Sermon Blog

an interactive blog from winona lake grace brethren church

Repeat Offenders: Nehemiah 12:27 – 13:31

February 15, 2019

Have you ever wondered how God feels about the history of humanity? He created us for very special purposes. The question is, How are things going?

The same question could be asked of the U.S. Criminal Justice system, comprised of law enforcement agencies, courts with prosecution and defense attorneys, and prison and probation agencies: How are things going?

Unfortunately, 2.3 million people in America are incarcerated at any one time. The good news is, 95% will be released back into the community at some point. But there’s bad news: statistics show that 75% will be rearrested, reconvicted, and returned to prison. So how are things going?

The book of Nehemiah is about the people of Israel who had been incarcerated for 70 years (= the Babylonian captivity) but eventually, thankfully, released back into the community. It was a great day for God’s Chosen People.

So how did things go? In some parts of Nehemiah’s book (e.g., chapter 10), things are looking up. But did you notice how quickly the sons and daughters of Abraham once again disobeyed the Lord’s commands? Here are a few examples recorded in chapter 13:

Eliashib the priest did an evil thing in providing Tobiah a room in the courts of the house of God. (13:7)

The people of Judah were treading winepresses on the Sabbath and bringing all kinds of goods into Jerusalem on the Sabbath. (13:15)

Men of Judah married women of the Canaanites, with the result that half of their children did not know how to speak the language of Judah. (13:23-24)

It led Nehemiah to ask, “Didn’t your ancestors do the same things, so that our God brought all this calamity on us and on this city? Now you are stirring up more wrath against Israel by desecrating the Sabbath! (13:18) In other words, do you want to be rearrested, reconvicted, and sent back to prison?!

With the problem of repeat-offenders—then and now—we have to wonder, What’s wrong with the system? Maybe the better question is, What’s wrong with the people? What’s wrong with us?

Studies conclude that imprisonment can only do so much to keep offenders from becoming repeat-offenders. It’s up to individuals to decide on their own to transform themselves into ex-offenders.

APPLICATION: As has often been said, If we don’t remember the past, we are condemned to repeat it. Or we might say, the work of coming to terms with the past and connecting it to the present can be messy but essential. So from reading Nehemiah, what are the lessons we need to learn? By God’s grace and the Spirit’s transforming power, can we commit ourselves toobeying and not disobeying the Lord’s commands?

~dbs

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THE BEST THAT WE HAVE TO OFFER Nehemiah 10:28 – 11:2

February 14, 2019

We need to give the best of what we have to offer. The Lord knows a half-hearted second best offering when He sees one and we know when we give it.

The Lord requires not that we give second best, but our very best. This was tangible for the Israelites. It showed in the offerings that they brought to the Lord whether the fruits of their labor or their finest lamb. I’m convicted I often don’t give the Lord the very best of what I have because I’m afraid to lose it. When we give to the Lord it should cost us something, we should feel it. But what better place for our deepest treasure than in the hands of the very one who created them?

Our offering can be shown not just in what we give but also in what we refrain form. Verses 30-31 tell us that the Israelites could not marry the other people of the land or work on Sabbath. I’ll be the first one to say that refraining can be harder for me at times than giving. I don’t always understand why I can’t have something that is seemingly good. But what I have learned is that it isn’t always about what’s good and what’s bad or what’s right and what’s wrong. Often it’s about what’s right and almost right.

Our walk with the Lord and in His Word is an active commitment. It means that day in and day out we make an active choice to commit ourselves the the Lord again in every decision that we make. This means we are committed to giving Him the best of what we have to offer Him and walking away from what we know we cannot have.

Giving the Lord the best of what we have to offer is not just about those in ministry or in leadership. Verse 28 and 39 are clear that this is for everyone. Do we really give the Lord the best of what we have or just enough so that we don’t feel bad or guilty?

-CCT

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The Three Rs   Nehemiah 8, 9

February 13, 2019

Although the pursuit of education has changed over the years, especially with the initiation of technology, the three R’s remain essential: reading, ’riting, and ’rithmetic. Today’s text tells the story of Israel’s return to Jerusalem after their exile in Babylon, where they had no exposure to God’s word. There’s an important lesson in these two chapters for today’s disciples in the “three Rs” illustrated there.

