Seven Ways To Pursue Joy

Seven Ways To Pursue Joy

Dale Pollard

We’ll keep this really simple. Let’s start with a few facts about joy and then dive into seven ways to find joy when we lack it. 

1. Joy is not a feeling, it’s a godly perspective

2. A Christian’s hardships aren’t pointless, they’re productive

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.

 – James 1.2-3 

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”

 —Romans 12:12

Seven Ways To Pursue Joy 

  1. God’s direction brings joy (Ps. 94.19)
  1. The Resurrection brings joy (Matt. 28.8)
  1. Unity of mind and sharing the same love brings joy (Phil. 2.2)
  1. Loving the Lord’s people brings joy (Phil. 1.7)
  1. A mature faith brings joy (I Pt. 1.8)
  1. Fellowship brings joy (2 John 1.12
  1. God’s presence brings joy (Jude 24)
How The Church Can Use Technology To Reach A Changing World

How The Church Can Use Technology To Reach A Changing World

Friday’s Column: Brent’s Bent

You’ve probably seen the results of the recent WSJ-NORC poll showing how much Americans’ views on patriotism, religion, and community involvement have changed in the past 25 years. It is disheartening. On a lark, I decided to query ChatGPT about this issue, asking:

How should the Christian community respond to generate interest in religion while remaining ambivalent about ideas of patriotism?

Here is ChatGPT’s response:

Firstly, the Christian community could focus on promoting the core values and teachings of their faith that resonate with people on a personal level, such as compassion, forgiveness, and unconditional love. This can be done through various means, such as community outreach programs, social media campaigns, and interfaith dialogues.

Additionally, the Christian community could leverage modern technologies to make their religious teachings more accessible to younger generations who are more inclined towards digital media. This could involve creating engaging and informative content, such as podcasts, videos, and blog posts, that can be shared on various online platforms.

It is also essential for the Christian community to remain open-minded and inclusive towards people of all backgrounds and beliefs. By fostering an environment of respect and understanding, the Christian community can demonstrate that religion is not about exclusion or superiority, but rather about embracing diversity and promoting universal values.

Lastly, the Christian community could work towards building meaningful connections with other faith-based communities and organizations to promote interfaith collaboration and mutual respect. By coming together with other groups and working towards common goals, the Christian community can demonstrate that religion is a unifying force that can transcend political ideologies and nationalistic sentiments.

You’ve probably noticed ChatGPT’s and all AI’s known leftist bias. But, again, this is something that the media has covered. These new technological marvels are known as LLMs (Learning Language Models). In other words, reading what humans have written makes them more intelligent. And many of these AIs got their samples from the internet. 

The internet is not exactly a haven for right-wing or Christian ideas. Values-oriented internet monitors have estimated that at least 80% of the non-dark web was pornography. Others argue that it is more likely to be around 30% pornography. Whatever the exact figures are, it should be evident that the ratio of non-Christian to Christian content on the internet is higher. Thus, we don’t expect AI to present God’s plan of salvation. That is why preachers exist (Romans 10.13–17).

That said, the insight of ChatGPT is fantastic, with a few caveats. Unfortunately, open-mindedness and inclusivity are typically buzzwords for turning a blind eye to sin, which we cannot do (Isaiah 5.20). Likewise, societal acceptance of abortion and sexual immorality doesn’t mean such things are acceptable to God (Acts 5.29). We also cannot fellowship with those who do not teach the truth, even if they call themselves “Christians” or are part of a monotheistic, Abrahamic faith (2 Corinthians 6.13–15; 1 Corinthians 10.21). Otherwise, this advice is surprisingly sound. 

As the gospel changes lives like nothing else can, why shouldn’t we preach God’s word to make it as accessible to others as possible? We should help people see how to apply the good news to their lives (Acts 8.30ff). To that end, we should go back to more expository-style preaching. 

There are so many broken homes that providing people with a sense of community and family is inviting. Who would not want to experience compassion, forgiveness, and unconditional love? But this requires getting out of our buildings and going where the people are. 

And, while we should not change the “old Jerusalem Gospel,” there is no reason why we cannot use modern methods to reach out to a lost and dying world (Matthew 10.16, emphasis mine). Unfortunately, more conservative mindsets are slow to adopt the latest technology. By the time more conservative minds feel comfortable venturing into new areas, those with whom they disagree ideologically will have dominated them. 

