Message From Pastor Miller
Dear fellow-believers in Christ,
“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 10:25
While reading some devotional material the other day, I came across the following:
The Bartender and the Preacher
This may seem a bit far-fetched to you, but in reality, there are distinct similarities between a neighborhood bar and a church! What? Well, in both places:
- people come looking for fellowship;
- people want to go where others know their name;
- people want to go where they are accepted;
- people want to go where their spirits will be lifted;
- people are united around one theme;
- people go where they like the music.
Like a pastor, the bartender serves by listening to people’s troubles.
But the differences are profound. The bar is centered on booze and the church is centered on Jesus Christ. The bar offers a way to escape problems. The church offers a way to face them, get through them, and overcome them. The spirit inside the bar lowers one’s guard when it comes to temptation and sin. The Spirit of the true church encourages people to turn from sin and turn to God.
The bar may be a substitute for the environment of the church, but it never comes close to providing the meaning and purpose found in a Christ-centered church. (Right from the Heart Ministries)
The story made me think of our congregation and worship and Bible study participation. Perhaps you have noticed, as I have, that some in our church family have been missing more and more from worship and other church activities. Perhaps that is true of you. As we “neglect meeting together” as the writer to the Hebrews expresses, we also miss out on the spiritual blessings God has for us in His Word and Sacrament, and we miss the opportunities God gives to be encouraged and to “encourage one another” in our faith in Jesus our Savior.
As we enter the Lenten season and journey with our Savior once again to His cross, let’s make a renewed commitment to Him and His Word. When we see others around us neglecting meeting together, let’s encourage one another so that none will miss out and so that they will continue to grow in the faith.
Continued blessings to you from our loving and merciful God,