Friday, April 18, 2014

I Love My Church Part 8

This is based on an article from Hal Seed (accessed here on February 13, 2014).

Hal Seed writes, “A quick read of the book of Acts or the letters in Revelation proves that Jesus loves his church. He died for it, prays for it, lives for it and is going to return for it.

[But] let’s be honest: It’s not easy to love the church. It’s easy to love Jesus. Loving His bride is another story. Churches are filled with frail and fault-riddled people. Every church has a unique personality. All are loved by Jesus, but not all are loved in equal measure by each of His people.”

I agree, loving Jesus is so much easier than loving His bride, the Church. But just like the love of a spouse in marriage, love of the church is more a choice than a feeling.

Based on Hall Seed’s ten reasons that he loves his church, I have ten reasons that I choose to love Jesus’ bride, the Church. They are in no particular order – this is not a ranked list. This week, reason number eight:

8. Helps the family.

The church is often referred to as a family. I’ve often referred to members of the congregations that I have served as “brothers and sisters.”

What happens to one member of a family often happens to all members of a family. When one is hurting, all are hurting – in one way or another.

It is basic human nature that people in families help each other.

But in the church, it is not just “nature” – it is a calling.

And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. Acts 2:44-45

Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. Acts 6:1

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. James 1:27

When a family needs help, the church is there for them. To help provide a meal, a ride, money, and the list goes on.

I know this first hand. When my son was diagnosed with epilepsy, the Church came together to pray for us. They also helped us when we need rides, babysitters, ideas and resources.

This is what Jesus came for. He became one of us to bring to us what we needed most, restoration to the family of God. He came to bring us forgiveness and power. After his ascension, he left us with the power and the calling to be a family and to help the family.

One of the things that I hope that the Church can get better at – all around – is to act like a family. In the nearly two decades I’ve been a pastor, I’ve heard from many people who leave a particular church because “they don’t like so-and-so.” “She sings too loud.” “He’s not friendly.” “I don’t like her teaching style.” “I don’t like his ideas.”

But this happens in families, too. Yet, most – if not all – people don’t leave a family because he picks his nose or she folds socks differently than my mom used to.

The Church is a family - not one of several clubs or organizations a person can join.

She is a family that is there when you need her – and we will all be in need at some time in our lives. If you find yourself NOT in need at the moment, someone in your church IS! Thank God He provided the Church to be his hands and arms and provision house for that time!

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