The Journey Thoughts

August 17, 2016

It's always sad when one leaves the fellowship of believers.  I know there
are moves to different locations, and this is fine, but today I'm talking
more about the one who leaves fellowship because of something that happens
within the fellowship.  Being broken people lends itself to broken
relationships, and at times it becomes difficult when a family leaves
because of a broken relationship with even just one person within the
fellowship.  Can they come back?  Of course, but that is difficult because
now that the relationship is broken, will there be, or can there be
restoration at a later time, by welcoming that family back into fellowship?
There can, if we get pride out of the way.  Jesus tells a parable about lost
sheep, and the message is for us and for anyone who has ever broken a
relationship and feel they cannot get restoration.  It goes like this: "See
that you don't look down on one of these little ones, because I tell you
that in heaven their angels continually view the face of My Father in
heaven. For the Son of Man has come to save the lost.  What do you think? If
a man has 100 sheep, and one of them goes astray, won't he leave the 99 on
the hillside and go and search for the stray? And if he finds it, I assure
you: He rejoices over that sheep more than over the 99 that did not go
astray. In the same way, it is not the will of your Father in heaven that
one of these little ones perish." Matthew 18:10-14  There are a couple of
lessons in this small parable, and the first is that when a person leaves a
fellowship because of sin, and I am not talking about being driven away, but
leaving because he/she feels they can no longer fellowship because of their
sin. That should cause pain for every one of us, because we all sin, and
forgiveness and restoration needs to be practice by all.  The leaving the 99
and going and looking for the stray reveals the heart of a fellowship that
reaches out to the one who left, to let them know that they are loved, and
to continue to hold them up in prayer and encouragement.  If that person is
willing to come back to the fellowship in repentance, they should be
restored through love, for they were lost but now have been found.  The
other lesson is the breaking of fellowship because of a disagreement.  We
will always have disagreements with each other from time to time, but when
the love of the fellowship abounds, that person, if willing, should always
be invited back into the fellowship.  We have a tendency to throw away our
unwanted things, when in fact they might be very useful to another within
the body. I love it when a person, through humility, comes back into the
fellowship.  When we were young, and we didn't like the way the game was
going, we wanted to go home, and no longer play.  When that is done enough,
others stop asking the one who left, to come play again.  The fellowship of
believers is made of a many different types of people, just like a family,
and when family plays together, someone will always get hurt, or at least
feel hurt.  I hope that we are brave enough to reach out to each other, and
look for restoration whenever possible, and forgiveness as needed. There can
be many different reasons why a family might have to leave for a season, but
if it is you that has to leave, and another of the body reaches out to you
in love, that is because they believe you are an integral part of the family
of God, and a necessary part of the fellowship.  If we stay away because of
pride, we have not only hurt our relationship with the Lord, but we are
letting pride dictate our actions instead of love.  I say we start behaving
more with love than pride, and become a family of God the way our Lord has
intended, and return to fellowship so that rejoicing can happen, and for
certain, the angels in heaven will rejoice over a restored relationship, so
why don't we?

Pastor Andy

Heavenly Father, I pray for a heart that continually seeks to restore
relationships. I pray that all who read this, and have left a place and are
wandering in the desert, will return to the place of comfort, and restore
broken relationships.  Lord, I also pray for those who are having trials of
health and circumstance this morning, and I pray even now for Mandi's aunt
Tuly, who is having surgery on her brain to obtain a biopsy of the tumor in
her head.  Lord, please watch over her, and restore her to her family.  I
pray for Tyson, Wendy, Montella, Joyce, and all those who serve others in
the face of danger to themselves, please watch over them.  I pray for: Don,
Dwight, Sammi, Betty, David, Phyllis, Devon, the Thibodeau family, Cindy,
Terry, Barbara, Marliana, Loren, Cynthia, Bill, Carolyn, Tracy, Abraham,
Elijah, Japheth, Agnes, Mike, Megan, Jeff, Laura, Matt, Liz, Matt, Bethany,
BJ, Ida, Isabel, Angie, Terry, Kristena, Shane, Choya, Alex, Ken, Eric,
Sandy, JV, Nada, Andrea, Alan, Lydia, Fisher, Shannon, Robert, Pat, Ryan,
Barry, Johnny, Annette, Kim, Gary, Gavin, Shawn, Ben and family, Tim's
mother, Shelly's mother, Julissa's friend, Kelly and her son, Richard and
his father, Pam and her son, Robbie, Laurie, Gary, Heather, Codi, Jana's
mother, Ron, Sam, Ada, Deane, Bill, Dan, Rheba, Pam, Mike, Austin, Harriet,
Gus, Lisa, Alice, Dotty, Fred, Mike S., James, Scott, April, Craig, Ben,
Ramona, Betty, Danny, Hunter, Asher, Lynette, Kristen, Kathy, Jennifer,
Patrick, Candace, Abe, Trent, Garret, Mayeaux, Ben, Jason, Ashley, Marc,
Macy, Jake, Bob, Lisa.   Lord, we are become lost, as we stay away from
fellowship from time to time,  I pray that you lead us back to a right
relationship not only with each other, but with You, for I ask it in Jesus
name. Amen.

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