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Preacher on the Run…

Faith, Family, Ministry, and Everything in between

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Unity

Feature Friday (10/9/15)

http://www.iphonehacks.com/2015/07/mastering-apple-music-tips-and-tricks.html
http://www.iphonehacks.com/2015/07/mastering-apple-music-tips-and-tricks.html

Music! Everyone likes music. Whether it is country, pop, hip-hop, rock and roll, or bluegrass. Music gives rhythm to rhymes, emotion to language, and expression to intention. There is little that can unify a diverse group than music. However, the reverse is also true, there is little that can divide a group that should be unified than music. Unfortunately, one of the greatest venues where music divides rather than unites is the church. This article speaks to that division and gives an exhortation I needed to hear and wanted to share.

As always, be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day!

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Feature Friday (10/24/14)

ohio-state-vs-michiganRivalries…we all love them, but at the same time we all hate them. They make sports games better, individuals more driven, and life more interesting. The beauty of rivalries, I believe, is the best they bring out of both teams. However, rivalries have their down side as well. They can cause hatred, tension, and polarization. And if there is one place those three things should not exists its within the local church body. There should be love, unity, and community. However, few issues can polarize, cause tension, and stir up hatred than music. This article gives one great point about music in the church. Face the Music!

Enjoy the read. As always be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day!

The Church: How it Interacts

DGC - Toy Story-Youve Got a Friend in Me“You’ve got a friend in me…you’ve got a friend in me”! Upon hearing this song, anyone familiar with Disney will immediately think of the light-hearted cowboy character Woody, and his more intense companion Buzz from Toy Story. However, what makes the song great is how it captures what we all hope is the reality of friendship. Friendship exists around a common bond, through thick and thin, and is strengthened by all the shared experiences of those involved. There is something about friendship that causes us, as humans, to rejoice and long for it. But where can this great kind of friendship be found? In a bar?…At a sports arena?…In other places? There is a greater friendship and bond that should be displayed within the church.

We have already discussed what the Church is, the difference between the Universal and Local church, and the structure and organization of the Church. Today, we will examine the three main aspects of interaction that should take place within the church. In Acts 2:42-47, we see the church demonstrate fellowship, service, and unity toward and with one another.

First, the church must be a place of fellowship. In Acts 2:42 and 46, Luke records how the church interacted with one another from the very beginning. Here we see that the new believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship; to the breaking of bread and the prayers; and day by day, to attending the temple together and in each others’ homes. Fellowship starts with a devotion to one another (Hebrews 10:24-25) and the early church had it. They listened to the same teaching, shared the same meals, went to the same locations, and of utmost importance had the same Lord and Savior (Matthew 16:18). At the core of it all was the apostles’ teaching or, as it is now known, the Word of God (2 Pet. 1:3; 2 Tim. 3:15-17). In light of hearing God’s Word and the devotion to it, the church exhibited great fellowship with one another, but also great service toward one another.

servant-leadership

The second aspect of interaction within the church flows out of their fellowship around the word, and that aspect is service. Back in Acts 2:45, we see that the first Christians served one another greatly, despite the personal sacrifice it cost them. “They were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.” Now this was no commune. Everyone was not selling everything they had compiling it and then sharing everything–no, no! Instead, they were fellowshipping with each other on such a level that if believers found out that one of them was in need, they would go sell possessions to ensure their brothers and sisters had their daily needs met. We see this going on throughout the book of Acts (4:34-37; 11:29). But this service toward one another was more than a good deed–it was an expression of their faith in God (James 2:14-16) and proclamation of where their true treasure lied (Luke 12:33-34). So the church’s fellowship around God’s Word drove them to service towards one another which only united them further.

The final aspect of interaction within the church was unity. Luke records in Acts 2:44 and 47 that, “all who believed were together and had all things in common…praising God and having favor with all people”. So we see that it was their common fellowship (God and His Word) and service that grew these people to be united in all things. This group was cohesive, composed, and concentrated. They were cohesive around God’s Word and caring for one another, thinking the same way (1 Corinthians 1:10). They were composed of the same oneness in body, Spirit, hope, Lord, faith, baptism, God, and Father (Ephesians 4:4-6). They were concentrated on Christ’s example of humility (Philippians 2:3-8). The early church was united with one another because of their focus on God and love for one another. They fellowshipped together, served one another, and were unified because of the cross of Jesus Christ. golgotha-01

What about us? How are we, as the church today, interacting with one another? Are we fellowshipping, serving, and unified with one another? If not, with which area do we struggle most? What can you and I do this week to pursue fellowship, service, and unity with our local body of believers?

