by Pastor Tim Burt
Hebrews 10:25 “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day (the day Jesus comes back) approaching.”
Isn’t it amazing how you can remember certain days or events in your life like it was yesterday – even if it was a boatload of years ago? I remember a day about four months after I had given my life to the Lord. I was 24 years old at that time. I had started to attend this Bible teaching church that was totally different from the denominational experience I had grown up under most of my life. In my denominational church, it was more of religious doings and readings. I never really knew what was going on but in a weird kind of way I had just accepted that. I’d just zone out to pass the time by mentally checking out and thinking about something else. When the service was over, I had somehow fulfilled my religious obligation. How stupid was that?
In this new Bible teaching church, it was radically different. I’d walk in the door and instead of a library quiet atmosphere, everyone was talking, smiling, laughing, and enjoying each other’s company – even in the sanctuary. When the service began, people were all singing lively songs that were shown up on a screen rather than a hymnal. They were clapping and singing and many even raising their hands like you do when you want to ask a teacher a question. It was later that I discovered they were lifting their hands in praise to the Lord. This was all new to me.
When the Pastor got up to speak, he had on a shirt and tie or something more casual. There was no collar or robes. If it hadn’t been for the warm feeling of love in the place, I would have surely been shocked out of coming back by how different it was.
When the Pastor got up to speak, he had everyone turn in their Bible. In the beginning I didn’t have one. I had never opened a Bible in all my religious life. We had never used one in church. I would have felt awkward except that the person next to me figured out I didn’t have one and simply leaned toward me, opened his Bible, looked at me and smiled, and positioned it so that we could both read his. That was such a relief because I wouldn’t have known how to turn to any place in the Bible. I finally acquired a Bible and attempted to read it –something that was initially quite a challenge.
Almost from the beginning there seemed to be this weird phenomena going on. It seemed like the Pastor must have had a spy camera on my life because he’d talk about things I was thinking or going through – sometimes with such accuracy, it would almost make me paranoid that someone was telling him about me. How did he know what I was going through?
Of course the Pastor didn’t know anything about me. He probably didn’t even know who I was. It was simply the power of the Holy Spirit speaking through his Words to me. When people have their hearts focused on God and expecting to hear from God, there is a presence of God and powerful things happen. The Words of the Bible come alive!
The Holy Spirit is like a divine translator. When you are sitting in a church where the presence of God is present, the Holy Spirit will take what is being preached and speak to your heart about it. It’s like a private chat with Jesus. He, through the scriptures, speak to areas of your life that are practical and relevant and so that you are challenged to become more Christ-like. The message is spoken to everyone but heard slightly different by each person through the filter of the Holy Spirit. He relates to your personality, your needs, and your ability to understand.
This is the job of the Holy Spirit as described by Jesus. John 14:16-17 and John 16:13 say, “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world at large cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for Him and doesn’t recognize Him. But you do, because He lives with you now and later will be in you… ”When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth…”
The church is a vital part of God’s plan to teach you through a Pastor. God often speaks through a Pastor to minister those things that are imperative to your life, your spiritual growth, and your transformation! It is one more way and one very important place to hear the voice of God. I assure you I understand that not all churches are created equal, but attending one that is vibrant is critical and worth praying about, and, it is God’s will to come to a good church no matter what anyone tells you! That is what today’s Fresh Manna verse says, “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day (the day Jesus comes back) approaching.”
We receive a warning from the author of Hebrews that as we draw closer to the second coming of Jesus Christ (and we are much closer,) it will be more critical to be in church with other like-minded believers.
You hear voices every day. Some play a significant part in how your day and life plays out. Many of those voices are ones you wish you didn’t have to hear. God’s voice is one you should desire to hear above them all. Isaiah 50:4 “…He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught.“ More on hearing His voice next time…
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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