Baked Apple Crisp

Attending Church & Baked Apple Crisp

Matthew 18:20 (nirv)

Where two or three people meet together in my name, I am there with them.

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I struggle with church. Before I became a Christian, I bounced from church to church, trying to find a place that I felt welcomed, loved, and accepted enough to learn more about Jesus. It took me years to finally find a place I felt comfortable calling home. Even then, I was wishy-washy with my attendance and commitment to being present.

When we moved to Texas, we started the process of church-hunting all over again, and I forgot just how exhausting it was. It’s been a year and a half since then, and we still haven’t found a church. Let me rephrase that; we still haven’t committed to attending a church. We’ve found a few churches that preach the gospel we believe in, worship in a way that we understand, and offer opportunities for spiritual and relational growth. But we rarely ever attend.

This past week, as I was sending in our weekly tithing (see more about this here), I had a revelation about church and its place in my life; I have a lot of excuses about why we don’t go, but ultimately, I realized that I’m simply not making it a priority in my life. I’m being selfish with my schedule. A lot of people struggle to give their finances to God, but I personally struggle to give my time. I have no problem giving money each week, and I truly never think about what I could be spending it on instead. But when I think about giving up my time to go to church, I think about all the things that I could be doing during that time.

Matthew 6:21 says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (NIV). While this verse primarily focuses on finances, it applies to anything that takes priority over God – that includes time.

It’s easy for me to say that I don’t need to go to church because I can just read my Bible and study the Word on my own, or that I can watch our Ohio church on Youtube. And those things are great options, but I’ve allowed them to replace the obedience I should be practicing and the sense of community I should be building by attending a local church.

Everything that God asks us to do has a purpose in our lives. In order for me to become the best version of myself, I have to continually seek His guidance. If God says that having two or more gathered together to pray is important, it’s important. It’s up to me to decide if I’ll choose to listen or if I’ll choose my own personal agenda.

The truth is that I have no idea what God will bring into my life, what He might place on my heart, or who He’ll use to speak to me through a church service, a small group, or a relationship built there. But I do know that if I decide not to listen, I’ll certainly be missing out on what He has for me.

Our schedules are busy; we’re constantly on the go, so having the time to unwind or to ramp up and get things done on the weekends is something I treasure. And that’s where the problem lies; it’s not that I’m not learning about God or worshipping Him (those things can be done anywhere, at anytime) but by not attending church out of the desire to keep my time for myself, I’ve placed something above God on my list of priorities. That will certainly lead to an unbalanced and unsatisfying life.

I’ve committed to attending church this weekend, and right now, it feels like it will be forced. Eating healthy, exercise, proper financial planning – these are all things that require discipline and aren’t always something we enjoy doing. From time to time, attending church might also fall into that category, but fighting to give God that top spot in your life can ultimately only lead to good.

Write

Do you regularly attend church? Why or why not? Spend some time exploring your beliefs about church and where it falls on your priority list.

Pray

For your church and its leaders. If you don’t currently attend church, pray that God will lead you to a place you can call home and begin building a community.

Baked Apple Crisp

5 minPrep Time

4 minCook Time

9 minTotal Time

Serves 1

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Ingredients

  • 1 large apple
  • 1/4 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 tsp apple pie spice
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 T chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup water (Instant Pot method only)
  • Greek yogurt topping (optional)

Instructions

  1. Remove as much of the core from the apple as possible without cutting the apple the whole way through
  2. Combine oats, spices, walnuts, and syrup and mix
  3. Fill apple with oat mixture, using your finger or a butter knife to push mixture down inside of apple
  4. Instant Pot
  5. Pour water in the bottom of instant pot and set on normal for 4 minutes, depending on desired crispness
  6. Place stuffed apple in the bottom and cover with lid, making sure that the vent is closed
  7. Once finished use the manual release option by carefully sliding the steamer to “venting" position
  8. Once steam has released, open the lid and enjoy immediately
  9. Top with greek yogurt (optional)
  10. Oven
  11. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
  12. Place stuffed apple in a baking dish and cook for 15 minutes or until apple is soft
  13. Top with greek yogurt (optional)
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Tips & Tools

There are two different options for this recipe; Instant Pot or oven. To be honest, I don’t know that one way is easier than the other, but I just really wanted to use my Instant Pot for something other than chicken. When I first got it, I read about all the things I could make in it, and this is really the first I’m trying it out! But I’ve made this recipe both ways, and the oven works just as well.

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