Summary: This introduction to the WHY series encourages us to connect better with God and with others in His Church.

Introduction to Why Series

The Value of “Togethering”

John 13:34 Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Scripture Reading: Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

INTRODUCTION: Next Sunday we will begin a new series of lessons called “Why?” The series address some of the most important questions people tend to ask themselves (or the church) these days. We’ll talk about questions like these:

· Why am I Here?

· Why should I believe in God?

· Why should I trust the Bible?

· Why is the world so messed up?

· Why the conflict…Science and the Bible?

· Why Jesus?

I had a college course that dealt with those kinds of questions. The course was called “Apologetics 101.” I know that sounds like a course on how to apologize --- but it’s actually a study of how to defend the Christian faith. This fall we’re going to learn better ways to give answers to anyone who asks these important questions…and maybe get some answers for yourself along the way.

But actually, I hope that the next 7 weeks will be more for you than just a time to learn answers to questions. My hope for you is that the next few weeks will help you to connect better with God and with others here at CHCC.

Our goal as a church is to develop passion for Christ and compassion for others. That goal can only be reached if we are growing in our relationship with Jesus Christ AND with each other. That’s why I titled this sermon “The Value of Togethering.” (I’ve noticed a trend lately … to make up new verbs --- Like saying, “let’s coffee together soon” or “we’re going to dialogue about it” --- so I’m joining the trend. We’re going to do some togethering around here.) Here are some things I’d like to ask you to consider doing so that we can reach our “togethering” goal:

(1) Be here for the next 7 Sundays. Don’t underestimate the difference you make just by being here. The fact that you are worshiping helps other people lift their praise to God along with you. During the sermon it helps to see people around you nodding (or nodding off in some cases.) The point is that just being here will have a big influence on other people.

(2) Pick up a Study Kit. These Kits can be purchased for $6 to $12. They are available in the Foyer.

· The Kits contain a booklet that we’ll be using in our Pueblo groups and a magazine for you to read and then pass along to a friend.

· It includes a theme verse to memorize each week

· And, if you wish, you can purchase a set of daily devotions

(3) Choose a Pueblo group to attend. Your bulletin insert gives a list of the groups that will be meeting for the next 7 weeks. Choose the day and place that will work for you. Call to let the leader know you plan to come.

Today I want to take some time to speak up for our Pueblo groups. I’ve learned that Small Groups make all the difference between just attending church and being renewed, changed, developed through the ministry of the local church. For one thing, a small group can help you Know and be Known.

1. Know and be Known John 13:34

In John 13:34 Jesus said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another …

There’s a basic pre-requisite to obeying this command. You can’t love someone if you don’t KNOW them! And you can’t KNOW someone until you spend TIME with them. Small groups are one of the best ways to form the kind of close, real connection that allows us to obey the command Jesus gave to Love one another.

There may have been times in your life that you felt sorry that you didn’t have any close friends. Let me ask you, what have you done to make friends? Are you too busy to get involved in a small group? Are you too self-sufficient?

Your Small Group might take the form of a Sunday School Class, a Youth Group, a Prayer Group, a Ministry Team, or a Pueblo Group --- but the point is that the smaller size of that group will enable you to actually get to KNOW each other.

You will get to know each other’s needs. You’ll know what to pray about. You’ll learn how to encourage each other. You’ll be able to share hopes and dreams as well as disappointments and pains. You’ll learn each other’s personal histories. You’ll get to know each other’s personalities and preferences and strengths and weaknesses.

And that leads to one of the reasons some people shy away from small groups. Many of us have hang ups about opening up to other people. We don’t want to share struggles because we don’t want others to know we don’t have it all together. Here’s a revelation for you: we already know you don’t have it all together. NONE of us have it all together. That’s why we need one another. And that’s why we need to be REAL with each other.

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