Songs for Sunday, July 25, 2021

This week has been VBS at Christ Community Church, and it has been wonderful! There is nothing like the sound of sixty-some-odd children laughing, singing, praising, and learning about Jesus!

That’s what a church should sound like (even from us older folks).

One of the beautiful truths from God’s Word that these kiddos learned was that of EmmanuelGod with us! Usually, this is something we typically focus on in December, but that beautiful and glorious gospel truth that God is still with us is going to drive our worship.

That means we’re going to be a bit Christmas-y in July. This is going to be good for us for a few reasons.

First, even though Christians are an Easter people and find our hope in the death, burial, and – especially – resurrection of Jesus. But, how could He do any of those things if He was not born first? This week at VBS, our kiddos began looking at how great and glorious our God and King is. Look at the verses we started with:

I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever.

Psalm 145:1

and

Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and His greatness is unsearchable.

Psalm 145:3

God is King and Creator – there is none like Him. From there we looked at Isaiah’s vision and the declaration of the seraphim:

“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory.”

Isaiah 6:3

In Isaiah’s vision, the Lord was seated on His throne. This is where the importance of Emmanuel comes in: God left His throne, laying aside His glory, to put on flesh and dwell among us in Jesus (John 1:1, 14)! No other king would abdicate his throne to serve the least of his people. But God is not like any other king.

This is highlighted by Thursday’s verse:

…but God shows His love for is in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.

Romans 5:8

Knowing the full extent of our sin and guilt, He loved us and died in our place. He knew before He came. That’s a gift worth celebrating.

Second, understanding the gift of Jesus (Romans 6:23) should drive us to worship Him all the more. Sometimes, changing the calendar from November to December does not drive us to worship. I heard numerous people remark in both Easter and Christmas 2020 that it just did not “feel” like it. Lord, willing, it will feel like it Sunday. The calendar does not drive us to worship, but the Christ does!

Finally, we have missed a lot of gathering together over the past year. Flippant things like singing a few Christmas-y songs in July will not make up for lost time, but the joy of gathering together is good for us and something we could all use a bit more of.

So, let me kick off our tomorrow with a hearty “Merry Christmas”!

Here are our Scriptures and songs:

  • Isaiah 9:2-7

The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shone.
3 You have multiplied the nation;
you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you
as with joy at the harvest,
as they are glad when they divide the spoil.
For the yoke of his burden,
and the staff for his shoulder,
the rod of his oppressor,
you have broken as on the day of Midian.
5 For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult
and every garment rolled in blood
will be burned as fuel for the fire.
6 For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

  • We Have a Savior
  • Born to Die
  • Isaiah 53:10-12

10 Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;
when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
because he poured out his soul to death
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and makes intercession for the transgressors.

  • Jesus Paid It All (O Praise the One)
  • King of Kings
  • (invitation) Joy to the World (King is Coming)

We invite you to join us this Sunday at Christ Community Church in Grenada, MS!

We have Sunday School classes for all ages at 9:30a and worship – everyone is welcome – at 11:00a!

If you are still concerned about social distancing or are at-risk, consider gathering with us at 10:00a for a small group Bible study in our worship center. There is plenty of room to spread out, but there is also opportunity to gather with others at the same time! No one will crowd you, and you can exit out of our side door and avoid the crowd coming in to worship after the Bible study!

Songs for Sunday, July 18, 2021

What a great day to get to be at Christ Community this Sunday! We celebrate in baptism!

I am excited for several reasons. First, baptism means that people have gotten saved – that Jesus has brought them from death to life (Ephesians 2:1-5), that the lost have been found (Luke 15), that those who were once slaves to sin are adopted by God as His own children (Romans 6:7-8, Galatians 4:4-5)!

Second, there is no clearer gospel presentation than baptism. Paul describes it in Romans 6:4: We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. That picture, being submerged under the water and coming out of it again to cheers and shouts of joy, illustrates dying, being buried, and then experiencing resurrection. There is only ONE person who has experienced that – our God and Savior Jesus Christ!

Finally, we need to be reminded! We need joy to shake the dust of grief and pain and this tired old world off of our hearts! Just as we need to hear the gospel again and again, we need to see it again and again as well. We need to know that God is working, that sinners are being saved – lost are being found – unloved are receiving love – and the wayward find the Way!

I find myself coming back again and again to Titus 3:4-7:

But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

I am so thankful that I do not have to hope in “works done by us in righteousness” – because we have none, definitely not enough to pay the debt of our sin. Jesus, our “God and Savior” (Titus 2:13), is rich in “goodness and loving kindness”, and He alone can pay for our sin – to die our death – to be raised and make it so that we can “walk in newness of life”. We’ll put that on display all morning long this Sunday. Our hearts will cry out to Him with thankfulness because of what Christ alone can do for us – what He has already done, is doing, and will do “according to His great mercy”.