After the people were settled in the land (7:73), they gathered in the town square for a great learning experience, and here we have examples of teaching and learning that are axiomatic.

  • Reading. The teacher Ezra began reading aloud the “Book of the Law of Moses” (mentioned at least five times in these two chapters). This was the sacred text the Lord God had given to his people to guide them as his holy nation. Ezra read it aloud (v. 3) and the people “listened attentively” (v. 3). They were so respectful of God’s Word, that “the people all stood up” for its reading (v. 5), and on hearing it, they “bowed down and worshiped the Lord,” (v. 6).

Reading God’s Word is one of the most vital exercises for followers of Jesus who want to become disciples. These days, if someone cannot read, the Scriptures are available in multiple audio translations, The Apostle Paul instructed Timothy, “Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching (1 Timothy 4:13).

  • When you jump from the early part of chapter 8 to chapter 9, you’ll discover an essential aspect of prayer. After reading from the Book of the Law for “a quarter of the day,” they spent another quarter in “confession and in worshiping the Lord their God” (9:3). If we consider only their waking hours, that means they probably spent four hours each in praying and worshiping. True prayer must always include an acknowledgement of our sin and unworthiness (repentance) along with recognition of the worthiness of God who graciously forgives us.

What follows is a long recital of the history of God’s relationship with his people. This is not the only time in the Bible when prayers include a lengthy narration of God’s dealing with his people over time (cf. Stephen’s defense in Acts 7.) No doubt, instead of our constant pleas for God’s answers to our perceived needs, a more extended recitation of his blessings would increase our intimacy with him.

  • The people’s responses to the reading and teaching of God’s Word are examples worthy of our following.
  • They listened attentively.
  • They followed instruction not to mourn and grieve but to rejoice and celebrate.
  • They “gave attention to the words of the Law.”
  • They reinstituted the Feast of Booths, which had been neglected for many years.
  • They made a binding agreement (v. 38) to “to follow the Law of God given through Moses the servant of God and to obey carefully all the commands, regulations and decrees of the Lord our Lord” (10:29).

The reading of God’s Word, repentance of sin and recitation of God’s blessings, ought to lead to responses that characterize the life of fully committed follows of Jesus who repent, believe, and follow Jesus, seeking to be disciples who make disciples.

 

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Courageous, Compassionate Leadership  Nehemiah  5:1 – 7:4

February 12, 2019

One of the reasons God judged Judah with exile was because their leaders didn’t care about compassionate justice.  The wealthy didn’t use their means to help their less fortunate countrymen.  Instead, they used power, money, and authority to extort and fleece others.  Rather than act like shepherds who protect the sheep, the leaders became like wolves, feeding on the helpless sheep.  God hated that.

And now, after the exile, it was happening again.  The wealthier families were standing idly by while their poorer countrymen suffered, mortgaging their land and their very lives to survive.  Some Jews were even profiting from the misfortune of their own countrymen and relatives. Old habits die hard.

Nehemiah courageously confronted his countrymen with their cold, greedy injustice.  He demands that they stop taking advantage of their countrymen, that they return the fields and vineyards they have taken from their relatives, and that they give back the interest they extorted from their fellow Jews.  This kind of cruel greed, Nehemiah told them, would cause the nations to mock them and their God.

Nehemiah didn’t just talk about compassion and justice; he exemplified it.  He didn’t take advantage of the rights and privileges of his position to enrich himself.  As Governor of Judah, he had the right, the authority, and the power to levy taxes on the people in order to put food on his table.  But Nehemiah didn’t do that.  Instead, he paid for his expenses out of his own pocket.  More than that, he used his own money to redeem his fellow Jews out of slavery to Gentiles.

Nehemiah was not a king.  However, he led the people like God wanted a king to lead, with compassion and justice, defending the weak and the poor.  In this way, Nehemiah foreshadowed the nature of the coming Messianic King—Jesus.

Jesus repeatedly told his followers: “Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant” (Luke 22:26).  And then he laid down his life to redeem us, not from slavery to financial creditors but from slavery to sin, Satan, and death.

