From the Pastors
Joined Together for the Glory of God and for the Benefit of Others
You are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In Him you are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. (Eph 2:19b-22)
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. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them. (Romans 12:4–6a)
These passages express an important theme that is running, not just through Paul’s letters, but through the entire Bible. They express a unique reality about our lives now that we have Christ in it. Sometimes in our attempts to summarize the gospel of Jesus, we have ended up 'reducing’ the gospel (‘good news’) of Jesus. I’ve recently heard the good news of Jesus expressed so well in a Christianity Today article that I can’t help but share a brief quote from it:
“The message of the gospel is that Christ saves us from something (sin and eternal consequences), for something (a new life of flourishing, both now & for eternity), and to something (a new community called the church).”
Sometimes we emphasize one of these components to the exclusion or diminishing of the others. Our Christian faith isn’t simply about forgiveness, nor is it simply about doing non-descript ‘good’ to others, nor is it simply about going to church. The three go together: mission, service, and worship. The church is a community with a purpose and a mission. We are held together across cultural and socio-economic lines by the grace that each of us has received. We are joined together across the globe in a common worship of the Lord Jesus. We are also connected in making a difference in our communities and world with so many fellow Christians across our city, our country, and our world. We are built together as a household and joined together as a body.
The precious truth of these verses and this foundational good news was pressed in on me recently on my trip to El Salvador with our mission team that goes every January and July to serve in area schools. In my time here at Calvary I had heard much about what the trips were about, but this time I had the chance to see how each piece fit together. Not only did we have different teams and areas for people to serve using their unique gifts and skills (see Romans 12:4ff), but the trip was centered around those three cores of mission, service, and worship/study with Christians in El Salvador (see Ephesians 2:19ff). It was a beautiful testimony of the fullness of the good news of Jesus Christ. Each day we had the chance to remember that as Christians we are 1) forgiven sinners, 2) gifted servants, and 3) connected members of a community, for we have been saved from something, for something and to something.
May God bless you as you grow each day in that Good News of Jesus Christ and as you continue to grow and mature in your walk with Jesus.
Donations Needed for future El Salvador Trips: Crayons (24 ct boxes); Scissors; Glue sticks; Rulers; pencil top erasers; Pencils; Notebooks; Folders. Please return your supplies to the church office clearly marked for “El Salvador.” The next trip will be January 2020.
God’s Peace, Pastor Kurt Ebert