Devotional: July 4th
I am a football junkie. That's American football for those of you who are purists and know soccer by its worldwide appellation. I have followed football, more precisely, professional football, since I was barely seven years old. That means that when the 2004 season begins I will begin my forty-eighth season watching the sport. Sundays have been my hallowed days during that time period both for my love of worshiping my heavenly Father and my joy of watching large armored humans run into each other.
The oddest thing has happened during the end of the 2003 season. I have yet to see a playoff game. I did not see any of the wildcard games or the divisional playoffs. This past weekend I missed both the AFC and NFC championship games. I did not get to watch the Carolina Panthers throttle the Eagles offense or the New England Patriots goad Peyton Manning into throwing three interceptions. Thankfully, I missed Ruben's reportedly dreadful rendition of our National Anthem. Did I really "miss" these things? Nah!
I am a fellowship junkie. That's Christian fellowship for those of you who are purists and see the word as including any gathering of likeminded people. I have been enjoying fellowship now since before I was eleven years old. You see, this year I turn forty-three. Yeah, I know. I just told you that I will begin my forty-eighth year of watching pro football. But, you see, my birthday is March 19. That is, my spiritual birthday is March 19. I was re-born March 19, 1961. On March 19 I will begin my forty-fourth year of enjoying fellowship.
Fellowship is what has kept me from watching football the past several weeks. I have been spending time with my new church family, getting to know them and growing to love them. Together, we are discovering each other and finding out our points of communion. That's fellowship said differently. Communion and fellowship are basically the same thing. They are words translated from the same Greek word, koinonia. If the church is the ship, Christ the compass, the Bible the map, the Holy Spirit the wind in the sails and faith the rudder, then fellowship is the sea that keeps it afloat.
The commonality of life, koinonia, is the lifeblood of the church. Churches that don't fellowship are doomed to die. Churches that share no communion cease to gather. They slowly dwindle to the place where the only reason they meet is because there is a building that they want to keep open. When that becomes a financial strain, the heartbeat stops and that congregation takes its last breath.
Indulge yourself in fellowship. It is the proof of life in Christ. It is the heartbeat of the kingdom, the testimony of the existence of Christ in a congregation. "The life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us -- that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ." 1 John 1:2, 3
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