“Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)
Our not avoiding worshiping together, even though our “big Day” is approaching SLOWLY, was as wonderful as usual! Ironically though, everything wonderful about this church now makes me so sad… They have such a huge crowd at the 9 am service, that sing SO loudly, among other things (nice to see people so involved in the worship!); they have some fantastic plans for spiritual (and “physical”) growth–like incorporating the youth more; two young boys who did an absolutely AMAZING job of reciting ALL of Hebrews 11!
Yes, I said Hebrews chapter 11, which would be boring for most kids (“by faith so & so…” it just goes on and on forever)–but these guys, about 10 and 7 years old, did it with gusto, adding a LOT of expression, sounding SO excited about what they were saying!
And a pastor who, as he says, is very, very simple: he just loves God and scripture, and seeing it work out in people’s lives. And he’s going to miss us, he says, even though they haven’t had a chance to get to know us very well.
Part of the scripture, fittingly for us, was about going to a “new country”, and trusting God even though you have no idea where you’re going. ;)
Another part was about suffering. About learning obedience through suffering. Obeying in spite of suffering. For example, no matter how much you feel like giving up on someone, don’t do it! Keep praying for them.
And pray for those who are suffering much more than you–like children in Cambodia who have been sexually abused… God feels your pain, but one way to have victory is to take your eyes off that pain:
“Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed…” (Hebrews 12:2)