Encouragement From The Word

“What do you like about your church community?”

Yesterday, I heard a story from a woman who has experienced real community in the life of her church.  When she was a new believer, she found herself on her own with four children.  In need of short-term housing, one of her church friends took her and her four children in.  When that short term needed an extension, it was graciously granted.  When she acquired housing for herself and her kids, her church family came together to bring trucks and trailers to help them move.  They set everything up, put pictures on the wall, and made it look like they’d live in the house for years.

When Christmas came, a tree was cut down for them, and people brought gifts for her and her kids.  There always seemed to be food available when they were hungry.  Hers is a church that takes “love one another” very seriously.

There was even more to the story, but it all spoke in grateful praise for a church family that put love in action…all in response to the question, “What do you like about your church community?”.

I asked an entire group that question, and got a wonderful rainbow of responses.  Often, as followers of Jesus, we find it easy to love the Lord, but we don’t find it as easy to love his church.  Yet when the church is truly being the church, there is much about her to love – because the church reflects her Lord.

Take a few minutes and do an audit of your own church:  does your church reflect the Lord whom she serves?  As a church, are you functioning as the body of Christ?  Are you using the gifts that God has given to you in community?  Twentieth century thinker Francis Schaeffer said, “Because every (one) is made in the image of God and has, therefore, aspirations to love, there is something that can be in every geographical climate – in every point of time – which cannot fail to arrest his attention.  What is it?  The love that true Christians show for each other and not just for their own party.”  (The Mark of the Christian, p. 16)

How is your church living out God’s love?  How could it live out God’s love?

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him” (1 John 4.16b, NIV).