First BLOGtist Church
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Loving God, Bleeding for Others
Learning how to Love and show Love.
By Pastor Adam Fox
On Saturday September 8th First Baptist Church hosted a Blood drive. The blood drive was hosted through Life Source and given the title "Just Do It For Jerry".
Gerald Erickson is member of our church family, a Lockport native, an Army Veteran and life long Cubs fan (bleh). Gerry has been diagnosed recently with a rare bone marrow disease that requires him to get transfusions of blood regularly.
By hosting the blood drive one of the goals was to help people like Gerry - people who need blood regularly, but that was not the only reason. Love was the other reason.
While donating blood is frightening to some folk or not worth giving up their Saturday morning. But let me tell you - the people that were lined up to give blood did it willingly for Gerry because they love him. And that is the point, we are to love Gerry but not just him but everyone.
Loving others is not a new lesson and it is something that is not just a Christian thing but something that most people in this world of ours can pick up upon.
Love is one of the attributes of God that is clear to us and something that we see in the Triune God. That the love of God the Father overflows to the Son - Jesus - to us through the Holy Spirit. A love that gushes like a fountain without end.
The Bible shows this love of the Father to us consistently throughout both the Older and the Newer Testament. Two of my favorites are the Shema and the Greatest Commandment. The Shema is a Jewish word that means hear. It is the start of a passage of scripture that Jewish folk were to recite 2-4 times per day.
4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates." Deuteronomy 6:4-9
While Jesus takes this truth that was written so many years before He came to Earth, this important part of the Law and made it even more real for us. As if it were not enough for us to love the Lord God Jehovah with all that we are and to teach and show others this love - we are to also love them too.
28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:28-31
Jesus makes it clear to the teachers of the law, it is not enough to just love God and serve Him but we are to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Game changer.
Before Jesus put the cookies on the bottom shelf - I could treat anyone like I wanted to as long as I was a Good Christian. For example, I could ignore or be a jerk to each and every person I live near, work with and see daily. But as long as I come to church on Sunday and listen I am good - right?
We cannot be two-faced believers where we act one way all week then become a different person on Sundays. We have to be the examples of God's great love to us and share that love with any and all that we come in contact with.
We need to be a people of love and not just any type of love - but a God like love. It is easy for me to love the Chicago Bears defense, my family and my wife (maybe not in that order). But a love for each and everyone I know and come into contact with a God like love.
That means love the waitress that drops your dinner order, the car in front of you who keeps their left turn signal on and the neighbor with the dog that barks all night. Even to more difficult people like those who vote differently, the teen who "knows" more than you, the Black Lives Matter guys, the lesbian couple at work.... the list goes on.
Jesus tells us to love Him AND love everyone else and gives the perfect example for this. Jesus tells the story of the Good Samaritan. This radical story that can be found in Luke 10 shows an injured Jewish man and three opportunities for people to help him. A Levite, a Jewish man, and the hated Samaritan. Shock of all shock, the foreigner helps this dying man. Helps him and goes above and beyond in care for him.
This perfect parable that Jesus teaches us about loving God through love of your fellow man is not just known in the hallways of the church but around the world. This story perfectly sums up what it means to love others - to live out the Greatest Commandments. But one way to look at this story is put yourself in the sandals of the injured man.
Who would you want to help you in this time of great need?
What if you were the Samaritan in the story? Would you seek to help the hated enemy? The person you despise from your core? What if it were today and you come across someone you dislike, despise or hate? Maybe the person is:
- a person of a different color or gender?
- an illegal alien
- someone who believes they are gender fluid
- a Green Bay Packer fan
When Jesus taught this passage, that we are to love others, the Master never qualified it for us. He never said that we are to love other people only after we have had enough coffee, when it is convenient, to those that treat us nicely or any other excuse. Just plain and simple - love everyone equally.
36 “Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” 37 “The one who showed mercy to him,” he said. Then Jesus told him, “Go and do the same.” Luke 10
Love God, Love others is the Gospel in four words. We are to be humble enough to love others and see them as people that are our equals and loved by God as much as us.
