Do we even begin to realize how blessed we are by being a part of God’s family? Check out Ephesians four sometime soon and soak in the gift God’s local church is to each of us. Recently I heard John Piper speak live and he confronted what he sensed in the room to be an anti-church spirit. It wasn’t evident to me per se, but I see where he was coming from for the crowd he was speaking to at the time. Business people and non-church non-profit leaning people can come across as anti-church pretty quickly to more officially denominational preachers and leaders. I actually appreciate this hesitancy, but in this case I think Piper’s sense was both true and misplaced. Speaking for myself, I can say that I am deeply appreciative of the gift of the local church to this world. The local church is God’s fabric of grace for each community, especially where there are more than just one local church.
Recently I was praying and sense God giving me a picture of Merced and Tuolumne Counties, my two primary communities of focus. I saw a map of the counties and a web of grace so-to-speak spread over them, the pin points being the homes of the members of these local churches, not the church buildings themselves. Yesterday I heard a sermon where the illustration was brought up again about the local church, that we are both an organization (admittedly) and an organism (gratefully and eternally). Pastor Dave of Central Pres is the pastor who presented this. He spoke of Philip Yancey’s story about his favorite critter, the duck-billed platypus. The local church is like this little guy in that we don’t really fit in anywhere in this world as far as a perfect fit goes. We’re odd and more like pilgrims here than citizens. Like Agustine speaks of in City of God, we’re more citizens of Heaven than of Earth. Our hope is with our Redeemer in the City of God. May our lives here be grace-filled and may we serve with a risk-taking that refreshes one another and the world around us. May we present the Gospel of Jesus through our acts of love and genuine prayers day-in and day-out for one another and those we encounter together. May the lost be caught in our web of grace to be wrapped up and absorbed into the Person of Jesus Christ, to become a part of the organism of the Person of Jesus Himself ultimately.
We are crucified with Christ, so it’s not us living anymore, friends and family! We are now seeing Christ living our His joy and His eternal pleasure through us, which is to do the will of the Father. Let’s celebrate this new creation life together today.
In His presence,