Our Need for a Church Community

Featured imageDevotional and Discussion Thought of the Day:

3  How excellent are the LORD’S faithful people! My greatest pleasure is to be with them. Psalm 16:3 (TEV)

9  Love must be completely sincere. Hate what is evil, hold on to what is good. 10  Love one another warmly as Christians, and be eager to show respect for one another. 11  Work hard and do not be lazy. Serve the Lord with a heart full of devotion. 12  Let your hope keep you joyful, be patient in your troubles, and pray at all times. 13  Share your belongings with your needy fellow Christians, and open your homes to strangers. 14  Ask God to bless those who persecute you—yes, ask him to bless, not to curse. 15  Be happy with those who are happy, weep with those who weep. 16  Have the same concern for everyone. Do not be proud, but accept humble duties. Do not think of yourselves as wise. Romans 12:9-16 (TEV)

465    I think it is all right for you to feel concern for your brothers—there is no better proof of your mutual love. Take care, however, to keep your worries from degenerating into anxiety.  (1)

For those of us who regularly gather with other believers, it is something we wouldn’t consider giving up for other things.  Yet I don’t know if we can explain this well to others.  The words from Solomon above tell me that those I gather aren’t the first to feel this way.  Even Solomon looked forward to gather with others who also tried to walk with God.

But it takes time to get to this point. It takes effort to look past the fact that we are all sinners and to be comfortable knowing that we can gather with each other.  Being honest with each other comes slowly, but it comes, and then we being to see people react like the second quote above.  We become like that.

We will, I have seen it.

Even in the most broken of congregations, there are those who will take time to listen and to pray.  Often there are people that sacrifice their time and talent, and yes sometimes help out financially. Let me give you an example.  We had a visitor one year to our midweek services.  She worked somewhere else, and couldn’t have communion regularly.  So the congregation agreed that from that point on – Wednesday services will have communion.  A simple decision, yet a decision which made our visitor feel quite at home.  I don’t think it is a coincidence that those services, during Lent and Advent, have quadrupled in size over the last few years.  I could tell other stories, of people underwriting tuition for children, of people bringing others meals, or caring for their lawn.

But to see all of these incredible acts of love one has to be involved.  One has to hear the stories, to cry and weep with those around them.  They have to let others cry and weep with them.  One has to learn to love deeply, and allow yourself to be loved deeply.

The reason to go to church isn’t the love of your neighbor though that is one of the blessings that comes with it.  The reason we come together is to see God’s love to you revealed!  We are gathered together as He works in our lives, from bringing healing of your heart and soul, to bringing comfort, to sustaining us.  We realize this as we find great joy when a baby, or a 90-year-old, is baptised, reminding you of the very promises given to you.

It is an amazing thing to see those promises poured out on the lives of others, to share in it, to be comforted by it.  To realize that a church is more than listening to some music and a message.  But that the message and the music, because of God’s love, and by the work of the Holy Spirit, impacts lives.  It does this as we explore the height, depth, width and breadth of God’s love for us, His family, together.

Come join us, spend some time together with us, and experience the love of God, poured out on a community.

(1)  Escriva, Josemaria (2010-11-02). The Way (Kindle Locations 1134-1135). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

About justifiedandsinner

I am a pastor of a Concordia Lutheran Church in Cerritos, California, where we rejoice in God's saving us from our sin, and the unrighteousness of the world. It is all about His work, the gift of salvation given to all who trust in Jesus Christ, and what He has done that is revealed in Scripture. God deserves all the glory, honor and praise, for He has rescued and redeemed His people.

Posted on May 27, 2015, in Devotions, The Way and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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