Recently I was overwhelmed by just being with my church family … yes that is right … being with you! How blessed I am to have you as my fellow Christian. I can’t imagine worshipping anywhere else on a Sunday morning and meeting with many of you during the week at various activities. I thank God for you! I am so blessed because of you! God is so good to me!
The local church is very special to me. I remember listening to Bill Hybels, who is the Senior Pastor of a mega-church named, Willow Creek Community Church. He shared how much he loved being a member of the local church and how he counted it one of life’s great privileges to be the pastor of this church. I understand what he means because this is how I feel! As I look over the past three years of my time here at Grace, I have been humbled by the people whom God has brought into my life. I see people serving their Lord with joy and enthusiasm. I see our church family as a team who really does look out for the needs of others. But it is hard work and there will always be someone who ‘slips through the net’, so to speak. Trying to be a loving, caring and united church family is not easy! It requires thoughtfulness! It requires us to be ‘intentional’ as we look out for the good of others!
The church in Corinth seemed to be going through a difficult period. Paul accused them of ‘losing the plot’ when they allowed divisions to take hold of the church. This is pretty typical of many churches down through history … including our own! Sometimes we allow issues to take us away from our vision as a church that is meant to be outward looking and ‘other people’ focused. Sometimes the good news of the gospel becomes just a ‘nice thought’. Sometimes we become nothing more than a social club where we provide a ‘maintenance’ style ministry for club members. Sometimes there is real division in our ranks. Yet, we still take Holy Communion and worship God, forgetting all that Jesus achieved on the cross of Calvary. Paul says that if we have division in our ranks, and where there is unforgiveness, then we are no more than hypocrites! Scary thought!
Today, we consider the need to be united as a church family. Paul brings us back to the cross and the great sacrifice that was made for us by Jesus. It seems that we need to ‘thoughtfully intentional’ in all that we do to be truly ‘united’! This is a real challenge for us if we are to be a truly International Congregation as we seek to shed all things that may cause us to be divided! Yes, a loving church needs to have intentional ‘thoughtful unity’!