As the Body of Christ, we should also compassionately help the underprivileged to find justice.  Sometimes we will need to show the courage of Nehemiah to confront the self-absorbed greed in our culture…and in our own hearts.

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Devotion, Courage, and Commitment

February 11, 2019

If you like intrigue and history, you will find the stories of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther of interest. Each of the main characters had a deep trust in Jehovah God, and demonstrated their devotion by daring acts of faith and courage. Though they lived four or five centuries before Christ, three characteristics of their experience are well worth our emulating today—two millennia after Christ.

  • They each had contacts with their kings that enabled them to serve the people of Israel in most significant ways. Esther was chosen by the king to be his queen after a lengthy process of selection. (We might call it “vetting” today.) Even then, she did not have free access to the king. In Esther’s day, to enter into the king’s throne room without a summons would be at the risk of your life. She was willing to take the chance on behalf of her people, recognizing fully both the danger to herself personally and the potential harm to the Jewish population

It also took courage for Nehemiah to go to his king with a request on behalf of his people. Kings hired court jesters to keep them happy and provide a light-hearted atmosphere, so when Nehemiah appeared with a sad face, he feared the king would not be pleased with him. However, he courageously made his appearance and appeal for help.

Cyrus, king of Persia, had already allowed Jewish exiles to return to Jerusalem before Ezra made his trip there, but he did so with the king’s blessing. As the Scriptures teach us, God has the heart and minds of kings in his control. (In the Lord’s hand the king’s heart is a stream of water that he channels toward all who please him, Proverbs 21:1).

  • They fasted and prayed and encouraged their people to seek God’s blessing on their ventures by doing the same. When Mordecai, close relative of Esther, challenged her that she was there “for such a time as this” (4:14), she ordered him to recruit the people of God to fast and pray for three days (4:16).

When Nehemiah heard the reports of the desperate conditions in Jerusalem, he immediately went before God. He sat down, wept and “for some days mourned and fasted and prayed,” (Nehemiah1:4). No doubt, he continually “prayed to the God of heaven (2:4).

  • They experienced the “gracious hand of God” on them and their pursuits. Twice in Nehemiah and three times in Ezra, these leaders noted God’s blessings on their efforts. Surely, in response to their praying, this was the key to their success. While there is no such statement in Esther (God is not mentioned in the book at all), it is evident, nonetheless, that he clearly directed the affairs of the story for the preservation of his people.

A phrase out of the story of Esther has almost become a byword in the English language. “For such a time as this” (4:14) highlights the extreme importance of her efforts on behalf of the Jewish nation which was about to be annihilated because of the jealousy of an ambitious political figure close to the king. The same could be said of Ezra and Nehemiah. The timing of their exploits was clearly the hand of God directing in the history of his people

With these true stories from the history of God’s people in mind, perhaps we should ask some questions about our journey as his people.

  • Do I have the courage to follow God’s chosen path (i.e., be a devoted disciple) when it might put me in opposition to current worldviews and “political correctness”?
  • In the face of difficult tasks, am I willing to fast and pray until I know God’s plan for me “for such a time as this”?
  • Can I move forward in obedience with the assurance that the “gracious hand of God” is upon me?

Jesus: “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. . . .  And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”                                                                     jbd    2/11/19

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Onward Christian Soldiers? Acts 8:1-4; 13:44-52

February 8, 2019

The accounts in today’s readings call to mind the lyrics of the rarely-sung hymn anymore, “Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war.” But soldiers . . . and war?

 

We hear in the book of Acts about the early church moving beyond Jerusalem and beyond the Jews to take the gospel to surrounding regions and peoples. It’s exciting to see the evangelistic thrust and the Gentiles’ response, but disappointing that the Jews, who should have received Jesus as their Messiah, not only stood in opposition to the Christian movement but stirred up persecution against it.

 

But does this qualify as war?

