The current sermon series at the Boise Vineyard is on the Core Values of our church. Thus far we have looked at Worship, the Word, Multiplication (Evangelism), Prayer, Stewardship, and Fellowship/Community.
I loved yesterday’s message (10/22/06, Community). It’s so important in the church (the universal church and the local church) that we remember we are all part of one body. God plants us in a particular local church so that we might be in fellowship with other believers. (And the purpose of building a community is so that we will turn around and share what we have with others outside the community. We can’t do that alone.)
“Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are all parts of his one body, and each of us has different work to do. And since we are all one body in Christ, we belong to each other, and each of us needs all the others.” (Romans 12: 4-5)
We need one another. Western society has honed us to be independent, but independence is death to Christianity. When you hear a Christian saying he can worship God better alone or in nature, you are listening to a believer in trouble. Fellowship rubs off our rough edges. Unity makes us powerful.
“Two people can accomplish more than twice as much as one; they get a better return for their labor. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But people who are alone when they fall are in real trouble. And on a cold night, two under the same blanket can gain warmth from each other. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)
Two of my dearest friends and I often repeat to each other that last sentence in the above verses. We are a triple-braided cord not easily broken. When one is weak, the other two carry her. Unfortunately, God did not choose to have us live in the same state, let alone in the same cities, but He has planted each one of us in a local body of believers so that we might become a vibrant, contributing part of fellowship where we live.
Yesterday, I began volunteering in the church bookstore, the Book Cellar, between services. When I attended the congregational meeting a couple of weeks ago, I was encouraged to become more involved on Sundays and so that’s where I signed up. It was a lot of fun. Hey, me and books. Can you think of a better fit? And in the process of serving others, I get a chance to smile and meet more people. When you attend a church of over 3,000, it can become comfortable to just talk with those who sit in the same area of the sanctuary. I meet others when I step out.
I love this prayer from the devotional that went with the sermon on Fellowship: “Lord, you are the friend who sticks closer than a brother. You formed me to experience the joys and sorrows of fellowship and friendship. Free my heart from fears of friendship so I may experience it’s joys.” Amen.
Sometimes, as a writer, I spend way too much time alone, lost in my own thoughts. God has to nudge me out of that comfortable, familiar place every so often. I’m always happier when I obey Him.
In the grip of His grace,