Who is Welcome?

I posted on Facebook yesterday what I thought was a pretty innocuous thought about unity in the church. Wow I was dismayed and surprised to see the “controversy this stirred up! My hope is that if we each ask ourselves this one simple question and be willing to take personal responsibility to reach out that each of our churches will be the better. Have a blessed day!

“Will folks who think or look differently than we do feel welcome at our church? If God wanted us all the same He would have used plastic and not dust when He was forming man.”

 

All kinds of folks

Challenged to Thank God

My wife came across an interesting sign that asked the question, “What if you woke up tomorrow with only what you thanked God for today?  After we shared Communion tonight I began to ask myself, “What if next Sunday we only had the people for whom we thanked God for today?”

Maybe our church and yours would have a lot less empty seats if we wete grateful for one other rather than complaining. ( I confess to being one of those!) Maybe if we began to truly appreciate the people who do come to our services God could help us to grow and then He would get the credit!

1 Thessalonians 1:2 We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers.

I would be willing to bet big money that when the apostle Paul visited the folks couldn’t wait to get to church! When was the last time you couldn’t wait to get to church? I am taking the thankfulness challenge this week. Anyone care to join me? Let’s give thanks for as many people as we can remember starting tomorrow. Let’s give thanks and ask God to have His way in their lives and ours, then wait and see what He will do!

Is that you?

I have other sheep too who are not of this sheepfold, I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice and there will be one flock with one Shepherd. John 10:16

When someone calls our name, even in a crowd we automatically stop and look to see why. Jesus is telling his disciples that they are not the only ones. He has people of every kind who will also be his sheep. Our unifying factor is not our race, language or family background. What makes us all one is that we have one Shepherd.

Maybe one reason that our churches are struggling to grow is that we haven’t yet gotten Jesus message. Can it be that Sunday morning at 11 AM is the most segregated hour of the week? Jesus says one flock with one Shepherd. Can you hear Him now?

God’s Church – Built for the Storm -the Battle – The Destination

The church is something we may often take for granted. Maybe we grew up sleeping on the pews and know every detail of every member’s life. The church may have become so commonplace to us that it is easy to forget that the church was not man’s idea. She is not some social club we somehow qualify to belong to. The church is something far grander than her four walls hint at or the attendance rolls reflect. January 2012 225

God’s church is more than a cruise ship built for sailing to exotic destinations.

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God’s church is more than a tiny sailboat designed for calm and sunny days.

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God’s church is not just a ship in a bottle meant to be put on display and admired.

God;s church is a mighty ark of safety, whose designer and builder has planned for any storm, for every foe, and to arrive at the destination which He has chosen – guided only by His hand.

    …upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Matthew 16:18

Here Comes the Bride

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We went to a sweet wedding recently. The couple had a simple ceremony outdoors in a park. Though the surroundings were beautiful the greatest loveliness lay in the love that the bride and groom offered one another. First, the bride spoke about how her bridegroom had lifted her up and given her wings to fly. He was her lover, her companion and her best friend.

After she had finished her open love letter, the best man came up and handed a small acoustic guitar to the bridegroom. He awkwardly grasped it in his large hands then fell to one knee and sang a song he had written just for her.

Today, just like our that touching moment, Jesus is waiting for His people, at the altar of heaven. He has paid the full price for His bride and he waits anxiously for the music to begin to play and for that time when he will be united with her forever!

The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. John 3:29