LET THE CHURCH BE THE CHURCH!    

13 02 2018

1111

On this Valentine’s Day, I want to write a “Love Note” to the Church! The Greek word for “church” is ekklesia, which means a called out assembly.  The church consists of all born again believers in Jesus Christ. It always refers to people, and not to a building.  The church exists in several levels.  At one level is the universal church, which includes everyone worldwide who accepts Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Local churches are a different level, including people who regularly commit to meet together. Denominations are an intermediate level, containing groups of congregations that work more closely together because of shared history and beliefs.  The Lighthouse Church is a part of The Christian and Missionary Alliance denomination.

Local congregations sometimes include unbelievers —attendees who have not yet accepted Jesus as Savior, still nevertheless meet regularly with other believers. Local congregations may also include people who consider themselves to be Christians, but may not be. Both Scripture and experience shows that some of these will later admit that they were not really Christians at all.

Why do we need the church?   Many people claim to believe in Jesus Christ but do not want to attend any of his churches. The New Testament shows that the normal pattern is for believers is to meet together on a regular basis (Hebrews 10:25).  Paul repeatedly exhorts Christians to do different things to “one another” (Romans 12:10; 15:7; 1 Corinthians 12:25; Galatians 5:13; Ephesians 4:32; Philippians 2:3; Colossians 3:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:13). It is difficult for people to obey these commands if they do not have a consistent relationship with other believers.

A local congregation can give us a sense of belonging, of being involved in a family. It can give us spiritual safety, so that we are not blown around by strange ideas. A congregation can give us friendship, fellowship and encouragement. It can teach us things we would never learn on our own. A congregation can help train our children, help us work together for more effective ministry and give us opportunities to serve that help us grow in ways we did not expect. In general, the value that we get out of a local congregation is in proportion to the amount of involvement we give to it.

But perhaps the most important reason for each believer to participate in a local congregation is that people need each other. God has given different abilities to different believers, and he wants us to work together “for the common good” (1 Corinthians 12:4-7). If only part of the work force shows up, it is no surprise that the congregation is not able to do as much as we would like, or to be as healthy as we would like. Unfortunately, some people find it easier to criticize than to help.

Our time, our abilities, our resources are needed to fulfill the work and mission of the church. The commitment of mission-focused people is essential in order for the church to effectively reflect Jesus and his love to the world. Jesus said to pray for laborers (Matthew 9:38). He wants each of us to be working, not sitting on the sidelines.  Individuals who try to be Christian without the church fail to use their strengths to help the people the Bible says we should be helping. The church is a mutual-aid society, and we help each other, knowing that the day may come (and in fact is already here) that we will need to be helped.

I have been called to be the Pastor of the Lighthouse Church for such a time as this.  In many ways- this will be the body that sets the foundation for what will happen in the years to come.  Let us stay true to the call and committed to the Lord’s purpose for us.  Let us not get in the way but help prepare the way for Jesus! Let us never make the ministry about building and budgets but continue to see it as the home base that will launch a thousand ships that will prayerfully contain many more who will call Jesus their Lord and Savior.  We’ve come so far but yet in so many ways, we have only just begun- but oh what an adventure it has been and will still be!  Fasten your seatbelts- the tide is high and the ride has come! I continue to humbly pray for God to do a “Rock Pile Revival” in Cape May County! Jesus said that upon this “Rock” he would build his church and the gates of hell would not stand against it. It is time to not just go to church but be the church! Let’s do it and be it together!   


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