That said, the number of podcasts and videos our brothers and sisters are beginning to make available inspires me, and I hope this pattern continues. Political pundits, gamers, and true crime fans bury our offerings with their content. So you have to know what you are looking for to find it. It requires advertising and sharing our content with others. 

Even though we don’t want to waste our Lord’s money by following trends, it is prudent to keep up with new technology and figure out how to use it to spread God’s message worldwide. It’s important to remember that technology is constantly evolving, and we must adapt to it and use it in ways that reflect our values. By doing so, we can reach a larger audience and share God’s message with those who might not have heard it otherwise. 

How would you have answered this question I put to ChatGPT? 

Brent Pollard
Thinking Through The Alphabet During The Lord’s Supper

Thinking Through The Alphabet During The Lord’s Supper

Monday’s Column: Neal At The Cross

Neal Pollard

Every Sunday (Acts 20:7), we take time during our worship to “observe the Lord’s Supper” (1 Cor. 11:23-29). What that looks like and what we do during this special time has changed over time and in different cultures. What appears to have been more interactive in the time of the early church is today more individual and introspective. Paul instructed churches like the one in Corinth to correct abuses (1 Cor. 11:17-22; 30-34). God seems concerned that we focus on His Son’s sacrifice for our sins. Examining self seems to indicate looking carefully into the heart (1 Cor. 11:28). 

What we do and how we do it is very personal and subjective (Read More Here). Surely, our mind will turn in both morbid and merry directions during that time. Considering the cross, we will alternate between conviction and celebration. Years ago, Wendell Winkler suggested something practical that can help us keep focus on this “feast” as we worship. He suggested thinking through the alphabet, then gave us a few examples. Every Sunday for decades, I have been building those words in my mind. Each word carries with it related thoughts. They carry my mind back to that fateful day, make me think of my current way of life, and cause me to look ahead to the end. 

Obviously, I do not get very far in my list. I do not always start with “A.” I vary my approach, but this has proven very helpful to my keeping my mind on the Lord during the Lord’s Supper. Those precious moments each week are not to be frivolously and mindlessly spent, but what you do is individual to yourself. But, perhaps this will prove helpful to you. Here is an incomplete list of words I think about during the Lord’s Supper:

A–Abuse, Alone, Anxiety, Atonement, Adversary, Abandoned, Anger, Anointed, Able
B–Battered, Blood, Beaten, Blessings, Brave, Burden, Bruised, Brave, Body
C–Christ, Cruelty, Cowards, Callous, Cursing, Criminals, Caring, Crowd
D–Denial, Disciples, Dread, Death, Devil, Darkness, Doubt
E–Eternity, Evil, Everlasting Life, Everyone, Elect
F–Faults, Faith, Faithful, Factual, Father, Foreknowledge, Flogged, Future
G–Grace, Guilt, Gladness, Gift, Gethsemane, Gloom, Grave
H–Heaven, Hell, Hill, Hope, Heart, Hanging, Hurting, Hours 
I–Iniquity, Injustice, Isaiah 53, Inscription, Irritation, Important, Innocent, Insurrection
J–Joy, Jesus (Man), Justice, Jews, Jealousy, John, Judas
K–Kindness, Knowledge, Kiss, Key, Killed, King
L–Love, Load, Life, Lamb, Lashes, Lifted Up 
M–Master, Mercy, Murder, Myrrh, Mingled, Mary, Mother, Memorial
N–Newness, Nails, Naked, Near (John 19:20)
O–Only Son, Obedient, Open, Offering, Objective, Others
P–Pilate, Peter, Power, Pure, Paschal, Pharisees, Planned
Q–Questions, Quake, Qualms, Quotations, Quest (Luk3 19:10)
R–Rebellion, Railing, Righteous, Romans, Resurrection
S–Spiritual, Shame, Scapegoat And Slain, Seven Sayings, Speechless, Slaughter, Savior
T–Thirsty, Torture, Thankful, Tired, Temple, Trembling, Thieves
U–Unavoidable, Ugly, Unbelievers, Utterance, Ultimate, Upright
V–Vicarious, Victory, Vicious, Vail, Vilified, Vindication, Vulnerable
W–Wood, Woe, Weary, Wail, Wine, Women, Worship
X–Excruciating, Extreme, Expiate, Examine, Execution
Y–Young, Yearning, Yelling, Yield
Z–Zeal, Zenith, Zealots 

An Inspired Appeal To Assemble

An Inspired Appeal To Assemble

Neal Pollard

I’m writing this during one of the best gospel meetings I’ve ever attended. Robert Hatfield is doing an incredible job! He has a way of telling even challenging truths with kindness while reaching the heart and the mind. He has been prepared and has presented each sermon masterfully. I’m also grateful our elders had the wisdom to invite him to come.

