Over the past many weeks we have shared our heart with churches in Iowa (Clutier and Vining), friends and family from our original church (NorthBridge), former students I had the joy of serving for so long (thELEMENT and Nucleus), close friends who have loved on us (Collings and Thomson), our current church family (Faithway Baptist), and recently the Elgin Evangelical Free Church. This list doesn't include the hundreds of support letters we have sent out to so many people, friends, and family. The past few weeks has also opened a door for us to spend great connecting time with family, which has drawn us closer together due to this God story.
Each time we speak with people our heart doesn't simply see a community of people who are joined through past or present relationships, but instead joined by and through Christ. We are not sharing with a community. We are sharing what we believe to be the heart of God to all those are are willing to listen. We are sharing it with the those interested in learning more, becoming a part of, and who already belong to the Body of Christ. The unraveling of this God story needs more than a community, but the Body of Christ being just that.
Together our story will be heard. Together all God stories will be heard as people listen and share. For this is not about us, but the Church supporting each other as all God stories are told and passed on. We aspire to inspire and empower people through our journey, as well as being inspired and empowered by the stories of others as they journey in faith no matter how and where that may be.
We are humbled, over and over again, by the power of God as He unites His Church to be the church. Many of us have heard the phrase "It takes a village to raise a child." Well, it takes the Body of Christ to be the Church. It takes the Body of Christ to love, challenge, and empower someone. It takes the Body of Christ and not simply a community to support each personal God story being unraveled. If this happen, in the end, this unification will create a collective Kingdom Ripple. This ripple effect could be greater and more powerful than the largest tidal wave or tsunami. The difference being that this ripple is made not of water, but the Holy Spirit. This Holy Spirit tidal wave is empowered and unleashed through the pray and service of the Church being the Body of Christ.
Something to think about....
Do you belong to a "Christian" community or do you belong to the Body of Christ?
What role do you play in the Body of Christ? Do you exercise your gifts for the Church? why or why not?
I Corinthians 12:12-31 (additional reading: Eph. 4; 1 Pet. 4; Ro. 12)
12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body-- Jews or Greeks, slaves or free--and all were made to drink of one Spirit.
14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,"that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,"that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you,"nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you." 22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, 24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, 25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.
27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 28 And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.