By Allen White
Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:25
But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness. Hebrews 3:13
There’s an old phrase that says “absence makes the heart grow fonder.” I don’t know that it’s true. From my experience, it seems that absence makes the heart grow forgetful. There’s a story about a college girlfriend in there, but I’m not going to bore you with that.
The writer of Hebrews penned this letter to Jewish Christians who were leaning toward abandoning Christ and returning to the Old Covenant (Hebrews 4:1-11). What was familiar to them was overcoming their newfound faith. The writer’s job was to show them how much better the New Covenant was. (It’s an interesting study just to count the number of times the writer uses “better” in the book of Hebrews.)
Meeting together and encouraging go hand in hand.
When believers are together faith is renewed. Lives are refocused on Christ. Fears are eased. Courage is gained to face what is next.
Left to ourselves, we don’t do so well. The cares of this world creep in. Even those of us who pride ourselves as “good soil” (Matthew 13:1-23) find that there are more thorns growing up than we care to acknowledge. We were not meant to live our lives alone. God intends for us to do life together.
Now, our faith can be encouraged by meeting together with several thousand fellow believers on Sunday morning. We sing together. We receive powerful teaching. We might even have a few brief conversations in the concourse. But, the early church added one more element to their weekly meeting.
According to Acts 5:42, they met in temple courts (think: Sunday mornings) and they met house to house (think: small group). Meeting people on Sunday morning is like drinking out of a firehouse. It could happen, it’s just a challenge. There are many ways to connect: small groups, classes, recreation, women's ministry, men's ministry, Singles, choirs, serving teams, and the list goes on.
How are you intentionally connecting with other believers on a weekly basis? I mentioned in my message a few weeks ago that I am an introvert. Left to myself, I tend to seek quiet and aloneness. But, what is comfortable to me does not help me grow spiritually.
So, I intentionally started a small group two years ago. We meet every Wednesday for lunch. I didn’t know any of the guys in my group before the group started. Today, you couldn’t pull us apart if you tried.
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