Being the Church!

I have come that you might have life, and have it to the full.
John 10:10


There was nothing special about these guys. They were not accomplished in the virtues of justice, worship, and mutuality; they were however, open to the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit. Luke’s Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 2:42-47, describes the community of faith as clearly operating in the power of God’s Spirit. These churchgoers knew exactly what drove them in the midst of a storm and in the harshness of an unbelieving society. They were clear about their identity and their purpose. Life in the Body of Christ was meaningful and deep, Spirit-led and intentional! Their lives were based on hope, justice, sharing, and love; which were as necessary in their time as they are in ours.
I thought that I’d tell the simple story again about the tenor in the congregation. This story acts as a thumbnail of how we are to treat each other. The visiting preacher wrote: “It was one of those mornings when the tenor didn’t get out of bed on the right side. As I listened to his faltering voice, I looked around. People were pulling out hymnals to locate the hymn being sung by the soloist. By the second verse, the congregation had joined the soloist in the hymn. By the third verse, the tenor was beginning to find the range and by the fourth verse, it was beautiful. On the fifth verse the congregation was absolutely silent, and the tenor sang the most beautiful solo of his life.” How easily a member of the choir could have chastised him. Or, those in the congregation could have been embarrassed. But when your heart is steeped in Jesus and the Holy Spirit is present, we can come together to assist one another and lift each other up! That is life in the Body of Christ, enabling one another to sing the tune Christ has given us. This kind of melody is what The Church represented and what The Church needs to be today!
Oh, it’s true that at times we will forget the Gospel and make life complicated with our worldly games and personal hurts, misunderstandings, grudges and rebel tenacity to not get the facts! All the while Jesus calls us to forgive and be reconciled! In the words of Jesus: I have come that you might have life, and have it to the full. Could it be that simple? A few decades after Luke’s historical writings in Acts, the apostle Paul encouraged believers to take hold of life that is truly life. Friends, this pandemic is not going to just fade away or go away “poof.” Life will not be the same (it hasn’t been the same in years, anyway!) The world standard is to panic; to be angry; to waste life by complaining and hurting one another; and pandering to a noisy group of people who say that the sky falling. But, what we know is that the world pales compared to the teaching of the Gospel.
Cason, we have to make a decision. Will we be about the business of our focus and identity in Christ through our mission: loving, serving and growing and our goal and vision to be Where all will find and know the love of God.? Or, will the world dictate the Church’s next move?
Friends, the biggest challenge of our day as a community of faith in Delray, is to believe that God, through the Holy Spirit, is in control and that we have the power in us that that raised Jesus from the dead! We are the Church! Moreover, remember, we don’t live for our own sake, only. Ever hear the saying: The church is the only place that exists for its non-members! The world we influence is hurting and we exist as an extension of Jesus to bring the Good News and salvation to all.
The kind of giving and sharing that we find in Acts 2:42-47 is a response to God’s presence in our congregation! Do we expect such divine work among us? Our lives, together and individually, are created by God to reflect God’s grace and action to a hurting world! In the midst of your day, during this pandemic, ask yourself: what message do I send to the world about God by my own attitudes and deeds? How can my own life better reflect what God has done for me?

In the season of the early Church, Luke tells us that 3,000 repented, were baptized, and joined the Christian community. After they joined, they stayed on and became mature because of the teachings, fellowship, eating together, and prayer they participated in.. Christian maturity happens together!

These guys really liked each other! And, the “Lord added to their number” daily!
Where are you right now? Will you join a small group at Cason? Will you pray for your community of faith? Will you connect with brothers and sisters in your influence and bring the love of Christ to them? Will you allow the Holy Spirit to have you and to move, mold and mature you? Let’s live together as the Church just as they did in Acts!

I just love being your pastor! Joy, joy

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