Hold Strong

Greg Spires – Teaching Pastor
     
   
Years ago, a study was conducted to determine how people working in a group can influence one another.  In the study, three people were put in a small room and assigned some simple math problems to complete. It wasn’t disclosed to the study participants that two of the people in the room were working with those who were conducting the study.  The study participant didn’t realize they were in a room with two others who were “in on it.”
            What the two others would do is every now and then as the group was working through the math questions, they would choose the wrong answer – even though the answer was obviously incorrect.  What the study was designed to do was discover how that third person would react when they saw the other two were wrong, and they were alone in selecting the correct answer.
            Most of the time, the person on their own would change their answer to match the other two, even though the answer was wrong.  One of the conclusions of the study was that people are significantly influenced by those around them, even if it is unknowingly or unintentional.
            Malachi 3:16 says, “Then those who feared the Lord spoke with one another.”  The situation they found themselves in was that most people were abandoning God because they didn’t feel worshipping the Lord was paying off as it should.  Those who feared the Lord came together to discuss what was going on.  The way the verse is worded, it is clear they were meeting together to help each other keep serving the Lord.  They knew it was worth worshipping God, whether it paid off or not because God is worthy of worship.
            However, they knew it was hard to go against the current of popular opinion.  They knew they needed each other to stay strong.  Yes, they feared the Lord, but they also knew their weakness.  Because of their devotion to the Lord, they came together to help each other stay devoted to the Lord.
            There are some important things we can take away from the example of these people of God.
            First, there is significant gain in humility that allows us to recognize how much we need one another as we follow the Lord.  We are taught to be strong, independent, and self-reliant.  These are important qualities, but we must understand that to follow the Lord in a world that has rejected Him requires us to walk together.
            Second, it is important to remember that to follow the Lord; we need more than a desire to follow the Lord.  Desire will come and go with time.  Steadfastness in the Lord goes beyond desire.  To have steadfastness through thick and thin with Jesus, we need the encouragement and strength that comes from the community of believers.
            Finally, it is a joy and privilege to discover that our walk with Jesus is more than just us.  Yes, it is a joy and grace to have God move in us that we might say in our hearts, “I want to follow Jesus to the very end, whatever may come.”  However, we find even greater joy in the Lord when we come together and say, “All of us together; we will follow Jesus until He comes or takes us home.”  That means some days we are carried by others, and other days we carry the weak, tired, and broken among us.
            We will cross the finish line one day, by God’s grace.  Won’t it be a joy to know we help each other get there?
I look forward to being with you this Sunday as we celebrate the work of God in Jesus Christ together!  This Sunday, we will be seeking God through His Word in Malachi 3:16-18.
 
See you Sunday,
Greg

Missionary Update
Joey & Viginia Cook
AWANA
, Serving Northern California & Southern Oregon
 
Praise:
  •  For churches that were able to use
    technology to continue to reach and teach the clubbers so they could finish the year strong.
Prayer:
  •  Planning for the 2020 Conference season.
  •  For leaders and families to stay strong during this very stressful time in our world.
  •  To know that God is on still sovereign in the midst of this worldwide pandemic.
  •  For churches to have a 2050 Vision - looking to the next generation of kids that will be rooted in God’s Word and the power of the Gospel.
The mission of AWANA is that all children and youth will come to know, love and serve Jesus!
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