"3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit,but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. 4 Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others." Philippians 2
And on September 8th, for me it was sitting in a lounge chair while professions stuck needles in me. I gave some of my blood to show love to people like Gerry - those that are sick and need help. Gerry Erickson was just one person we could show love for, there is a whole world full of more opportunities. And thankfully not all of them need blood.
Who do you struggle with in showing love unconditionally?
Cheers and Excelsior!
Same Savior, Different Day
Understanding the Timelessness of our God
By Pastor Adam Fox
Every year, my wife and I go to the Bristol Renaissance Faire which is just over the Wisconsin border. In fact, Andrea has been going there for two decades, so you can say it is a special place for us that is filled with timeless tradition.
This year, I got to go on a Sunday and see many great things including the Anglician church service. The Ren Faire volunteers strive to present the service as traditional as possible - straight down to the prayer books used. It was a different style and a little hard to read in all "faire"-ness, but one thing I took away from this service, was that God and His Word has not changed.
As humans, we naturally fall into ruts and traditions and love the dependability of them. We impose these traits on to our movies and television shows. We make hits, instant classics, but sometimes, time changes things. Look at two 80s "classics" Star Wars Return of the Jedi and The Cosby Show.
Thirty years later, Star Wars is still a massive hit and only getting bigger. (bring on Episode 9!) But the Cosby Show has been tarnished greatly due to it's star - Bill Cosby.
I do not need any more explanation beyond this picture I hope.
Time does that. Time, like people and dreams, and so much in our life change and adapt - for better or worse. One thing that never has and never will change is God. It is hard to imagine with our tiny human minds but the God who loves us and sent His son to die in our place, is eternal.
Being timeless or eternal are funny words to describe God. Funny not like a clown, but funny as in hard to fully grasp. Timelessness and eternal are defined as not affected by the passage of time or changes in fashion and lasting or existing forever; without end or beginning.
God is beyond time. He has no beginning or ending and does not let time or anything change Him. That is amazing, later I will tell you why that is amazing, but at the same time challenging. God has no beginning or end. No birthday. No death day. Not even bound by time like we are.
For myself, I have a birthday - November 25, 1983 ( in case you want to send me a present or three) and I will have a death day. I am bound by the 24 hours in each day. Our God has none of these, all because He is the Creator, He is the King of Kings and the Great I AM. He is the one who spoke the Universe and everything else into place.
We can confidently say that our God, is timeless and will ALWAYS be the same that He was in the Bible, that He is toda and will be tomorrow. From Generation to Generation.
I will sing about the Lord’s faithful love forever;
I will proclaim your faithfulness to all generations
with my mouth. Psalm 89:1
I will cause your name to be remembered for all generations;
therefore the peoples will praise you forever and ever. Psalm 45:17
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Hebrews 13:8
God is the Rock that we can depend on, the One who always was and always will be. He is timeless and eternal, but He is not the only one with whom we can count on to never change and be there and that is His Word.
We have the timeless dependability that is the Bible. It is the complete truth written by God through the Apostles, Prophets and other Biblical writers. It is something we can rely on because it is never going to change.
Now some of you may be skeptics and know that some Bibles have more books than others, and if that is the case it can be changed.
Slow down Sherlock, let me educate you and reassure you.
The Bible is considered Canon, so what does that mean? The books of the Bible were written so many years ago, but over time there were other books that some considered AS GOOD as those written by the men God chose.
With this on the mind, the church fathers sat down and after some debate and vote they settled on the 66 books that we now know as the Bible. These books are canon. Canon means that:
- They were Divinely inspired
- They were written by an accredited agent of God
- The book is authentic
- It is univerely recognized by the church as God's Word
- It is docternally agreed
- It is applicable to all people at all times. Universally
That last point is what we as modern American Christians should rejoice about. The Bible was written at minimum two thousand years ago to much longer in the Middle East. Far far away from America in 2018. But it is still understandable, still relate able, and will always be. The truths and teachings from God will never be out-of-date or not applicable - EVER.
So what does all this mean for you and I?
God will always be with us and for us and that will never change. Look at the promise in Revelation. “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “the one who is, who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” Revelation 1:8
The Lord is, was, and always will be there. No matter what is going on in our lives no matter what illness or what endangers us or new adventures come our way. God will be there.
