We Are Here for 3 Things: Theology, Community, Honesty

Those words are spoken each Tuesday night at Immanuel Church in Nashville, TN. They are our rallying cry. Every Tuesday, from 7PM -9PM, somewhere between 40 and 50 men gather together in a run-down building, sitting on broken down pews and fold out chairs for 2 hours. In three years I’ve missed only a handful of these meetings. There are 3 reasons why. 1)      Theology. Something happens in my mind between Sunday morning and Tuesday afternoon. It takes about one full day for my mind to go completely from grand thoughts of God to small beliefs. This really isn’t a Sunday to Monday thing only – it’s daily. I don’t wake up each morning and immediately think, “God love me.” That’s why I read the Bible, and that’s why I need deep theology from gospel-loving men poured into me weekly. I have it pounded into me. I so easily am caught endlessly in my own circumstances and miss out on the glory that is in Christ Jesus. So, every Tuesday night I come into the church building to sit with all those men who encourage me, challenge me, and press me towards Christ. What we discuss is not easy. What we talk about isn’t light. There are times I leave with my mind reeling from the topic. But I’ve never once left thinking I could have spent my time better elsewhere.

When all else fails, and it will, God alone will remain. That’s why we put our hope in an unshakeable kingdom. It won’t ever crumble. Ever. But, to see that, I need to think of the deep things of God. I need to be pushed theologically. If my mind isn’t steadily filled with the glory of Christ, I’ll easily fall into the quicksand of the world. Theology matters. So we talk about it.

2)      Community. This group of men is unique. Not because we’re special. It’s because our Savior is special. The Triune God – Father, Son, and Spirit – show us what community is like. When we enter that building, we are entering into a fellowship of men that exists because there is fellowship in God. Community is where life change happens to us. Some men go in weak in their faith. Some go in strong. The faith of the strong is imparted to those who are faltering. Why? Because to see a man faithfully proclaiming who God is does something to our hearts. It stirs us up. It encourages us. When another man sits across from you and tells you what the Bible says about God, the Spirit inflates affections for Christ in the hearts of those around. We build one another up.

Here’s another way we build one another up. Near the end of each meeting we have what we call “Honor Time.” It is derived from Romans 12:10 – outdo one another in showing honor. One at a time, as we’re ready, each man speaks directly to another man in the room about how he has helped him, how he has pointed him to Christ, how he has been blessed by his life, how he has been used by God. Not everyone is honored every week and not every man speaks every week. But together, as one, we listen intently to who is honored. Words are chosen carefully. We rejoice in the work of God in and among these men. We honor one another. It is the only competition we allow. To outdo one another in showing honor points us to the lavishness of honor that we receive in adoption as sons of God. The Lord honors us, so we should honor one another. It is life-giving.

3)      Honesty. 1 John 1:7 says, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his son cleanses us from all sin.” We call this time “Walking in the Light.” It is a built in opportunity for guys to share the real state of their heart. Nothing is off limits. Anything can be admitted. There is safety. No guy takes this out of the room. We hold one another accountable. We pray for one another. We give guys time and space to be changed by the Lord, but we do it together. We provide, intentionally, a place of honesty before God and each other. Without this, we are merely pretending that we understand the theology we have discussed. To walk in the light proves that our theology is working. We are broken men in need of a perfect savior. Admitting our weakness doesn’t drive a wedge between us and our savior; it removes the wedge and brings us into fellowship with him. Our pride blocks the light of Jesus, our humility opens the door of our hearts and lets the light of his grace pour into us. No guy is shamed. No guy is berated. We are all in this together. So, we admit our sins and turn to Jesus to be healed. Some of the best times of the night are found in these few minutes. Lives are changed by the Savior of the world.

So, if you’re ever in Nashville on a Tuesday night and you’re looking for something to do, come on by. We’ll be there. Theology, community, and honesty.