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What Drives You?

Something has been on my heart and mind for a while. It’s something I have prayed much about and now want to write about: unity. A desire for the unity of our church body burns deep within me. I want to see the body thrive, not divide! As Christians, we rarely end up losing unity over some black and white evil. Rather, we lose it to passions, opinions, convictions, and desires. They are often opinions about very good things, even important things. But are they the MOST important things? So I ask you, what drives you? What are you known for?

Those of you who know me, even just a little bit, know that I am a woman of passion and conviction. In fact, my 19-year-old informed me this past week that I am the most intensely passionate person she knows! A lot of passionate convictions come from truths that I have been exposed to that then become convictions in specific areas of life. However, that does not mean my convictions and passions themselves are THE TRUTH. God has spoken about the most important things and then leaves many areas for us to have to work out. Wouldn’t we love a handbook of exact rights and wrongs for every decision we will ever face?!? But haha! That isn’t how it works and that is a good thing. We would have another religion, but it wouldn’t be Christianity. The lack of this “handbook” helps us to keep our eyes and hearts fixed upon the most important things. So, I ask again, what are the most important things? Are the most important things what you are known for above all else? Or are you more driven by a passion for secondary issues? Now let me make myself clear, secondary issues can be WONDERFUL, NECESSARY, and SHOULD be discussed. However, they should never take a higher place than what God Himself has made a priority.

Let me give you an example of what I am talking about. I am a homeschooling fan all the way. I love homeschooling. I’m fully committed to homeschool my children because of my convictions. I can give you a passionate rationale for homeschooling and YET, there is no command in God’s word to homeschool. I could look at another parent and say, “If you love your child you will spank them” (Prov 13:24), and I can confidently tell a parent, “You are called to be extremely involved in your child’s life, teaching them God’s ways constantly” (Deut. 11:19). But even though my passion for homeschooling is based on biblical convictions, I could not look at another parent and tell them “If you love your child you will homeschool them.” There is complete freedom to choose your child’s education as long as you are fully involved in their lives with discipline and training. I should be convinced about what I do or don’t do, enjoy or don’t enjoy, eat or don’t eat (Romans 14). Yet I cannot make it an extra-biblical truth that I then use to judge others or become the standard bearer for others. This applies to countless things. And just so you know, I am very passionate about most of these things! Sometimes I find myself on one side and then sometimes on the other. I have close friends on both sides of many issues whom I love dearly. I also value their opinions. However, I never want secondary things to come between me and my brothers and sisters in Christ when we don’t agree.

Let me name a few of the divisions I currently see out there…

  • A conviction to vaccinate or not vaccinate
  • Homeschool, private school, or public school
  • Traditional medicine or holistic
  • Organic/clean eating or being at peace with eating whatever
  • Vegan or meat
  • Breastfeed or formula
  • Political views
  • Starbucks or Caribou haha 😉

I could go on and on. People in our body will have opinions on all sides. Sometimes people form their opinions from a point of view or circumstance that we are unfamiliar with. So many of these topics can lead to great discussions.

Yet, while we should be convinced about what we do and don’t do, our opinions and personal convictions cannot define who we are. We are first and foremost “the called out ones.” We are followers of Christ. We are redeemed by His blood and are here on earth to make His gospel known. We are one family with a grave need to have what God deems the most important things flowing through our blood. His truth, love, and grace are what we need to be known for. When we encounter one another at church, people should be able to say of us, “There is a person who loves the Lord, His word, and stirs me to do the same.” The first thing that crosses their mind shouldn’t be, “There is the homeschool mom, the vaccine-pushing mom, or the breastfeeding only mom.” Let us never cause others to shy away because our passion has overshadowed our love.

God loves unity. He loves unity to the point His Son had to die for it. In Proverbs 6, God says there are six things He hates, seven that are an abomination. When I read through that chapter this past weekend it startled me to find the last attribute on that list along with the others. Do you know what God finds an abomination? It’s not eating meat, being vegan, using essential oils, getting vaccines or where your child is educated. What is abominable to the Lord is “the one who sows discord…” (v.19). This is pretty sobering. I had to take a hard look in the mirror and ask myself some hard questions. Do I make God’s truth or Sarah’s truth most important? I am so thankful for His truth and how it always brings me back to the most important things in life.

