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“Encourage each other”

December 16, 2022
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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

Yesterday we read from John 3 that God did not send Jesus to judge or condemn the world. In Elf we learn from Buddy that the Code of Elves (the same one that urged “singing for all to hear”) said, “There’s Room for everyone on the Nice list.” * That was Jesus’ message, and it was the message his followers carried out into the Roman Empire. A community built on that message cannot be known primarily for passing judgment on people. We must be an uplifting community of encouragement.

  • Hebrews 10 said one of the principal reasons for believers meeting together was “sparking love and good deeds.” We know the Methodist movement began with John and Charles Wesley joining a few other Oxford students in what they called the “Holy Club.” They encouraged each other in worship, prayer, study, and in visiting prisoners and caring for the poor, orphans and the sick. In what ways do you and other believers “spark” each other to live out your faith?
  • Many “spiritual but not religious” people say some version of “I don’t need a church in order to follow God.” That makes sense when the churches they’ve known offer their members mainly fear or condemnation, not encouragement. But where else in our world are you going to find regular encouragement for your daily walk with God if not from other Christians? How can you make it a “holy habit” to be sure your effect on others is a consistently encouraging one?
Prayer

Lord Jesus, I thank you for your big, worldwide church, but I also thank you for “my” congregation. Shape me to be an encourager, a person who builds up in my church. Amen.

GPS Insights

Leah Swank-Miller

Leah Swank-Miller

Leah Swank-Miller is Director of Student Ministries at Resurrection Overland Park. A Kansas native, she has been a professional actress for the past 15 years, and she loves to see the vastness of God’s creation through theatre and the arts. Leah is pursuing an M.Div. from Saint Paul School of Theology. Leah, Brian, and their two children love to play tennis, golf, soccer, and board games.

There was a time I did not attend church regularly. While I grew up with a habit of attending church, youth group, and Sunday school, I phased out of it somewhere between college and my late 20s. It wasn’t that I had lost my faith in the church; I didn’t have space for it in my life. Or so I thought. I could read my Bible when I wanted and perhaps listen to a podcast, which was good enough for me. Until it wasn’t.

There was a point in my life when it seemed like everything was going wrong, and while I did receive encouragement from friends and family, I was missing that community forged through shared life together while growing in faith. I desperately needed (and still do) communities within the church, Bible study groups, or Sunday classes where it’s OK to ask hard questions because you know others will be asking the hard questions too. But, unfortunately, sometimes those spaces don’t exist within the church community. Sometimes there isn’t a culture of encouragement, vulnerability, and acceptance of doubt. When those spaces to be authentic and encouraging don’t exist within the church, we’re left wondering what the point of the church community is? And our younger generation is left wondering that question too.

What stood out most to me when my family and I first found Resurrection were those spaces to come with all your questions.

I’m an extrovert, so getting involved in a group is easy. But I’m married to a wonderful introvert who is not always keen on meeting new people or jumping into a new Bible study with people he may not know. And that’s totally understandable. But we 100% agree on how vital small groups and church communities have been to the health of our marriage and the care of our children. So even when we get out of rhythm with going to a class or joining a small group, what I love about Resurrection is all the many ways we can get back involved and find those communities, no matter how long it’s been.

Everyone is welcome! As Buddy the Elf would say, there’s room for everyone on the nice list. And if you’ve been missing that community that will encourage you to come just as you are, consider going to www.cor.org/next for more info on how you can get involved in a unique way here at Resurrection. You matter. You belong, and there’s always room for you!

© 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.
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