Have you thought about why special events like gospel meetings, like our “regular services,” are so beneficial? Why should they draw our interest and be important to us? The writer of Hebrews gives us at least three reasons in an exhortation in Hebrews 10:24. He writes, “Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds…” The context of this passage is assembling together. He contrasts “neglecting to meet together” with “encouraging one another” in verse 25, but the why is in verse 24.

COOPERATION–“Let Us…One Another”

You will find the exhortation “let us” three consecutive times in Hebrews 10, in verses 22-24. The first is about our relationship with God (22), the second is about our relationship with the world (23), and the third is about our relationship with each other (24). The writer identifies it as “one another.” It requires each of us to do our part, to decide to act. The more who embrace this encouragement, the more effective we will be at obeying this command. “Us” can be a small number of people or a large number of people, but truly “the more, the merrier.” 


This literally means “think carefully about.” It pictures sitting down and being intentional. Perhaps visualize specific faces of brothers and sisters, those who are friends, new Christians, visitors, newcomers, family members, and the like. Visualize that great High Priest who is also there (19-21). We will hop in our cars after a long day (or week) of work and school and rally together when we have taken the time to reflect on who we are going to meet with. 

CAUSATION–“Stimulate…To Love And Good Deeds”

It never fails! When you think about how the reason for assembling is to praise and glorify our Lord and Savior, there is already ample motivation. But then there is what our mutual presence and participation does for one another. It causes us to think and feel and to do right. We constantly need that prompting and urging. The world is all too ready to be unloving and to either do wrong or neglect right actions. Every opportunity to assemble holds stimulating possibilities.

There have been non-Christian visitors at each service of our gospel meeting. That’s exciting! But just as exciting, you and I get to be together in a time of worship and study. We’ll come with buckets emptied by the day and week, then leave with them filled to overflowing. God knew that’s how life is! It’s why he urges us, “Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds.” He gives us assembling together as a powerful outlet. “Let us” take advantage!  

“Partnership” (1 John: Part One)

“Partnership” (1 John: Part One)

Wednesday’s Article: Third’s Words

Gary Pollard

I’ll be repeating the book of I John in present-day terminology. It’s not a true translation of the book, as I am not qualified to do so. It will be based on an exegetical study of the book and will lean heavily on the SBL and UBS Greek New Testaments, as well as comparisons with other translations (ESV, NASB, NIV, ERV, NLT). My goal is to reflect the text accurately, and to highlight the intent of the author using concepts and vocabulary in common use today. 

This is not an “essentially literal” translation, and should be read as something of a commentary. 


It’s existed since the beginning. We’ve heard it ourselves and we’ve seen it with our own eyes. We’ve studied it and touched it with our own hands. This is the word of life, and this life was shown to us. Everything we’ve heard and witnessed and told you about is this eternal life. He came from the father and was revealed to us. We’ve told you everything we’ve seen and heard so you can partner with us. We have this partnership with the father, as well as with his son Jesus Christ. We’re writing this to you to make our joy complete.

The message that we’ve been hearing from him is the same one we’re giving you: God is made of light, and no darkness exists in him whatsoever. If we claim to be partners with him while our lives are defined by walking in darkness, we’re liars and can’t even practice the truth. But if our lives are defined by walking in light, we have partnership with each other. On top of that, the blood of God’s son Jesus gets rid of any and all sins we have!

If someone says they don’t have sin, they’re lying – no truth exists in them. If we admit that we have sin in our lives, he is consistent and morally pure, so he’ll forgive us and get rid of our moral impurity. If someone says they’ve never even sinned, they make God a liar. His word will have nothing to do with them. 