As you read this, I am praying for you. I pray that God’s word and gospel will be your driving force. I pray that you will be an imitator of your Lord and Savior. I pray that you will be pointing others to good works (Heb 10:24), love (Cor 13), unity (1 Cor 1:10, Eph 4:13, Col 3:14, John 17:23, Psalm 133:1, Eph 4:3, Rom 12:16), self-control (2 Tim1:7, Gal 5:23 ), to discipline your children (Prov 23:13-14, Eph 6:4, Heb 12:5-11, Col 3:20), to be hospitable (1 Pet 4:9, Lev 19:33-34), and anything else God’s word is undoubtedly clear about. There are so very many truths of God that we can focus on and stir one another up to do the same. I am praying nothing else in your life burns within you more than stirring yourself and others to love in truth. I pray that your name, your Facebook page, your conversations, your Twitter account, yes— that in every single aspect of your life you will be known for your love of God’s word, the unity of His people, and His glory above all else.

Your Sister,

Sarah Bush

Sarah and her husband, Kevin, have five children and serve in missions and fellowship group ministries.

 

Posted in: Christian Living, Church life, Women's Ministry

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Authority to Judge Sin

There was a time when, especially in the church, the idea of “don’t judge me” was extremely prevalent: “God is love, so we should be too.” Today, most Christians I know don’t say things like that. I have seen an effort to reconcile both judgment and love in the church. I have seen us push this “don’t judge me” movement out of the church and balance the scales of how Christians should live with one another.

Yet, I think we haven’t pushed this movement out of our churches enough. I think if we were honest with ourselves, when the “don’t judge me” movement crept into the church, it caused significantly more damage than we are comfortable admitting. Specifically, this ideology has undercut the holiness of the church because we have lost sight of our God-given authority and responsibility to judge our fellow church members.

Let me make one thing clear: this article is specifically talking about how we interact with other members of our own local church. The scope of this doesn’t include a license to judge the outside world’s sin, or even the sin of people in other churches. The scope of this is to help us better understand how we deal with sin in our own local church.

My question to you is this: Are you, as a member of your church, calling out sin in the other members and are you allowing other members of your church call out sin in you?

My goal is that we would answer this question. My fear is that we think we already know the answer. Can you honestly answer that question in the affirmative? How seriously do you take your own sin and the sin of others in the church?

With this in mind, I think the problem is two-fold and therefore it will be dealt with in a two-part series. First, the reason we shy away from judging sin in the church is because we don’t understand our authority as fellow church members. Secondly, we shy away from judging sin in the church because we don’t understand our responsibility as church members.

“Who am I/Who are you to say anything?” = Misunderstanding of Authority

How many times have you said, or heard someone say, “Who am I to say anything? I don’t have the right…”? I do believe that this can be spoken from a pure heart and sometimes it is needed, so don’t get me wrong. There are times in which you need to deal with your own garbage before others’ (Matt. 7:5). But, if we are being honest, this is usually motivated by fear rather than humility. I don’t want to call you out because I am afraid of what may happen if I do.

On the other side, how many times have you thought, “Who are you to say anything to me?” Again, sometimes people should probably not say anything. However, this statement usually doesn’t come from a position of true righteousness, but pride. The basic idea behind these words are: “You do not have the right to call out my sin.”

I can guarantee most of us have thought both of these things at one point in our church-life. I know I have. But what these statements show is something deeply wrong with our understanding of the church and our understanding of membership. Ultimately it shows that we have a misunderstanding of each individual member’s authority over the other members of the church.

This recently hit home for me. Not long ago I asked a dear brother in Christ if we could get together. There were possible sin issues going on that I had to bring up to him. As we were meeting I said something that caused me to stop, “Listen, I know I don’t have the authority to say this….” Right after I said it, it struck me. I don’t have the authority to call out his sin? Is that what I really think? The more I look back on that meeting, the more I realize I said it because I didn’t want to confront this brother in the first place.

