Asleep

The New Testament often uses the word, “sleep,” when referring to death. When Lazarus had died, Jesus said that he had merely “fallen asleep” (John 11:11). When Jairus’ daughter died, Jesus said, “The child has not died, but is asleep” (Mark 5:39). Paul used the same terminology to describe believers who had died. He said that they “have fallen asleep in Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 4:14).

Behind this metaphor in each of these passages is hope. The one who is sleeping will rise again. Indeed, those who have believed in Jesus will be raised to eternal life. So, when a believer dies, we do not need to grieve as the rest who have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13).

Theater Encouragement

Several of my children are involved in a theater program called, “Christian Youth Theater.”  It is for children ages 8-18.  They put on some incredible performances three times each year.  For the past few days, I have shared some of the lessons learned from Beauty and the Beast, which is now in production. Today, I want to share something in general about this organization.

One of the things that I have come to appreciate about this theater group is how hard they work to be an encouragement for all the children involved.  One person told me one of the great things about this theater group is that “everybody wins.”  It’s true.  From the youngest to the oldest, when the play is successfully performed and all have done their best, everybody wins.

One of the ways that they foster encouragement is to have each of the cast members have a “sibling” to especially encourage during the show.  My eight year-old daughter has a sixteen year-old, “sibling.”  The above picture shows the encouraging note that she was sent after her first performance.  This was a thoughtful note to share with my daughter. It’s a small representation of what is typical in this group.

With a world that is trying to beat you down, it is good to see a place that’s committed to building you up.  “Encourage one another and build up one another” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

Helping the Weak

Yesterday our father/son group at church spent our time together serving one of the older, single ladies in church.  Her yard was filled with leaves, but she didn’t have the ability to deal with them.  So, we went over and took care of it for her.  We did in an hour what she could never have done on her own.

Believers in Christ are admonished to “help the weak” (1 Thessalonians 5:14).  It’s what we did.

The Peloton

If you have ever watched the professional bicycle races, you have seen the large group of riders all riding in a pack. Doing so reduces the energy needed for bikers in the middle of the pack by as much as 40% as they have little air resistence to fight. This group is often called, “the peloton” (from the French word meaning “little ball”).

This is a good picture of what the church ought to be like. One’s walk with Christ is made easier when you are in the middle of fellow believers. They encourage you on. You encourage them on, until the finish line.

Those in Thessalonica were doing this. “Encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11). Are you?