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3 “Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. 4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” Psalm 100:3-4 NIV
I am so very thankful for my church. Being in a Christian community is a microcosm where we learn to live like Jesus. It sharpens us. It holds us accountable. It comforts and supports us. It refreshes. It is a wellspring of faith and hope.
In my adult years I migrated to large, mega-size churches. Small group studies were bountiful and content was professional within that environment. And then there was a change of season.
I was not aware that I was missing the intimacy of truly being pastored. Please know that I do not mean to disparage any church in any way. This is simply my experience and my story. Maybe God knew that my learning style required that I be hands on!
In the last couple of years, God placed me in a smaller church. He has definitely been doing a work in me! Being in a small community has placed me in a hotbed of learning and growth. In our little community, we have to count on each other. None of us can function in isolation and truly contribute in a healthy fashion. It takes trust, collaboration, faith, humility, integrity, long-suffering, forgiveness. It pulls on every gift of the spirit. And then it multiplies. In my heart I have experienced the 100-fold return. It feels like I am growing up, or maturing, spiritually in a way that I haven’t before. It’s new and different. Every day I learn something new. I can truly say that every day my walk of faith is stretched and enriched.
That doesn’t mean it’s easy. What it does mean is that it is authentic. It’s real. It’s down to earth in a way that reminds me of Jesus with the disciples. We get our feet dirty. We get sweaty. There are days we have to look for how the loaves and fishes will be multiplied, at church and in our lives. Our flesh sometimes rises up in rebellion. And one by one we deal with it or it gets dealt with. We also know that we are already forgiven and have already won the victory.
I’m so very thankful for the steady diet of God’s Word that I receive. The nutrition is exceptional! If you do not have a church home, please find one. It will not be perfect. Or should I say it will be as perfect as you are. Ha! Because you and I aren’t perfect now, are we?
Whenever I get squirmy, I cling to the scripture about how the body of Christ is one body with many parts. I also cling to the scripture that says we have all been given spiritual gifts based on the common good. Find the people that God wants you to be knit together with. Find the part that God has for you in that body and exercise with all your might! Be fit in God’s kingdom according to His purpose for your life. His riches will follow.
Father, thank you for arranging every detail in the body of Christ. Show us all how to work together for Your Glory: to love the Lord our God will all our heart and all our minds, to heal the sick, to feed the hungry, and to share salvation with the lost. Give us eyes to see and ears to hear Your direction, O God!