Vol. 8-41 – 10-08-2023 – Fellowship
Pizza and Soda
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life—the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us—that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. –1 John 1:1-4
Not so awful long ago (that’s an interesting phrase), Donna and I took a trip to Panama Beach FL. Our first time ever in the waters of the Gulf. Clear. Blue. Warm. And the white sand was marvelous. We rented a condo. I wonder what people thought of these two mature specimens walking their beach, all wrinkled—not from the sun, but age.
As you do, when you travel, you seek out some places to eat. One was called The Pour. It was actually a ministry. Two sisters ran this coffee shop that included a bakery and a stage for some bands that would come in to play on some evenings. We knew them! We just did not know they were next to the beach. Their ministry was to women caught up in the sex trade. The church they were a part of bought an old motel, created the coffee shop and helped women divest themselves of their former life. It was great to meet up with them.
So, we had coffee, delicious pastries—and some great fellowship.
We also found a fish and chip place not far from the beach. A husband and wife left their home in chilly New England to start a little hole-in-the-wall fish-place. It was great. You were able to talk to people from different states and found out you had some things in common. Fellowship.
What about the Pizza and soda? Do you know that down south all sodas are cokes? They are. Of course, we have lived where it is pop, soda-pop, and tonic. Down here everything is a coke, so you must tell them what kind. What about the Pizza? We decided we did not need it.
One of the great things about our trip was our fellowship. With each other. We have been married several years—60 this year. We just have not gotten over each other. There are a lot of things shared. I am the official breakfast maker at this stage of life. I have a rotating menu, but I change it up for different tastes once in a while. On Wednesdays, we go to the Reveillé Café not far from home. On special occasions, we have brunch there. We always have chats with a number of servers and catch up on their families. We always pray for them, and for their manager who is originally from Turkey.
We have traveled to India to share the gospel and evaluate those our church in Chicago supported in missions. I traveled to Ukraine (not when it was at war with Russia) to share the gospel and work with businesspeople. The greatest trips for us always have been with Jesus at our side. That is the sweetest fellowship one can have.
When we step out onto a ledge and talk about spiritual things, fellowship takes priority because it is important to establish a connection first. God always makes it easier to do.
A Long Time Ago
I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we were commanded by the Father. –2 John 4
Well, here is a book (letter, epistle) with just three paragraphs; no chapters and you can quickly read it. It takes a little longer to digest it.
Have you ever read children’s storybooks to middle schoolers or high schoolers? I have. There is this book in my library. I get it out once in a while to read to whiny kidlets. (It is also a good book to read to whiny adults!) The title is Alexander and His Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. It is a GREAT book. It is not a biblical book, but it does have truths that we find in His Word.
Alexander whines about everything! At the end of the book, he says that he is going to move to Australia. You should read this book. Buy it. Have it handy for your grandchildren. I guarantee you will find it much more appropriate reading for your loved children than 79% of the books in today’s school library. (I’m guessing at that percentage. Sounds right.)
John writes a letter to an unknown lady. He uses the word truth five times in the first four verses.
Note what he writes. I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth. Some scholars present the word children as members of the unknown lady’s church. I am not convinced. Children, in Greek, often referencing young people of almost adult years or early adult years. There is no indication that these children are other than her own.
John clearly is an encouragement to this unknown lady for the witness that some of her children are present. Most reading this blog have had children in their homes—of all ages. One of the things we did was to hold schools accountable for the materials they taught. It is not as easy to do today, so many parents (often with the help of the grandparents) opt to teach their children at home or engage them in a Christian school for the children’s education. Early training is important. It sets a pattern for life-long learning. Critical thinking. Critical reading.
I have often told my Bible study classes that our hearts are a filter. The heart becomes the source of what we think, say, and do. If we do not put the truth of God’s Word in our hearts, something else will be placed there. That something else becomes the filter for one’s thinking, speaking, and doing.
Our fellowship with others speaks to the importance of who we are with one another. When we gather it should never be unusual for us to share with another what God is doing in our life. The gathering often becomes spiritually deeper and richer.
When we neglect the importance of truth, we miss what the Scriptures teach us. Our world searches for truth. Scratch and claw for truth. But the world does not have a resource for absolute truth unless God’s Word is available.
Many churches budget great amounts of dollars to reach into the world where there is little testimony regarding Christ. Some places have no witness for this life/death issue. Most do not have an issue with confronting the untruths that come across the internet, social media, and journalistic news. It takes work to sort out what is improperly stated. It is a highly productive work.
What are we doing in the nations/states/cities of the world with no gospel witness?