Six Truths About Opportunities From Galatians 6:10

Six Truths About Opportunities From Galatians 6:10

Monday’s Column: Neal At The Cross

Neal Pollard

In the next several weeks at Lehman Avenue church of Christ, there are several big events occurring. In two weeks, we’re having our Vacation Bible School (which we’ve even advertised on TV). The following Sunday is our “Friends And Family Day.” Then, a couple of weeks after that, we’re having a “Widowhood Seminar” with Dean Miller. A month after that, we’re having our Fall Gospel Meeting with Robert Hatfield. There are other things that affect part of the congregation during this time, but it all makes the point that these are potential opportunities to be involved, to invite non-Christian friends and family, and encourage our immediate families.

The apostle Paul asks the church at Galatia to consider each other within the body of Christ. They had a responsibility to help pull each other out of spiritual darkness (Gal. 6:1), to support each other (Gal. 6:2), to strengthen his or her own faith (Gal. 6:4-5), to support Christian teachers and preachers (Gal. 6:6), and to sow the right kind of spiritual seed (Gal. 6:7-8). They were not to lose heart in doing good (Gal. 6:9). It is in this context that Paul makes this statement: “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Gal. 6:10). In this short statement, Paul shares six truths about opportunities. 

Opportunities Are Conditional. Paul says, “As we have opportunity.” When should we walk through doors of opportunity? When they are open. Don’t force something that is not there, but don’t shun or avoid what is placed before you. Consider that this might well be the providence of God. 

Opportunities Are Communal. “As we” implies that God wants His people working together. He does not desire one or a few to be involved in any area that He has designed the church to do. While opportunities are also personal, and each of us must seek opportunities. But, from the beginning, we see the church working together (Acts 2:42-47; Rom. 12:3ff). 

Opportunities Are Tangible. An opportunity is an event, a person, a place, a need, etc., that can be weighed, evaluated, and engaged in. It’s not a wish, hope, or idea per se. It’s something you can put your hands on. 

Opportunities Are Practical. Seeing the opportunity, we are to “do.” Engage your brain power, think it through, seek counsel, and the like, and put them to work. In the end, it will not be “well said” or “well intended,” but “well done” (Mat. 25:21,23). 

Opportunities Are Impartial. Let us do good to everyone. That’s people like us and people nothing like us. It’s for people easy to serve and people difficult to serve. God demonstrates impartial goodness and kindness (Acts 10:34-35; Mat. 5:45; Acts 14:17). That’s what He wants from us. 

Opportunities Are Special. We are to exercise opportunities “especially to those who are of the household of faith.” God wants us to focus on helping our brethren in a special, prioritizing way in the midst of our searching for opportunities. Don’t neglect opportunities with those in the world, but keep your sharper eye on helping your spiritual family. 

In the light of all that God is affording us the opportunity to do in the near future, let’s consider what Paul says in this text. Apply it to your situation, wherever you are and whatever is going on. God doesn’t expect you to do it all or more than your fair share, but He makes clear that He has expectations of you in this realm of opportunities. Who knows what good thing He will do through you, if you are ready to meet the opportunity head on. 

Getting Along

Getting Along

Thursday’s Column: Captain’s Blog

How do you get along with people you don’t have anything in common with? 

I read an article on this very topic. It was a parenting article that was geared towards helping parents build a relationship with their kids. Honestly it was useless. Bottom line was “just love and accept them and show them you are willing and open to change.” This article teaches what most of the world is pushing for– “love and acceptance.” 

If you don’t morally agree with someone, do you just accept what they do? If you have nothing in common with them, do you just pick up some of their hobbies? These questions are important for the Christian to answer because our lives should be based on building relationships: Relationships in the world (so that we can hopefully save souls) and relationships in the church (so that we can have unity and growth). 

It’s no secret that the world is different from those in the church. They act differently, they think differently, and they speak differently. The world at its core is driven by sin and selfishness. The Christian is driven by a fear and love for God and His word. Our motivation is different, and our view of sin is different. No one in the church or even in the world, if they are honest, will argue that we are the same. With that in mind, we need to ask a very important question. How should a Christian Interact with the world? There are two extremes that we should avoid: Acting like everything is fine and treating everyone as a friend. And acting as if we are holier than the world and wanting nothing to do with them. 

The Christian life is balanced. We need to find the perfect balance between loving the world, but also having a clear set of morals that keeps us from joining them in sin. At its core, all of mankind has a sin problem, and God loves every person and wants us to be saved. So how should we interact with the world? God in His wisdom knew that we would struggle with this problem, so through His inspired Word, He tells us how we are to act. In Romans 12, Paul begins a section dedicated to the Christian and their relationships. In Romans 12:17-13:14, Paul talks about our relationship with the world.  

