Saturday, April 02, 2005

Kingdom Community & the Local Church

Being a member of the local church is a discipline, a way of growing in Christ-likeness, a way of expressing the Kingdom of God in a local way. It serves to encourage us, give us a place to belong and to strengthen us.

We need encouragement to turn away from sin and lead godly lives...

Hebrews 3:12-14
12See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness. 14We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.

We also must encourage one another to love and doing good...

Hebrews 10
23Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

I want to be a member of a church family because I want somewhere I belong. God is my father and all his children are related to me. Did you ever notice that you can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your family? And as much as you might not like them, or they drive you crazy, you belong to your family. God’s family is like that, too. Who comes into the family? Lots of random people…God is interested in the overlooked, the disconnected, the forgotten.

Psalm 68
5 A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
is God in his holy dwelling.
6 God sets the lonely in families, [a]
he leads forth the prisoners with singing;
but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.

There are so many fatherless, widows, lonely souls and prisoners among us...

The fatherless are those of us who feel adrift because of the parenting we did or did not receive.

The widows are those of us who feel vulnerable and unprotected with heavy responsibilities.

So many of us are battling loneliness because of our life stage, our circumstances. My prayer is that we would be family and alleviate one another’s loneliness.

The prisoners are those stuck in sin and the past that won't let go.

But perhaps the best part is the likemindedness and common purpose that comes when we begin to really live in community. As we entwine our lives together we are strengthened…

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
9 Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their work:
10 If one falls down,
his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls
and has no one to help him up!
11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

It is the strength of God's Spirit binding us together that draws me back again and again to my imperfect local church.

Micah Girl


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