Happy Thursday! I am blessed to be a part of a group of bloggers who feel led to share a bit of encouragement each week from the Bible. We recognize that the source of our peace, strength, and security in this life comes from Jesus, and we aim to share that with our readers. Plus, when Thursday comes around, we can all use a little encouragement right? I hope that this posting blesses you and that you find strength and peace in the Lord today ❤
This week I’m sharing:
13 And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. 14 But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 15 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”
At the time of this post I will be at a camp with a bunch of the kids from my church. At the time I’m writing this right now though, I’m preparing for it. (Gotta love that whole “schedule post” feature). When it’s said that children are the future of the church, that’s a very real statement. One thing I’ve learned throughout my years in church and ministry, is how people’s opinions on the church are often formed during their childhood years (whether they go to one or not)! Personally, I have very fond memories of church when I was a kid. I didn’t always go with my parents, but I remember going with my grandma sometimes and I also went with a friend up the street to AWANA on Wednesdays. During the summer I always looked forward to my week at Bible camp. Church has always felt like a refuge for me, and hearing about the Lord has been a comfort even when life is rough.
But not everyone has had positive experiences with the Church. Kids could have been taught a corrupted version of fearing God, or they may have not felt welcome when attending a service, or they may have seen a friend or relative not be welcomed, or they may have experienced a hurt that they thought God should have protected them from. As a child or an adult, people can feel judged and unworthy. They can be ashamed that they don’t know as much about God as they think they’re supposed to. I have physically witnessed people afraid to open their Bible in church because they don’t know how to find where the pastor has told everyone to open to. They may try once or twice, but as soon as they see others able to flip right to where they’re supposed to be, they close the book embarrassed.
I share this week not only for children, but also for new believers, or people still trying to “figure out” what faith means. The Bible is the most important book anyone can open up to in this life. Often before people start to open the book, they will look to those who say they already have it open. Is it good? Is it worth it? Is it real? Can it really change people? The previous statements about negative experiences with the church I share mostly so that we can recognize that often when people step into a church, they already have preconceived ideas of what it will be like. Sometimes we have to fight a whole bunch of lies before they can start to learn the truth. We should be coming alongside of them, making disciples as we are called to do in Matthew 28:19-20- Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Something interested about the family of God, is that we are “brothers and sisters in Christ.” If I’m being completely honest, if I walked up to one of the women at my current church and said “hey sister!” I would probably be looked at like a total weirdo. At my old church however, we pretty much all called everyone “bro” or “sis.” Church is family, and we simply embraced it. Looking a bit deeper into what it means to be a sibling though, older siblings in a home are often expected to help care for the younger ones. They’re told to watch after them, and protect them when the parents can’t be around. Older siblings are more aware of dangers that the younger ones may not know of yet. We can grasp these things on a human level, but they also transfer over to the spiritual. Christians who are more “seasoned” believers, are more aware of the dangers of this world, know how to battle against temptations, have learned to trust in the Lord through trials, know the placement of the books in the Bible, and the list goes on. These are things to be sharing and encouraging new believers with. If we want them to see Christ, we should show them Christ and God’s love for them. Fellowship is a very vital piece to spiritual growth and maturity.
So this week I want to challenge you: If you see a new family or person at your church this Sunday, say hello to them! Don’t only say hi, but strike up a conversation. Get to know them, and help them to feel welcome. Figure out a way to get them plugged in with some fellowship. Share Christ with them! Be the person you would hope to see if you were walking into a church and had no idea what you were getting yourself into.
I am closing this week with the song Let Them See You by JJ Weeks. I hope you take a moment to listen to it and meditate on it ❤