God will never change, but as we get older people change. We grow physically, but also emotionally and in every sense. But God never will. He does not need to because He is perfect. He is the one who set all of creation into place, and who will come again and reign forever. God is immutable and that excites me. No matter what garbage is in our country and society of sin, we have our God. The pillar of truth in a sea of sin.
There is never going to be a surprise from God. He is timeless and eternal. Never changing, and always there for us. Praise God with me for this.
Thanks for reading. What was your favorite Cosby Character - tell me. I was always a Theo guy.
Cheers and Excelsior!
Practically Perfect in Every Way - Eventually
By Pastor Adam Fox
Perfection. Mary Poppins had it every way, and we strive to be that way in our lives and in our spouses and other areas. Online dating feeds this ideal for a perfect mate with there search algorithm. For a hefty price, you can tell the website what you want in a partner and you can then find the perfect match for you.
Go ahead and look for a blond hair gal with short or medium length hair, who is tall, but not too tall. Let her have an athletic build but not skinny with blue, hazel, or green eyes; who makes $75-150,000 a year and loves sports, cars, and hunting.
As silly as that example may seem, people search for the perfect partner and get frustrated when he or she is not up to the ideals in your head. And looking for a pastor is no different.
Finding the right pastor for your church is something nearly every church takes serious. But some take it to a different level in there search while looking for the perfect pastor. Here is an example of the Perfect Pastor.
- He preaches 20 minutes and then sits down.
- He condemns sin, but never steps on anybody's toes.
- He works from 8 in the morning till 10 at night, doing everything from preaching sermons to sweeping floors.
- He makes $400 per week, and gives $100 a week to the church, drives a late model car, buys lots of books, wears fine clothing, and has a nice family.
- He is 36 years old, and has been preaching for 40 years.
- He is tall, heavy set, and very handsome.
- He has blue or brown eyes and wears his hair parted in the middle or left.
- Has a desire to work with youth, and spends all his time with the senior citizens.
- He makes 15 calls a day on church members, spends all his time evangelizing, and is always found in his study.
This comical list is based on what churches look for in a pastor. They are specific and detailed to help look for the perfect man of God.
Are we missing the point? Why are we focusing on finding the perfect mate or the perfect Pastor? The perfect kids and animals? Can humans become perfect, is it even possible. Yes, but also no.
As believers in God, we strive towards being like Christ in all that we say and do. And that is correct being like God in our every day life. We should be more like Him and less like ourselves. Letting God through His Word transform us into an image of Him.
But somehow we took the Christian life purpose of being like God and less like our old nature, our sinful old self into the idea that we will eventually be perfect as God is.
Sure, perfection has a few meanings. Was it the best or most clear word to use, probably not, but it is what we are talking about.
Look at what the Bible has to say about Perfection.
Philippians 3:12 Not that I have already reached the goal or am already perfect, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus.
Matthew 5:48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
It is clear that Jesus calls us Christians to be perfect, like He is. And the authors of the Newer Testament drill that point home. Paul mentions this in a few letters. Christian Perfection is what we are to strive for, in all areas and moments of our lives.
We are not perfect yet, but we will be and God is - and always will be. Rejoice for a minute on that. Our God is perfect and holy. Sinless.
But even though we strive and desire towards perfection, as God is perfect we will not succeed. We still sin, still live and partake in a sinful society/world. We fail and that is okay.
The Christian life is like a race. When we except the Lord as our Savior and become a part of His forever family. We spend the rest of our time on this planet sharing this great joy with anyone who hears it. Because of this new found joy and desire to serve God we slowly or quickly stop participating in the sins of our past life - one by one. Sins that are knowingly or unknowingly involved in - one by one.
And I am not going to go into how difficult it can be,or how long it takes and how tricky and devious Satan is but we are to keep pressing on.
The author of Hebrews expounds on this when he wrote
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."
So what are we to do? How or when are we to be perfect? I truly believe that Christian Perfection is possible, just not here on Earth.
When we get to Heaven, we will be perfect. We will be just like our Heavenly Father who is perfect.
So then we should not try? Absolutely not.
As Christians who believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died in our place and took the punishment for our sins, we need to try.
