Today's Word for Pastors...
Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death--that is, the devil-- and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.
Today's Preaching Insight...
The Healthy Church
What does a healthy church look like?
I. A Healthy Church Is a Devoted Church
Occasionally Luke stops to give us a glimpse of the progress of the early church. Here is our first, and here we may observe the marks of a healthy church — both then and now.
A healthy church is devoted to teaching. The early church "continually devot[ed] themselves to the apostles teaching." Their teaching was Christ-centered and biblically focused. There were thousands who placed there trust in Christ and desperately needed to understand more His nature and how their new relationship should affect their lives.
A healthy church is also devoted to fellowship. There was a real sense of community and shared values in this early gathering of believers. This wasn't just a pot luck dinner; these early Christians shared true intimacy and depended on their fellow saints.
A healthy church is devoted to celebrating the Lord's supper. A church that teaches Christ and lives Christ in community will long to remember His sacrifice.
A healthy church is devoted to prayer. This early assembly understand their dependance on God for all things. They knew the necessity of communing with the Giver and Sustainer of life.
II. A Healthy Church Is a Giving Church
As the author goes on he mentions that these early believers were in awe of what was taking place. There were many miracles validating the message of the apostles. The greatest miracle was the changed lives of those who placed their trust in Christ.
Can you imagine the scene? These people were giving away their possessions according to the needs of their brothers and sisters in Christ. They were experiencing the blessings of a community of faith truly dependant on God. What they once considered theirs was now understood as God's.
I know I'd do anything for my physical parents or siblings, but would I have the attitude of these early Christians towards my spiritual family?
III. A Healthy Church Is a Joyously United Church
"Day by Day continuing with one mind . . . ." We could learn much from the unity exemplified here. This wasn't grumbling submission to the majority; it was joyful fellowship with "gladness and sincerity of heart."
IV. A Healthy Church Is a Worshiping Church
This fellowship of believers was intent on praising God. Christ was the focus and desire of their hearts. The text says that they had favor with all people. Jesus said that we will know we're His disciples by our love for one another. And He taught that the greatest command is to love God with our whole being, and the second is to love our neighbor as ourselves.
This body worshiped God with their whole lives. They were devoted, giving, joyously united and worshipers. By the grace of God we have a wonderful legacy. May we do our part to maintain that legacy by continuing to develop these qualities of a healthy church.
(To read the entire article "A Healthy Church" by Jonathan Kever at Preaching.com, click here)
This Week's Laugh
Everything I Needed To Know In Life I Learned From A Jigsaw Puzzle
Don't force a fit. If something is meant to be, it will come together naturally.
When things aren't going so well, take a break. Everything will look different when you return.
Be sure to look at the big picture. Getting hung up on the little pieces only leads to frustration.
Perseverance pays off. Every important puzzle went together bit by bit, piece by piece.
When one spot stops working, move to another. But be sure to come back later (see above).
The creator of the puzzle gave you the picture as a guidebook.
Variety is the spice of life. It's the different colors and patterns that make the puzzle interesting.
Establish the border first. Boundaries give a sense of security and order.
Don't be afraid to try different combinations. Some matches are surprising.
Take time to celebrate your successes (even little ones).
Anything worth doing takes time and effort. A great puzzle can't be rushed.
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