a healthy relationships with a church family. If you have been out of church it's God's will that you revive your "religious" life. To be clear, the Lord isn't looking for meaningless rituals, and if you aren't a sincere follower of Christ, religion won't help you all that much. However, if you are a Christian, then there is great depth and meaning to be found in seeking after God with other people, and of course, that's the reason Jesus established His church.
I hope you will be in church this Sunday. A little religion would be good for you and the community where you live.