When We Gather
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 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.”
Hebrews 10:23-25 (NIV)
A key message jumps out at me as I read this passage: God’s clear communication that we need one another. To be activated in our gifts, to be stirred up for “love and good works,” we need to gather with one another.
We need each other. I’ve heard it said that no real growth in our lives comes outside the context of relationship. I’ve seen this in my own life, the rich growth and fruitfulness in my life when I’m in rich community and the stagnation and poverty when I’m isolated.
I daily encounter symptoms of poverty of community. Cries for help through an impersonal Facebook post, desperate measures taken by a runaway teen in the news, judgment cast on a stranger for a mistake that hits media around the nation.
Real listening, real sharing, and real connecting are at an all time low while information is more available than ever before. Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, and other forms of social media give one narrow glimpse into our lives. Yet we don’t know a sister’s inner sadness, her quiet disconnection, or the hidden dreams that go unspoken, undocumented, and unshared.
What are the most refreshing and valuable places or ways
you connect with others?
In the sweet circle of women who joined us for our first Cultivate Conversations event, we enjoyed a diversity of generations, professions, and forms of leadership. What we held in common was our spoken need to have authentic, quality connection with others as we lean into his design for our lives and walk out the implications of his calling hand-in-hand.
We agreed that without this togetherness we lose touch with our audience, with our community, with the heart, needs, and hopes of other women. Without the regular spaces to gather, share, worship our Creator, and explore what it means to be his bride, his church, we lose sight of the importance of living our design, of showing up in all God calls us to be. Without community, we become trapped, unsupported, and blocked in our influence.
But, with deep, meaningful connections, we regain perspective and realize we have sisters on our left and right who walk with us, who feel what we feel, rise up in faith in Jesus, and exercise amazing courage. As we share honestly, we strengthen our individual voices and our collective influence. How inspiring!
Others have walked in the emotions we experience.
Others can provide the sounding board we need to try again.
Others have discovered how to tap into their leadership calling while fulfilling their roles in the community and the family.
And we can, too.
We all need mentorship and insight from those ahead of us in life and those following in our footsteps need our encouragement, our thoughtful questions, our wisdom from all he’s taught us so far.
Where do you gather information about society, your
worth, and your ability to transform the world around you?
How do live and virtual communities uniquely
impact your spirit, heart, and identity?
Subconsciously, we are continually gathering information about the world and about ourselves.
What are some practical ways you can pivot from patterns that aren’t redemptive to those that strengthen and equip you to be more like Jesus, activated to create ripples of transformation in the world around you? How can you begin again this week?
Even as I write this, I see highlights and low points from the past week: moments of authentic, redemptive gathering with others and glimpses of pain and the need for a touch of healing in my relationships. I remember Lamentations 3 as I confess causing brokenness in my relationships, and I clothe myself with his new mercies and reclaim his vision for constructing loving, affirming gatherings with one another, with his people who he dearly loves.
Let these words wash over you where you are today:
“But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.”
Lamentations 3:21-23 (ESV)
As we gather near to him and to one another, we circle around in his overflowing grace and healing presence. My prayer is that you would create a place for the women in your life to gather and to stir one another up this week. We would love to hear and celebrate what you experience as you take one new step forward.
If you would like to receive an invite for our next Cultivate Conversations Events in the Sacramento area or to partner with us to bring a gathering to your community, please let us know here.