It has happened to me more than once. I've gone to bed with my team "hopelessly behind" only to discover the next morning they had won. My response is an odd jubilant frustration. Delight over the win. Frustration that I missed it.
I think skipping out on the church is like walking out of the stadium -- you never really know what you are going to miss. I was thinking about that as I reflected on the great day at Spanish River Church this morning:
Brandon, our worship pastor, reminded me that worship frames our lives within the context of God's story. I needed that. Life is not about me.
I spoke with Debbie who took the time to ask about our family and assured me of her prayers. I know Deb. She prays!
I saw community up close and personal during the coffee hour. It was love and life in a mosaic of generations and ethnicities.
Andy's message helped me understand God's way to being Crazy In Love in my marriage: It starts with relational intimacy, moves to commitment, grows into physical intimacy, and ultimately changes our identity. I walked out committed to write love letters to Shannan. FYI, Andy wrote Emily four last week. I think I'll write five :).
I was greeted by Eric, a living example of exuberant joy. Eric's smile is as permanent as the wheelchair that enables his mobility.
I watched our children's ministry team in action. They are amazing servants; selfless and dedicated to our families. They remind me of Paul who said, "We were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves" (1 Thessalonians 2:8).
I saw our church family -- living in the midst of good times and hard -- modeling what it means to "draw near to God" (James 4:8).
I was encouraged as a talked with a neighbor who is striving to raise his boys to love Christ in a culture that is crowding Him out.
I received the benediction (the blessing from God) with the rest of the church family.
It is now Sunday night. The more I reflect on the morning the more I could write. And to think I would have missed it had I given up meeting with God's people.
I'm wondering if the writer of Hebrews ever felt that way. Re-reading his words I am hearing the echo of a passionate pastor:
He doesn't want me to miss the importance of the church, so he levels this "assignment": Gather together and encourage one another.
How can you do that this week?