That’s good news!

Here are the Scriptures & Songs:

  • Psalm 30

I will extol You, O Lord, for you have drawn me up
and have not let my foes rejoice over me.
O Lord my God, I cried to You for help,
and You have healed me.
O Lord, You have brought up my soul from Sheol;
You restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.

Sing praises to the Lord, O you His saints,
and give thanks to His holy name.
For His anger is but for a moment,
and His favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may tarry for the night,
but joy comes with the morning.

As for me, I said in my prosperity,
“I shall never be moved.”
By Your favor, O Lord,
You made my mountain stand strong;
You hid your face;
I was dismayed.

To You, O Lord, I cry,
and to the Lord I plead for mercy:
“What profit is there in my death,
if I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise you?
Will it tell of your faithfulness?
10 Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me!
O Lord, be my helper!”

11 You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
You have loosed my sackcloth
and clothed me with gladness,
12 that my glory may sing Your praise and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever!

  • 2 Corinthians 12:8-10

Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

  • Acts 4:12

And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”


We invite you to join us this Sunday at Christ Community Church in Grenada, MS!

We have Sunday School classes for all ages at 9:30a and worship – everyone is welcome – at 11:00a!

If you are still concerned about social distancing or are at-risk, consider gathering with us at 10:00a for a small group Bible study in our worship center. There is plenty of room to spread out, but there is also opportunity to gather with others at the same time! No one will crowd you, and you can exit out of our side door and avoid the crowd coming in to worship after the Bible study!

Songs for Sunday, June 27, 2021

Well, I’ve got good news and bad news. Which do you want first?

There is no telling how many times we have all heard that in our lives. Sometimes, we pick the bad news first because we want to soften the blow we are about to receive. Other times, we seek out the good news first to prepare us to deal with the bad.

The Bible has a special word for “good news” in the Bible – the word gospel. And there is no better news in all the universe than the gospel.

What is the gospel you ask? Rather than defining it in human terms, I would like to point you to a few passages of Scripture that define it better than I could:

  • 1 Corinthians 15:3-4: For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.
  • 2 Corinthians 5:21: For our sake He (God) made Him (Christ) to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.

In those verses, we find the good news as well as the bad.

The bad news is found in the reality of “sin” and is seen in both passages. When we see “for our sins” and “for our sake” in these two verses, we see the reality that we have sinned against (committed wrongs against) God. He created everything and, therefore, gets to decide how everything is intended to be. When we rebel against that, it is called sin. And the “wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).

There is no worse news than death, and that’s what makes the good news of Jesus so good – He offers a path out of death! If we finish out the bad news verse above, we see that it gets to the good: “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ”! Even though we are “dead in the trespasses and sins in which [we] once walked” (Ephesians 2:1-2), He offers us life because He is “rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us” (Ephesians 2:4).

The gospel tells us that He offers us life because “He died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3), because “for our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sins” (2 Corinthians 5:21). He died the death we deserve on our behalf. Oh, what a love that is! “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness” (1 Peter 2:24).

If you are thinking that it sounds like He took the bad news to give us good news, you are not wrong! “He who knew no sins” bore our sin so that the price/debt (think “wages” from the verse above) our sin cost could be paid. Look at the cool way Colossians 2:13-14 put it:

And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This He set aside, nailing it to the cross.”

Amen! Hallelujah!

But, just as the bad news of our sin is replaced with His good news, there is better news yet – Christ did not stay dead! Yes, “He was buried”, but, most importantly, “He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:4)! And He is still alive today!

So, how would you like some more good news? Jesus offers people life today out of the death their sin has earned. Look at the invitation to come to Him in Romans 10:9-10:

“…because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”

There is life to be found for the dead. There is good news in the midst of the bad. And all of it is found in Jesus!

That’s what we are offering Sunday morning – to point you to Jesus. That’s what we are singing about – the good news, the gospel. And we hope to see dead come to life! We hope those living in Him will be living for Him!

The

Here are the Scriptures & Songs:

  • Scripture Reading | Titus 3:1-7

1 Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

  • Scripture Reading | Galatians 2:19-20

19 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

  • Scripture Reading | 1 Corinthians 15:50-57

50 I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 “O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.


We invite you to join us this Sunday at Christ Community Church in Grenada, MS!

We have two services Sunday morning!

  • 8:00a for those who prefer greater social distancing and masks worn by all
  • 11:00a for everyone else

Songs for Sunday, June 20 – Father’s Day 2021

I have been blessed to be a father for a little over eleven years now and to be around the church my entire life. You would think the two would go hand-in-hand, but often the church clashes with fathers.