 

The January/February issue of the Smithsonian features numerous articles on “America at War.” The present war on terror, our longest ever armed conflict that’s been going on for 17 years, involves the U.S. military in 80 different countries with many thousands of soldiers in harm’s way. Historically, in the 250 years since the early days of our country, there have only been a few years where our nation hasn’t been at war with someone somewhere, and, unfortunately, sometimes between ourselves.

 

Now the more war has become prominent in our country’s consciousness—especially with the Civil War and the World Wars of the 20th century—the more the culture of war has seeped into our Christian subculture. In some circles, the Christian movement is described in terms of war.

 

In the widely used hymnbook, Great Hymns of the Faith, there’s a whole section entitled “Christian Warfare,” which includes twelve hymns like “Sound the Battle Cry,” “The Fight Is On,” “Hold the Fort,” and on and on. “Onward, Christian soldiers” certainly has a “hut-two-three-four” cadence, as does the children’s song, “I may never march in the infantry, ride in the cavalry, shoot the artillery; but I’m in the Lord’s army.”

 

But is “Christian Warfare” an appropriate way to frame our mission? Are we really an army that seeks to overcome our foes, impose our will, if not take out those who stand in our way? Is militarism appropriate for Christians? Or should we seek to love people into the kingdom of God? Jesus said we should be “harmless as doves” (Matt 10:16). “Christian Warfare” now seems to be an oxymoron.

 

Someone may say, but Paul used a Roman soldier’s armor as a metaphor for how Christians should prepare themselves for battle. Yes, but note that Paul clarified his point saying, “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against . . . the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Eph 6:12). Also, Paul told Timothy “to endure hardness as a good soldier” (2 Tim 2:3). Yes, but there’s no militarism in that instruction.

 

In a reenactment of the infamous battle of Gettysburg, men who were dressed as confederate soldiers pretended to be part of Pickett’s charge, while union soldiers rushed to defend the battlements. But in this reenactment there were no guns fired, not even fake ones. The two sides ran toward each other and instead of hand-to-hand combat, it was shoulder-to-shoulder hugs. The message was reconciliation and respect.

 

APPLICATION: Onward, Christians! But to what? Probably the best question is, What did Jesus do? Among other things, he came to be the best shepherd sheep have ever had. He came to be the best friend sinners have ever known. He came to serve others, and he made the greatest sacrifice of all. In those ways (and more), yes, it is, Onward, Christians . . . as imitators of Christ!

 

~ dbs

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OBEDIENCE TO GOD

February 7, 2019

A few months back I had the opportunity to sit and talk with Beth Moore and of all the things she shared with me one thing in particular stood out. She said “Christine, your obedience to Christ must trump loyalty to fellow servants.” I wasn’t sure why this stood out to me at first but then I watched it play out in my life multiple times after. Our obedience to Christ trumps everything, the apostles understood that. They boldly stated “we must obey God rather than man.” Why? Because we don’t answer to man, but one day we will stand before the throne of God and answer to Him for every choice we ever made. We will never understand the full ramifications of our disobedience to God, nor may we see the full ramifications of our obedience.

​I love the response of the apostles in these verses. There are so many things they could have chosen to do and to say in this moment, but they shared the Gospel. We cannot expect those who are not walking with the Lord to understand when we follow His call in our lives. Fellow servant or not a believer, how will we respond when we are questioned? We may not have the opportunity to speak the Gospel clearly in every situation but we can allow our response to live out the Gospel.

​The goal of the Apostles wasn’t freedom from their earthly bondage but obedience to God’s call on their lives. The men they stood against had a great amount of power over them. We may not face men who have the power and willingness to kill us in this life, but we will face people who we feel have power enough over us. In those moments our obedience to Christ must trump our loyalty to fellow servants, it must trump everything. Trust the One Who holds more power than anyone who will ever oppose you. Yes, seek godly counsel, but do not hold it above the council of the Lord.

-CCT

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Discipleship and Authority Acts 4:18-35

February 6, 2019

First, it was to take The Ten Commandments out of public display; then, remove prayer from the classroom and exclude Bible clubs from the campus. Next, any references to biblical creation were removed from textbooks. Now, public crosses and nativity scenes are the target of anyone who may feel offended by them. There’s even an attempt to remove the phrase “So help me God” from the courtroom oath. Where will it end? Obviously, society is moving ever more quickly to a purely secular worldview.

