“Again I assure you that if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, then my Father who is in heaven will do it for you. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I’m there with them.” Matthew 18:19-20 CEB
It seemed like a normal Tuesday filled with meetings and planning. The morning was going along as planned and anticipated. There was an appointment that was coming at noon that I really was looking forward to. As the time approached I got in the car and headed across town to the meeting place we had agreed upon. As I got closer I truly found myself looking forward to being there. I was looking forward to the people I would be with, the conversation we would have, and the time we would spend together. As I arrived and headed into the restaurant I reflected on why I was looking forward to this time. It was a time to meet with my brothers in Christ. Men who I have journeyed with, many for a very long time. The meeting was with my clergy covenant group and I looked forward to meeting with my fellow pastors who have been supporting me and I them.
I was struck by the importance of this particular day and why I was looking forward to it so much. Then the verse for this week rang through my mind, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, I’m there with them.” I was excited about being with my covenant brothers because of this promise. We would have a sense of comradery, fellowship, worship, and God’s presence (even at the Top Golf restaurant). Nobody can relate to what it means to be a pastor like another pastor. I was looking forward to being in the very presence of God with these men as we discussed what God was doing in our life and ministry. I love being with these men and I love the promise of “I’m there!”
I believe it is the same whenever two or three or more disciples of Jesus Christ gather in Christ’s name. God is there. What a powerful picture that is! Believers gathering together in Jesus’ name and the Savior is right there with them. This, in fact, is the power of Life Groups. We gather together in Jesus’ name for many different reasons; bible study, prayer, fun, running, kayaking, quilting, and so many other reasons. No matter the reason, when we gather in Jesus’ name the promise is “I’m there!” Just the act of gathering in his name is an act of worship. We are stating in whose name we are gathering and everything about that gathering is for God’s glory. There is power in that.
This passage gained new meaning for me in 2014 in Zambia. Two of the pastors from the US and all of the pastors from Zambia closed every prayer with the phrase, “In the name of Jesus.” I asked why they said this and why every time. Their answer was, in part, this passage of Scripture. There are many times in The Gospels where Jesus says if you do something in his name it will be accomplished. The truth is there is power in the name of Jesus. Philippians 2 says that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. There is true power in the name of Jesus when three or more are gathered in Jesus’ name.
The challenge for all of us is to do everything we do in the name of Jesus. This is especially true of Life Groups gathering in the name of Jesus. When we gather together as a Life Group we worship because the presence of Christ himself is there with us. We all need to live into this reality in our life. The power of followers of Jesus Christ centering their lives on loving God and loving neighbor in groups of two or more gathering in the name of Jesus.
This Sunday we will conclude the message series Life Groups. I will be discussing more about why we all need a Life Group and how important it is to gather together in the name of Jesus. I look forward to sharing this with you Sunday. It’s an exciting time to be a part of St. Andrew’s. The best is yet to come. I can’t wait to see you in church!