This Sunday around the country, churches will be trying to exhort and encourage fathers, but it will come across as more of a rebuke and a bashing of fatherhood. That’s not what we’re going for this Sunday at Christ Community Church. We are going to worship our heavenly Father for the work of His Son in the power of His Spirit – and, hopefully, encourage some earthly dads to learn from Him as we do.

One of the things that has changed my perspective from rebuking/bashing in the name of statistics/warnings to encouraging/exhorting in the name of discipleship is my own experience as a father. You see, I do not need statistics to tell me of fatherly failures – I have been one many times and, unfortunately, will fail again. I want to look briefly at two passages today that show me that there is hope in the Father to make me (and anyone who knows and follow Him) a godly father.

Galatians 4:4-7 tells us,

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

No matter how much of a failure I am as a father, I am a child of the King and He is not a failure. The fact that His Fatherly love sent His Son to redeem me is a gift sufficient enough to account for my continued failings. After all, if He can bring me from life to death, if He is willing – in love – to adopt His enemy as His Son, is redeeming my care, parenting, and discipleship of my children too big for Him to accomplish? No! He has not just redeemed me but given me His Spirit to know when to cry out to Him like a child to a Father. And that same Spirit works in my heart toward my own children.

Deuteronomy 6:4-7 says,

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

Being a godly father begins when, because we have been adopted/born again/saved, we worship God and love Him. This is not a Sunday-only deal. When we look at Moses’ declaration to fathers in Deuteronomy 6, he illustrates that one loves “the LORD [their] God” while they are talking to their children, while they are going about their day-to-day, while they are laying down to bed, and when they get up in the mornings. Worship is a lifestyle, and the lifestyle of a dad is a classroom for our kids. God is calling us to love Him in such a way that even our failures (and necessary repentance) point to Him!

That’s good news because I have plenty of failures but the Father has plenty of grace! And the more time I spend with my Father the better my kids’ father will be because the time spent with one’s father forms their future – for good or for bad.

So, that’s what we’ll be singing about and to this Sunday morning. We’ll lift high the name of our King Jesus by looking at the glorious love of the Father. Amen.

Here are our Scriptures & Songs:

  • Praying Scripture | Matthew 6:9-13 (KJV for familiarity) —

Our Father which art in Heaven,
Hallowed be Thy name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done in earth,
as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil:

For Thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever.
Amen.

  • Scripture Reading | John 14:1-6

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

  • Scripture Reading | 2 Corinthians 1:3-5

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.

  • Scripture Reading | Galatians 4:4-7

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.


We invite you to join us this Sunday at Christ Community Church in Grenada, MS!

We have two services Sunday morning!

  • 8:00a for those who prefer greater social distancing and masks worn by all
  • 11:00a for everyone else

Songs for Sunday, June 13, 2021

I have been struggling a bit lately when thinking about church – both local ones and the Church.

I wrote a few weeks ago about how impacted I was on a mission trip to the Beautiful Feet ministry in Ft. Worth, TX when I saw the way that being born again had impacted people in that ministry. There were people who were formerly homeless who exhibited more appreciation – more worship – in response to the gospel than they did getting off of the streets. It meant more to them to be “made alive” by Jesus Christ who had “forgiven all [their] trespasses” by “nailing it to the cross” than it did for them to find basic necessities for everyday life like food, shelter, and clothing (Colossians 2:13-14). For them, finding Christ and being saved by Him was not some figurative future eternal life; it was their life. It is the difference between being “born again to a living hope” (1 Peter 1:3) and grieving or mourning “as others do who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13).

The struggle for me has largely been about myself and how difficult it is to be Christ-minded and gospel-focused in every day life. And I wonder what it would take for our churches to be focused on Christ and His mission more than maintaining some sense of status quo.

I think Paul’s words to the church in Rome in Romans 12:3-5 are key in understanding the change that needs to happen – the change that those believers whose eternal life in Christ Jesus meant more than the new lives they found off the streets:

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

Here are a few takeaways from those verses that are on my heart going into our gathering Sunday at Christ Community:

  • We need to have an appropriate view of ourselves. In order “not to think of [ourselves] more highly than [we] ought to think”, we need to have a realistic view of the fact that the only difference between believers and other sinners is the fact that Jesus has saved us and made us born again.
  • We need to be accountable for “the measure of faith that God has assigned”, realizing that He has something for each of us (and that thing is not to be a spectator in a pew or chair while “church” happens – not to be a consumer seeking a product or an audience seeking entertainment).
  • We need to remember that a church member is not like being a member of an organization. It is being part of “one body” (i.e., a body part). And we need to work out and get some of our members moving.

Why do I say all this?