Stay tuned for part 5 of this series “The Church”. Up next: How it Worships. If you missed part 1: The Church:What is it?, part 2: The Church:Universal vs. Local, or part 3: The Church: Who is in the Church, read it here!

The Church: Universal vs. Local

what-is-churchWhen I say shopping, you think…? Some think of the mall, while others think of a specific department store. When I say football game, some people think of the game of football while others think of the Superbowl. What about when I say family? A few people will think of aunts, uncles, cousins, etc., but most will think of their immediate family members–brothers, sisters, fathers, and mothers. Why is this? It is because when it comes down to it, the terms “shopping”, “football”, and “family” apply in more than one situation. The same is true when we consider the word “church”. As we will see today, there is a Universal and Local aspect to the “church”.

The Church, as we looked at last time, is an assembly of people built upon a common confession of Jesus Christ as the Savior and Lord of their lives, and the recognition that they ultimately belong to God. So when discussing this formation God has started and been building, we must recognize that it is a group of people, not just a building or location. God makes that very clear in Ephesians 4:4-6 when speaking of the ONE body and ONE Spirit. The Holy Spirit, through the apostle Paul, is encouraging and admonishing the Ephesian church to be united in their commonalities rather than divided over their differences. In this passage, Paul lists seven “ones” the believers in Ephesus and of all time have in common: one body, one Spirit, one hope (vs. 4), one Lord, one faith, one baptism (vs. 5), and one God and Father (vs. 6). We see this idea of oneness in the church throughout the New Testament (John 1:12-13; Ephesians 2:8-10; 1 Corinthians 12:13). So whenever the church is mentioned we must recognize that it goes beyond any building or one location. The church of Christ is not bound by geographical limitations. However, in Hebrews 10:24-25, the writer of Hebrews instructs believers to “not forsake the assembling of themselves together”. And if the body of Christ worldwide is to obey this command, how do we carry it out?

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We fulfill this command through the local church. The local church is a minute gathering of the larger, universal body of Christ. It is a representation of the larger body of believers who are in a specific and shared location. All throughout the New Testament, we see multiple churches meeting in multiple locations (Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 1 Thessalonians 1:1). In Revelation 1:11 and chapters 2-3, Christ gives commands, exhortations, and correction to seven different churches. And in Galatians 1:2, we see there are often multiple churches within the same area. Not only is location given, but the time is also given (Acts 20:7). Local churches since the apostles’ time have met on Sundays. Why? Because of the pattern set for us in Scripture, along with the fact that Christ (the reason for our assembling) rose from the grave on a Sunday (Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:1-2; Luke 24:1; John 20:1). The church of Christ has always been represented through the local assemblies of believers who live in relatively close proximity to one another.

So while some may think of grandma while others think of mom when speaking of family, the truth is that family is still family. And while extended family is family too, it is in the context of our immediate family where we learn how to interact and live as a family. The same is true in the church. While the Church is all over the globe, it is in the context of a local church we see the love of God lived out. And it is in Him and Him alone that we were all “reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:18). It is because God “made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). It is what Christians have come to know as the Great Exchange – He died, so I could live. And it is through His death, burial, and resurrection that the Church can and does exist today!

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So what is the church? Although it is, an assembly of people built upon a common confession of Jesus Christ as the Savior and Lord of their lives and the recognition that they ultimately belong to God, it is given flesh and bones in the local churches throughout the world.

Stay tuned for part 3 of this series “The Church”. Up next: Structure and Organization. If you missed part 1: The Church:What is it?, read it here!

Feature Friday (7/12/13)

Christian Unityprayercircle – Satan hates God and therefore he hates God’s people, the church. His great plan for the church is to cause Christians—true believers who ought to be together in the gospel—to find ways of disagreeing among themselves, to divide, to be bitter and jealous, and ultimately to “bite and devour one another” (Gal. 5:15). Here are twelve ways that you can repulse Satan’s attacks. Great post on unity within the church.

As always, be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day!

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