Ephesians 5:18-21 gives the church clear instructions on how it is to relate to one another:

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Submission and Authority

This brings up a very important question: what does submission mean? I have yet to find a place in Scripture where submission does not have the connotation of “being subject, under, subordinate” to an “authority.” Here is a list of all the ways this word is used: Creation has been made subject to Jesus (1 Cor. 15:27; Eph. 1:22); we used to be subject to sin (Gal. 5:13); children are to be subject to their parents (Lk. 2:51); we are to be subject to secular authorities (Rom. 13:1); we are to be subject to our church leaders (1 Pt. 5:5); wives are to be subject to their husbands (Eph. 5:22; Col. 3:18; 1 Pt. 3:1); and most importantly, we are to be subject to Christ (Eph. 5:24).

Each of those instances speak about us willingly being in submission to some sort of authority; no one is arguing against that. The word implies an authority structure over the one who is subject. This is the main reason why I don’t think Paul is telling the Ephesian church to be in submission to every Christian, because submission doesn’t mean “have respect for one another.” Submission implies an actual authority structure over us.

This brings up another important question: who are we supposed to willingly allow to have authority over our lives? If submission implies authority, then who do you and I have authority over and who has authority over us? Everyone?

Submit to whom?

What does “submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ actually mean? Now, someone could argue that this is how all Christians are to act toward one another. All Christians are to submit to all other Christians. The problem with this interpretation, though, is that by making it so abstract we lose most of the meaning from this text.  This would require interpreting “submit” as “respect.” If that is the case, then yes! All Christians are to have mutual respect for one another. However, that is not what “submit” means, especially in this context. Further, It doesn’t line up with real life. Am I supposed to submit to some random guy who calls himself a Christian? Even if he knows nothing about me? What would that even look like? Do I address every Christian I see in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs? Who, specifically do I submit to? Who is Paul talking about? I think a loose analogy can be made with the following verses.

Wives are supposed to submit to their husbands. They don’t submit to every man nor every man who calls himself a “husband.” They are to submit to their “own” husbands. Although not as explicit as in the passage about wives submitting, local church membership does seem implicit throughout the book of Ephesians. Just as I would never expect my wife to submit to others in the same authoritative way she would submit to me, I do not expect Christians in our local church body to submit to Christians of other churches (in the same authoritative way they should submit to one another).

I think it works like this: in marriage the person a wife submits to is specifically the man she has covenanted to before God in marriage. In the same way, you are called to submit to those who have covenanted themselves with you, and you with them. Paul was writing to a local church in a specific context. The analogy isn’t a 1-1 ratio, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t any connection between the two. My point is that we miss the importance of his message if we make this too broad because we miss what church membership is in its simplest form: A Christian submitting to other local Christians in a covenanting relationship.

What Does it Mean?

This shows us that saying “I don’t have the right to call out your sin,” or, “you don’t have the right to call out my sin,” was a foreign concept to Paul. If you are a member of a local church, that means you have willingly submitted yourself to the authority of the other members of that church. And, equally as important, you have entered into relationships with people who have willing submitted themselves to you.

I want to be as clear as possible: if you are a member of a local church, that necessarily means you have asked other Christians to be an authority over your life. You have given them the authority to call out your sin. It also means that you have been given the authority to do the same.

Be Careful

Before I end this section, I want to give a warning. Be careful. I don’t want to create a group of people who are arrogantly throwing down the “authority” card toward every single person they can find. When another person has placed this type of trust in your hands, it should never be used for personal gain. Instead, this type of authority should only be used in prayer and love. Just as a husband doesn’t lord authority over the wife who has submitted to him, but lovingly leads her into the glory of Christ, so each church member should lovingly use this authority over other brothers and sisters only for the purpose of making other members more like Jesus.

While a little fearful that some people may misuse this article, I will stop here. Next time we will turn to the responsibility each member has in regards to the use of this authority.