Well, this Sunday, we are bringing the mission home. We will have some people giving testimonies, others praying, and some leading us in Scripture reading. We are going to shake it up a bit. And, whether it goes well, seems overly awkward, or flops by worldly standards, so long as we worship the Lord and pray to Him, praise Him, and preach about Him all according to His Word He will be pleased with our efforts. And, who knows? Maybe we will grow a little bit in the effort.

Here is our order of worship:

  • Romans 3:10

…as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one….

  • Romans 3:23

…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God….

  • Romans 5:8

…but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

  • Romans 6:23

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

  • Romans 10:9-10

…because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

  • Romans 10:13

For “everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved”.

  • Jesus Paid It All (O Praise the One)
  • Testimonies

{A few our our members will share what Christ did for them in saving them.}

  • Hebrews 4:14-16

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

  • Way Maker/Cornerstone (medley) —
  • 1 Peter 1:3-5

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

  • Living Hope
  • (invitation) Almost Home

We invite you to join us this Sunday at Christ Community Church in Grenada, MS!

We have two services Sunday morning!

  • 8:00a for those who prefer greater social distancing and masks worn by all
  • 11:00a for everyone else

Songs for Sunday, June 6, 2021

This past weekend, a group from Christ Community and the Foundry travelled to Ft. Worth, TX to serve at Beautiful Feet. I wrote earlier this week on how amazed I was by the impact of seeing people saved – redeemed and made alive in Christ Jesus – and the way that they served. A second area that took has been impressed on my mind was the times of worship.

We gather together in the comfort of our churches after leaving the comfort of our homes. We have enough comforts that we can even complain about how we wish we had more. Whether we realize it or not, this has an impact on our worship. We very easily get a consumer-mentality that leads us to complacency and, sometimes, criticism. We know our need for a Savior, but most of our week’s see us taking care of ourselves.

I was amazed at the Feet to see those who are saved – not just those who have since found adequate jobs and housing – and the way that they respond during worship. They participate. They praise. They pray. There are those who have moved from the streets to ministering. When they need volunteers to work in the bathroom, they do not hesitate; rather, they quickly volunteer to serve even there (and as worship, no less).

There was one particular worship service where we sang songs that are largely singing direct portions of Bible, several of which are in our set for Sunday. What a joy it was to hear the variety of voices lifted up singing John 3:16 and 2 Corinthians 5:21! But it was also heart-wrenching to hear the desperation in some of the voices, pain in others, and sorrow, sadness and regret, too. As the kids say these days, it had me in my feelings. The morning that we read and sang Revelation 5:12-13…well, it’s safe to say that little sound byte gave us a little picture of what it will be to stand in the “great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb” (Revelation 7:9). I could get used to that.

Even in the worship that contained what we would normally see as negative emotions, there was beauty because in the worship God’s Spirit was evident. He was there because His Word was there. He was there because He dwells in the heart of His people. He was there for the joyous and for the sad. He was there for those who had more than they needed, those who had little-to-nothing; and He was all any of us needed.

May it be so for us this Sunday at Christ Community as we lift up our voices together in worship of our Savior King, Jesus Christ!

It is my prayer that our worship has that distinctly Colossians 3:16-17 look and feel about it.

Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

I pray that “the Word of Christ” can be lifted up in our midst – through our reading and our singing. I pray that hearing our brothers and sisters singing the Word around us can “admonish” us to follow it and have hope in Christ. I pray that the “psalms [singing Scripture] and hymns [singing doctrine] and spiritual songs [singing feelings, emotions, and worship from hearts touched by the grace, love, and mercy of God” stay on our hearts and minds and keep us mindful of Christ when we leave. And, finally, I pray we remember to be thankful – for what Christ has done in our lives and the lives of others, for who He is.

Here are our songs:

  • John 3:16-17

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.

  • 2 Corinthians 5:21

For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.

  • John 8:34-36

Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

  • Romans 5:1-5

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.


We invite you to join us this Sunday at Christ Community Church in Grenada, MS!

We have two services Sunday morning!

  • 8:00a for those who prefer greater social distancing and masks worn by all
  • 11:00a for everyone else

Refresh & Restore — June 3, 2021

This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree. If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son. 10 Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. 11 And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.[1]       

1 John 5:6-13

Greetings, Sojourner!

As I sit and write to you today, I find my mind fixated on this past weekend spent at the Beautiful Feet ministry in Ft. Worth, TX. I could write to you about how jarring it is to see people living in such poverty-stricken conditions. I could write to you of the desperate situations that led many of the people that we met, talked to, and prayed for onto the streets, but, instead, I find myself thinking about John’s words in v. 13 of today’s passage: “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life” – and that is what stands out in my mind about Beautiful Feet – the eternal life offered and the example of those who are now believers.

