What’s the Point?

…and let us consider [thoughtfully] how we may encourage one another to love and to do good deeds, 25not forsaking our meeting together [as believers for worship and instruction], as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more [faithfully] as you see the day [of Christ’s return] approaching.
Hebrew 10:24, 25
Confession time: As I was driving in to church last Sunday, I fought the urge to turn around, go home, put my pj’s back on, and crawl back into bed. I had been out late the night before with the kid’s band competition and the week, in general, had taken a toll on me. But, I continued down the road. For a bit, I remained quite whiny. (cue the annoying “Nanny” voice) “God, I just want a break…” “Why do I have to do everything…” (side note: I don’t do everything…but when I’m whining, things get exaggerated! LOL) “When do I get a day off…” Blah, blah, blah.

When there came a break to my whining, I felt God say, “It’s not about you.” He’s so gracious and kind that it didn’t sound mean or snarky, and yet, it shook me out of my “me-focused” moment. I started considering others who would be joining us for worship that morning…people coming in from all kinds of weeks, months, years…lives. Good or bad, all of us had walked through a week since we had last gathered together. God reminded me of our purpose for gathering together–to encourage each other (Hebrews 10:24, 25).

Obviously, if I miss a Sunday, I know God isn’t in heaven, giving me a demerit or taking away my “perfect attendance” award. And there are times when I, and all of us, need a vacation, a get away. But, this wasn’t one of those times for me. I was simply having a pity party. Instead of focusing on what God wanted for that service and how I could bring encouragement to my church family, I was focused on my perceived “hardships”. If my focus remains on me, I can be no help to anyone else. In fact, being “me-focused” just turns me into a “life-sucker,” sucking the life out of those around me. I have the Spirit in me…I should be bringing light and life to my realm of influence.

I feel like the Western church has lost some of that camaraderie, familial connection that we see so clearly in the early Church. For the most part, I feel like our mantra is that of a toddler–“I’ll do it myself!” I am absolutely guilty of that. I don’t want to tell anyone that I’m struggling, or tired, or, heaven forbid, not keeping all my plates spinning well. But, our gathering together on Sunday, or any other time, should be a time of transparency, a time to be real with our brothers and sisters so that we can pray for each other and encourage each other. (see Romans 12:9 – 13) Our witness in the world, Monday through Saturday, can take a lot out of us. We need to have that place where we can be raw and open with those who love us and care for us, those who are in the trenches with us, fighting the good fight of faith.

If we all decided to come to church with the mindset that “it’s not about me”, I think we would all leave there re-energized for a week of letting our light shine and glorifying the Father with our lives.
What I’m Listening To…
This Week’s New Song: Freedom by Jesus Culture
Step out of the shadows, step out of the grave,
Break into the wild and don’t be afraid.
Run into wide open spaces, grace is waiting for you.
Dance like the weight has been lifted, grace is waiting.
Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom, there is freedom.
Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom, there is freedom.
Come out of the dark, just as you are, into the fullness of His love.
The Spirit is here, let there be freedom, let there be freedom.
Bring all of your burdens, bring all of your scars.
Come back to communion, come back to the start.
Run into wide open spaces, grace is waiting for you.
Dance like the weight has been lifted, grace is waiting.
Chains will fall, prisons shake at the sound of Jesus’ Name.
Lives made whole, hearts awake at the sound of Jesus’ Name.
This Week’s Hymn: Faber by Josh Gauton (this is a version of the hymn “O Jesus, Jesus, Dearest Lord”, with a fantastic chorus added)
1. Jesus, dearest Lord, forgive me if I say
For very love Thy sacred name a thousand times a day.
2. Thou art my all in all, my honor and my wealth,
My heart’s desire, my body’s strength, my soul’s eternal health.
3. Burn love within my heart, burn fiercely night and day
Till all the dross of earthly loves is burned and burned away.
I’ve fallen for You God; my eyes look no where else.
It’s You I’m longing for; I’ve fallen for You God.
My eyes look no where else. It’s You I’m longing for.
4. What limit is there to this love, Thy flight where wilt Thou stay.
On, on our Lord is sweeter far today than yesterday.