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Do you remember the show “Cheers”?  Funny!  One of my favorite parts was when each “regular” entered the bar and everyone shouted out their name.  “Norm!”   The words of the theme song said it well,

Making your way in the world today
takes everything you’ve got.
Taking a break from all your worries
sure would help a lot.
Wouldn’t you like to get away?
Sometimes you want to go
Where everybody knows your name,
and they’re always glad you came.
You wanna be where you can see,
our troubles are all the same.
You wanna be where everybody knows Your name.

Now that my family and I are without our church family, we’ve realized how important it is to be part of a church – a place where you feel you belong, where you matter, where you can serve and help, where friends know you, and where you can share life’s ups and downs while following Jesus with others.  We realize, too, that we don’t have many friends outside of our church family to hang out with now.  We need to work on that!

Just like Cheers, I think the Church should embrace whoever comes through the door, no matter where they’ve come from or what they’re like.  Just like Cheers, I think the Church should be open with each other, making it easy for each one to express heartaches or hang-ups, relating to each other, listening to each other, being there for each other.  It should be a place where everyone expresses to everyone else, “No one is perfect.  We’ve all got problems.  We’re just doing life together here.”  I think it should be fun, too.  Celebrating life and the free forgiveness we have from Christ should definitely make get-togethers upbeat to say the least!

It goes back to one of my life mottos, which I learned long ago at a seminar by David Ferguson:  my purpose and yours is to help others be less alone.  God doesn’t want anyone to go through life alone, and not just alone in the physical sense, in an emotional/spiritual sense.  Life’s a team sport, a group effort, a shared journey.  At least it’s supposed to be.

I work in an office that supports churches across the state of Indiana.  Sometimes we hear of conflicts arising in a church – either between church people or the people and the pastor.  It is disheartening to watch sometimes…many times.  One time we received a letter from a woman on the board at a church in conflict.  She said the way the others on the board were acting, fighting, and accusing had caused her to question her faith in Jesus and made her want to go back to hang out at the bar where she had friends and felt welcome.  That broke my heart!

We all have to get over ourselves.  We have to say to ourselves each morning as we look in the mirror:  “It is not about me today.”  We have to remember why we are the Church: to draw in anyone who will come and love them in Jesus’ name.  To say to them, “You matter.”  To walk with them as they step closer to Christ.  To hopefully put their hand in His as they accept Him as Lord and gain new life!   It is not about me.  It’s not about you.  It is about Jesus, love, forgiveness, grace, and yes, friendship, camaraderie, acceptance, and (most of the time) fun.

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