“For I have come to have much joy and comfort in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, brother,” (Philemon 7; NASB).
I came to affirm the absolute sovereignty of God over all things and Doctrines of Grace while on deployment with the U.S. Army in Kuwait over a decade ago. It was also while on this deployment that I found the next church that my wife and I would attend. I had known about expository preaching and wanted to join a church where it was regularly practiced, but I had told myself that it had to be a rare thing. On the contrary, there are dozens of churches in most major cities, and at least one or two in more rural areas, where the word of God is faithfully preached. There are simply few who are willing to attend such churches, so they are usually small and off the radar of most Christians. The church we found was literally a mile from our house.
When I returned from Kuwait, we began to attend. The church was fairly unorthodox when compared to what we had just left (we had been members of a large, Southern Baptist mega-church that was culturally traditional). This new church met in another church’s building and so had to meet in the afternoon on Sundays, and their midweek service was on a Friday, not a Wednesday. Both of these service times conflicted with the Texan inclination to center life around football (high school football on Friday nights and the NFL on Sunday afternoons).
As unorthodox as these service times were, we attended and soon found Christ to be so much more glorious than any sports we might have been missing. In fact, if I missed even a Friday at that church, I found that I was starving for the fellowship and discipleship I would have received by the time Sunday came around. The reason? That midweek service had become a source of great refreshment to me. I could not wait to be around the saints because, like Philemon, they had become a refreshment to my soul. As you gather with the saints for your church’s midweek service this week, consider anew how you might be used of God to refresh them and thus provoke them to love and good deeds (Heb. 10:24).