We are imperfect, flawed, trying and failing at times. Celebrate it.
For myself, I aim to be like Christ in every aspect and relationship I have daily. Do I fail? Yes. But I am still trying. And today, I am better than I was last week and more so than I was last year.
We will never be the perfect humans here on Earth but will be when we get to Heaven. Until then my personal goal is to be more like Christ every day and less like how I was. A sin filled man who chose to please himself, rather than serve God.
I am a work-in-progress and am okay with that. That does not give me the excuse to sin, but rather it is my opportunity to share with those in my community of my testimony, that I am a Christian. Even though I do lose my temper, speak without thinking and other sins - I am still loved by the God of the Universe and forgiven forever.
So I can proudly say I am not the Perfect Pastor nor am I the Perfect Christian, but I will be... eventually!
Cheers and Excelsior!
Having Network problems for this months post.
Please head over to : firstbaptistadam.blogspot.com
Cheers and Excelsior!
Spending Time with Jesus
All Day. Every Day.
By Pastor Adam Fox
Being married has brought a new experience to my life, living with a female. Some days are filled with hugs and affection, some days are alone days. It is a new adventure for me, and learning to adjust my perspective has been the hardest part.
How much she eats. Where she sleeps. Where I can pet her... to give some examples. Living with a cat has been hard.
(See what I did there)
Andrea has had a cat for 11 years. Isabella Diana Cat is our middle aged grey house cat. Andrea grew up with a dog, then transitioned to a cat and has never been happier. For me, we have never had a pet longer than a week. I was the inexperienced one.
I have always seen families with pets, with cats. And had thoughts of how cats and humans interacted. Like, I thought that cats enjoy lasagna, being picked up and cuddled, wearing hats and costumes, and easily be made to do tricks.
Boy oh boy was I wrong.
Living with a cat has been different than I expected. Both for the good and bad. But living with someone is difficult. It means taking the individual, all the ideals and beliefs and putting them together with another free thinking individual. Thoughts will be different. Habbits will be different all the way down to the little things like toilet paper will be put in the wrong direction (over the top), habits will be made and adapted. That is what it takes to live with another person or persons.
To abide with them. The other week I heard a wonderful sermon perspective being given on John 15. Normally, this passage is given about God and Jesus, or the Vine dresser and the Vine. And there are many great points that we can learn from this chapter. From analogies on growth and pruning to about Hell. But what struck me was the word abide.
5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
Abide, or to accept or bear, in this sense does not seem to match up with what John wrote. The definition fits as well as Shaq in a tiny sport car.
But if we get to the root of this word, and most importantly how Jesus is using it in context, we will understand more of what the Good Teacher is trying to learn us. And abide is more than just live with.
Jesus wants us to abide or trust and believe in Him and God the Father. This trusting in God, this belief in Jesus in who He is and what He did for us is the most important moment of your life. It is that moment where you realize that you are a sinner and you deserve punishment for what you have done. But because of Jesus and His grace and mercy and kindness, He took the punishment that we deserve and paid for it with His life. Dead. Buried. Stone cold dead. But three days later rose from the dead and is alive today.
That moment, that special moment of trust in Jesus, when you become part of God's forever family is a life changing moment. But that is the problem. We as believers choose to stay stuck in that moment.
Think of it like this, the Catholic Cross. The cross was an important moment in History, our and the Worlds. But Protestant Christians do not worship that moment. We see the cross and understand its place, but praise the Risen Savior - the empty tomb that is no longer needed.
We are more than just Christians at that moment in time, we ARE Christians now. And should think of ourselves as abiding in God in the present tense of the word.
We are in a relationship with the Messiah. It is not just an excellent moment in time, it is a life long celebration. It is a life long relationship. and like any relationship it requires growth from us. I would like to assume that the Ideal Pastor Adam comes to a saving moment with God and stays perfect till death. But that is not it. I am a sinner. I am growing and learning still what it takes to be the Hands and Feet of Jesus here on Earth.
If we are in a relationship with the Lord, learning and growing, or abiding. We need to understand that like any relationship, it will not be perfect out of the gate. Look at the example of me and Isa the Cat.
