Tuesday, September 1, 2009


On Sunday Aug. 30th, we worked with our third core value at Bethel Church. The first, you remember was Biblical Foundation. The second was evangelism. I got the notion of teamwork from a book called: Church is a Team Sport. It got me to thinking about the church as the Body of Christ.

If God had wanted to do his thing without benefit of a community of people, God could have done that. Instead, in God's wisdom, God chose to work with and through us to make "his appeal to the world..."

As a team, I said, we are united. We are one. Recall Matthew 18 where Jesus establishes the church and says that the "gates of hades shall not prevail against it." Recall John 17 where Jesus prayed to God in his high priestly prayer that his followers would all be one. Recall Ephesians 4 where Paul reminds us that we are one because we have one Lord, one faith, on baptism, one God and Father of us all.

It doesn't mean that we all agree on everything. We, as John Wesley says, agree on the essentials and we have love/charity about the rest. Jesus invites us to this unity when he reminds us that if we have something against another when we come to the altar to bring our gift we should go get it straight first then come to the altar. I invited the congregation to look around the room and if there is anyone who has anything against anyone to get it straight because we don't want anything standing in the way of our doing God's will.

I also said that in this team we "bear one another's burdens". On any given Sunday we come to church with burdens, pain, grief, suffering. Sometimes it's all we can to do bring ourselves before each other and God. But, in church we are reminded that we are not alone. We are part of a team that is hold us up, praying for us, working with us. Susie ran into a little girl with a broken doll. Susie's mother asked: "Did you help her fix it?" susie said: "We couldn't fix it, but I stayed a while to help her cry..." That's it. We share our burdens on this team.

Next, I said, that we have a common calling. We are all ordained (chosen) in baptism to be God's agents of love and grace in the world. Pastors are expected to be agents of God's love; so is every Christian expected to walk out into the world in service and love. At work, at play, wherever we are we are one in our calling. Jesus said: "Follow me and together we will change the world..."

Last, I said, we have a common mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ. We do that by inviting others to Christ, by growing in Christ, by sending others out into the world to live out Christ's love. This is the church.

We are on the same team, working for the same purpose, and sharing the same love. Our prayer is that we will grow together in love as we seek to do God's will.
Dave Nichols

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