 

  Marty Beamer is the Assistant Pastor at FCC and teaches Rhetoric and Worldview at Faith Christian Academy. He graduated with a Masters of Divinity from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in December of 2017. He is married to Jessica and they have one son, Oliver.

 

Posted in: Christian Living

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The Impossibility of Rogue Christianity

Rogue Christianity is a growing trend and problem in our culture. More and more people happily identify themselves as Christians without submitting their lives to a local church. The situation has a bit of irony in it since our society has produced more options for choosing a church than any other society in the history of the world. Somehow, the overwhelming amount of choices out there still have not met the fancy of millions who call themselves Christian. In contrast, Christians who are living in persecuted nations risk their lives to be a part of the one church that is within their reach. Personal preferences are not even a consideration. It seems they intuitively know something that is lost on our culture about the necessity of the church.

The problem is not that we need more flavors of churches to suit a wider variety of people. Rather, the problem is a fundamental misunderstanding that many of the basic commands of the Christian life assume membership to a local church. In other words, it is impossible to be obedient to all that Christ has commanded without being a member of a local church. There are many things that could be said about this but let’s look at just three areas of the Christian life that can only be carried out within the context of the local church.

  1. Submission to Authority

Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you. -Hebrews 13:17

Authority has become a dirty word in our culture – sometimes for good reason. A cursory glance at history will provide no shortage of cult leaders and tyrannical rulers who have wielded their authority to advance their own evil agendas. But authority is not an evil thing in and of itself. In fact, church authority is a gift from God by which we are lovingly protected and equipped to live out the Christian life. Leaders in the church have been tasked with the responsibility of keeping watch over our souls and they will have to give an account for how they carry out that task. The primary way that they do this is by teaching and instructing from the Word of God (2 Tim 3:16, 2 Tim 4:2, 1 Tim 4:16). It is in being taught and instructed by the God-ordained authorities within the church that the saints are equipped for ministry, brought to maturity in their Christian life, and guarded from deception (Eph 4:11-16, Acts 20:28). Those who are rejecting the church are rejecting God’s means for their spiritual growth and protection.

  1. Mutual Accountability

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. -Galatians 6:1

Church is often thought of as the place in which you go to say hi to few people you hardly know, listen to a spiritual pep talk that will aid in getting you through the next week, and perhaps even give an obligatory donation in the offering box. Spiritual duties for the week – check.  However, Scripture does not allow for such a narrow understanding. Christians who are a part of the same local church have an obligation to look out for each other’s spiritual well-being. We are accountable to each other in discipleship and the mutual sharpening of our spiritual lives (Heb 10:24, Titus 2:4-6). Often, this will mean that we may have to bring correction to the ones we love to stop them from drifting in a wrong direction or restore them when they have sinned (Gal 6:1, Heb 12:15, Matt 18:15). Often, this will mean that we may be the recipients of loving and needed correction. Despite what the culture tells us, correcting someone in sin is not judgmental. On the contrary, correction can be one of the most loving things a person can do for another as it may be the thing that keeps them from their own destruction. As the writer of the book of Proverbs says, “Better is an open rebuke than hidden love” (Prov 27:5). Carrying out the commands to care for others in this way requires much more than mere attendance at a church, it requires involving ourselves in the lives of others and allowing others to involve themselves in our lives. Those who neglect the church altogether, neglect the accountability that Christ has designed and commanded for His people.

  1. Neighborly Responsibility

So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. -Galatians 6:10

The third and final commandment that assumes church membership is the obligation to do good to those who are of the household of faith. The scriptures are replete with commandments for believers to sacrifice themselves, their time, possessions, and personal giftedness for the good of the church (Rom12:3-8). While some may protest that their efforts in the realm of social philanthropy fulfill these commands, the scripture’s primary burden, and thus the burden for every believer, is for those within the Body of Christ (Rom 12:13, 2 Cor 9:12, Heb 6:10). In fact, the apostle John goes so far as to say that those who shut their hearts to the brothers in need are void of the love of God (1 Jn 3:17). The reason for the emphasis of giving of ourselves to our brothers and sisters is simple: “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers” (1 Jn 3:16). Those who neglect the church cannot fulfill these commands and therefore cannot and do not emulate the Lord they claim to love.