I have learned that just because I want to pet the cat or try to put her in a funny hat, does not mean that she wants to or will let me. Let's just say she says no with her tiny little pointy claws. Eventually I will learn, and so should we. Learn and grow our active relationship with God.
We are alive and no longer dead to our sins because of Jesus. We need to live our lives every day with the confidence and understanding we are children of the risen King and are still living and following, abiding in Christ. Not just that singular moment in our past. Keep growing. Keep learning. Keep fighting sin.
We need to let the Bible, the complete and accurate Word of God change us. Mold us. Shape us into the image of Him. Will it be easy? Nope. Will it cause us to hurt? To some extent yes. If I give up smoking for example, it will be a struggle and some pain until I adjust to life without it.
Or let the Skit Guys show you how God molds us and the greater good in the Chisel.
A great way to abide in God and molded into the image of Him is by being in His Word. Studying and reading. Letting the Words of Scripture change you. Talking and Listening. All things that make us less like ourselves and more like God. Let the powerful Word transform you.
What areas do you need to let Christ mold you and form you?
Are you letting the Vine Dresser and the Vine change you and strengthen you? Or do you still thing of Jesus as that one special moment instead of a life time with us?
Did you talk and listen with God today?
Did you read and think over the Scripture too?
That is all for now my friends. School is back. So it will be a busy two months. Pray for me.
Cheers and Excelsior!
Sabbath does not need to be Black
More busy = more better?
By Pastor Adam Fox
Sometimes a TV show stumbles into a correct prediction or point about society or life. Simpsons has done it a hand full of times. But Seinfeld has too. And it is correct with George Costanza. Who in my opinion is the best character on the show.
George tells the diner gang about how he gets out of work at the New York Yankees. If he is always looking angry and frustrated and overworked, no one will ask him to do more.
George and the writers of this show stumbled into a trend of Americans today, we have to be busy. the busier the better. If our schedule or inbox for the day is not overloaded with things that only Dr Strange could do in all his mystical time powers, then we have a problem.
How did we get to this point? Why do we think it is needed to overload our work day, and then off-time as well to catch up and stay ahead. We are doing life wrong and our souls are suffering.
The temptation of busyness is something we can all fall into. Society almost has convinced us if we do not let life, or our jobs, or our social standing, or our volunteer, or whatever swallow us up, we are weak.
One area that bothers me is the urgent. My work week is different than most of peoples, and I am okay with that. I come in on Monday and plan out what I can do when and how best to us each day of the week to do my job to the best of my abilities. But I must admit, it is filled with a schedule or game plan for each day.
Planned and ordered, that is until the urgent pushes its way into my life. While urgent things are not always bad, just need to be dealt with.
More busy. More needs. More things that need to be done. Less time. What needs to be cut in order to fit it all? The time off.
Am I complaining? Nope. My work week is not much different than that of corporate America, or of a home-keeper (And I LOVE it!!). But the point is consistent through many careers and walks of life, more is not always smarter or better.
Is taking time off or resting weak or is it needed? To me it is needed and commanded.
From the first few chapters of Genesis and consistently through the Law section of the Older Testament, Sabbath rest is shown and told to do.
God set the example of resting one day a week and commanded the Israelites to do so in the Law.
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. Exodus 20:8-11
And this is not the only time God mentions this, it is a consistent calling. But why? why is resting your body AND your spirit so needed?
God created us and knows us. He knows that while we can grind and push and labor all day every day, we will break down. We need the rest for our body, but most importantly the spirit and soul needs a break.
I can grind everyday all day until I snap. That is not healthy. But my spirit cannot come close. It needs to stop, and be refilled by the Lord.
I need to stop and come to the Lord. Spend time in the Bible. Praying to God about my needs and concerns and listen. Worship Him for who He is. That is what a Sabbath is.
It is not about the lack of work, that is not the point. It is about stopping your normal activities so that you can spend time with the God who loves you.
And it is important! Look at what Jesus says in Matthew 11.
28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.
God wants us to rest in Him and through Him. Look at the example of Mary and Martha from Luke 10. Martha was busy making and doing things while Mary sat in the presence of the Master.
While I am not giving you an excuse to not do your work, but Mary understood the importance of spending time with Jesus and being there.
