Thursday, March 9, 2017

Four Questions

(Submitted by Kerry Patton)
and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.   Hebrews 10:24-25

In preparing for teaching a Bible Study class at our church recently, I was taken by the impact of four questions I felt impressed to present along with the lesson I was to bring.  The four questions were as follows:
·      Why Are You Here?
·      What Have You Brought with You?
·      What Will You Take with You When You Leave?
·      What Will You Do with That?
Yesterday we looked at Questions one and two.  Today we conclude with three and four.
Question Three: What Will You Take with You When You Leave?
Too often, I leave worship with…a hungry stomach.  That is what is on my mind.  It’s like “Okay, church is over.  Now, what is for lunch?”  And I leave the church campus having taken no inventory of what I have received there.  Having just sat through Bible Study, a praise and worship time, and Pastor Van’s message, what have I learned?  What am I taking home with me?  Have I received any marching orders from the Holy Spirit?  I have recollections of feeling spiritually refreshed, and joyful.  It is always good to be in the house of the Lord…but, just as I advise us to enter with purpose, I suggest that we also leave with purpose, having a conscious remembrance of how I just experienced the presence of my Lord Jesus; of how my thinking or behavior have been altered (or altar-ed, as is sometimes the case) by what I have just heard or experienced.  What will I take with me as I leave this place of fellowship, worship, and encounter?

And finally:

Question Four: What Will You Do with What You Have Received?
We cannot accidently become “Collectors of Spiritual Information.”  I had a family member years ago who collected shot glasses from the various places she had visited on vacation.  Soldiered side by side on a narrow shelf that bordered the top of her kitchen cabinets, she had what seemed to me to be hundreds of shot glasses.  This struck me as funny because I knew that she was not a drinker of alcoholic beverages.  And please understand, I cast no dispersion on collecting shot glasses…or anything else.  I have various collections myself.  But I always wanted to pull a few of those down and serve apple or grape juice in them.  They were GLASSES, but we couldn’t use them. No one was allowed to drink from those tiny glasses.
I feel the same way about living my entire life as a Christian as one extremely long Bible class.  I would be ever learning powerful stuff, and recording it all on my resume’ of Christian learning…but am I USING the information I’ve gathered?
After I have encountered God in his presence; after bringing to him my concerns, needs, or hurts; and now after I have received new information about how the love of God in Christ Jesus can change the world…WHAT will I do with that which I have received?  A good solution: share it with others.  Give it away!  Put the word which I have received to work in helping and healing others around me!


Father God, in Hebrews 10, you command us to “not forsake the assembly of the brethren.”  Neither O God, let us squander nor neglect all that we receive in attending worship with our faith family.  Help us to know why we have come, what it is that we bring to you, what we are taking away from your presence, and formulate a plan of what we are going to do with all that we have received there.     In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

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