Posted on May 5, 2016 in Faith Updates
In his letter to the Ephesians, the Apostle Paul addresses two very different people groups: Gentile Christians and Jewish Christians. If you know anything about the Jews and the Gentiles, you know that they not only have little in common, but did not even associate with each other. However, they now had a commonality in their belief in Jesus Christ. This belief called for them to do life together, or what we would refer today as “church.” In Ephesians 2, Paul works to bring reconciliation to these two groups, noting that, because of their faith in Christ:
“You are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens of with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” (Eph. 2:19-22)
Like the Ephesian Christians, we today are still trying to understand what it means to be the church and to live out the Christian life in community. In our attempt to grapple with this reality, we have a tendency to misunderstand all that being the church entails. However, this passage sheds some light for us on three things that the church is not and does not do.
The Church Does Not:
- Reside in a Building. Words like “household,” “built,” “building” and “temple,” if taken literally, would lead a person to see the church as a physical building. But it is much more than that. These words do not refer to a material structure, but to the intimate connection the members have with each other. Rather than being confined to a local congregation, the church is “catholic,” or universal. The church goes beyond the walls of a building and is active in our homes, communities, and world.
- Reject the Past. The church is “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets,” and “Jesus Christ himself.” Although the method by which the church shares the gospel with the world is ever changing, the message does not. We fervently hold to the teachings of Scripture, and to those of Christ, “the chief cornerstone.” We embrace new methods of teaching that help us understand God’s Word, but reject those that claim to have new insight that goes against that which has been established. We press towards the future but do not reject the past.
- Revolve Around You. Simply put, you are not the primary focus of church, nor can you do church alone. The church is made up of broken people from a variety of backgrounds who come together for the purpose of propelling the gospel mission. We should not be a part of this community so that we can only be served, but should seek to serve others. Through mutual encouragement we press others towards Christ, and get the attention off of ourselves.
Blessings to you today!
Interim Director of Student Ministries
Here’s What’s Happening at Faith
Immersion Baptism Class
Baptism: a visible sign of God’s invisible grace. A joyful surrender to God’s leadership in our life, the forgiveness of sin, and the promise of life forever. An acknowledgement of the important role of a community of believers, and a daily dependence on the Holy Spirit. If you haven’t been baptized and desire to learn more about/prepare for this sacrament, please join Pastor Brad on Wednesday, May 25, 6:30-8pm. RSVP to Jen at email@example.com. (***Please note: this class is required for all who desire to be baptized on June 5)
On Sunday, May 22, we will honor our Interim Directors, Dan Booker and Tommy Case, as they leave for the new ministry opportunities to which God has called them. If you would like to leave them a card or personally thank them, there will be an opportunity to do so at a cake reception after the worship service that morning. Please continue to pray for them and their families as they make their transitions.
Women’s Retreat Early Registration
In honor of Mother’s Day, registration for the September 23 Women’s Fall Retreat at Covenant Pines is being offered at a $30 discount. This retreat is designed by women and for women and will not only give you a chance to have fun and be with friends, but to explore your relationship with God and experience deeper levels of His love. The 2016 speaker is Ginny Olson from the Northwest Conference. Register or get more information at covenantpines.org.
Council Position Nominations
Faith’s council will have one vacancy this July for the position of Recording Secretary. This is a 3 year, non-voting position that requires attention to detail. (Though it is non-voting, participation in discussion of matters is welcomed/encouraged). If you would like to submit a name for this position, please contact Kavan at firstname.lastname@example.org no later than May 10.
May’s retiring offering, taken as you exit the worship service today, will go to Faith’s Missions budget. If you would like to hear more about the missionaries we support on both a long-term and short-term basis, please contact the GO Team (Global Outreach) at email@example.com. You can also find information about the missionaries Faith supports by going to the “Ministries” tab on Faith’s webpage and selecting the “Outreach” page. There you will find missionary bios and an interactive map.
Amnion Walk for Life
Amnion Crisis Pregnancy Center exists to extend the love and grace of Christ to women (and men) facing unplanned pregnancies. Believing that Jesus is the author and giver of life, Amnion’s goal is to support women as they carry their babies to term and deliver healthy little ones. The annual Walk for Life (hosted once again by Faith Covenant) is their biggest fundraiser – won’t you commit to walking 2 miles in support of LIFE? For more information, or to register, contact Deb at firstname.lastname@example.org.