“Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:23-25)
Two days ago, posts were all over social media in recognition of the 17th anniversary of the terror attack on September 11th. Seventeen years ago, people came into the United States and attacked us, killing thousands, because of our way of life and our ideals, including the religious freedoms granted to us by the First Amendment of the Constitution.
The days following September 11th were some of the most inspiring moments, especially for a sixth grader like me. The entire country came together, not divided by race or politics: a truly united America. In addition to all this, the country turned to God during this time of tragedy.
Beckwith Missionary Baptist was no exception to this. In the time of mourning, we chose to meet the next evening (a Wednesday) for a prayer vigil in memory of those who passed away, those who were missing, and the families of those affected by the attacks. (A brief history note: that was the beginning of our weekly Wednesday night services.) That was a very spiritual night: we even had people join the church as a result.
As I was reminiscing about all of these events and the current state of our nation and world, it made me realize how blessed we are to be living in America. I don’t know if you’re aware or not, but the same rights we often take for granted are not available to the rest of the world. In China, for example, over the past few months churches have been getting shut down if they don’t have specific licenses from the country. Thousands of church-going people are having their opportunity to worship as an assembly taken away from them, yet we (and I am definitely included) have trouble making it to church twice a week because we would rather sleep in or we can’t “fit it in our schedule.”
That’s not okay.
As Christians in America, we have a great opportunity to live out the lives God intended for us to live. In the scripture above from Hebrews, we should not “forsake the assembling of ourselves.” When we gather together to worship, learn, and fellowship, we give ourselves the opportunity to grow spiritually, which is important for all Christians. It gives us a support base: a group of people who can encourage us and “provoke [us] unto love and good works.”
Let’s take advantage of the opportunities we have. Go to church on Sundays and whenever there are other events! Hang out with your fellow church members, and study your Bible and pray! The early church did this, and reading Acts 2, we can see the results when we do those things. I’ll leave you with that passage of scripture:
“And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” (Acts 2:42-47)
Bro. Lain Tomlinson is the Youth Director at Beckwith Missionary Baptist Church. He was called to preach in October 2015 and has preached all over middle Tennessee and Texas since then.