Sunday, November 20, 2005

Encouragement, Love and The Church

Today began well. Our church is entering a period of significant change - we have been comfortable for too long and feel God wants us to move forward. I really want to be involved in this, and had put together some plans for changes to the church leadership, which I'd emailed to a couple of friends. What surprised me most was that they had independently had very similar ideas! Moreover, this morning before the service, our vicar Mary found me and commented on how excellent she thought the ideas were! I felt really encouraged because I have been bursting with ideas about how to take God out into our local community more, and how to develop our church community, and it was nice to have those affirmed by other Christians who I respect.

I feel encouragement is a really vital part of biblical love. If anywhere in the world shows love, it has to be the church. So many people have been damaged by thoughtless words and deeds, both from non-Christians, and from Christians. As The Bible says:

We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God.
2Cor 5:20 - My italics)

That means that through our lives of love, we need to show non-Christians that Jesus is reaching out to them and that He wants to meet with them.

With that in mind, lots of churches in the UK are evaluating what "church" means, both to her members, and also to the public. There's an interesting website called
Emerging Church where Christians can share their experiences of doing church differently, and encourage one another. I've also been reading a great book called '21st Century Church' by Rob Warner which is pretty inspiring. And of course, who could forget 'The Purpose Drive Life' by Rick Warren which is an amzing step for individuals and groups to refocus or completely turn around their lives.

We have two options really - we can make sure people know how relevent Jesus is to them, or we can sit on our hands, and fail Him (Matt 28:18-19).

Blimey, now I've written all that, I'd better go and do some of it! G'night all...