Monday, July 18, 2011

July 18th, 2001

In his book The Purpose-Driven Church, Rick Warren explains how being part of a healthy church is essential to living a healthy life. He asserts that God designed his church specifically to help us fulfill the five deepest needs of our life:

1] A purpose to live for
2] People to live with
3] Principles to live by
4] A profession to live out
5] A power to live on

Today, I want to focus on #2…. The Church Alive meets our need for a people to live with. Ephesians 2:19 in the Living Bible says, “You are members of God’s very own family, citizens of God’s country, and you belong in God’s household with every other Christian.” God’s plan for each of us is perfect. His will is that we are physically born into a family of origin with a mother and father who love God and each other. These parents are sacrificially committed to our welfare and love us unconditionally. Then, His will is also that we are spiritually reborn into a family of faith and we become part of a network of individuals and other families called the church. God’s best for us is that we are an active part of this community that helps to change us, inspire us….motivate and prepare us [and others] for an even greater life beyond.

But sadly, many have not traveled God’s ideal life path. They have been forgotten, rejected, hurt and neglected by family or friends. There is great injury and disappointment in the lives of many people as God’s perfect plan, revealed in His Word, has been tragically unshared, willfully refused or passively ignored.

Although we cannot control our family of origin, we are free to make a personal decision about Christ and His church. So will we decide to be attenders or members? Attenders are uninvolved; members are commited. Attenders are spectators; members get involved in the ministry. Attenders are consumers; members are contributors. Attenders want the benefits of a church without sharing the responsibility. They are like couples who want to live together without committing to marriage.

Why is it important to join a local church family? Because it proves you are committed to your spiritual brothers and sisters in reality, not just in theory. God wants you to love real people, not ideal people. The Christian life is more than just a committed love for Christ; it includes a committed love for other Christians. Paul said in II Corinthians 8:5, “First they gave themselves to the Lord; and then, but God’s will, they gave themselves to us as well.”

Pray with me…. Father, thank you for the way you provide for us, literally from the cradle to the grave. Your plan is perfect….yet it has not been embraced by everyone. As a result there are people who do not know the love of family or the support of a Christian family in the church. May we unselfishly recognize that, in Christ, we who are many are one, and that each member belongs to all the others. In Jesus name, amen.

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