Be the Church

In our culture, it can be very easy to think of “church” primarily as something you attend. It can be seen as a series of events and programs designed to teach me about God and how to live the right kind of life. I certainly hope that our community at Grace leads to those outcomes, but the church is a community of faith, not an institution for spiritual education.

Paul repeatedly uses the illustration of a body to describe the relationship between Christ and his church and between us as members of the church. So far, in this series, we’ve repeatedly come back to the idea of Christ as our head. Christ in the church begins with Christ in me because the Church doesn’t exist apart from Christ-filled people. With a constant pursuit of Christ as our head, the next question is how we relate to each other and to the world.

Acts 2 gives us a wonderful description of what characterizes a community of faith centered on Christ:

"They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved."

There are so many great things to be mined from this passage, more than I can address here, but some highlights: This was a community that met in some shape or form (in homes, at the Temple, etc.) on a daily basis. This was a community marked by love and service toward one another. The foundation of this community was the presence of God found in his Word, prayer and worship. This was an attractive community; others felt compelled to be a part of what God was doing.

I could write a blog about each and every one of these points, but the focus of this week is “Come Lord Jesus To Our Church.” If we really want Jesus to be at the center of our church family, we need to pursue being Christ-centered people, and then we need to be the church. Through the more programmatic elements of what we do at Grace, we hope to foster community, teach the word, and create worshipful environments, but to truly be the church is dependent upon those who call Grace home. It’s up to all of us to take those relationships, that teaching, prayer and worship beyond the boundaries of our walls or programs. Christ inhabits our church when he inhabits us and when we live life in true community.

I want to encourage you to think about your role as a part of Christ’s body. How are you using your gifts to build up your fellow believers? That might mean a formal role as a Kids Min volunteer, a Quest teacher, a Missions Committee member, or as a youth group leader. It could also mean informal influences like hospitality (hosting people in order to bless them and create environment for fellowship), mercy (practical acts of compassion on those in need), or encouragement. These are just a few ideas. The beauty is that, according to Paul, the church is made up of a vast variety of gifts, personalities, and passions. You are a unique part of the community of faith. Spend some time seeking the Lord for how you can engage practically as a part of the body of Christ.

For further reading: 1 Corinthians 12:12 – 13:13

Sean's Picks

Answers to Prayer by George Mueller - This little book is a collection of George Mueller's journal entries. George Mueller was a man seeking God's will and entirely dependent upon God's provision. His journaling shows the impact of simple, persistent, and obedient prayer. This classic work has been inspirational in my own prayer life of late. Click the image below for more.

Missions Spotlight:
White Ribbon Day

This is probably the most important video we've ever released.

Filmed in Biarritz, France, and Midwest USA, it's the heart behind everything we do and the message that has changed us forever.
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