Thursday, December 31, 2009

Birds of a Feather on the Solid Rock

You've probably heard people over the years say, "I don't need to go to church to be a Christian. I can worship just as well in the privacy of my own home.  I don't need to get together with other people to follow Jesus."

I know I've heard it too many times, and although it may ring true on the surface, the sentiment is what spurs the saying, "People who study the Bible alone get strange ideas," but that's another blog for another day. 

I know I used to wonder, why is it so important to "meet together" as the author of Hebrews says? What is it about "meeting together" that is important to my faith and my Christian walk?  Would it be because we need the encouragement and support of our brothers and sisters in the faith?

Obviously, that is the case.  Hebrews 10 says; 

"Without wavering, let us hold tightly to the hope we say we have, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Think of ways to encourage one another to outbursts of love and good deeds.  And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other, especially now that the day of his coming back again is drawing near."

I bought a CD yesterday, Natalie Grant's Relentless.  The CD is a year old, so I'm not exactly on the cutting edge of new-music releases.  Nonetheless, the first track is a song called "I Will Not Be Moved", a heady rock anthem full of wailing guitars and driving rhythms, and a full-throttle vocal performance by Natalie. 

My kind of song. 

Rock anthem aside, what I found when I listened to this song was... it was very encouraging.  I mean, its one of those songs that inspire you, and make you feel like.... yeah, I can do this! I can stand strong, just like the song says:  

I will stumble, I will fall down
But I will not be moved!
I will make mistakes, I will face heartache,
But I will not be moved!

On Christ the solid rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand,

I will not be moved! 

Yeah, I will not be moved.  

Listening to this song, I feel inspired to stand by my faith, my convictions, and my decision, come Hell or High Water, ya know?  Songs like this are encouraging!  I can see why so many Christian concerts result in people deciding to follow Jesus, because they are inspiring!

Which brings me back to the point about meeting together.  God knows us, the fleshlings that we are, very well. He made the design, after all. 

God put us together the way we are, to behave the way we do, based on certain inputs and stimulus.  Psychology, although a somewhat inexact science as yet, depends on the fact that human responses, when taken across a spectrum, are remarkably similar when given similar stimulus and input.  We act certain ways because we're made to.  

So, that being the case, I can see why hangin' with people of similar thoughts and ideas is important.  It reinforces our convictions, gives us courage and strength to draw from, support to depend on, and safety in numbers.  

After all, even the Lone Ranger had Tonto, didn't he? 

Batman had Robin. 

Spiderman had Mary Jane. 

Ok, Superman was kind of a loner, but even he needed Lois Lane. 

So, anyway, back to the song.  Each time I listen to this song, I'm lifted.  I'm encouraged.  I find myself a little bit more "God focused" (see my blog from yesterday).  I find my spirit being a little bit more joyous.  

I find the same phenomenon when I attend church on Sunday morning and sing our worship songs, and listen to pastor preach from the Bible: I'm encouraged, and inspired, and lifted. 

It's no different from athletes on a sports team: they encourage and inspire each other. 

The personal trainer spurs his clients on, encouraging them not to give up. 

The support group gives help and encouragement to those who suffer. 

The church supports and loves each other, encouraging each other to stay the course and be strong in our faith.  

In each of these examples, and I'm certain you can think of others, we "think of ways to encourage one another to outbursts of love and good deeds."

If you're a Christian and you don't like going to church, I can understand that.  Maybe you've been to a church that just isn't your style and, lets be honest here, it was boring and dull to you.  Maybe there was no group that fit your age or status in life.  Maybe the preacher wasn't making sense to you, or whatever the reasons, you just didn't like it.

That's cool.  No one church fits all.  

I've been fortunate to find a church family that I enjoy.  I encourage you, if you are "church homeless",  find one that fits you.  

Christianity is not a walk to be walked alone.  Jesus sent the disciples on their first missionary trip in two's, so that they could encourage each other and hold each other accountable.  You can't walk the walk alone and expect to be helped out when you fall into a hole.  You need companions on your journey who will look out for you, and whom you can look out for.  

As the New Year comes around, and 2010 lands on it's feet in front of us, I encourage each of you/me/us to engage/re-engage/re-connect with the Christian family around you.  Look for ways to encourage each other, be it actively suggesting things to do, or simply a kind word now and then.  Listen to the Holy Spirit and let Him inspire you. 

Be filled with joy!

And above all, resolve to Not Be Moved.  

On Christ the solid rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand,

I will not be moved! 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Absolutely, hit the nail on the head. We absolutely need each other. Church is one way to connect to our believer family to support, encourage, listen and learn from. I really appreciate your insight into the Christian life lived each minute of every day as a human that God is not finished with yet. I'm glad God is working on me every day pruning me and shaping me into who He wants me to be. Thank you for your thought filled words.

Jennifer Dobson December 31, 2009