Thursday, September 17, 2009

Huddle Up

“But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness.”

Hebrews 3:13

We all know what a football huddle is. The players get in a circle and talk about you. (Not really ... though sometimes they might. Someone once said, "It's not paranoia if they really ARE out to get you." )

They huddle so everyone will be on the same page. Running the same play. Getting in the same defense. They check to see who needs help, who can give help, what's working, and what's not. Without honest communication, good players are just running around all over the place in what's probably our best example of a team game.

The Christian life best flourishes when in relationship with believers because we serve a relational Savior. In isolation, the fire goes out. There's strength in the herd, danger in denial, in excuses, in grazing alone. We need others to pick us up. We need to pick up others. We need friends who will show us our blind spots, who will ask that we show them theirs.

What used to be called a "Sunday School" is now often called "small groups" or "connection groups." Whatever the term, if we're not hooked up regularly with believers, we're running around, trying to do it all by ourselves. Satan loves that. If you're not in a Sunday school connection group, he can generally take the day off. You're done. Maybe not today or next week, but it's coming. (Now, if you're going to go to Sunday school and lie, or not voice your fears or confusion or flaws, you might just be turning UP the flames; I have experience here. Accountability groups or Connection Groups won't work if you're dishonest. Nothing works if you're dishonest.)

To the Romans, Paul wrote: "I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong; that is that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith." Romans 1:11

The writer of Ecclesiastes knows that two is better than one, so if one falls, the other can pick him up.

Christ asks us to "huddle up," honestly and regularly, and any excuse I have not to will be weak. To our small groups, we bring our faults, our doubts, our fears, our faith, our strength, and our weaknesses. We share those. We grow together. The first step is consistently showing up and being honest. As weak as I might be, my small group needs me. I know I need them.

I once lived in isolation. That's death. When I most don't feel like showing up, that's when I need to show up the most. Had Christ been only a great teacher, we might could learn all this stuff, and learn how to live this stuff, by reading books and listening to sermons. But since Christ is a relational Savior, I've got to be in relationship with others, talking about Christ, being taught and shown both how to receive and how to show his kind of love and mercy and grace, or I'm a fish in a barrel and an easy target. We all are.