Due to the inclement weather today, March 2, church services have been cancelled.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35, ESV)
Several months ago, Todd pointed out a song to me that has been percolating in my head ever since. Derek Webb sings about what it means to follow Christ with the brothers and sisters with whom God has called us to walk. The chorus is printed below.
I haven’t come for only you
But for My people to pursue
You cannot care for Me with no regard for her
If you love Me you will love the church
I pray that as these truths are repeated again and again, they would one day become part of who we are. That through covenanting together and reminding each other of the promises that we have made, we will see that there can be no disconnect between loving Jesus and loving his bride. If we love Him, we will love the church.
I’m looking forward to worshiping together, to renewing our promises to each other, and to eating turkey together.
I love Taco Tuesday. As busy as the week gets at our house, we try diligently to have a family meal together every Tuesday. I ask each of our kids and Laura what their favorite and least favorite part of the day was. We communicate with each other and hear how the week is going. That time is precious to check the heartbeat of our family and to build better community among six people with increasingly crazy schedules. Family dinners are very important.
Eating together build unity in the body of Christ as well. Throughout the New Testament a high priority is placed on believers building community by eating together. As a matter of fact when Jesus desired to build a reminder of his work into the life of the church, He chose a together meal as the best way to demonstrate the work he has done in our lives. Family dinners are very important.
If I had my druthers we would eat together like this every week. We come from struggles, victories, trials, and triumphs, but we don’t always know where each other are coming from. What better time to find out then at a together meal? Come share in this meal with us. The meal of the bread and cup, that is expanded upon by turkey and dressing, with potatoes. Let us give thanks together, and give thanks that God has brought us together. Sunday Family Dinner, All invited.
HAVE YOU, ARE YOU, WILL YOU?
Is it possible for a heart to be heavy and hopeful at the same time. It must be so, for mine is… Heavy in that it seems that again and again we are beset by the same sins, hindered by the same selfishness, and hurt by the same hurts. Hopeful in the gospel’s power to change us, to “transform” us as Paul shared.. more into the image of Christ and away from the besetting sins that harm our gospel witness and hobble our effectiveness. I came across this challenge and wanted to share it with you.
HAVE YOU, ARE YOU, WILL YOU?
10 Love Challenges that translate the sometimes nebulous idea of love into very practical, do-able actions. In some ways each action might not seem very much; each challenge has only one fairly quick and easy action per month. However, when multiplied by 100 or 200 Christians, the cumulative effect on your whole congregation could be huge.
Love Challenge 1: Pray for one family
What better way to love someone than to pray for them? As well as praying generally for your church, pray for specific and special needs in your church family, and for one other family in particular. Use the church directory or membership list to select one family to pray for regularly in the next 30 days.
Love Challenge 2: Speak to one person
We all have our favorite people and our favorite places to sit and stand in church. Why not sit somewhere different, exit through a different door, or stand in a different place and risk meeting a different person! Just once a month, do something different that will make you speak to someone you don’t usually speak to.
Love Challenge 3: Encourage one person
You appreciate many people in your church family, but have you ever told them that? Have you ever highlighted one of their gifts or graces and told them how thankful to God you are for them? Again, not asking for a lot here, but just once a month, go out of your way to find one person and encourage them.
Love Challenge 4: Carry one burden
Speak to someone who is suffering in your church and ask them how they are. It may be someone who is ill, someone struggling with a wayward child, someone who’s struggling financially. As you listen to their story, express concern, and feel sympathy, a strange thing happens – the sufferer’s pain reduces slightly as you take some of it into your own mind, heart, and soul. Although you walk away heavier, they walk away lighter.
Love Challenge 5: Visit one person
Perhaps start with the seniors, the sick, and those with special needs, but select one person in your church to visit once in the next 30 days. If you can’t do it in person, you can “visit” by phone.
Love Challenge 6: Give one gift
Share your abundance with those who lack. There are people and families in your church who cannot afford to buy a book, go out for a meal, go on vacation, or even buy all the groceries. $10 gets them a book, $20 gets a couple a meal at Applebees, $50 gets them a day camping, $100 would make a huge difference to their family grocery budget. Give as the Lord as prospered you.
Love Challenge 7: Forgive one person
Is there someone you’ve fallen out with? A strained relationship? Whether you are the offender, they are, or you both are, make one attempt to reconcile with them. If you can’t make progress in reconciliation, at least speak to them, express interest in them, and show affection towards them.
Love Challenge 8: Welcome one person
Different people visit your church every month – vacationers, friends and family of church members, strangers, seekers, church-hoppers, etc. Don’t leave it to others to welcome them. Take the initiative, go out of your way to show that you’re glad they came, exchange contact details, etc.
Love Challenge 9: Share one meal
Once a month invite someone, a single, a couple, or a family to share a meal with you in your home. Don’t make it fancy or complicated (or you won’t do it again) but simple, informal, and do-able. The focus should be the fellowship not the food.
Love Challenge 10: Relegate one preference There are some things in church life and the Christian life that are a matter of biblical principle. These things we cannot let go of, we cannot demote, we cannot dismiss. Other things are a matter of personal preference – clothing, hobbies, sports, education choices, etc. When we make our preference equivalent to principles we inevitably erect barriers between us and others, we put others down and puff ourselves up. Search your life for one preference that you’ve turned into a principle, relegate it, let it go, and watch your relationships improve.- From an Article by David Murray
Longing for us to walk in Love as we are called,
What does it mean to be a member of a local church? According to 9Marks’ Jonathon Lehman:
“Church membership is a formal relationship between a local church and a Christian characterized by the church’s affirmation and oversight of a Christian’s discipleship and the Christian’s submission to living out his or her discipleship in the care of the church.”
The New Testament seems to tell the body corporately that they have a role in affirming the reality of a converts faith by offering baptism, membership, and communion. This role only begins when one comes into the body. The body commits in covenant with one another and with God to a continuing accountability that serves as a help to the disciple in growing toward Christ, and turning away from things that are not Christ.
We in Christ are responsible to each other and we are responsible for each other. We will not leave each other to fend for ourselves and wander hoping that growing in Christ will happen by osmosis. We will rather, intentionally and lovingly take membership seriously and grow a body that is markedly different than the world in the way we relate to each other. When He called us to himself He called us to each other.
“And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.” (1 John 4:21, ESV)
Have you? Are you? Will you?