 When it comes down to it, the Christian life was not meant to be lived apart from the church. The very essence of what it means to be a Christian is wrapped up in our relationships to our fellow believers within the local church. This means that those who only attend church, like those who neglect church altogether, are not actually living out the Christian life. Christians are Christians because they claim to be followers of Christ and just as Christ came to serve His people and not to be served, so must we (Mark 10:45, Jn 10:15, 1 Jn 3:16). All three of these categories, (submission to authority, mutual accountability, and neighborly responsibility), function both as a means by which God demonstrates His love in our lives and a means by which we demonstrate our love for and obedience to Christ. In fact, how ever we treat Christ’s church, whether with engagement or apathy, is ultimately how we are treating Christ Himself (Acts 9:4).

And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ -Matthew 25:33-40 (emphasis added)

Logan Cauthen is a member of FCC and is currently pursuing a Masters of Divinity at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is married to Lindsey and they have two daughters.

 

Posted in: Church life

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Why Fellowship Groups?

by Jason Dawson

Why are Fellowship groups near and dear to my heart?  When I was in my early 20’s I was newly married and recently born again.  I was hungry to be mentored and discipled.  I remember enjoying the kindness, and friendliness of the church we found in Independence.   However, the longer I was there, I developed an urge to go deeper into the Word, to understand the things of God in deeper, more spiritual, and yes, even practical ways.  Finally, after two years, I started inquiring about different Bible studies, and an older gentleman told me that he held a men’s weekly Bible study at his home every Thursday evening.  I started to attend the Bible study in the inner-city of Kansas City.  Over the next seven years, meeting nearly weekly, I listened to these older gentlemen open their lives up to me, show me how they were reading God’s Word, and how they were applying it in their daily life.  I also began spending time with the men outside of the Bible study.  I could see how they treated their families, how they raised their children, how they had a love and devotion to read and understand God’s Word. That was what I longed to experience.   It was in the context of a “home group” that I began to see what was preached from the pulpit lived out.  As a young man in this gentleman’s home, I was admonished, challenged, even rebuked and reproved, and God humbled me enormously through these relationships.  This created in me a passion and an appetite as I have gotten older to do my best to encourage others to provide these kinds of contexts, and opportunities for spiritual growth within our own body.

Although one’s personal responsibility in sanctification is paramount (Philippians 2:12), sanctification cannot be accomplished in isolation. In other words, we weren’t made to do this Christian life by ourselves, and my experience has proven that. I was truly struggling before I found this opportunity for fellowship.  FCC Fellowship Groups provide a tremendous context for sanctification to occur within our own body. Fellowship Groups provide encouragement, correction, and accountability that cannot be attained through simply attending and receiving a message for one hour on a Sunday morning.

Hearing God’s Word faithfully preached is vitally important, however, it is insufficient without life change (James 1:22-24). Reading the Bible and listening to faithful preaching doesn’t bear fruit unless it penetrates our hearts. Fellowship Groups provide a context to apply God’s Word in such a way that further seeks to penetrate our hearts and allow intentional relationships to walk together toward this kind of spiritual growth and maturity.

Personal Care… Accountability… Transparency… Sharpening… Service, all benefits of fellowship groups.

One of the benefits of meeting in fellowship groups is the mutual giving and receiving of care on an individual basis. In Fellowship Groups care is spread out around the body, but on a personal basis, so that in our best effort no one is overlooked or neglected (1 Cor. 12:24-26).  This provides us opportunities to care for one another when we are sick, when a new baby is born, when we have a particular need and we want to share something with closer relationships within the body.  In our fellowship groups we have the opportunity to share the joys and struggles in our relationship with God and life circumstances as well as encourage and pray for one another.  These close relationships encourage us to be transparent with one another, sharpen one another with the word, and use the word preached to further penetrate our hearts for life change.  This is where we get to work out the details of application from Sunday’s sermons, God’s word, challenge each other when we sin, and celebrate with one another in the overcoming of sin!  These relationships afford us the opportunity to experience the Christian life as members of the body serving one another, and not simply being mere spectators.  Fellowship Groups provide the place for the  “one another” verses in the Bible.

