Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

fellowship Archive

Thursday

16

January 2020

The Importance of Fellowship

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

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Without Christian fellowship, our faith will falter.

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1) | The Importance of Christian Fellowship | Read more at hopereflected.com

Our church family email group recently sent out a prayer request for one of our members. Wes and I, along with many others in our church, continue to pray for our friend. It is such an encouragement to have a strong community of believers, who pray for one another and care for one another’s well being.

Christian fellowship is powerful – not because of the people who are part of it – but because of Who we serve.

In Anne Graham Lotz’s book, Jesus in Me, she shares how fellowship directly affects our faith by using the analogy of a burning log that is removed from the fire. When it’s not a part of the fire – eventually, the log stops burning. When a fish is removed from water – eventually, the fish stops breathing. When a star runs out of hydrogen – eventually, the star stops being a star. So it is with us; without Christian fellowship, our faith will falter. We need community.

Christian fellowship is powerful – not because of the people who are part of it – but because of Who we serve.

Beyond fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ, our church community is one of the places where we have fellowship with our Heavenly Father. J.R.R. Tolkien, author of Fellowship of the Ring (from the Lord of the Rings trilogy) once wrote to his son that, “the only cure for sagging or fainting faith is Communion.” Communion itself is the very act of communing with God. “That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.” (1 John 1:3)

A Shared Faith

Fellowship is a shared faith, even in the face of opposition. In 1 Samuel 20, we read about the strength of David and Jonathan’s friendship, which was based on their shared faith. Even in the face of opposition, these two men shared a common bond: “The LORD be between me and thee, and between my seed and thy seed for ever.” (1 Sam. 20:42) Fellowship between believers is a friendship that stands the test of time, and also provides an encouragement you won’t find in other earthly relationships. “A friend is someone,” said C.S. Lewis, “who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.”

The Power of Fellowship

Fellowship also equips us with strength in the midst of suffering. When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were persecuted for their faith and thrown into the fire, the very man that put them there said,  “Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of fire? … I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” (Daniel 3:24-25) That is the power of fellowship – it’s not just between us as Christians, it’s between us and Christ! We were called into His fellowship! It reminds us that we are not alone.

“Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other?” asked A.W. Tozer. “They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow.” Fellowship doesn’t necessarily mean freedom from disagreements – so long as we’re humans there will be no perfect church – but it is something that we are called to in Christ (Phil. 2). We are called to be likeminded, to be of one accord, of one mind. As Psalm 133 begins, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!”

Originally published as “The Importance of Christian Fellowship.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. September 12, 2019: 6. Print. Web.

Read more about fellowship and the Christian church here.

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Tuesday

30

January 2018

Hope Reflected | The Church

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

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“Church attendance is as vital to a disciple as a transfusion of rich, healthy blood to a sick man.” D.L. Moody | See more at hopereflected.com

The Church

Many Hope Reflected readers grew in a home where Sundays were made for going to church. I can remember as a child one Sunday in particular. I was about four years old, was wearing my favourite purple dress, and I was thirsty (think crawling through the Sahara desert and longing for a drop of water thirsty). I was trying to figure out a way to strategically squeeze out from between my parents and get out to the water fountain for a drink. As I was devising my plan, the pastor asked passionately, “Is anybody thirsty?!” and I immediately thought he was directing his question at me. “Yes!” I called out, “I am!” Of course, my outburst got a lot of laughs from the congregation, and eventually I really did get a drink.

More than an obligation or a ritual, there are so many reasons why going to church is important. A key part of our Faith, going to church can help each of us grow in several ways.

Going to church allows us a time for personal inventory and reflection. “Let us search out and examine our ways, and turn back to the LORD.” (Lamentations 3:40) One thing I love about being part of the Bible Chapel, is that during communion, we’re afforded the opportunity to reflect on what our Lord has done for us. 1 Corinthians 11:28 says, “But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.” Just as much as church is a time for fellowship with other Christian believers, church is also a time for personal inventory and reflection. Through communion, Sunday sermons, Bible studies, and prayer, church provides an excellent opportunity to look at our own lives and look to the Lord. “I considered my ways and turned my feet to your testimonies.” (Psalm 119:59)

Going to church cultivates our character. “Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.” (Philippians 1:11) Going to church helps to cultivate character. When you’re being taught truth from a Biblical perspective, and as you learn to discern the difference between right and wrong, your character will grow. Being part of a solid church will help to develop and deepen your relationship with God, and will strengthen your character.

Going to church means being part of a family. “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.” (Ephesians 2:19) Even if your home life isn’t great, you can still be at home in the house of Christ. When you belong to a solid church, you’re part of an even greater family – God’s family. Jesus points out in Matthew 12:48, “Who is my mother, and who are my brethren?” He wasn’t questioning who his mother and his brothers actually were, He was merely pointing out the importance of our relations in a spiritual sense. Matthew Henry said in his commentary, “let us look upon every Christian, in whatever condition of life, as the brother, sister, or mother of the Lord of glory; let us love, respect, and be kind to them, for His sake, and after His example.”

Going to church is about so much more than going through the motions. When you’re part of a solid church, you will be challenged, cherished, comforted, and more. As the evangelist Dwight L. Moody said, “Church attendance is as vital to a disciple as a transfusion of rich, healthy blood to a sick man.”

Originally published as “The Church.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. November 16, 2017: 7. Print. Web.

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