Posts Tagged With: Church

3 Things Tragedy Taught Me About Church

Tragedies strike when we least expect.  They sneak up from behind and flank us before we have a chance to respond.  They are real, hurtful, and devastating.  They cloud the sun and wilt the flower.  They are the anti-joy and hope-stifling things nightmares are made of…

Tragedies, as defined by the Miriam-Webster dictionary, are disastrous events that cause great sadness.

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Our service had been planned in advance, I had just returned from a week-long vacation, The Pastor had planned to take the weekend off, and our guest speaker had his message prepared.  Sunday was shaping up to be a true celebration of Christ and His Love and Faithfulness.  Then Friday happened.  That evening I was alerted to an urgent prayer request.  I read the email with unbelief and sat staring at my iPhone screen stunned.  A three-year-old child from our congregation had passed away.

In two days the service was scheduled to be a Celebration of Family Service centered around God’s love and His Faithfulness, and was to be followed by an all-church brunch.  The leadership team discussed ways to assist the family and congregation with their grief.  Would we keep the service the same?  Would we alter aspects of what was planned?  Are their counselors who can offer support?  On and on the questions continued to burst forth from our minds as we tried to grasp the reality of the situation.

It was decided to leave the service as planned with minor changes to be sensitive to the mourning that would take place.  It was in that service, and the week to follow, where I learned 3 very important things about the Church.

1. God’s Love and Faithfulness are constant in all circumstances.

 Life will throw us curve balls and, occasionally, will knock us flat on our backs.  The situation was devastating and the family was hurting.  What the church did in response was to gather together and concentrate on who God is, what God did for us through Christ, and what God promises to do.  God is faithful to His people, and His love allows us to endure.

2. The Church is a family that both grieves and celebrates together.

The sense of love and togetherness was the strongest I have ever experienced.  This was The Church, this is what God wanted: A people who would gather together in the love and the sorrow.  A people who would come together as a family and mourn with and for one another.  A people who would love.  The people surrounded this family with prayers, meals, time spent together, love and unending support.  There were no debates, there were no theological discussions…it was simply love doing.  It was the Church.

3. Musical worship can express even the hardest of emotions.

Words are often not enough to express the loss, sorrow, and pain that comes with the passing of a loved one.  Music transcends the silence and allows us to express truly deep emotions.  Singing songs to God in a congregational setting, however, has an even greater significance.  Every voice is raised as one.  Every person with tears, tissues, uplifted hands, clenched fists, and folded arms.  Every child and visitor.  All are unified before the Lord, and all are sharing in the grief as the band plays.  The focus is on God and bringing Him all the pain.

Tragedies will sneak up on us, but The Church can hold fast to the love of God and remember His faithfulness when the clouds begin to roll in.

Categories: Christ, Church Life, Lifestyle, Love Does | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Oh For A Thousand Tongues To Sing

Acts 2:1-4

New International Version (NIV)

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.


This Sunday is Pentecost.  It is the defining moment that the Church was given the authority and power to fulfill their mission from God.  It was the moment that God broke the barriers of Babel and proclaimed the Gospel in many languages.  It was a foretaste of what was to come.  It was a foretaste of God’s Word being available to all.

Portions of the Bible have been translated into over two thousand languages since it was first put together into one collection.  The Gospel is now more available than every before.  It is in major retail stores, online, in apps, and can be heard on certain television stations.   All this because a handful of men accepted Jesus’ call and followed the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

We have one God, one Gospel, and one mission.  The Church is the light of the world and we have the power and authority to spread that light through our love.

 

Will you allow the Holy Spirit to guide your actions?

How can you share the love of Christ that is found in the Gospels this week?

 

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A Spiritual Family

God has granted each of us with a spiritual family that will nurture us and help us grow into maturity.  This family is more than mother, father, brother, and sister.  It is infinite and unending, it is the moral compass that guides us, it is global, it is the Church.  It is the place where we are taught to live our lives on, and with, purpose.  It is a place full of broken and sinful people seeking more than the world has to offer.  It is the place where discipleship is made and new life begins.  It is the place where community comes together to rejoice, celebrate, mourn, pray, reflect, and imitate Christ.

The Church is open, all you have to do is seek.

2 Timothy 1:1-10

New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)

1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, according to the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus,

To Timothy, my dear son:

Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

Encouragement to Be Faithful

I thank God, whom I serve, as my forefathers did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.

So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

Categories: Christ, Church Life, Devotional Thought | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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