Since Christmas, I have become more and more aware of the spiritual needs of our community.  We have a community in which it is perceived that the “good” people go to church (a least once a quarter) and the “bad” people do not.

This makes the church kind of a moral social club.  This is not the church.  I have spent a lot of time study the sacraments as part of a correspondence class I am taking for the General Board of Education.  This study has been a bit of a revival for me.  More than once I have been brought to tears reflecting on what God has done for my salvation.  Baptism was the sacrifice of becoming one of us joined into a community with God.  Communion is about the cross, the grave, and the promise God has made to us in Jesus.  I am awed by the great outpouring of grace that these two sacraments bring to us.  This is grace that should change us.  This is grace that move us to cry Holy, Holy, Holy and have mercy upon me and the people I commune with.

Then there is the reminder, the entrusted responsibility God has given to us.  We are the vessels that God has chose to carry this grace to others.   Love is about opportunities.  Learning to be aware of those opportunities to carry out our divinely given vocation of being witnesses is one to the greatest acts of trust God puts in our hearts. 

In Winters we are surrounded by opportunities to be witnesses.  There are people all around us who live lives that are spiritually empty, wounded, uncertain and needy.  We can be used of God to open up their lives to grace.  This is what it means to be the church.  A family that grows through acts of grace that bring us closer to God who has given so much for us.

Friends, Fellowship and Faith

Juanell and I just returned from a wonderful fellowship at the Rock Hotel put on by Joyce Carbery.  There is no doubt that Joyce has the spiritual gift and social desire to create hospitality.  I have so enjoyed the gatherings she puts together.

Would it not be wonderful if somehow we could take Joyce’s gift and somehow apply it to our Sunday School or find a way to use it to create small groups within our church that would  meet on a regular basis for the purpose of Bible Study and  spiritual formation?   Just think of what might be accomplished if we could create an atmosphere in which people made an effort to come and enjoy each other and grow in their relationship with Jesus! 

We cannot make clones of Joyce (a pastor’s dream) to do this for us, but we can develop a desire like she has for seeing people gather and enjoying one another.  I wonder what amazing blessings we might see if five or six people realized they do not have to have permission to create these fellowships (in fact they will find they have a pastor who will do everything He possible can to help them) and spread this Spirit of hospitality in our church.  I know we would see more people becoming active in worship.  I know we would see more people being baptized and yes, we would see more people discovering the love of the Lord we worship. 

That is what is so nice about the beginning of a new year.  We can dream. 

Thank you Joyce for the invitation to your gathering.  It was a blessing.