July 28, 2017
Hello Friends. Let’s give a round of applause to Omar for his fine work these last few weeks. I will be back on Monday to begin Philippians which will take us through September. Following that we will move into Colossians for October and November. It’s going to be rich, so stay tuned. And invite everyone you know. ;0)
3 John 13-15
13 I have much more to say to you, but I don’t want to write it with pen and ink. 14 For I hope to see you soon, and then we will talk face to face.
15 Peace be with you.
Your friends here send you their greetings. Please give my personal greetings to each of our friends there.
“Daddy, put your phone down and play with your daughters!” my eight year old tells me all too often. It’s a battle, especially because one of my goals as a father is to be more present with my girls. But as moments like this remind me, I may technically be present, but it doesn’t mean I’m attentive.
I’ve overwhelmed with how “connected” I am. Every day I read dozens of blogs and hundreds of tweets; send and receive countless texts; comment, like, and share endlessly among my friends on Facebook and Instagram.
But my mind and soul don’t have the bandwidth to process this much stuff (and I don’t think they were created to). I can put my phone down and notice that I’ve been connected all day, but I’m really alone.
In today’s text John finishes his letter with, “I have much more to say to you, but I don’t want to write it with pen and ink. For I hope to see you soon, and then we will talk face to face.” If he were writing today, I imagine he could say, “I have much more to text and forward to you, but I’ll wait until we can talk face to face.”
As a pastor, as a parent, as a person… I need face to face. Or at least voice to voice. My soul suffers if discipleship only happens consuming online. For me, true discipleship happens with my “band-mates.” I connect with two other guys on a conference call every Monday morning at 8:30 (we’re old friends who now live in different states).
We start off with a simple declaration: One of us will say, “Awake o sleeper, and rise from the dead…” and the other two respond, “… and Christ will shine on you.” Then we each take turns answering some questions about the possibility, problems, and process in the discipleship of our lives:
How is it with your soul? What are you are asking the Holy Spirit to do in your life (the possibility)? What keeps this from happening (the problem)? What practical steps must you take to participate in the transforming work of God (the process)?
This isn’t accountability partners, a small group, or a prayer circle (though those things do take place). This isn’t a Bible study with a moment for prayer requests at the end. This is deeper than that.
In that time we openly share fears and joys, confess sins and sorrows, declare each other forgiven and beloved, and tell each other Scripture as we pray for each other. Our marriages and kids, hidden sins and habits, temptations and mental issues… over time all of life comes up.
Yes, we text and email each other all the time. But once a week, in a sense, we put it all down and meet “face to face.” Band-together versus bandwidth.
Bands were a central part of the Methodist movement when it was, well… a movement. We don’t really do them much anymore, if we even know what they are. But they can be a central part of the beauty of life in community: the place where deep and decisive spiritual transformation can take place together.
So… how is it with your soul? Maybe it’s time to get the band back together.
Heavenly Father, you created us in your image… which means the communion of the Trinity. Bring those people into our lives that we can band together with in holy communion, that we would be made holy for the sake of our souls, and for the gospel. In Jesus name, amen.
1. Do you have anyone you “band-together” with?
2. What would this look like for you? For your soul?
For the Daily Text, I’m Omar Al-Rikabi
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