When it comes to our relationships and interactions in the world, Paul gives us five tips to help us in this task:

Don’t Treat Them the Way They Treat You (v. 17) 

“Repay no one evil for evil,”

Be Respectful (v. 17) 

“but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.”

Seek Peace When Possible (v. 18) 

“If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all”

Don’t Take Revenge (v. 19) 

“Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’”

Overcome Evil With Good (20-21)

“To the contrary, if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

The danger we face as Christians is that we can let the world rub off on us. In trying to get along with the world, we may become like the world. But keep in mind, God doesn’t accept the world as they are; there must be repentance and change. In our interactions we need to remember Who we are trying to please. And be cautious so as to not become like those we are trying to save. 

Unity Through Subtraction

Unity Through Subtraction

Monday’s Column: Neal At The Cross

Neal Pollard

As Paul works his way through some of the challenges and issues the Corinth congregation was dealing with, he turns his attention to an awful situation. As he says, “It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles, that someone has his father’s wife” (1 Cor. 5:1). This was being openly practiced at the congregation, and Paul compares how they were reacting to how they should react. Even if the congregation unanimously embraced this situation, the end result would not be unity in truth. As Moses said in his day, “You shall not follow a multitude in doing evil” (Ex. 23:2).

Paul rallies them to unite in doing what pleased God. This began with amending their hearts, mourning rather than being arrogant (2). It should be followed by removing this man from their midst (2). Based on the report (presumably from Chloe’s household), Paul already knew what needed to be done (3). While the term “church discipline” is not used in the text, that is the action. Paul uses such words and phrases as “deliver to Satan” (5),  “clean out” (purge, 7), “do not associate” (9,12),  and “remove” (13). Why was such a drastic action necessary?


By withdrawing fellowship from him, the goal was to induce his sorrow and cause his repentance. This relationship was unrighteous, and it would cost him his soul if he did not end it. How uncaring is it to validate an unscriptural relationship, knowing what Scripture says about it? Paul is about to write that fornicators and adulterers will not inherit the kingdom of God (6:9). 


Paul calls this the leaven of “malice and wickedness” (8). Allowing sin unchecked and unaddressed to continue in a congregation does not make the sin all right. It allows the influence of sin to spread throughout the congregation. Remembering that the church is the body of Christ (see chapter 12), how can the body act in rebellion to its head and still please God? For the purity of Christ’s body, this action must be taken.


Paul expands this beyond just the situation of the man with his father’s wife. He says not to associate with the immoral, covetous, idolatrous, reviling, drunkard, or swindling brother in Christ (11). Even eating a fellowship meal with them sent them the message that they were okay living in rebellion against God. Remember, this is not about vengeance or angry resentment. This was about honoring God’s will in a matter that God’s word clearly addresses. 


This was not a matter for human courts, which in most civilizations do not legislate morality. This is an “internal matter,” a child of God “judged” by the people of God according to the will of God. God established the pattern. 

When I preached in Virginia and Colorado, the elders in both churches practiced church discipline. It was done in such a loving way, with the elders first going to the individuals in various sinful situations and pleading for them to repent. When they refused, the elders brought the matter before the congregation urging any and all with any influence and relationship to plead with them. When that did not work, they announced that it was necessary to withdraw fellowship from them. There was no angry or hateful rhetoric, no gleeful attitude that such an action would be taken. To the contrary, it was as sad and solemn a moment as I’ve experienced in the family of God. I am happy to say that I have witnessed on several occasions the ultimate repentance and return of some of these wayward Christians. That was the goal in every situation. It would seem to me that one of the most neglected, disobeyed commands among God’s people is the practice of church discipline. It is unpleasant, frightening, and unpopular, but it is what God commands. God knows what is best and what is the best way to handle every situation among us. We should always trust Him and submit to His pattern for handling every difficulty and dilemma among us. The end result is biblical unity. 

Bowl full of dough
Bring Your Thinking Cap

Bring Your Thinking Cap

Wednesday’s Column: Third’s Word

Gary Pollard

Today’s article may be a little chaotic. It’s about something not well-defined or understood, and its solution is unknown to me. This article will hopefully serve as a target; it’d be good to have lots of Christian minds brainstorming solutions to this issue.