This was my second time to go and witness the work that God is doing through Beautiful Feet (the Feet), but there were two things that grabbed my attention this time: 1) the impact that being saved (truly brought from death in sin to eternal life in Christ) has on people, and 2) the beauty of the testimony that God Himself bears about His Son. I believe both fit hand-in-hand (or in-foot, as seems appropriate here) with this week’s passage.

As John continues bringing his letter to a close, he focuses in on the testimony concerning Jesus. We focused last week on how God molds the beliefs of those who are “born of God” (5:1) to share in His love (5:2) and exhibit that love in keeping His commandments (5:3). This week’s passage shows the three-part testimony of the Son (water, blood, and Spirit) through the Father and what it is like for Him to be the object of our faith!

The Testimony of Water – He Was Born

When it talks of water here, it is referencing Christ’s birth (think of a mother’s water breaking when it is time for a baby to be born). The birth of Christ is important, and more than a mere holiday, because it shows His humanity. Part of that testimony is that “when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons” (Galatians 4:4-5). We see in these verses that Jesus’ birth was one of extremely specific timing and circumstances – at just the right time in human history, “foreknown before the foundation of the world but…made manifest in the last times for” our sake (1 Peter 1:20, 2 Corinthians 5:21).

Because “sin came into the world through one man” (Romans 5:12), Adam, all men would inherit a sin nature and the struggles that come with it. None of the sacrifices of the Old Testament system could take away sin, they could only point to the One who could, Jesus. Sin produces death (Genesis 3, Romans 6:23, Ephesians 2:1-2), and, as we have seen earlier in 1 John 1:9, we need God “to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” – to cancel “the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands” (Colossians 2:14). Our debt from sin needs to be paid, but everyone on earth is in debt just the same, unable to pay their own way much less anyone else’s.

The only acceptable payment would be via propitiation (2:1-2, 4:10), but no one on earth is worthy to make the sacrifice for us (Romans 3:10, 3:23). So, God Himself stepped down to sacrifice Himself (John 1:14) meaning that the eternal God willingly became mortal. He lived the life that no other human on earth was capable of living (1 John 1:8, 10) – sinless perfection (2 Corinthians 5:21, Hebrews 4:15) as the “one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5). And He, in the Person of God the Son – fully God and fully man – “emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant…[and] humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:6-7), which is the second testimony.

The Testimony of Blood – He Died (Yet Lives!)

Blood was an important part of the sacrificial system in the Old Testament. Just as we saw our need for salvation through our forefather Adam in the first section, we see that the first physical deaths (God taking the lives of animals in the garden for their skins) were to cover the shame of Adam and Eve’s nakedness (Genesis 3:21). In the same way, our sin – and its shame – can be covered and cleansed by the blood of Jesus (1:7).

Jesus’ death on behalf of sinners shows love like nothing else (John 15:13). As I write this, it is Memorial Day, and I cannot help but think of those who gave their lives for the United States where I live. The way of life that is celebrated in America is bound up in the sacrifice of those brave men and women who died for their country and the ideals it represents. Their sacrifice points to the greater sacrifice of Christ, and we should be moved by and appreciate what He has done for us.

Think of the magnitude of His dying in our place: the God of the universe, “who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it” (Isaiah 42:5), “shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

Just as it was important that He was born “in the fullness of time” (Galatians 4:4), we see that “at the right time Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6). He died the death that would provide cleansing of sins for all who trust (believe, have faith) in Him! Through His death, “God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, [makes] us alive together with Christ”, saving sinners by His grace (Ephesians 2:4-5). On the cross, He took the “record of debt that stood against us” because of our sin and “set it aside, nailing it to the cross” (Colossians 2:14). The old hymn “It is Well” sums it up beautifully[2]:

“My sin – oh, the bliss of this glorious thought – my sin, not in part but the whole, is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more; praise the Lord, praise the Lord, oh, my soul!”

We do not have to mourn His death – thanks be to God! Jesus did not stay dead, and we can rejoice with the angels who said, “He is not here, for He has risen, as He said” (Matthew 28:6)! The “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29) was different than other sacrificial lambs – He is risen forevermore as “the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David”, the “Lamb standing as though it had been slain” on the throne (Revelation 5:5-6)! And through His death, and especially His resurrection, we see the victory that overcomes the world (5:4-5) and can echo Paul when He praises God for the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15:57: “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” who is alive and well!

The Testimony of the Spirit
(and the Evidence of Eternal Life Where He Abides)

The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ are irrefutable evidence from heaven, but He shows Himself to be true here on earth because His “Spirit is truth” (v. 6). This is important because His Spirit dwelling in those who are born again is how God abides in His children (4:16). If we claim to have Christ, we have His Spirit. Now, this is difficult because many people treat the Spirit awkwardly by either keeping Him at a distance and calling it reverence or treating Him like parlor tricks and calling it charisma. This is where last weekend at Beautiful Feet challenged what we far too often are willing to accept regarding being filled with God’s Spirit.

