December 5, 2010
BEING PART OF THE COMMUNITY
I have mentioned that in my travels I see two attitudes toward community in congregations of the Church. One is to view the Church as a sanctuary, an island, a refuge where people can go to escape the community. Congregations like this do not participate in community activities, even if they are wholesome ones. They exist aloof and apart from what is happening. The other view is to be a part of every good thing that takes place locally--to be a part of the community. In our recent visit to an inner city congregation in Trenton, New Jersey, the Church was this latter type of congregation. They were having blood drives in their building. The mayor was holding a town meeting in their building. They serve the homeless a meal once a week in their building.
We have been involved in the community this past week, and have seen some visitors come to our building during this time as well. We have had two families that needed help in a desperate way that we have been able to help. We are getting a reputation in the community, and people are coming to us. We are working on some ways of getting clothing to children who do not have the basic coats needed for a typical Michigan winter. Our food pantry continues to address needs.
Our thanks to everyone who has been involved in these ways of serving the community. We have a large number of our ladies who are involved with the material needs in the community and since some of them work in the schools we have some unique ways to serve. When visitors are here every Sunday because their lives have been touched and their needs addressed, we know God is blessing our efforts to serve him. See the back page of this bulletin for more.
POTLUCK AND PLANNING TODAY. This Sunday is the first Sunday of the month, and we have a fun tradition of having a potluck together each first Sunday of the month. PLEASE plan to stay and enjoy a wonderful meal and visit and share with your church family.
THE MINISTRY OF REFRESHMENT
2 Timothy 1:15-18
What we did this past week is the real role of the Church.2 Timothy 1:15-18--Paul is discouraged?
We are not here just to baptize--1 Corinthians 1:14.The story of Liberal, Missouri--New Harmony
Worship is one small part of what "doing Church" is.
Atheist community--self destructed in five yearsThis ministry separates lukewarm from real.
Matthew 7:16; John 13:35
Separates us all from the world.
To die for Christ did not bother Paul. To die alone did.TWO IMPLICATIONS OF THIS STORY No Christian should suffer alone
2 Timothy 4:6-8Paul was very much alone--2 Timothy 4:9-16.
Paul thought of his old friend Onesimus.
Coming to Paul was dangerous--Philemon 1:10-11; Galatians 1:11-12.
Matthew 25:31-40--Look at the basis of judgement.Every Christian should be a refresher
John 13:4-17--"I have set you an example."
You don't hire this done. Not a preacher's job.
Identifying mark of people who are disciples of Christ.
Being unselfish--not "what's in it for me."BRING REFRESHMENT NEEDS TO THE CHURCH.
Awareness--learn to look for people who need us.
2 Timothy 1:17--Onesimus searched diligently.Humility--refreshers work behind the scenes.
Do not ask and leave it there. Listen, look at board.
Be courageous--babies in need are cute, adults aren't.
The invitation of Christ is not just because of sin!
Has that been your church experience?
Do you need refreshment?
TYING IT ALL TOGETHER
This has been a very active period for the Church here in Dowagiac. We have had a number of lessons and sermons dealing with how we can be the kind of people God wants us to be. In addition to our lessons, we have had a number of activities going on to reinforce and practice what we are talking about in class. Interacting with the community, providing for people with needs that are around us, and honoring one another are biblical mandates that we all need to be a part of.
Last Sunday we talked the wisdom of God and how we see that wisdom displayed in the creation in a wide variety of ways. We also saw how the plan of salvation that God has given man is not just mindless adherence to what God commands, but that it makes sense to even our feeble minds and can elevate and bless us in our Christian walk.
Our studies in Ephesians have been rather detailed and incredibly practical. Chapter four of Ephesians talks about unity in the Church and how we can contribute to that unity--something Jesus commanded and prayed for. The chapter ends with an admonition for us to become like God (verse 23), and chapter five starts with a call for us to "live a life oflove" (verses 1 & 2). That life of love is said to be like the love Jesus showed for us, and we are called to love one another in the same way.
Ephesians 1:3-5 then takes us through some things for us to work on. Each word in the biblical account has special meaning when you study the original language. Verse 3 talks about "porneia" a word that we know about because it is the root of the English word pornography. The Bible calls Christians to "not even have a hint of sexual immorality." We need to make sure our children, friends, and neighbors realize that they will not see racy calendars hanging on our walls or find us engaging in movies and shows that radiate nudity. We grow by learning to avoid those things that the world holds up as being important.
In verse four the original language emphasizes that coarse talk from the Greek word "eutrapelia" means we will not use words designed to cut and hurt. We hear the world use "Jesus Christ" when something goes wrong, and that is what this verse condemns. It should not be coming from the mouth of a Christian, and that is something practical for us to work on. Colossians 3:5 refers to this kind of use of our speech as idolatry--something between us and God. Let us all work to knock down these idols.