“Getting Into Body Building” (Hebrews 10:19-25)

Whenever in life you do something that is very difficult or out of step with the rest of the world around you, it is good to have someone (or a big bunch of someones) to do it with you.

For a full decade of my life in New Jersey before moving here to Maryland, about five or six mornings per week I arose at 5:30 to meet a friend to run and train for marathon competition. Apart from dreadful weather (10 below zero or 30 below wind chills qualified as good conditions), we met with each other and together ran about 10,000 miles over those years.

I have often referenced the profound impression that was made upon me three years ago when visiting in France with the people of my son Jesse’s church (he was studying at a university there along the French Rivera). It was clear that these folks profoundly needed each other. Their faith and values so alienate them from the broader culture around them that they completely depend upon relationship with each other.

And though we in America appear to be headed in the cultural post-Christian direction of Europe, it is not quite as profound for us. But even so, we are clearly out of step with the world around us as followers of Christ. And that is not new, it has always been true of the church.

Therefore a fifth reason we give this week as to why we value gathering is for mutual support and encouragement. The writer to the Hebrews made this same essential point to these early Christian Jews who were out of step both with their background and the secular world around them. In Hebrews 10:19-25 …

19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

The Lord never envisioned his people to be self-sufficient islands and loners. Totally the opposite. Those who avoid community are not self-sufficient, but self-deluded. And it becomes a habit or pattern of life. As people drift away, over time it becomes a habit that is difficult to break and re-establish relationships in the church community. It is simply not a lifestyle that works in the long run.

A summary passage about what the early church looked like is that of the first Christians in Jerusalem as seen in Acts 2 …

Acts 2:42ff … They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

This is a picture of a highly-functioning body. And as outsiders look in, this sort of relational group is attractive to a watching world.

Over the years at TSF, we have had a strong family of relationships, service, and mutual encouragement. But we can always be better. So I encourage you to throw in as never before. Keep gathering. Get involved in body building, the building of the body of Christ, the Church.

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About Randy Buchman

I live in Western Maryland, and among my too many pursuits and hobbies, I regularly feed 3-4 hungry blogs. I played college baseball, coached championship cross country teams at Williamsport (MD) High School, and am the editor of a Baltimore/Maryland sports blog called "The Baltimore Wire." My main profession is as the lead pastor of a church in Hagerstown called Tri-State Fellowship. And I'm active in Civil War history and work/serve at Antietam National Battlefield with a Guides organization. Occasionally I sleep.

3 thoughts on ““Getting Into Body Building” (Hebrews 10:19-25)

  1. I agree totally, for the Holy Spirit recently inspired me to form a Pool Team of Christians and a couple others to go into the community at places that there are non-believers and as a Team play and have fun getting to know one another setting a good example to represent or Love for God and His for us to hopefully save some people and Grow His kingdom! I named this Team Tri-State T.F.G. (Team for God). I have been trying to fill Team by May 1st when session starts. I need 3 more players, please think and consider being a part of this Team for God! It is a year round commitment but also fun and rewarding. If interested call me at 240-347-4327. THANK YOU!

  2. Mark, I’m not a pool player, but it is good that you are thinking of doing something for the glory of God. (I don’t think I know you Mark, don’t recognize your name) so I am not implying that you aren’t pulling your weight or whatever. ☺ ← (supposed to be a smile.)

    Randy, I don’t know if this will paste, it is a bit of an experiment. It is supposed to be a muscular arm, a flexing bicep. 💪 I copied it from http://fsymbols.com/all/ (It just seemed interesting when I saw the symbol and remember reading your blog about “body building” – though you’ve got a spiritual body in mind.

    I’ve been thinking (from time to time) about how to better facilitate service projects like Mark Donaldson is interested in or maybe allow people to work together with others who share similar interests. While there may be a balance between privacy concerns and eagerness to network, perhaps there are a number of people who need answers to certain questions that some other people have answers to. If people spend enough time together they may learn the basics of what other people can do.

    I suppose I can pray as Paul did in 2 Thessalonians 1:11 “With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith.” (NIV)

    How many people like David have good ideas that don’t come to fruition because of lack of support and teamwork?

    Maybe a paper list can be made of areas of interests that some people share (maybe a handwritten list at church) perhaps someone who like hiking, could put out a list if he would like to be in contact with other people who enjoy hiking, so they hike together. Another list for people who like to run in freezing temps ❄☃ ← (snow flake and snow man) … sorry getting ridiculous here.

    It doesn’t necessarily have to be anything evangelistic like Dave is doing, but maybe it could. I’ve got a friend at work who likes fishing, and is interested in going to church, he is also deaf, but maybe something can be arranged with others who like to fish …

    Perhaps a table can be set out, … as you can see I’m just at a preliminary brainstorm stage.

    There is a great gap, between people in the church and getting the right balance of helping and not overbearing people, Forget I wrote anything, But maybe later some seed of the idea, may grow into a better idea. Or maybe sometime down the road people can do something that is more helpful.

    At one time a few years back you went to Harpers Ferry and shared some of your knowledge … thinking of things like that, but not really like that.

    There is a science festival in DC next weekend. Don’t know if anyone wants to go to that. (I didn’t write that as something I’m overly interested in,) but just as an example of some things that perhaps people could do together, especially in some small groups.

    Maybe people have some specific interests in evangelism, toward Muslims, those in groups likes Mormons, or Jehovah Witnesses or whatever. Maybe some like apologetics and want to use findings in science to interest people in what science says about “fine-tuning” the precise balances of scientific or natural forces that are needed to sustain life for long ages and allow the universe to speak for itself about God’s power and intelligence.

    So, just forget about all this, but don’t forget about it. (Conflicting advice, I know.)
    A brainstorming day or brainstorming month? People submit ideas and maybe other people can look at them to support them, improve them.

    • We have done this over the years from time to time, with mixed results, and there are times people do things together, like a bunch of women had an art thing they did through women’s ministry yesterday.

      The challenge, like with everything, is that everyone is just so busy all the time with kids sports leagues and a thousand other things. We have made this the emphasis of summer Sundays over recent years – getting together with people of similar interests. Of course, half the people are on vacation each Sunday at that time.

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