Next week our gospel meeting with Matthew Allen begins. With four children of my own, I know how tiring gospel meetings can be. You tend to be out later than normal. Your children are up well past their bedtime every night. Everyone can get a little more cranky because no one is getting the sleep that they are used to. Housework suffers because a good chunk of your evenings are spent at the meeting. Thinking on these negative aspects can encourage you to not attend the meeting at all. (Or if you do come, for just a couple of nights of the meeting, but certainly not every night). Such negative thinking is actually what keeps a gospel meeting from being as affective as it can be. Today, I hope to share some tips with you to help you keep a positive focus throughout the meeting so that it can be a successful one.
Get your game face on. In the world of sports this phrase is used to talk about being mentally prepared for the game, match, etc. When one puts their game face on they have laid aside any distractions that keep them from performing at their best. These distractions can include things like feeling overwhelmed, nervousness, exhaustion, etc. In a similar fashion, we need to be preparing our minds for the upcoming meeting by eliminating distractions those distractions that keep us from being as focused as we should be. We need to come to worship not worried about that long list of negative thoughts I previously mentioned. We need to eliminate them from our hearts and minds because what we are engaging in (the worship of God and the strengthening of our faith) is of far greater importance than physical education, a clean house, or a good nights rest. In Heb. 12:1, the scriptures read, “let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” While feeling overwhelmed is not sinful, it is something that can weigh us down and keep us from doing what we know is the better part.
Remember Martha. Martha was a busy person. When Jesus came into her home, she was busy preparing the meal that she had planned to serve him. It seems that she initially had thought that her sister, Mary, would be helping her for she seems to have become frustrated that her plans needed more than the two hands she had to offer. As a result she asked Jesus to rebuke her sister and tell her basically to “get in the kitchen.” Jesus did not rebuke Mary, instead to Martha’s surprise, Jesus rebuked her. He did not rebuke her for serving. He did not rebuke her for keeping busy. He rebuked her because she assumed that keeping busy with temporal things (no matter how right and good it may have seem) is better than listening to the good news of Jesus Christ. In a similar fashion we too can use the benefits of sleep, secular education, meals with friends and family to keep us from doing the better part. When we choose to stay home because the kids have homework what message are we really teaching our kids? Secular education is of greater importance than spiritual education. If we stay home to sleep what are we really saying? That physical rest now is more important than learning how to obtain the eternal rest that awaits the saved. If we stay home to clean up around the house what are we saying? That the work of your house is of greater importance than the work of God’s house. This next week, let this meeting be a successful one for you by remembering Martha and choosing the better part.
Act like Andrew. Of the Apostles there is probably not one that is as often overlooked. Sure, there are apostles whose stories are just not recorded for us. But Andrew is not one of those Apostles. No, he is not as prevalent as his brother Peter. He is rarely mentioned with Peter in the same manner that James and John were mentioned. But, every occasion in which we read of Andrew he is bringing someone to Jesus. Sometimes it was nothing more than bringing a young lad to Jesus that had some fish and bread. But more often than not, he is seen bringing someone to Jesus that would benefit from hearing Jesus’ message (like Peter and the Greeks that sought to see Jesus). More so than any other Apostle in the gospel accounts Andrew is making certain others are coming to know Jesus. With the gospel meeting starting in just one week we need to be certain that we are just like Andrew. Try not to come alone. Bring someone with you. Invite a co-worker, a neighbor, your child, your spouse. Brethren, there are many here in Grinnell that need to hear the message that will be preached next week. While I realize that you cannot make anyone do something, you can encourage them to come with you. Encourage them come to know the real Jesus (not some watered down gospel). The lessons which brother Allen has prepared for us are all about God and Jesus’ role in our lives. All of us, including the those apart from God can only benefit from his efforts if we are here. ~WTK
Grinnell church of Christ
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Identifying Marks of a Successful Gospel Meeting
Volume 4 Issue 18 April 7, 2013