Re: Verse reading– Acts 4:32-37; 1 Corinthians 12:12-27; Galatians 6:9-10; Hebrews 10:24-25 (day four) The relationship within the church is much more than a group of people joined together to learn about God and do good things. When we trust Christ and are filled with the Spirit and baptized into the fellowship of the church, we enter a unique relationship. Faith in Christ removes barriers like rich or poor, slave or free, Jews or Greeks…we become one in Christ. Just as in a marriage, we become one. In the early church, they shared all their possessions so that no fellow believer suffered for lack of provision. Paul described the relationship as a body…with different parts, but all a part of the whole. Each part functioned for the good of the whole. For the body to function fully, every part must be working smoothly and thoroughly. Have you done a checkup lately to see how your part is functioning? The church needs your part to be in perfect health!
Re: Verse reading– Acts 4:32-37; 1 Corinthians 12:12-27; Galatians 6:9-10; Hebrews 10:24-25 (day three)
“The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’” When the human body experiences an organ transplant, massive doses of anti-rejection drugs soon follow. A body cannot fight itself and live. The human race cannot fight one another and live. The church is the sole representative of the kingdom of God on earth. Its mission consists of living the way Jesus taught us to live with one another—which is the only way to stay alive. If the church will not live that way, if the church fights itself, death comes, no one gets saved, and the human race is doomed. Loving one another in the church of our Lord is not only obedience, it’s life support for the whole world.
Re: Verse reading– Acts 4:32-37; 1 Corinthians 12:12-27; Galatians 6:9-10; Hebrews 10:24-25 (day two)
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Heb. 10:24-25
Perhaps you know her, or perhaps you should get to know her. Her name is Ila. Long before I could put a face with a name she was special to me. For years after I would sing a solo in church I would receive a bulletin the next week with the song circled in blue pen and a note of encouragement next to it. A short sentence, a note to say how much she was blessed, and then her name. It was simple, and probably took less than a minute to do, but it made a huge impact on me. I remember the first time I actually met her. I couldn’t wait to hug her tell her what her words had meant to me. It was a double blessing really. Can you imagine how much greater our communications would be received if we all took the time to build each other up instead of tearing each other down. By the way, Ila, I think you’re great!
Re: Verse reading–Acts 4:32-37; 1 Corinthians 12:12-27; Galatians 6:9-10; Hebrews 10:24-25 (day one)
“Now you are the body of Christ, and individually members of it.”—1 Corinthians 12:27.
Familiar words. The Roman Catholic Mass reaches a traditional climax when the priest holds the bread before the communicant and declares “Corpus Christi”, or, “the body of Christ”. The Scripture uses the same words in a different way–to describe what has happened to US in salvation. We became His body! Just as Christ was given a physical body in the incarnation, arms, lips, legs–all which served His purposes and connected Him to the physical world, so, now, Christ-followers serve that purpose in similar fashion.
Every year in our nation, millions are spent on cosmetic surgery, diet and exercise plans. We are very “body” conscious. O that we would be AS conscious of our privilege to be members of Christ’s body. Responding to our Head, available for the doing of His will, Corpus Christi–for us both truth and prayer.
Re: Verse reading–Ephesians 4:11-16; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13; Hebrews 13:17-18 (day seven)
I thank God, this morning, for my Pastors. Shad Rue. Carlos McLeod. Lonnie Hayter. BO Baker. Dan Yeary. They have inspired, challenged and coached me.
I thank God for calling me to be a Pastor. For the privilege to “speak His word”. For the lessons I’ve learned from the people I’ve led. The patience. The wisdom. The encouragement.
I thank God for the church. For the Savior who purchased this people with His blood. For the Spirit who empowers and guides us. For the Scripture which is the foundation that never shifts under our feet.
“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to YEARN FOR THE VAST AND ENDLESS SEA.”–Antoine de Saint Exupery.
For 45 years, God has been faithful to send people into my life who have taught me this yearning. I thank God for them.
Re: Verse reading–Ephesians 4:11-16; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13; Hebrews 13:17-18 (day six)
This is all very humbling, and sobering To think that God has called me to join other faithful men to serve and lead the FBC family. You would think that these texts would have an opposite affect, arrogance, hubris, but this is far from the truth. These words that Paul writes, do a marvelous job of whittling me down to size. They do so by reminding me of the great significance of what I am called to do; that it is no small thing. It is a collosal thing to be listened to, obeyed, or imitated; it puts leadership in proper perspective. Perhaps, this is what Paul intended all along, to thrust men called to lead His church into total dependency. This calling to lead is not one to take for granted, or to take lightly.
Lord help me not to do either, but only ever follow your Son Jesus, as I show others how to do the same.
Re: Verse reading–Ephesians 4:11-16; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13; Hebrews 13:17-18 (day four)
We’ve been talking about relationships this quarter…relationships with children, parents, neighbors, employers, government, and church. Our passages this week teach us that we are to grow in our relationships. We are to strive to improve in how we interact with others. It seems that most all of our relationships require some level of submission to another. God has created man to be interdependent and to operate within His plan of leadership. To submit to another does not mean that one is superior over another…submission is a voluntary yielding of our will to another, based on their position or calling. God holds those in authority accountable for the way they wield their authority. At the end of the prophet Samuel’s life, he asked the nation if he had wronged any man. No man brought an accusation against him. (1 Samuel 12:3-4) As a leader, demonstrate integrity. As a follower, demonstrate submission. God’s plan brings peace and brings glory to His name.
Re: Verse reading–Ephesians 4:11-16; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13; Hebrews 13:17-18 (day three)
“Pray for us.”
There is nothing better that church leaders can ask of their congregations. The request for prayer places leaders in the posture of humility and honesty before the people, and it acknowledges limitations that only God can help leaders go beyond. And there is nothing better that congregations can do than to pray for their leaders. Such prayer reminds congregations that the church will represent God’s kingdom to a world that’s afraid no one is running the universe.
Re: Verse reading–Ephesians 4:11-16; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13; Hebrews 13:17-18 (day two)
…we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. Eph. 4:15-16
Have you ever built anything? When I was 15 my dad and I built the house that my parents still live in. We did practically everything from digging trenches for the plumbing to roofing, and just about everything in between. I found that details mattered. A half an inch here may make quite a difference down the line. In order for everything to work in the end they needed to be properly planned for in the beginning. Our faith walk is much like that. Guided by the example of Jesus, the instruction of the Word, and the leading of the Holy Spirit we too can be fulfill the design that we were intended to be. Take care, today, to not shave an inch off of your walk with Jesus.
Re: Verse reading–Ephesians 4:11-16; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13; Hebrews 13:17-18 (day one)
” He gave. . . some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints. . .until we all attain to the unity of the faith. . .to a mature man. . .the measure. . .which belongs to the fullness of Christ.”–Ephesians 4:11-13.
It begins low, but ends high. God’s vision for the human race. First we are sheep. Helpless/foolish. Then, in salvation, we become saints. Eventually, by His grace, we attain unity, maturity as sons of the Most High! “Conformed to the image of His Son” shouts the scripture! No longer infants. Stable. Strong. Loving. God’s provision toward this miraculous transformation is to send shepherds. (Pastor means shepherd in the original language). Pastors protect/feed sheep, but they also equip/lead lead them toward maturity. At the end of life, it won’t matter who your Pastor was. It WILL matter whether you gained strength from him/her to get forward on the road from being a sheep to a son.