So following our 9 days at the fabulous Okoboji Lakes Bible and Missionary Conference we had a few days “off” and then we joined “Weekend On the Farm” in southwest Iowa. Having just returned home last night we haven’t even had time to process the whole experience yet but I really want to begin to share with all of you the thoughts the Lord keeps bringing to mind.
I’m aware that many people don’t value gathering together on a regular basis with other believers – some people call that gathering “church”. Some of those people are close friends and/or family to me. Some of us (yep, that includes me) have been hurt in/through experiences happening at the local church we were attending. That’s sad, very sad but it shouldn’t stop us from gathering on a regular basis. To me it’s much like my experience with exercising. We all know it’s good for us to get aerobic exercise on a regular basis in our life. So we start out, but when we start out on our own we often slip back into our old routines and soon our great plans have failed and we are watching tv all evening again! (maybe that’s just me but I don’t think so) However, I’ve found when I involved someone else in my plans I am SO MUCH BETTER about actually keeping my plans. The results are…, well there are actually results. (rather than no results because I didn’t do it.) I feel better mentally and physically. I might lose a few pounds or inches and I’ve gotten to know someone better. It’s great.
An excuse I’ve heard for not gathering is that “they are not where I am at”. You know what? Hopefully that is true! In a gathering of believers there should be a full range of levels of belief from those who don’t know what they believe to those who are well seasoned and are very learned. That’s the beauty of it. We all learn from one another.
This past weekend we gathered with about 70 other people from across the nation in a tent on a farm in southwest Iowa. I don’t know what church most of them go to when they are at home. I know one gentleman didn’t have a church he called home. Some people taught us regarding God’s heart for different aspects of life. Others shared what God is teaching them through their life experiences right now. Some of the talks really spoke to me. Honestly, some of them didn’t so much. But the truth is I did learn. I am challenged as I leave for work today to really “do life” with those I work with. To be willing to “get my hands dirty” as needed to share the love of Jesus with those around me. Why? Because I spent time with other believers.
I’ve heard it said that church, and I’m referring to the gathering of believers on a weekly basis should be like a vitamin for us. I believe that. Our relationship with God is ours to develop, feed, care for but like our physical body we need the input of others to help us do it right. None of us knows everything but when we “pool” our knowledge, encouragement, and energy we are powerful!
Do you have a church home? Are you there enough to not only learn but to help someone else?