The blessings of a warm fellowship with believers
By Rev. Lyndon Korhonen, Good Shepherd Free Lutheran, Cokato
In the month of August, the theme for our messages at Good Shepherd will be built around the need for fellowship through small groups.
As I sat the morning of June 20, en route to our men-and-boy's fishing trip, many thoughts were going through my mind as I was attempting to burn the last of my stumps in my yard.
First of all, if the church is to burn brightly for her Lord, each believer needs to be dead to self, and dried out of the self life in order to be ignited for the Lord.
When stumps have moisture in them (remnants of their past life in the ground) they don't ignite. When believers still think they can still have some of life their own way, they don't burn brightly for the Lord.
Secondly, any believer that has either distanced himself or not allowed herself to be brought in close to other believers will not benefit from the warmth of the fellowship with others. I had a couple of large roots sticking up by themselves because the stump was on its side.
These roots that were too far from the other burning roots just smoked and stunk. We all need to set aside other things of the world to have time talking about the Lord with other believers. That serves to draw us closer together.
Thirdly, when you are burning stumps, if you hear a hissing noise, that is a dead give-away that there is moisture in the root yet. (In the sauna I like the hissing of steam, but not when I'm burning stumps!)
In the fellowship, the Lord doesn't want those hissing and complaining, selfish attitudes (such as a vote that didn't go your way). Again, warm bright fellowship will only occur when believers are dead to self and what it wants, and are living to please the Lord and each other.
Finally, I can't overemphasize the continual need for someone to shake and compact the stumps and coals and believers together so they burn brighter and warmer. I need to hear of Christ's work in your life to encourage me.
I believe that trials are God's main way of compacting His Body. We need that hot dish, that note of encouragement, that time of prayer after the service or that phone call to keep going.
People do care, but we all need time together to know they care. Trials slow things to a halt so we see the love that the church body has when one part hurts.
"If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it."
1 Cor. 12:26
I want to encourage you for the fall to deliberately cut out some activity so you have time for fellowship with the believers. You need to be in a small group where your testimony will be encouraged to burn brighter.