Just about everyone’s had THE virus. I’ve had it once for sure, maybe twice. It don’t mess around. I started developing symptoms after recovery that, apparently, quite a few people have developed. It’s commonly called Long Covid or PASC. Symptoms include fatigue, cognitive difficulties, decreased mobility, respiratory and cardiological issues, pain, malaise, and many others ( You probably either know someone dealing with this now, or are dealing with it yourself.

Research is not super easy to get ahold of, and what I could find was either low-quality or not peer reviewed. Its existence isn’t really contested, but little is known about its prevalence. Best I could find was that about 43% of those who recover will experience Long Covid. Many haven’t recovered after almost two years!

My concern with this is its potential effect on faith. Things like driving at night, interacting with lots of people, spending time together outside of worship, church events, service projects, teaching/preaching/song leading, evangelism, etc. are part of our Christian life. While some of these can be difficult on a good day, they’re now practically impossible (or significantly more difficult) for people with Long Covid.

The church has always had members with chronic, debilitating diseases. Normally, our shut-ins are a very small percentage of overall membership. With Long Covid often compared to the effects of chemotherapy, this number is likely to grow significantly. If roughly half of our recovered members end up with these long-term effects, how do we address this?

Since it affects both young adults and senior citizens, how do we navigate its impact? What can members who now have Long Covid do to stay active in their churches? While living with a chronic health condition is no cake walk, those of us who do are at least mentally equipped to accept it. Members who enjoyed good health before Long Covid are struggling to adapt to this change.

At some point in the near-ish future, I hope to write an article with potential solutions. It will be geared toward those who’re experiencing major health issues for the first time. In the meantime, it wouldn’t hurt to do a lot of praying, planning, brainstorming, and creative problem solving. Nothing’s too big for God, and we’ll find a solution with his help.

Finding Refreshment

Finding Refreshment

Friday’s Column: Supplemental Strength


Brent Pollard

Lying in a bed for three and a half months will make you feel icky. You can only bathe with washcloths. Some nurses loaded those cloths with water and got me wetter than an Anglican baptism. Those “baths” made me feel better. However, before being discharged, I finally took a shower. That was the best. I felt refreshed. The only downside was seeing my hair come out in clumps as I washed my hair. It seems I am fated to look like the Stooge, Larry Fine.   

Where do you find your refreshment? Is it in a cool drink on a sultry day? Is it standing by a fireplace in winter? Such actions reinvigorate us. This result is what refreshment accomplishes. The sinner can find refreshment in obedience. In his second recorded sermon, Peter says: 

“Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3.19 NASB1995).

This refreshing comes from being immersed in Christ (cf. Acts 22.16). I would encourage any who have not yet clothed themselves in Christ to allow their faith to lead to this total submission, in which one joins the Lord in His death, burial, and resurrection (Romans 6.3-5). No, it is not a work, nor is the power in the water. It is where we symbolically contact the blood of Christ and express a clear conscience before God (1 Peter 3.21). It is a necessity for salvation. 

Yet, there remains refreshment for the Christian as well. Paul speaks of his desire to meet with the brethren of Rome in Romans 15. He tells them to join him in prayer so his arrival will refresh him (Romans 15.32). That is an interesting word choice. In fact, this is the only time this word, συναναπαύομαι, appears in Scripture. The word means to rest along with, but here implies a spiritual refreshing.  

I like that idea of “resting with”, though, especially as it applies to Christian fellowship. We spend our weeks in the world and get beaten up by the forces of the adversary. How refreshing is it when we pause and rest with our brethren in worship and Bible study? I know I have gone to services feeling poorly, physically, only to find myself reinvigorated on my way back home. It has the same effect mentally and, most importantly, spiritually. Unfortunately, my recovery prevents me from joining the brethren currently. Still, you better believe that I eagerly await the day I can rejoin them even more than when I wished for a shower.  

It is sad when brethren find excuses to avoid refreshment since it is one of the blessings we receive in the heavenly places (Ephesians 1.3). Earthly diversions cannot reinvigorate the spirit as can God. Oh, it might bring temporary happiness, but the participant of earthly delights is left feeling empty, needing entertainment and diversion yet again. Services are not a chore when one comes seeking to worship God and rest beside their brethren.  

“And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10.24-25 NASB1995) 

Don’t you want to find your refreshment?