Beautiful Feet is more than a ministry that feeds hungry and clothes the poor. If you read the history of their ministry, you see their motto “Sharing the Gospel, Serving the Poor”, which is the entire scope of their ministry – the heart that God Himself has given them for the least-of-these in Ft. Worth. They want to share Christ with people in equal portion to the physical needs that they meet. They want to bless those who cannot bless them in return by giving them everything that Christ has to offer (and food, clothing, medical care – which pale in comparison to the gift of His grace). The thing that was most striking to me is the number of people who 1) are born again because they found faith in Christ through His grace and mercy and 2) those who are saved, after being discipled in the Word and finding employment and housing (which they desperately needed), are seen returning to the Feet to share the gospel (and meet physical needs) with others who were like them.

The Spirit is evident in their lives because they live out the gospel. The Spirit is not a parlor trick for them because tricks do not save (2 Corinthians 4:2); fake does not fool those who have been turned out on the streets; and only the love of Christ transcends “word or talk” to live in “deed and in truth” when sharing His love with others (3:18). God blessed these disciples through the Feet and servants of God who had “the world’s goods”, saw their brother and sister in need and opened their hearts because of the love of God poured forth in their hearts by His Spirit. These servants shared that love by laying their own lives down as worship – in response to the Life God gave them (3:16-17). How sad it is that this seems so foreign among church-people today!

Paul quotes Isaiah 52:7 in Romans 10:15: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” This is more than a theme verse for this ministry – or evangelism in general; they literally seek to be God’s feet as part of the His body – the Church (1 Corinthians 12:12). And, in serving with them this weekend, I realized that my feet do not carry the gospel as readily as they should. Forgive the crude parallel here, but I need a bit of a spiritual pedicure – for Jesus to cleanse my gospel feet that I may have share with Him (John 13:8).

John says that “the Spirit and the water and the blood” testify to who Jesus is and agree (v. 8), but he tells us that the “testimony of God is greater” than that of men because “whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in Himself” (vv. 9-10). I have had to look at my life and ask whether it agrees with the testimony of God, and I am asking that He arrange my life so that it testifies more to Him than about me, that my feet can be about His business rather than shod in Sunday shoes in the comfort of a church building or propped up serving my own laziness. I ask that He help you to do the same in your own life and grant the repentance and cleansing to walk His gospel out in the community He has planted you.


[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), 1 Jn 5:6–13.

[2] Horatio Spafford, “It is Well

Songs for Sunday, May 16, 2021

Jesus is worthy of our worship. Oh, what a joy it is to get to worship Him! If you are in or around the Grenada, MS area, we would love for you to join us!

Here’s our songs:

  • Psalm 18:16-19

16  He sent from on high, he took me;
he drew me out of many waters.
17 He rescued me from my strong enemy
and from those who hated me,
for they were too mighty for me.
18 They confronted me in the day of my calamity,
but the Lord was my support.
19 He brought me out into a broad place;
he rescued me, because he delighted in me.

  • Psalm 34:1-4

I will bless the Lord at all times;
his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul makes its boast in the Lord;
let the humble hear and be glad.
Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
and let us exalt his name together!

I sought the Lord, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.

  • Desert Song
    Scripture References/Inspiration for the Song: Isaiah 35:1, Psalm 63:1, Psalm 69:3, Psalm 34:10, 1 Corinthians 4:11, Matthew 5:6, Genesis 22:14, Isaiah 43:1-3, 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, Revelation 21:4, 1 Peter 1:7, Zechariah 13:9, Psalm 56:10, Psalm 51:15, Psalm 142:7, Isaiah 54:17, Hebrews 3:18, Psalm 22:22, Deuteronomy 20:4, Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 20:28, Ephesians 6:10-20, Exodus 14:14, Romans 8:17, Romans 8:37, Hebrews 10:23, 2 Timothy 4:1-3, Hebrews 13:8, James 1:17, Psalm 13:6, Psalm 105:2, James 5:13, John 4:23-24, Matthew 9:37-38, Psalm 30:5, John 7:38, Romans 15:13, Psalm 126:5, Deuteronomy 15:10, Acts 20:35
  • Titus 2:11-14

11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.


I hope to see you with us, whether you gather in person at 8:00 or 11:00, in the parking lot via speaker, on Facebook via Big John’s page or YouTube live!

Songs for Sunday, May 9, 2021

Over the past couple of weeks at Christ Community, we have been looking at a huge moment in the apostles’ lives and in the life of the early church. Peter and John get drug before the powers-that-be because they – through the power of the Holy Spirit – heal a man and share the love of Jesus with him.

