Staying Connected

Staying connected is an important part of being part of the church, the body of Christ. Actually, I would go, as far as to say it is a vital part of the Christian life. Just look at the scriptures, John 15:5. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” It is important that we stay connected with God and the body of Christ, the church. It helps us to stay focused on the important things in life. It also allows us to have somebody who cares about us as a person. I think that it is such a great thing in a Christian’s life, actually, in life generally, for somebody to care about you as a person.

 

So I would like to ask you this week how are you connected, with your fellow believers?

Do you spend time in prayer with each other? Praying with each other is such a vital part of being a church. It allows us to share one another’s concerns and joys, with each other and with God.

Have you meet somebody from the church outside of the buildings of the church? It can become so easy for us to only meet people from the church in an activity of the church or within the buildings of the church. Do we ever spend time with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, outside of church?

When was the last time that you made a time to catch up with somebody? I love the song – “They’ll know we are Christians by our love.” What better way to show love than to give time to another person, not out of duty or obligation, but because you genuinely have the other person’s interest at heart. To give time to another person is a wonderful gift. I am reminded that my kids love it when I am able to give them my full and undivided attention (not to do with school work or church work, but just for them and about them). It is so important to show love by giving of your time.

 

So if you are feeling a little unconnected with the body of Christ, the church, then maybe you should make a point of catching up with somebody from the church. What does the scripture promise us in Matthew 18:20, For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”

Being Prepared

As a family we watch a wonderful movie last Friday night called “Facing the giants”, from the makers of Fireproof and Courageous. All of these movies are wonderful and well worth seeing. Now I do not want to spoil the movie for you, but I am going to share one line from the movie that has struck an accord with me this week and also I have used it in a number of situations with various people because it really does get to the heart of living in faith.

“God provides the harvest to those who have prepared the field.”

If we think about it for a minute we realise that we actually have a part to play in God’s plan for the world and for our lives.

1Corinthians 3:9 tells us that we are more than people waiting for God to do something “For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building”. Harvest is a theme that is evident in the Bible; it is used to describe God’s activity, especially in the NEW Testament to describe the work of evangelism. Evangelism is an important task of the body of Christ, the church. There are 4 parts to this preparing for the harvest.

  1. Prepare the Soil. We live in an instant society where we do not understand the meaning of preparing and patience. However, preparing and patience are part of God’s plan.
  2. Sow the Seed. After we prepare the soil it no good to just leave it at that we need to plant the seeds of the gospel into peoples lives.
  3. Cultivate the Soil. Now for some gardener (like me), once the seed is planted they leave it. But that is not what good gardeners do and that is not what God intends. We need to keep the new seed free from that which will chock and stunt the growth.
  4. Reap the Harvest. There is a time to harvest. It we harvest too early then the fruit is not ripe, not ready. And if we go too late the harvest become over ripe and at worst rotten. To harvest, you need to keep an eye out for the exact time when everything is just right to harvest..

So let me come back to my original quote, God provides the harvest to those who prepare the field.

Compassion Update

A number of people have sponsored children through Compassion in Haiti, and as a church we are trying to create a special link with the work of the church in Haiti. So, I would like to highlight the latest update from Compassion about the damage done by tropical storm Isaac in Haiti.
“Compassion Haiti reports a total of 2267 children from 33 child development centres have so far been affected by Tropical Strom Isaac.

The storm has damaged homes, gardens and personal belongings. Some families have lost their home in the storm and have sought temporary shelter at their local church, or with friends and family.

Please continue to pray for those who have been affected by Tropical Storm Isaac. Please pray for the Lord’s continued protection over all Compassion assisted children and their families in Haiti.”

It looks like none of our children that we as a church sponsor lost houses or garden or livestock. However, as we know from tropical cyclones that affect Australia, the damage done by these storms can have a far-reaching effect, especially in the area of agriculture. Crops damaged, prices rise for staple food, and for people already living in poverty it adds an increased burden.

Compassion responds to natural disasters through the work of critical interventions. Critical Interventions provide solutions to needs that exceed the reach of Compassions’ Child Survival Program, Child Sponsorship Program and Leadership Development Program.

As a church, I feel that it is important that we support the work of Compassion in Haiti through their efforts at providing critical interventions to those children affected by the storms in Haiti. So, I am proposing that we over the next 2 weeks take up a special collection for the work of Compassion in Haiti, along side our regular collection. If God is stirring your heart for the poor in the world, maybe this is exactly what he is asking you to do, to give a little bit more to those in need in Haiti. (Don’t forget that if you would also like to sponsor a child, that it is still possible, so please talk with me about this if you feel God is leading you in that direction) Lets see how generous we can be as a church for those in need in the world. So, I urge you to over the next 2 weeks to bring in a little extra to support the work of Compassion in Haiti.

Radical Hospitality

I wanted to share with you an article that was sent to me this week about being a hospitable church. It was written by Tom Bandy and serves as a good reminder on how to welcome the stranger in our midst, especially in worship. For as Dietrich Bonheoffer once penned, “The church is only the church when it exists for those who are not a part of the church”.

Radical Hospitality

Most churches have learned that hospitality increases worship attendance … but they rarely go far enough. Radical hospitality is the readiness, not just to do what you like only better, but to do what you do not like for the sake of the newcomer. Imagine the hospitality offered by a loving family when the favorite son brings his bride home for the holidays for the very first time! They bend over backwards to welcome her, feed her the food she likes, give her the best seats, the best views, the best service, indeed, the best of everything. They do this because their heart is bursting with affection both for the favorite son, but also for his new bride and companion in life.

The same spirit should drive church hospitality on a weekly basis. You can’t just welcome a stranger. You have to love the stranger. You love them so much that you find out all you can about them, and then change your habits to make them feel totally at home. After all, this stranger is being invited to enter a covenant that is every bit as deep and lasting as the covenant of marriage. You are forming a companionship for life in mission. If you love them, learn from them, adapt yourself to them … then as they in turn become members of your family, they too will love the next stranger, learn from them, adapt themselves to them … and so on and on.

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