Yesterday, my son Josh and I had the privilege of having lunch with two men in our church, Dave Hackett and Mark Graham. Mark is a deer hunter and so the main course was “Deer Dogs”. They were fabulous. We talked and laughed and had a great time.
This was not the first time I had been in Mark’s home. Throughout the past several years, his wife Vickie was suffering from cancer. My wife and I had visited them numerous times. I was able to watch my friend care for his wife, lovingly serve her and give his all for her comfort. It was not hard to perceive that they had a solid, loving marriage. All the investment they had made in their relationship as husband and wife was paying off. And together, they navigated these difficult water. Several months ago, Vickie went to be with Jesus.
Once Vickie passed into heaven, Mark was left without his covenant partner. I can only imagine how painful this has been. But as we shared lunch together, eating those great Deer Dogs, Mark began to tell us how much it has meant to him to attend our Grief Share ministry. He told us that he had made new friendships with people who have gone through similar loss. Mark told us that it helped to know that he wasn’t alone and that there were people praying for him and him praying for them. What Mark has experienced is the power of connectedness.
When I was a little boy, one of my favorite things to do in the cold winter months was play with my Lincoln Logs. I would build houses, forts and whatever else I could dream up. Now, kids play with Leggos. These little plastic pieces are incredible. You can design almost anything if you know how to connect them together.
Being connected is incredibly powerful. If you visit our Celebrate Recovery ministry, you will see a large, extended family serving each other, love each other and being transparent and open with each other. Hurts, hang-ups, and habits are taking the back seat to loving, enabling relationships.
The founding pastor of the first Vineyard Church, John Wimber, once said, “People come to church for many reasons but they stay for only one…relationships.”
There are some things I can do for you as your pastor but there is one thing I cannot do for you. I cannot get you connected. Only you can find places where, like Leggo pieces, you snap into place. This Christian life was never designed to be lived alone. We need others around us to encourage us and to stimulate our walk with the Lord Jesus. It is not important or even possible to know everyone in our church. But it is vital to know and be known by a few folks who are on the same path, seeking to be loved and to love our King and gifted to encourage and strengthen you in your walk.
You can do yourself an enormous service and be a great blessing to others. Get connected!