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We Love a Good Fire Pit

February 7, 2012

I don’t know if there is anything better on a cool evening in South Carolina than sitting out in the yard around the fire pit.  Maybe it’s the crackling of the branches and the movement of the flames…or maybe it’s the light, the warmth, and the energy.  Honestly, I’m not sure that it’s any one thing, but there’s just something about it.  There’s just something about those moments when you’re caught between the coolness of the air and the warmth of the fire that’s…well, refreshing.

 I would really love it if you would take a moment today and read through Hebrews 10:19-25.

 One of the things that you have to know going forward is that this isn’t intended to be some kind of guilt trip.  I’m really not interested in filling pews with people who are there to make themselves feel better.  The whole idea of you walking out of a worship service feeling better about yourself, simply because you managed to sit through the service, is one of the most disturbing Bible belt problems that we have to deal with. 

 Now, this passage offers us a glimpse of what the Church is supposed to be.  But everything that the Church is…flows from everything that Christ has done.  And that’s why verse 19 is so important.  It says, “Since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus.”  Then verse 21-22 says, “Since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith.”  That word “since” that we see in those verses is making a pronouncement.  The author of Hebrews is putting an imperative in front of the appeal.  It’s like saying, “Since we know that food provides the necessary nourishment in order to live a healthy life…let us eat.”  Only, Hebrews isn’t talking about physical nourishment.

 In verses 24-25, it says, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”  Now, this is one of the reasons that corporate worship is so important.  The writer understands what’s going on.  People get comfortable, people get complacent, people are busy, and tired, and they don’t like it when that guy preaches, or that song is played, or that particular person teaches their Sunday School class…so they “neglect to meet together.”  And they miss out on the benefits of being a part of the body of Christ in Christian community. 

 It’s just like the fire pit.  From a distance, it doesn’t offer a whole lot of benefit.  It’s more like a nuisance than anything else.  There’s no ambiance, no warmth, no crackling of the branches, and no real light to speak of.  Unless you’re right there at it, in its midst, it’s really nothing more than a potential forest fire waiting to happen.  But if you draw near to it…you feel the warmth, you hear the sounds, and you see by its light…and then begin to understand the benefits of the fire.  The Church is really the same way.  If you keep your distance, avoid the people, and never come close, the Church will just be another thing in your life.  Just another nuisance that robs you of time to do the things you love.  But if you’ll draw close…if you’ll be there…with “a full heart in full assurance of faith”…you begin to understand the beauty, the comfort, and the joy of being in her midst.  And I’ll be honest, if the people of God would draw near…if they would gather together…if they would encourage one another as we are called to…the Church would look much more like a forest fire than a fire pit.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Sarah Eremic permalink
    February 7, 2012 6:07 pm

    Excellent analogy, Adam. I especially like the possibility of a raging forest fire…

  2. laurimwilliams permalink
    February 8, 2012 2:30 pm

    I love the image you give of the fire pit…you don’t “get it” until you are right there at it, and a part OF it.

  3. February 13, 2012 5:09 pm

    Virginia is always good for a night around the fire pit. I’ll remember your analogy next time we’re all around it. Thanks for your reflection!

  4. Michael Martin permalink
    February 28, 2012 10:02 pm

    I can’t wait to share this with some people dear to me. It always blows my mind that God’s creation, in this case a simple fire, can scream of His glory.
    Also, I have really been questioning and struggling with the way we ‘do church’. This really helps.

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