Happy Wednesday, you lovely things!
Today I thought we’d do something that could really build us up as women of faith as well as charge us on as members of a local body of believers. If you have been around here a while, you know how strongly we believe in the investment of our lives in a local church. Oh, I know, I know. I’ve heard the whole “they’re just a bunch of hypocrites” thing a million times but I can tell you that some of the loveliest, most genuine Christians I have ever known, I met at my local church amid all the flaws and occasional dysfunction. We can get over thinking we’ll ever find a perfect church and, anyway, I always think to myself that, if I could find one, I’d mess the thing up by walking in the door. I am convinced way down in the marrow of my bones that we cannot grow up into full-throttle effectiveness in our callings without being in the framework of a Word-oriented body of believers. This is true even if you and I often minister outside those walls. My home church profoundly affects what I do in ministry on the road and I rarely make a really big decision outside without running it by the leadership inside. This segment of Ephesians 4 is probably the biggest reason why I believe so strongly in the framework.
11 And He gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Eph 4:11–16). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
That’s a powerful segment, isn’t it? Listen, I know some of you have been badly hurt by a grossly unhealthy church. In case nobody ever said it to you, your sisters here are so sorry that such pain came to you within a local body. It shouldn’t have. But, Sister, there’s another one out there for you. Don’t shut yourself off. You need a community of believers and not just your small group Bible study or accountability group. For it to function as the assembled church Christ ordained, it needs to be one that operates with leaders and shepherds and teachers like Ephesians 4 describes. Don’t misunderstand what I’m saying! I love communities of women in small group Bible study! You know I do! I’m just suggesting that they don’t replace a functioning assembly of believers where the broader gifts are practiced for the growth of those members.
Anyway, I’m just here to say that I really love my pastor. And, yep. He is my son-in-law but I told Amanda and Curtis recently that, this far in, I would have wanted to go right there to that church even if I didn’t know them from Adam. I am growing and meeting many new people. I’m being stretched. I’ve been kicked way out of my comfort zone. I love ministering to the children and helping hold doors and give hugs. And, Sister, I GET A WORD. Some of the most powerful things God has done in my life in the last year came from a seed sown in me through one of Curtis’s messages. (If you were part of the simulcast, that whole message about the Widow’s Oil and the jars developed from a question Curtis asked us the day he taught from 2 Kings 4.)
SO, this is what we’re doing today! We’re going to share ONE (just one please!) of the most important or memorable words God has ever spoken to you through your present pastor in a sermon. If you can do it succinctly, you can also tell us why, but it’s perfectly fine if you simply share the word. If at all possible, please give the text reference. You don’t have to write the verses out. Just the address is fine.
Here’s what I’m going to do for my entry. I want to share with you a recent sermon of Curtis’s that really ministered to me. Many of you probably won’t have time to listen but, for those of you who do, stay with it all the way to the end. His wrap up left me in tears. Perhaps it will be meaningful to you, too. To get to the sermon, click the following link. It will bring you to the Bayou City Fellowship podcast page. Look specifically for the title “What is to Come.” It will be the second one listed there, I’m almost positive. It’s free, of course. I’m not trying to get you to buy something here today. I’m also not selling churches. Laughing. Just hoping this might bless somebody.
Click here to download the podcast on iTunes. Remember, the title is “What is to Come.” If you have any problems connecting with the link provided, you can also search for “Bayou City Fellowship” in iTunes either online or on your computer if you have iTunes loaded there.
Your turn!!! Let’s share some words we’re getting, Sister! I love you dearly. I mean that. You are on my heart every day.