Next Tuesday I’m celebrating my 41st birthday, and a funny thing is happening. I keep asking myself, didn’t I just celebrate 40?

For those of you who are well beyond 40, please don’t laugh at me. I’m still wrestling with it. 🙂 But the pace of life certainly has me in overdrive right now.

Running to and from school, shuttling children around to their various activities, and preparing for the holiday season, all seems to go hand in hand with being a dad and a pastor. When life is this busy, I’ve found it pretty to miss the important things: prayer, meditation, and reading the Bible. Truth be told if it wasn’t for my “job” I probably would be tempted to skip out a time or two on attending church. So that you know, I’m human too.

But every time I attend church and see smiling faces, I remember the sweet grace that comes through sharing life together.

This reality is observed in our belief in the one, holy catholic church. Here “catholic” doesn’t mean Roman but universal, connected, and spiritually united. We were made for each other. That’s community. It’s not always what we want, but it’s usually just what we need.

This coming month, we will be turning our attention from reaching outward to our friends and neighbors with the Gospel to reaching inward to each other “because of” the Gospel. I recently heard this idea best expressed by a new friend of mine at another church. He said, “When God saves us through His Gospel, he saves us into relationships with one another.”

That is why I believe relationships within congregations are often ground zero for personal attacks. The last thing our spiritual enemy wants for us is to enjoy gospel-centered relationships with one another. So he distorts, perverts, and skews our perceptions of each other. He creates conflicts, making molehills appear as giant mountains incapable of being traversed. He’s successful when we are isolated.

As I’ve ministered to lots of people, I’ve come to recognize that the enemies most effective weapons are isolation, fear, and loneliness. But those are easily overcomeable when
we dare to develop and embrace Christian community.

This weekend, I hope you will plan to attend Redeemer. Don’t forget to set your clocks back!