The Open Championship teed off this morning at Royal Portrush Golf Club in Northern Ireland. Interestingly, only 17% of Northern Ireland identify as being non-religious. The rate in the United States has grown to over 20%. Of course, we know there is a difference between being religious and having a relationship with Christ. The rates of church attendance have been steadily declining as well. Some report less than 20% of Americans regularly attend church. The number of golf rounds and memberships have also experienced a similar decline of over 15%. Society is becoming less and less attached to any organized institution whether it be for religious or recreational activities. The Bible stresses the importance of church attendance. As we see above, it stirs and spurs us unto love and good works. Accordingly, John 13:35 tells us how a true religion can be identified. He proclaims, “by this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” Someone who has experienced an encounter with Christ exhibits love. Accordingly, the believer identifies the church as the bride of Christ and loves her. The church is more than a building of attendees. She is a place of worship for those who revel in the grace of a Savior. In Psalms 51:18, David declared, “do good to Zion in your good pleasure; build up the walls of Jerusalem” after pleading for mercy and forgiveness of his soul. Those who love Christ and the church believe both should be exalted and glorified on Earth. Those who have received much mercy are those who also believe the church should thrive and prosper. Being active in and a member of a church comes with a sense of accountability. I need this accountability.