They get threatened. They will eventually be imprisoned. Peter’s life would end as a martyr under similar wicked leaders in Rome. John would find himself in exile on a prison-island. And all of that found its beginnings on a random day when they were walking to the temple:

2 And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple. 3 Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. 4 And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” 5 And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. 6 But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” 7 And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. 8 And leaping up, he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.

Acts 3:2-8

What an amazing declaration – “what I do have I give to you”!

It is easy for us, 2,000 years later in a 1st-world country, to look at what these guys did and said – what they later suffered, what cost them their lives – and be amazed. But they knew that what they had in Christ was worth whatever. They had met Him, walked with Him, been forgiven by Him, saved by Him! Their lives had been eternally changed by Him.

Their lives were so changed – they had in fact gone from death in sin to eternal life (Romans 6:23), after all – that they were able to go unblinking before the tribunal. What we see as a confrontation with the chief priests was in reality a gospel proclamation offering them the same hope and eternal life through Christ Jesus that we are all offered through that same gospel. When Peter and John told them “by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified” (Acts 4:10), it is less a satisfying yet stinging dart against those who plotted against Jesus and more of the same declaration made to/against us in Romans 5:8: “but God demonstrated His love for is in that while we were sinners Christ died for us”. What was greater – their sin or ours? I am so excited that the answer is God’s grace, mercy, and love is greater!

That gospel presentation that they made to those unrepentant priests is still good news for us:

11 This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. 12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Acts 4:11-12

So, when we in our worldliness wonder what Peter and John knew or what drove them to be willing to follow Jesus with their whole lives, what we are really wondering was why they would do it. We are wondering if Jesus is really worth it. The answer to that is a resounding “yes”! He is worth it. He is worthy! In worship tomorrow, in the midst of our singing, we are going to be reading through Colossians 1 and seeing how worthy King Jesus truly is. And, it is my prayer for myself and for you, that we encounter Jesus – that we receive Him and follow Him – and worship Him.

Here are our songs:

  • Colossians 1:9-14

And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

*This isn’t the version we do, but it’s fun!*

  • Colossians 1:15-20

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

  • Thank You Jesus for the Blood
    Scripture References/Inspiration for the Song:

We invite you to join us this Sunday at Christ Community Church in Grenada, MS!

We have two services Sunday morning!

  • 8:00a for those who prefer greater social distancing and masks worn by all
  • 11:00a for everyone else

Refresh & Restore — April 29, 2021

25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish….

32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.[1]       


Greetings, Sojourner!

Have you ever had something on your mind so much that you cannot let it go? When that happens, it is like you feel like it shows up in everything you look at – commercials, conversations, stores. It even seems like it is all you can talk about. That is what the past few weeks have been like for me, and the topic that has been the epicenter of my focus has been church – not a church, my church, or your church: the Church.

I have preached on it several times during these weeks. Even as I studied and planned to write on 1 John 4:7-21 today, the Church has been on my mind. Verses like 1 John 4:11 (“Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” and 4:20 (“If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen”) have me thinking of the way that the Church is to share the love of God with each other and the world around them. In 1 John 4:9 when John says that “the love of God was made manifest”, that is the love that was shown to, and now through, the Church. And, when you read passages like ours in Ephesians 5, you see that love is to be at the center of everything in the Church because Christ loves His Church and calls her His Bride.

What a beautiful image that is – the Bride of Christ!

Look at how the voice (“of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder”) speaks of the Bride of Christ in the end times:

Let us rejoice and exult
and give Him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
and His Bride has made herself ready;
it was granted her to clothe herself
with fine linen, bright and pure”…. (Rev. 19:6-8)

The picture I see painted in Scripture here is the arrival of Christ’s Church in Heaven to be a marriage celebration – His Bride will finally have arrived! I think back some fifteen years ago when I laid eyes on my bride when the back doors of the Church open. That moment is seared into my memory and is clear and fresh on my mind today; it is a watershed moment for me. But, the magnitude of that moment, is but a tremor compared to Christ receiving His Bride.

Yet many of us do not see the Church in the same light. When we think of the Church, we think of buildings or denominations or traditions or religion or someone who professes to be a member of a particular church who we think lives more like Hell than Heaven. I have heard people say that they do not have a problem with Jesus; their problem lies with the Church (or with a particular church they have in mind). How does that fit with the way God’s Word talks about His Bride?

In Ephesians 5, we see a passage that often appears only at weddings. It seems to talk about this ideal marriage where a husband loves his wife with this self-sacrificing love. It absolutely is! It lays out that husbands are supposed to give themselves up for their wives in the same way that Christ did for His (v. 25). It shows how husbands are supposed to set their wives apart, loving them with the same care that they give to their own bodies (v. 28). But, while it highlights the way that earthly husbands should absolutely love their wives, it does so by looking at the way that Christ loved/loves His – He died for her, but He also lived for her!