We can learn a lot from these ladies. While work is important and needed to life, spending time with God is just as if not more.
Taking rest on a regular bases is needed. It does not mean you are weak, it means you are healthy. Make sure you find your day, your time away from the tyranny of the urgent and the busy and Sabbath. Spend time with God – the Lord of the Sabbath and He will give you rest.
Cheers and Excelsior!
Finding the Family in the Family of God
Sister Sledge had it right all this time
By Rev Adam Fox
The honeymoon was amazing, beach, theme parks, relaxing, fun, everything you want. But it ended in the best way possible, we watched Guardians of the Galaxy 2 together.
Guardians 2 is the sequal to the amazingly funny space hero action comedy from Marvel. It follows a rag tag group of misfits led by Peter Quill, the Star Lord. Star Lord is determined to find out who his father was. In only the way Marvel can do it, we find out that this human's father is none other than Ego the Living Planet played by Kurt Russell.
Throughout this reunion of father and son, we learn that this father is not a great person(spoiler!), and Quill's friend and mentor, Yondu, makes him realize that Ego is his Father, but not his dad.
(I'm not crying, you're crying)
As Yondu helps us realize the importance of Family in our life. Both the ones given to us, and the ones we choose. Either way, it is something we need in our life and often over look.
Family has been on my mind for a while now. Getting married in February, and planning the sucker for the past 6 months has been a stress filled joy. But during this time, it makes me see how great and massive my family is. And now, it is even larger, deeper, greater - with a big welcome to the Moormann/Schaack family.
Family is what God has given us. To me that means the blood related folks like your parents and siblings and such. But it can also be the chosen family too. Like my chosen Grandparents - Jim and Ilene Payne and all their family. Or like my bonus brother Bobbo.
If family is both blood and chosen family, couldn't it then be Spiritual family too?
As believers in God, we are apart of a greater group than just the folks we share a pew with on a Sunday Morning.
Paul writes in Romans 12:5 "So we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another." One body, one big and close family!
Or look at what Paul writes in Ephesians "So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit."
The hardest part of being the church, of understanding that we are ALL apart of a closeness, a bond, a group of individuals that are one becuse of the saving action of Jesus on the cross. Where Jesus became my sin, He took on all the sins and evil of the world, of all of us so that we can be forgiven.
So, you have a family and a church family, and hopefully the two groups are one. But what does this extended family get you? How should we handle these new brothers and sisters?
On our honeymoon, Andrea and I stayed at the Riu Palace in Jamaica. It was as beautiful as expected and relaxing and restful as needed. One of the great features, well great for me, was the dining options. It was all you can eat, and had 6 food options in this hotel alone.
Every morning, Andrea and I would go to the breakfast buffet and find a table, and the waiter would bring out our drinks that we ordered, one coffee, one hot tea, one iced tea, and one diet coke. (guess away who had what). By the end of our trip, i noticed that the waiter remembered us and brought them out without asking.
I was so thankful, and he told me "of course my family". And it hit me, he treats the hotel guests like he would family members. With love and respect.
That is how we need to act, with our family, chosen, blood, or spiritual. And I know, easier said than done. But we need to be a unit, a family of closeness. Sharing in the joy of another believer, grieving in their loss, supporting and encouraging. Pushing and sharpening.
"If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together." 1 Corinthians 12 Like a family, we support each other and share in the emotions of another - happy or sad.
It hurts me to see my family being so childish or hateful towards each other. And while I have been guilty of that in the past myself, it cannot be. We need to be the Earthly examples of Jesus - of His love, and grace, and especially his kindness. And that means treating each other with the respect we each deserve.
How different could it be coming to church if you had the attitude, "I get to be with my beloved family!" Celebrating and worshiping together. Instead of "I hope blah blah blah isn't here." or " she looked horribly fat in that dress"
We are the arms and feet of Jesus here on Earth. That means how we act and how we live. And life is not always kind. We will need the support of our family, all of our family. Enjoy it.
Just as I am enjoying the Moormanns as well as the Foxs and the Paynes. Who is your family?
5/15/2017 9:41:12 AM
These Blog posts are so helpful and insightful. I love reading them!