Such movements can provide a significant dilemma for the Bible-believing, God-fearing disciple of Jesus. The name of Jesus (except profanely) and the lifestyle of those who claim to be his followers are like a red flag to a bull in the non-believing world. And certainly anyone who declares that “Jesus is the only way” will be labeled a narrow-minded bigot. How should we respond in such circumstances?

Is what’s happening today at all like the events in Acts 4? Are there lessons to be learned from the experience of the first-century Christians? Peter and John were brought before the religious leaders of the day and confronted with the order to cease and desist “to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.” It’s important to recognize that this was not a civil hearing; it was religious in nature. Peter and John were Jews, urging their fellow Jews to accept Jesus as the promised Messiah.Furthermore, they proclaimed that “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”

Many responded to the preaching of these two converted Jews; in fact they were so successful that about 5,000 men believed. Wow! No wonder the religious leaders were upset; they were losing people who had looked to them exclusively as their rightful teachers. Their order to these rabble-rousers was to stop speaking or teaching in the name of Jesus. Their answer simply was they must listen to the commands of Jesus rather than the religious leaders. After all, they could not do anything else than to testify to what they had seen with their own eyes: the healing of a lame man by the name of Jesus.

What can we learn from this encounter?

1) Be subject to those in authority: “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). It’s a basic principle, but we are to be in subjection to those in authority over us so long as their demands don’t contradict the law of God. Cf. Romans 13:1-5; 1 Peter 2:13-14.
2) Tell your own story:  Basically, witnessing is merely telling the story of your relationship with God.
3) God is in control: God’s miraculous working (the release of the witnesses) was an answer to prayer and a cause for praise, recognizing God’s sovereign power and authority over the affairs of men.

No matter the obstacles we may encounter from society and secular authority, Christians today must respectfully submit to legitimate authority and overcome opposition in a spirit of peaceful protest while maintaining an attitude of concern and love. “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15).

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Discipleship and Authority Acts 4:18-35

February 6, 2019

First, it was to take The Ten Commandments out of public display; then, remove prayer from the classroom and exclude Bible clubs from the campus. Next, any references to biblical creation were removed from textbooks. Now, public crosses and nativity scenes are the target of anyone who may feel offended by them. There’s even an attempt to remove the phrase “So help me God” from the courtroom oath. Where will it end? Obviously, society is moving ever more quickly to a purely secular worldview.

Such movements can provide a significant dilemma for the Bible-believing, God-fearing disciple of Jesus. The name of Jesus (except profanely) and the lifestyle of those who claim to be his followers are like a red flag to a bull in the non-believing world. And certainly anyone who declares that “Jesus is the only way” will be labeled a narrow-minded bigot. How should we respond in such circumstances?

Is what’s happening today at all like the events in Acts 4? Are there lessons to be learned from the experience of the first-century Christians? Peter and John were brought before the religious leaders of the day and confronted with the order to cease and desist “to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.” It’s important to recognize that this was not a civil hearing; it was religious in nature. Peter and John were Jews, urging their fellow Jews to accept Jesus as the promised Messiah. Furthermore, they proclaimed that “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”

Many responded to the preaching of these two converted Jews; in fact they were so successful that about 5,000 men believed. Wow! No wonder the religious leaders were upset; they were losing people who had looked to them exclusively as their rightful teachers. Their order to these rabble-rousers was to stop speaking or teaching in the name of Jesus. Their answer simply was they must listen to the commands of Jesus rather than the religious leaders. After all, they could not do anything else than to testify to what they had seen with their own eyes: the healing of a lame man by the name of Jesus.

What can we learn from this encounter?

  • Be subject to those in authority: “We ought to obeyGod rather than men” (Acts 5:29). It’s a basic principle, but we are to be in subjection to those in authority over us so long as their demands don’t contradict the law of God. Cf. Romans 13:1-5; 1 Peter 2:13-14.
  • Tell your own story: Basically, witnessing is merely telling the story of your relationship with God.
  • God is in control: God’s miraculous working (the release of the witnesses) was an answer to prayer and a cause for praise, recognizing God’s sovereign power and authority over the affairs of men.

