Last night I attended my regular men’s group meeting. I really didn’t want to go. I had a hard day filled with difficult people, deadlines, and non-stop running. I was tired and wanted to just flop on the couch and relax.
I’m so glad I went.
I used to lead a men’s group. When Sharon and I left our long-time church last August, leaving those men behind was frankly, for me, the hardest part of leaving. I miss those guys terribly. I never thought I’d be able to develop a bond with others that I had with those guys. I desperately miss those Monday nights. We could share anything with each other and it was a place where God spoke to each of us. Countless times, God would gently (or not so gently) speak truth into my life as I facilitated the group.
Last night, in my new men’s group at our new church, God spoke truth into my life through the material and through each man as he shared his thoughts, struggles, and his victory. I sat there as one of the guys, sharing and receiving truth.
Do you have a place like that to go? Do you have a place to go and receive truth, other than your normal seat on a Sunday morning? It’s an important question to ask, if you hope to grow… if you hope to receive encouragement and hope… if you hope to receive truth that you otherwise would never receive by reading your Bible at home or by praying in your quiet place or even by sitting in your regular seat on Sunday morning.
Don’t get me wrong. Reading your Bible at home is important — extremely important, and is the main way God speaks to His people today. Going to your prayer closet or quiet place is extremely important. You need to humbly come into God’s presence each and every day. Attending weekly corporate worship with a group of like-minded believers is tremendously important. It is uplifting, encouraging and brings good news into your life and into the lives of those around you (or at least it should).
But we were created for community and it’s in community where God’s grace also flows. A community is a safe place where you are free to be yourself, warts and all. It’s a place where you find love, acceptance, encouragement, and accountability. It’s a place where truth resides.
I miss those Monday night guys so much. But I’ve found a place where truth resides, and believe me when I say it: the truth does set you free! (John 8:32)