“Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.Therefore encourage one another with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
The zealots of Paul’s day would have completely disagreed with this strategy of living a quiet life. They were all about making noise; fighting for religious rights; trying to legislate morality; making sure everyone knew exactly where they stood on every single issue. They thought they were helping God … not seeing, that most often God works quietly.
This week we’re looking at the opening of Chapter 4 (give it a read). After three chapters of encouragement and praise, in this new section, he now turns to directions for these baby (but faithful) disciples of Christ.
Throughout 1 Thessalonians, we see how the Thessalonian Church embodies holiness, love, and future hope as they remain firm in their faith and commitment to their King Jesus. Who can you encourage today? Who has blessed you recently that you can thank? Your words may seem small and insignificant but they have the power to fuel faith, replace fear with love, and provide hope for a new day.
“Night and day we pray earnestly for you, asking God to let us see you again to fill the gaps in your faith. May God our Father and our Lord Jesus bring us to you very soon. And may the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow and overflow, just as our love for you overflows. May he, as a result, make your hearts strong, blameless, and holy as you stand before God our Father when our Lord Jesus comes again with all his holy people. Amen.” – 1 Thessalonians 3:10-13
How do you wake up from the Matrix when you don’t know you’re in the Matrix? When we sleepwalk through life we’re enslaved without knowing we’re enslaved. “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” – Ephesians 6:12
These dark powers use lust, leisure, busyness, guilt, fear, anything they can, to keep us asleep and sedated. When we become followers of Christ we wake up to reality. Stay awake. Don’t be lured back to sleep!
A healthy church is about being committed to each other through the hard, ugly, vulnerable, and weird. It’s when you get bad news and the first people you think to reach out to are the people of your church. Or when you receive good news and you can’t wait to share it with those who have kept you in their prayers. It’s about dedicating time for the church because Christ and the church are one.
“And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church,which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” Ephesians 1:22-23
If you believe you’re a sinner and only Jesus can save you. If you’re committed to this small group of small, slow, deep, restful, organic, misfits at Refuge Church please fill out the form here.
What does it look like to be a SHALLOW church? What does it mean to be a DEEP church? For us Misfits, it means going deep into our study in God’s word, building meaningful relationships with each other, and serving deeply in our community. Let’s go deeper together!