No matter the obstacles we may encounter from society and secular authority, Christians today must respectfully submit to legitimate authority and overcome opposition in a spirit of peaceful protest while maintaining an attitude of concern and love. “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15).

 

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Devoted Acts 2:37-47

February 5, 2019

We are surrounded by people longing to belong; looking for a place where “everybody knows their name.” How do people find and build community? My hairstylist, enthusiastically, began to tell me all about her Cross Fit experience. She told me about the friends she had made at the Cross Fit gym.  She told me about how good she felt as she excelled at new athletic levels. She tried to convince me that I should join this Cross Fit movement too.  The passion that infused her words praising her Cross Fit family made me wonder if my words about my church body were equally impassioned.

“Those who accepted his (Peter’s) message were baptized and about three thousand were added to their number that day. They DEVOTED themselves to the apostles teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer…They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts…And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” Acts 2:41-47.  Instantaneous devotion to knowing God and being with God’s people became a hallmark of the early church. Their “new creation” joy drove them to be devoted to daily time together in each other’s homes.

Being part of God’s eternal plan for the church should bring us awe.  God has included us in His grand plan for His church, that we see springing up in Acts. Paul tells us in Ephesians 3:8-10, “To me,… this grace was given to preach to the Gentiles, the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone, WHAT IS THE PLAN OF THE MYSTERY, HIDDEN FOR AGES IN GOD, WHO CREATED ALL THINGS, SO THAT THROUGH THE CHURCH, the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in heavenly places.”

God uses the church to demonstrate His amazing wisdom.  It’s up to us to function as His church and make rulers in heavenly places stand in awe at God’s wisdom.  Our oneness should be like a peacock’s display of God’s mysterious planning.  What does our oneness demonstrate to those who are longing for community and belonging?  Do we even know the names of those who sit in our pew?  Do I care enough to take the time to learn their stories?

In Acts 2:42-43, we see that the early church was,” DEVOTED to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers, and awe came upon every soul…” It is easy to seek the Biblical awe without the Biblical devotion.  It would be like me trying to become a Cross Fit expert without being devoted to working out.  What would true devotion look like in the life of our church?  There are many things that we commit to: exercise, binge watching our favorite shows, lavishing time on our families, or jump starting our careers.  All of these can be good things, but where does the devotion we see in the early church fit into our lives?  Looking at the early church’s devotion should spur us to become more devoted to God’s people, His church.  Imagine, for a minute, what it would look like to strip away the distractions and become a people who were devoted to scripture?  What would our church look like if it was devoted to prayer? What has driven God’s people to their knees in the past?  What will it take for us to trade our meetings, our schedules, for desperate God-reliant prayers?

Walking through life with our church family can be messy.  Loving God’s people will not come naturally, it’s not supposed to, it’s supernatural.  In John 13:34-35, we read, “A new commandment, I give you, that you love one another; just as I (Jesus) 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 one for another.” The church should be known for its love.  Jesus says our love for one another is the formula that will attract the world. Do the people surrounding us at church sense a strong bond of belonging? Do we welcome people and have we become a body of believers, “where everybody knows your name?”  Is our church attractive because of its love?  Who can you pursue to show God’s love to? Who do you know that needs to be one anothered? We have experienced the greatest love in the universe and that should supernaturally flow out of us.

My hairstylist was very passionate about her Cross Fit community.  What are we passionate about?  Francis Chan states in his book, Letters to the Church, ”People were attracted to the early church.  Who wouldn’t be fascinated by a group that shared possessions, rejoiced nonstop, had a peace beyond comprehension and immeasurable power, never complained, and always gave thanks…?  Some people joined them, others hated them, but few could ignore them…This is our heritage.  This is in our spiritual DNA.”

I long for the church described in Acts. It seems that simplicity and infectious excitement of new faith can easily get lost in the church of today. I desire to live like I have new faith, bold faith.  Are we sitting on the edge of our pews, waiting for God to spread His peacock feathers of miraculous change and wow our church and us in the process, like the church described in Acts?

lkb

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