It seems so easy to look at the church as a building or a house of religion. It is another thing entirely to look at her as Christ’s bride. Take the example above where people say they have no problem with Jesus, just the Church. How would that work if said to an earthly husband (even a mediocre one)? “Hey, man, I like you well enough, but I cannot stand your wife!” Any husband worth his salt would at least have a salty retort, and, at most, feelings would not be all that get hurt!

Jesus loves His Bride. He gave Himself up for her, knowing full well her faults and all the difficulties that would come as He – through His Word and His Spirit – grows her, sanctifies her so that “in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish” (v. 27). He knew her/our blemishes. He knew the wrinkles. He knew the sin. Yet “God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

He gave us the example of Hosea who loved his wife even though she was a prostitute when he met her (Hosea 1:2-3) and had sold herself into physical bondage to another man. Just as Hosea went to that man and purchased his wife from him (Hosea 3:1-5), Jesus paid the price for us – His life – so that we could be free from the bondage of sin (Romans 6:6) and be His alone (1 Peter 2:9). Except in this scenario, the Church has a husband who loves her enough to die for her – but He LIVES for her despite death, “because it was not possible for Him to be held by it” (Acts 2:24)!

What a beautiful image that is! Yet I find my heart hurting as I think about the Church more and more. You see, part of the reason that the Church has been on my mind is noticing that the more I study the Word and the closer I get to Christ, the more precious the Church becomes to me – the more precious getting to be part of the Church becomes. And, when I see how the Church is treated around the world, facing persecutions and distress and dire circumstances, it both breaks my heart and fills it with joy and hope.

It breaks my heart because I am afraid that I would fail and fall away if such treatment began here. I am afraid that I would care more for the safety and comfort of my family than I would being a part of Christ’s Church. As bad as I hate to say it, I am afraid.

I see how many churches have shuttered their doors, even before the onset of the pandemic. I hear of people citing the recommendations – yes, they were merely recommendations and not laws where I live in Mississippi – of our state government as reasons to shut the doors of our churches. Now, I realize that most of this was done out of an abundance of caution (the recommendations and the decisions), but I wonder what the cost has been. I also do not fault the government for recommending such things. Are we to expect worldly government to recommend biblical teaching? I do not fault churches who, out of caution for their members, made decisions to go virtual or meet outside or have church in the parking lot or gather in homes. The Church is not a building, remember?

There are churches like Grace Life in Alberta, Canada who, when it was genuinely against the law to gather and worship Christ in their location, kept gathering anyway. Even when their pastor was arrested and jailed and fences (yes, plural) were built around their building, the Church was not stopped because “the Most High does not dwell in houses made by hands” (Acts 7:48). The same goes for His Bride.

Multiple churches in California faced similar situations and, pending legal appeals, face tens if not hundreds of thousands in fines even today.

I am trying to be careful and gracious when I talk about this, but I am reminded of Peter and John’s words when they faced something a bit stiffer than recommendations: “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:19-20). If you keep reading, Peter and John did not heed the threats of the powers-that-be but kept preaching (Acts 4:23-31). And the result was more people added to the Church (Acts 4:32-37).

Where does that leave us today? I want to ask you where you stand regarding Christ. Do you belong to Him? Are you a part of His Bride, the Church?

Where I live in the Southern U.S., we have largely lost what it means to be a part of the Church or to be a part of a local church or congregation of believers. We use the word “member” like we would a member of a country club or a fraternity or sorority. But that is not the way the Bible uses it:

  • Ephesians 2:19: So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God….
  • Romans 12:4-5: For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
  • 1 Corinthians 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.

Are you a member (like a dues-paying, sort of part ownership), or are you a member (like an arm or a leg)?

Pardon the pun, but I feel like my message here is a bit disjointed. I do not want you to miss my heart. So I will speak plainly: the Church has been on my mind, and I am afraid that we treat her too casually. I fear we have grown complacent and comfortable, not realizing our playing around is dismembering Christ’s Bride.

There is a set of verses that often get quoted in this context. I have quoted them myself often and increasingly more recently, but I think there is a greater message here:

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:23-25)

It is not hard to see why this verse seems so appropriate. But, I think I have been emphasizing the wrong part. I have been focusing on what “is the habit of some” and not why that is not good. Plain and simple, we need each other. No, we do not need bodies to fill roles and carry out programs and ministries. We do not need teachers and leaders. We need the members of the body of Christ – we need the members of His Bride – to “hold fast” to “He who promised” more than His promises. We need each other to “stir [us] up…to love and good works”. We need to be “encouraging one another” – and “the Day” is “drawing near”! We need the body of Christ to be whole once more.

I pray this helps whomever it is meant to. If you need help finding a church home, I would love to help you.


[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Eph 5:25–32.