Discover more from Ben Simpson's Faith & Formation Newsletter
Keep Meeting Together
It Makes a Difference
Following an admonish to “spur one another on to love and good deeds,” in Hebrews 10:25, the preacher adds another exhortation to not give up meeting together, “as is the habit of some,” but to encourage one another all the more as we see the Lord’s Day approaching.
It’s one of my favorite admonitions in the New Testament.
There is a group of friends I know who are part of First Methodist Church in Waco that together are called “The Friday Men.” For over twenty years, they have met weekly to hear a word from Scripture, to encourage one another, and to pray. Over five years ago they invited me to be a part of their group. In doing so, I slightly lowered the average age of attendees. It was wonderful being the young guy. For four years, I was part of their teaching rotation. One year ago, I stepped away from that commitment due to changes in our family rhythm.
Last week they invited me back.
It was a joy to be with that group of gentlemen. We spoke of Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 13:5, which says:
Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?
Borrowing from Wesleyan theology, I asked us to reflect on three “tests:”
Have I done harm? Have I harmed a neighbor? Myself? God’s reputation?
Have I done good? (Galatians 6:10 comes to mind.)
Have I increased in my love for God?
No one likes a test. But tests help us assess where we find ourselves, and what we must do if we are to reach our goal. In the Christian life, our goal is Christ. He has called us into friendship, and through that friendship, he trains and transforms us to grow in likeness to him. This is not only for our benefit. This is for the benefit of his kingdom and purposes in the world.
Still reading Ron Chernow’s Washington. It’s a big book.
I continue to read James Bryan Smith’s latest book in The Apprentice Series, The Good and Beautiful You. It releases soon. You should order a copy.
And lastly, I subscribe to Charles C. W. Cooke’s newsletter. His latest entry is titled "Have you Ever Watched a Plumber?” It is a screed against student loan forgiveness. I’m with Cooke. “No.”
Sights and Sounds
I watched the 2021 film Licorice Pizza, a period piece that is a mix of comedy and romance, a couple of interesting characters, commentary on Hollywood, and a story that just kind of comes to an end. It definitely felt like the 1970s.
My music selections have included Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (again), AWOLNATION’s My Echo, My Shadow, My Covers & Me, the Top Gun motion picture soundtrack, and Fortunate Ones That Was You and Me.
On the blog: I shared an insight from James Bryan Smith on spiritual formation and the body, a funny cartoon of Jesus catching a wave, my reaction to Top Gun: Maverick, and a definition of Christian spiritual formation.
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Be well this week. Bless others.
P.S. - Where I met with the Friday Men.