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Choosing connection over isolation

August 12, 2022

Daily Scripture

Hebrews 10:22-25

22 Therefore, let’s draw near with a genuine heart with the certainty that our faith gives us, since our hearts are sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies are washed with pure water.

23 Let’s hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, because the one who made the promises is reliable.

24 And let us consider each other carefully for the purpose of sparking love and good deeds. 25 Don’t stop meeting together with other believers, which some people have gotten into the habit of doing. Instead, encourage each other, especially as you see the day drawing near

Daily Reflection & Prayer

On Wednesday, we read Acts 2’s report that the very first Christians in Jerusalem formed a community that met regularly, shared life, and supported one another. As the good news of Jesus spread, Christians in other places also formed communities, usually more than one in each city. In the Roman Empire, meeting together could be risky. But Jesus’ followers knew that they belonged, grew and served by being together in those local gatherings.

  • Pastor Lloyd John Ogilvie wrote, “The final miracle of the Holy Spirit on that day of Pentecost was the birth of the church. You may wonder why I call that a miracle. It is because I know human nature. Next to the transformation of persons, the second greatest miracle is oneness with others who have been transformed.” * In what ways has the Holy Spirit helped you bridge differences and find oneness with other members of your church family?
  • Think about the depth and quality of the connection you have with other believers. Is anyone on your “2 a.m. call list” if you faced a serious problem? Are you on anyone else’s list? That quality of connection never happens overnight. We build trust over time, through shared experiences. How can you let the Holy Spirit deepen your connections now (click here if you need ideas), so that you can spark in others and have others spark “love and good deeds” in you?

Lord God, thank you for connecting me to your family. Help me to “spark” love and good deeds in others, and to be receptive to your sparks as they arrive in my life. Amen.

GPS Insights

 Lauren Cook

Lauren Cook

Lauren Cook is the Entry Points Program Director at Resurrection, a self-proclaimed foodie, a bookworm, and is always planning her next trip. She has the sweetest (and sassiest) daughter, Carolina Rae, a rockstar husband, Austin, and a cutie pup named Thunder. She loves connecting with others so let her know the best place you've ever eaten, best book you've ever read, or best place you've ever been!

I absolutely adore throwing surprise parties. I love planning them, dreaming up ways to make them unique and fun, coming up with a theme, inviting (literally) everyone I know, attending to details big and small, filling everything with cake and sprinkles and sparkles, and eventually throwing the actual thing. I am actually bubbling over with joy just TYPING about surprise parties.

A little over two years ago, I threw one of my best. Both of my parents turned 50 the same year, so I picked a weekend between the two birthdays and threw a combined surprise birthday for them. I planned it a year in advance, invited all of their friends and family from around the country, helped coordinate travel plans, gathered photos and stories from their lives together (since they first met in third grade, I received pure gold), nailed down their favorite foods, found a location that could house everyone, got a cake that would make my mom swoon, and got it all down to the wire. I WAS SO EXCITED!

Two weeks before said surprise party, my mom called and said “Lauren! Guess what?!”

They decided to go to San Diego on the weekend of the surprise party–my dad’s own little surprise for my mom. It’s an understatement to say I almost lost my mind. Part of me wanted to throw in the towel–they were NOT playing the game right, gosh dang it! However, I quickly remembered that this party was about celebrating them, not about a perfect event for me.

I called my dad and had to let him in on the secret. I hoped he would let us keep it a secret from my mom, but we ended up having to let her in on it, too. They came to their surprise birthday party very unsurprised, and it was an incredible night.

Many of you introverts are probably reading this and thinking “Serves you right for wanting to SURPRISE a human. How unnerving.” I hear you. Surprise parties are not everyone’s jam. But for me, surprise parties are like fireworks of joy and love that I can spark for others. It’s a way for me to express love out loud. Like the party described above, though, there will always be stumbling blocks and people who don’t do what we want them to do. People disappoint us, they forget things, they hurt us. These aren’t signs to throw in the towel and give up on each other, but rather, to remember that we are all humans who need joy sprinkled on us every now and then. And the best way to sprinkle joy? Being together.

Whether you are a surprise party fanatic like me or that makes you cringe, find ways to spark joy and love in your community by gathering your people in any way that works. Host a pizza night, game night, or movie night. Meet for ice cream or coffee. Bring your kids to a park playdate, walk the zoo together, or have a Saturday picnic lunch. Life is a THING and it’s a true miracle that we get to journey it with others.

Sending sprinkles of joy your way! Lauren

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* Lloyd John Ogilvie, The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Volume 28: Acts. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1983, p. 72.