Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Discipleship

I just finished a book a week or so ago called Simple Church by Thom Rainer and Eric Geiger.

The premise of this book is that church has become too complicated, we need to simplify.  Specifically, we need to simplify our process for making disciples. 

In most American churches today, and I'm afraid Almond Union can be included in this, if it happens at all, it kind of happens by accident.  We don't really have a clear and concise process in place.  We have Bible Study and Sunday Schools, and we certainly hope people will grow into disciples, we even pray for them, but is that enough?  Are we willing to risk not doing all we can to intentionally grow people into the people God created them to be?

Since finishing the book, I've doing a lot of thinking about what would a fully committed disciple of Christ look like at Almond Union.  What would a fully committed disciple of Christ do differently?  How can we become more intentional about growing fully committed disciples of Christ here?  

I'm going to be sharing some of my thoughts on this, and my idea of a new process for making fully committed disciples, at the annual meeting on January 29.  

In the meantime, I would love to hear your ideas on this.  What does it mean to you to be a fully committed disciple of Christ?  What does it look like in 21st Century America?  I encourage your comments...

Monday, January 16, 2012

Missionary Visit

Marty and Sue Fuller, missionaries with CSI Ministries, were our guests yesterday in worship.

The Fullers joined CSI several years ago, and felt called to go to Africa as missionaries.  CSI sent them to eastern Kentucky for an internship before sending them overseas, and while there, they felt their heart break for  the things that break God's heart. The need is great, and they felt clearly that God was calling them to help meet that need.

Marty, Sue, and their son Cameron, currently live in Watkins Glen, so their local folks.  They now serve in Lawrenceville, KY.  Sue will be working on a project to help people learn to read (literacy rate is now only about 50.2 percent).  Marty helps with construction projects, helping people build ramps for accessibility, and helping them stay in their homes, many need much restoration.

Pray for the Fullers, that God may truly bless their ministry there.  Pray for those they serve, that they may truly feel God's blessings.  Pray that God is glorified in all they do.

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Importance of Community

On Wednesday, our local clergy got together for a time of lunch, discussion, and prayer.

One of the things that came out of this time together, and there were a lot, was a passing comment as we were closing our time together.  Pastor Ken of the Alfred Station 7th Day Baptist Church was talking about how we are very independent in our thinking of salvation.  We go to heaven, or not go heaven, based on our individual relationship with Christ.  That's the evangelical thinking.

Pastor Ken spoke of the Anabaptists in the 16th century and their view that we all go to heaven together.  They believed that as we have a desire that all go with us, we also have a responsibility to help those around us.  You could almost say, we go to heaven, or we don't go to heaven, as a community of faith.

The Anabaptists were the forerunners of the Amish and Mennonites today, and let's face it, when we think of the Amish or Mennonites, we think of their community, don't we.  They live in true community with one another.  Their firm belief that when one is down, they are all down, and all must work together to get back up.  The commands to "Love One Another" are taken very seriously and lived out in daily life.

As I was thinking about this, a verse in Hebrews was in my morning devotional reading...
See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.  But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness.  We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.  (Hebrews 3:12-14)
In other words, we share in Christ as a community, as we encourage each other daily in our spiritual walk. Is that a good understanding of the text?  Is that what you see?  Let me know - feel free to comment.

Let's walk together.  Let's go to heaven together.  And let's take as many others with us as we can - living in a true community of believers until that time comes.


Sermons from FBC: Clean Break: A look at relationships from Philemon

This week we it's part 2 of our two week series from the book of Philemon.  It's a short book, but Paul has some good stuff concerni...