There’s a local bar in my neighborhood that is directly across the street from a church; I pass it every week when attending my own church which is a bit further down the same road. I recall one day several years ago when my young daughter and I waited in traffic and watched as the people left their church to walk across the street to get to their cars which were parked in the lot behind the bar. She didn’t realize the parking lot was there and asked: “Why does everyone leave church and go to that bar afterwards?” I laughed. Ohhh, so many responses to that one. Instead, I acted responsibly and explained that there was a parking lot there and the people were going to their cars, not the bar.
Some thoughts I read recently on the local bar from Chuck Swindoll’s book, “Encourage Me”:
“The neighborhood bar is possibly the best counterfeit there is to the fellowship Christ wants to give to His church. It’s an imitation, dispensing liquor instead of grace, escape rather than reality, but it is a permissive, accepting, and inclusive fellowship. It is unshockable. It is democratic. You can tell people secrets and they usually don’t tell others or even want to. The bar flourished not because most people are alcoholics, but because God has put into the human heart the desire to know and be known, to love and be loved, and so many seek a counterfeit at the price of a few beers.”
I am reminded of the need for fellowship, bonding, being known and being loved as we near the first holiday event of this summer—Memorial Day weekend. It brings to mind the concept of remembering those who serve our country, but it is also about gatherings, whether they be at the barbeque, the bar or church. Why do we get together? We simply want and need each other—to know and be known, to love and be loved. The gatherings we have in our churches are breathtakingly beautiful when the connections made there are safe, accepting and inclusive. Aware of my bias, I attend my own church, Daybreak Community Church (www.enjoydaybreak.com) because I know these types of connections can be made there. Our church has always worked towards being this type of environment which means more to me than the building or the organ music—because true fellowship and connecting can heal and bring hope in our otherwise busy, crazy world.
Tip of the week:
It’s finally sunny---and taking our workouts outside can be a welcome change. When I enjoy my workouts outside, whether it is to play some tennis or go for a walk, I get a double-dose: sunshine and sweat—a perfect combination!
Thanks for helping our church make such strong connections with our community, Lisa! I'll drink to that that ... wait, I'm the pastor! :)
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