The New Testament contains over 50 “one another” verses. Here is are just a few:

“By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another….Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves…..Therefore encourage one another and build each other up….Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds….Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling…. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you.”

Exercising the gifts within the body of Christ….

Fellowship Groups also provide context for our Giftedness to be used through living out those “one another” verses.  God has given spiritual gifts to every Christian (1 Cor. 12:1-7) and he desires that we use them for one another. But it’s simply not realistic in our three services for every member to use his or her gifts. In a smaller and more personal environment such as Fellowship Groups, each one can experience and express how God has gifted them by the Holy Spirit.

Things that are good for you aren’t always easy…..

Although FCC Fellowship Groups are a great context for sanctification, they aren’t always easy, but we are called to be in community.

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”- Hebrews 10:24–25

There are sometimes challenges when you get into close proximity into the lives of people. It’s not easy to see people sin, and to speak the truth in love.  There are times when I am tired from the day, and being around a lot of people is sometimes difficult, but it is so rewarding when we are able to spend quality time with other fellow believers.

Change can be hard …..

When God brings change into our life, like new relationships, often our natural response is to resist.  However, I have realized over the years that there is often a war going on in our lives: my flesh vs. my new inner man that is in Christ.

Galatians 5:17 says, “For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.”

Although there are difficult reasons and excuses we can come up not to join a Fellowship Group let me encourage you to fight through the comforts of this world. Pastor Tim has preached recently in his sermon “The Christian Athlete” we are like a Christian athlete; we must go and do these things we naturally don’t want to do.    Pastor Tim gives the example that our body wants to stay and sleep, but we need to get up and run.  We want to veg on the couch and watch TV, but we need to get up, go to the gym, and work out.  The next time your natural body doesn’t want to go to a Fellowship Group or “We don’t feel like being around a lot of people we don’t know well”, I want to encourage us to push past our flesh, and find a group, pour out our life, serve, love, and contribute to the body here at FCC.

If you’re interested in receiving more information please fill out the online form and we’ll be in touch soon!

Fellowship Group Ministry

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So Many Different Gifts!

by Sarah Bush

Did you know that there is a rich well of gifts and talents amongst the women at FCC; things that we can all benefit from as a whole; knowledge that can add a new lens to your perspective; skills that can benefit your life and those around you? Let me share a few of these with you. Here is a short list of just a few of the wonderful gifts and talents that the women at FCC possess:

– Sew amazingly

– Fantastic cooks

E.M. Lilien, “King Lemuel and His Mother”

