The gift of being a Berean.
The gift of being a Brother.
How important was it for God's family in the Old Testament to plan, organize and implement all of the Feasts God instructed them to do? What were the purposes of the Feasts? Each had a specific purpose along with the purpose of worshiping God and relating with each other as the family of God. How important would it have been to be a host to welcome people, seat people, assist people to connect with God and with each other, to foster relational joy and celebration?
This week we celebrated the life of our longtime friend, a founding member of Southtown and true servant of Jesus Christ.
Bob Sell was one of our amazing hosts who every Sunday and at each of our free neighborhood BBQs and Desserts would purposefully make sure each and every person felt included and cared for. He would make his rounds to meet each Southtowner, checking to see how they were doing, saying a prayer with whomever needed one, always giving an encouraging word. Bob always identified every visitor, introduced himself, made them feel special and then introduced those visitors to other Southtowner's. These are just a few examples of how Bob was an amazing host.
"Now the Bereans were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true." Acts 17:11
In our culture and in every culture, how important is it to check every culture value with Scripture? How important is it to make sure we are seeking God's values and not letting culture's values be ingrained in us? Bob Sell was a true Berean. I saw his love for Jesus come alive as he brought every cultural, religious and civil value back to Scripture to see if it would honor Jesus or was in conflict with Jesus. This was a gift Bob provided that most people did not appreciate because it went against all natural human tendencies that desire to go along with culture. I loved Bob for his gift of being a Berean.
"There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." Pr 18:24
Co-workers, civil servants, potential romantic options and family members are all needed. Friendship can easily be seen as a possible addition to our lives, but not necessary. How natural is it to have relationships that we absolutely need and not have time for friends? Bob Sell was an older brother to Glenn by fifteen years. Bob was not just a brother to Glenn, he was a brother to so many throughout his lifetime. Take a moment and think how Bob was a friend closer than a brother to you.... I am grateful to have had Bob as a brother to me.
It was an honor to worship Jesus and celebrate Bob's life this past week together. It was and is important for us to get together to grieve as people who have hope. We have hope because as Jesus has been raised from the dead, Bob has been raised from the dead. We have hope because just as Jesus said to the one thief on the cross, "Today, you will be with me in paradise," Jesus also said to Bob on December 6, 2016, "Today, you will be with me in paradise."
As Rev 21 reminds us, Heaven is a place of no mores; no more death, no more mourning, no more crying, no more pain, no more temptation, no more suffering, no more sickness, no more blood transfusions, no more cancer, no more dementia, no more....
According to Jesus, Heaven is a place of total satisfaction, laughter, relationships, feasting and adventure.
Most importantly, Heaven is a place to be in God's presence.
Hopefully, all of us have a greater desire to be where Bob Sell currently is; with Jesus face to face.
Grieving and celebrating with the hope of Jesus,