Monday, January 26, 2015

The Fuel Station of Joy

After reading a few of the earlier entries of this joy-journey, a friend recommended this book, which I read over the course of the last week. It's a great read, and the author develops a thorough study on Sabbath in prosaic fashion. I write to corral my thoughts; he writes to create rhythm that equals the depth of meaning. Oh, how I would love to string words together in this way (not that I'm coveting his talent - oh, no)! At any rate, I highly recommend this finished product, and have given you the Amazon link...

However, back to my study of Sabbath and the "thought" I've contemplated this week: church. As mentioned, Sabbath isn't just about attending church, yet it can't be neglected either. Here's what happened, undoubtedly because I've been "reflecting" so much on the subject. I had a dream this past week that I had been to a wedding. During the meal, or so I recall, someone asked me to pray. As I started the prayer, I began with words of thanks for those of us gathered together to celebrate this holy event, knowing that the Spirit of The Lord was with us as promised. "For where two or three gather together in my name, there am I among them (Mt. 18:20)!" I woke up shortly after, but as I poured my morning coffee, I began to connect some dots.

* In His presence is fulness of joy.
* When we gather together in His name, He is present!
* Therefore, being collectively together as a body, the church (His bride), is a sure way to initiate joy... If I need my joy-tank to be topped to overflowing, I need the body of Christ.

Church (wherever you call your collective gathering of two or more) is a place where we one-another one another's joy-tanks to fulness.

Perhaps that's why King David gave us this, "When they said, 'Let's go to the house of The Lord, my heart leaped for joy (Ps. 122:1)...."

Church. It's not a place we go so we can check off a spiritual to-do list. It's a place we go to be restored. It's a place we go to remember God's faithfulness. It's a place we go to be encouraged, consoled, spurred on to love and good deeds. It's a place we go to receive help sifting through God's right hand being held out to us with pleasures forevermore...sometimes we need someone else's perspective. It's where we go to help one another in a time of need. It's a place we go for soul-stirring truth. It's a place we go for the WORD that is God-breathed. The God-breathed Scriptures, which teach, rebuke, correct, and train us for right-living! It's a place we go, to declare together our God's worth (worship), and remind one another that HE IS ALL WE NEED.

Church. It's not a place for showmanship. It's not an event for entertainment. It's not a celebration of someone else's talents. It's not a creation that centers around me, or my needs, yet in the process of living church, it takes care of my needs, restores, and rejuvenates me to a new week of normal.

I need church for my soul to breathe; it's the oxygen every believer must have in the midst of the mundane and ordinary to saturate our hearts with LIFE.

Church was made for Sabbath; and Sabbath was God's gift for our joy fulfillment. The "gas station" for more joy, in many ways!

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the DAY drawing near. 
Hebrews 10:23-15 (ESV)

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