– Budgeting

– Encouragers

– Counselors

– Teachers

– Truth tellers

– Ladies who can get a stain out of anything

– Deep wisdom

– Writers

– Musicians

– Freezer meal queens

– Artists

– Crafters

– Organizers

– Comforters

– Hospitality

– Painters

– Gardeners

– Prayer warriors

– Garage sale barterers

– Decorative skills

– Evangelists

– Someone who will listen and cry with you

– Others who will make you laugh till you cry

– Bible study leaders

– Ladies who will run to your aid in a heartbeat

I could go on and on. I have learned so much from the different women at FCC. After almost ten years of being in this body, I am still humbled and amazed at the diversity in which Christ’s church can have. It is truly a beautiful thing. I have found so many women who do things completely different than I do. They have opened my eyes to the awesome diversity of our Creator. We are each designed a little different. We think differently, enjoy different things, and excel in different areas. Sadly, I do not always see this with clear vision. My perspective can get a little jaded at times. There have been times I have avoided certain people because they were so different from me, or rolled my eyes because they took joy in something for which I saw no use. How blind I have been. I was missing out by not taking joy in, learning from, or living life with those who look, do, or act differently than I do. These other women, who are different than me, have shown me new ways to praise my Creator and value His creativity. I have learned to enjoy different ideas, add different skills to my life, and look at life from different perspectives. With each new relationship my vision becomes more enhanced with beauty and thankfulness for the body. As I learn about and from these different women, my little world has taken on new life. I see things I did not see before. I value things I once did not. I have learned skills I needed. What a sad and pathetic body we would be if all the women were like me. Downright terrifying! By God’s perfect design He puts all different types of people together so that we can function as a whole more effectively. We all need each other. We each have our place. We each have giftings to glorify God through. As our body goes through growing pains we will need to remember this all the more. We can look at this in two different ways – The first option, we HAVE to reach out and learn new women. Or, the second, we GET to reach out and learn new women. What an amazing thing to have the opportunity to tap into so many amazing people, with so many different gifts, right here within our body at FCC. And as we do tap into each other’s lives, may it unite us all the more in the most important thing: Christ Jesus our Savior and Lord.

Sarah Bush is a member of FCC.

Posted in: Women's Ministry

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In Praise of Christian Rap and Fellowship Groups

By Pastor Tim

I will warn you now this is going to surprise some of you. If you wish to retain a perception of your pastor as a very handsome, somewhat tall, very intelligent, hymn-loving preacher, then you might not want to read any further. If you are still reading, then don’t say I didn’t warn you. I am, in fact, a hymn-loving preacher (the other characteristics are admittedly quite debatable), but some of you might be surprised to know that one of my favorite songs is actually rap. Yes, rap. The kind of music where you talk rhythmically to the beat. For some, it is questionable that you could rightly call rap music. In general, rap has a well-deserved bad reputation. But the rap that I like is a very different kind of rap then normal rap; it is theologically Reformed Christian rap. You might not know that such a beast existed, but it does. And one of my favorite rap songs is “Expositional Preaching” by Shai Linne. It is a song that was inspired by Mark Dever’s 9 Marks of a Healthy Church. I wish newsletters had soundtracks because I would love to include a link for you all to listen to it. I am sure you would love it. Here is my favorite line:

So let me ask a question: What’s most essential, what is it that gives a local church its potential?
Some would say, ‘Music’, some would say, ‘Deacons’
Other say, ‘Reaching the lost and soul seeking’
But if we wanna give God the glory in our meetin’s
The most important thing is: Expository Preaching!

I believe in those lyrics whole-heartedly. They really define the philosophy of ministry of our church. The foundation of any church must be a faithful ministry of the Word. It is the rudder that steers the ship; the flag that identifies our citizenship. However, and this is a big however, as important and essential as preaching is to the local church, it is not the only thing that is important. Church is much more than just listening to a sermon. Acts 2:42 lays out four pillars of the early church’s priorities:

And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers

Fellowship – or in Greek, koinonia – was a vital part of the Christian experience. A lexicon defines koinonia asassociation, communion, fellowship, close relationship.” The idea of community or close association with each other was, in fact, a common feature of each pillar. The early church was devoted to the apostles’ teaching together. The concept of listening to a message at home on the Internet would have been completely foreign to them. Likewise, the Lord’s Supper (the breaking of bread) and the prayers were also celebrated in togetherness.

The primary purpose of our small group ministry is to foster close relationships, or koinonia, in the body of Christ. These groups meet in homes throughout the city. Belonging to a small group is not the only way to foster fellowship, but it is an important way.

If you have been attending for a while, but still haven’t landed in a small group, contact Jason Dawson and he will be happy to help you in any way that he can.

In 1822, the English Nonconformist minister John Angell James wrote, “The identifying law of Christ’s kingdom is to love one another; and in order that this love may be more perfect in its exercise, we are united in visible communion.” As Christians, the indwelling Spirit of God is the invisible bond that unites us together. Small group fellowship is one way to make the invisible communion visible.

Dr. Timothy Juhnke is the Senior Pastor at Faith Community Church

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