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Friends in Christ Weekly Message
August 10, 2000

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, The Message*

The Christian life is not one to be lived in isolation. As Christians, we are part of a community. The writer of Hebrews warned against the practice of not participating in the community's worship life.

There are several reasons to worship together, but in this passage the writer emphasizes that of encouraging one another. This was not only a need in the apostolic times when the church was facing much persecution, but a need for all times and places.

As individuals, we are subject to many temptations to be less than fully faithful. These include what are frequently identified as sins, but are not limited to them. We may be too timid in our faith, lacking confidence in the gifts God has given us and God's power to work through us. We may discount opportunities God puts in our path. We may be discouraged or confused by those around us who don't share our faith.

The encouragement, help and spurring on Christians can do for one another is immensely helpful in growing more mature spiritually. We learn from the examples and words of others. Others in our faith community can help us discern the gifts God has given us, and encourage us in the faithful exercise of those gifts. They can lift us up when we are discouraged and facing difficult times in our lives.

The words of the writer of Hebrews remind us that it is not adequate just to go to a weekly worship where we are a passive recipient, but need to have active interchange with our fellow worshippers. This may be incorporated into the worship service, and may also be nurtured through other opportunities such as cell groups, prayer groups, and Bible studies. In Friends in Christ, the worship experience itself is a communal one in which the worshippers share their own experiences in seeking to be faithful with one another and encourage one another in faithfulness. Our worshippers testify to the transforming nature of this worship experience.

I know from email messages I receive from around the world that there are many who have not found a faith community in their own area in which they find themselves at home. If you are one of these, some of the encouragement you need may be found online. I hope this weekly message itself serves to encourage you in faithfulness, and many of you have said that it does. But I also hope you will seek out other believers to meet with face to face, even if it be just one or two others with whom you can gather informally from time to time.

Bill Samuel

* The Message version ©Eugene H. Peterson.

©2000 Friends in Christ, Inc.

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Rockville, MD 20850-6168
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Document last modified on Saturday, 27-Dec-2003 09:45:41 EST