Daily Devotional Sept. 13, 2022

“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” (Hebrews 10:25, CEB).


     I am a firm believer that grandchildren are God’s reward for not selling your children. My grand dog, Hank, spent the weekend with his grandparents. I love Hank. He brings great joy to our home.

     However, Hank is lapdog stuck in a ninety-pound Goldendoodle suit. He has the energy of a Pomeranian combined with the strength of a Lowland Gorilla. Exhaustion does not come close to describing my present condition. Comedian, Gene Perret, claims the reason God rested on the seventh day of creation is because His grandchildren left town.

     Last Sunday, our congregation celebrated Grandparent’s Day. I was blessed by the glow on the faces of those whose children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren joined them to worship their Creator. Now, to be honest, every pastor loves seeing a capacity crowd.

     Yet, setting my ego aside, I have more compelling reasons for applauding in-person attendance. The writer of the letter to the Hebrews discouraged individual Christians from abandoning the spiritual discipline of face-to-face worship. As a Means of Grace, the practice of corporate worship was designed as a personal encounter with God, as well as with one another.

     God came to live among us in the flesh of His son, Jesus. God’s reason is compelling. God understands that we can impress others from a distance, but we can only impact their lives up close.

     The same principle holds true for the church. As much as virtual worship kept individual Christians connected with one another during the pandemic, worship via live stream can never replace the transformative power of “meeting together with other believers.” Jesus himself assured us that whenever two or three are gathered in his name, he will manifest his presence through the person of the Holy Spirit.

     Now, I pray you won’t receive this message as an admonition. Rather my hope is to extend to you Christ’s invitation to join him and his followers to celebrate together the gift of life God offers to all of us. And if it helps, I will bring Hank to greet you at the doors of the church the next time he’s in town. Just give me a few weeks to catch up on some sleep.