Wednesday, December 27, 2006

We had a peaceful Christmas, and I hope yours was blessed, too. Tonight our Bible Study group got together for a Christmas party, and it was great to spend time with other Christians and their families. We're all just starting to get to know one another--our Bible Study has only been meeting for a few months--so we're still in the "Where did you say you live?" and "What did you say you do for a living?" stage. Making new friends can be a bit of work in the beginning, but the rewards are so great.

One of the things I miss most about California is the special group of people in our Bible Study. God brought all of us together for a little while, and we grew to care so much about each other. One family even moved back to Minnesota just a few months ago after living 20+ years in California. They are a gift and we're so delighted they came back home. When you share your thoughts and pray together week after week, something special happens, and I hope it will happen again here in Minnesota.

In our culture, it seems like fellowship is something of a lost art; it's much easier to stay on the fringes of church than it is to step in and get to know people. Sometimes certain people at church aren't very friendly (surprise!) and you can even feel like you're invisible at times . . . but it's worth it to hang around and try again. Sooner or later, God will bring someone special into your life.

We really do need each other in the body of Christ. We're stronger when we stand together; we're stronger when we learn to trust each other. I know God must be pleased when we embrace fellowship and actively work to nurture relationships with each other.

"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 approaching. " Hebrews 10:25


JohnD said...

Hi Jill.

Pastor Bob Bottsworth said at Sunday evening service "Not going to church because of a bad experience in a church is like not going to any restaurants because of a bad experience in a restaurant."

The point really hit home for me. Church attendance is one of the ways to nurture our spirits. Even if we are on the fringe (as you put it) there is a spiritual reviving in assembling in the name of the LORD.

And it never ceases to amaze me to realize just how hungry I was spiritually after I had a spiritual "meal."

9:13 AM  
JohnD said...

By the by, I was once heavily involved in a local Church. The tendency in most churches is not to implore most believers to step up to perform their spiritual duty (according to their gifts) and to pile on the few who do step up... those duties the pastor or elders do not want to be bothered with.

I have tried repeatedly to point these things out and was asked to leave several congregations. So, until otherwise called forth by the Lord I shall attend in the fringes. :-)

9:17 AM  
Jill Martin Rische said...

Hi John,

Always good to hear from you. I know what it's like to be heavily involved and I know the feeling of the fringes. I have to say, I need to be more involved now. That's something God did--Kevin and I are basically homebodies and we would have stayed that way if God hadn't said, "Listen up--I want you to get to know people." He has a way of changing things. :)

Take care,


11:20 PM  
JohnD said...

He does indeed.

"He won't make you go against your will, but he'll certainly make you willing to go!" -- one of my most favorite Walter Martin quotes.

11:41 PM  
Jill Martin Rische said...

:) Very true.

12:17 PM  

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