I Was Such a Taker Yesterday

I felt like I was on the receiving end all day long.  I went to bed last night with a full heart and an overwhelming love and gratitude for God and His family.  Here’s a sample of what I got:

  • A sermon that served as a reminder of God’s merciful grace and His presence in my life.  It seemed tailor-made for me.
  • Lots of warm hugs
  • Some sisters specifically asked how I was doing with my boys leaving home.  They hugged me and told me they were thinking about me.
  • A couple of friends know of a confidential situation that is weighing on me.  They took the time to listen and assured me of their prayers.
  • A new Christian led a public prayer for the first time.  It was heart-felt and beautiful.  I was reminded of God’s power to transform lives.  I was filled with joy and grinned all the way through the prayer.
  • A couple of men responded to the invitation yesterday morning.  Others went up to sit with them on the front row to offer support.  I love that.  It makes me feel good.
  • Last night a godly, faithful widow responded to the invitation.  She mentioned a specific sin she struggled with and asked for forgiveness and help to overcome it.  I was so touched by her humility and courage.  My love and respect for her grew even more.  She went forward to ask for help but I wonder if she knows how much she helped me?
  • The fellowship seemed to linger longer yesterday.  We stood in the parking lot “forever” chatting.  No one seemed in a hurry to head home.  We talked about nothing overly significant…just flowers, school, our kids.  On the way home I told Neal how dear it is to just share LIFE with so many fellow Christians.

The tone of this post is completely self-focused.  And really, I left some things out that I was able to take away from yesterday.  The focus of our coming together to worship shouldn’t be “what can I get out of this?”  “Does it meet my needs?”  We are to gather together to GIVE.  We’re to bring our hearts to God (Matt. 15:8,9).  We’re to bring our sacrificial offering (2 Cor. 9:7).   We’re to encourage and exhort one another (Heb. 10:24,25).  We’re to offer up praise (Acts 2:41-47).  And yet, I couldn’t help but notice all that I GOT.

Yesterday wasn’t an isolated case.  I always “get” when I gather with fellow Christians to worship and learn and grow.  Even though my purpose and focus should be on bringing, giving, and offering, it’s amazing how I can leave with a heart so full of everything I have taken in.  It reminds me of the saying, “You can’t out-give God” (Luke 6:38).

“For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace” (John 1:16).

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Revive Me #21- Long for Fellowship

Revive Me, Week 21– A Year of Growing Stronger in the Lord

Long for Fellowship

I have rolled my eyes at the idea of another potluck.  I’ve whispered “amen” to posts or comments about the fact that fellowship is not about eating a meal together.  Well, I’ve decided that I’ve been guilty of a bad attitude.

If I’m honest, I must get to the bottom of my lack of enthusiasm.  Is it the meal itself?  No.  Is it the effort it would take on my part to prepare a dish?  No.  So that leaves only two other reasons.  Either I don’t relish the idea of spending more time with my Christian family or I don’t want to cram another event into my already busy schedule.  Spelling it out like that doesn’t make me sound too good, does it?  What could be more important than spending time with God’s people?  What does it say about the spiritual condition of my heart when I lose the desire to do so?

God’s people are the best of people!  I never regret spending time with them.

What does God think about Christian fellowship?

  • The early Christians were devoted to it- Acts 2:42
  • He lists it as a blessing of walking in the Light- 1 John 1:7

There are commands we can only fulfill with time and togetherness:

  • We meet together to encourage each other- Heb. 10:25
  • We are to bear each other’s burdens- Gal. 6:2
  • We are to have the same mind and the same love- Phil. 2:2
  • We are to comfort one another- 2 Cor. 13:11
  • We are to confess our sins to one another and pray for each other- James 5:16
  • We are to look to the interests of others- Phil. 2:4
  • We are to do good to each other- Gal. 6:10
  • We are to love one another- 1 John 4:7
  • We are to exhort one another- Heb. 3:13

Only so many of those can be accomplished through social media.  Paul desired to see Christians so he could be encouraged by their faith (Rom. 1:11,12).

Busyness.  Introvertedness.  Isolation.  These may be the types of things that lead to a lack of desire for togetherness.  Or maybe the withdrawal comes from hurt feelings.  Maybe someone said something thoughtless or let you down.  Whatever the cause, let us remember that fellowship was special to the church of the New Testament.  Let us remember that fellowship is about more than getting, it’s about giving.  We encourage, love, serve, exhort.  We hug and laugh together.  We light each other’s fire to save souls.  We let others glimpse our faith.

The first century Christians were united and turned the world upside-down (Acts 17:6).  Certainly that is the desire of every Christian today.

Suggestions for the Week:

1.  Look up the “one another” passages and list what Christians are to do together.

2.  If your desire to fellowship is waning, try to determine the cause.  Have you been hurt?  Are you so busy that you are burned out?  Have worldly pursuits distracted you?  Pray about it.

3.  Make sure the same people aren’t having to schedule fellowship activities.  Help brainstorm and create opportunities to be together.

4.  Pay attention to those who are missing fellowship activities.  Reach out to them and encourage them to join you.

5.  Be intentional in your fellowship.  While you’re with Christians, focus on giving, loving, encouraging, and listening.

Read it.  Memorize it.  Live it.

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