September 17th 2011 Update

Brothers and Sisters,

How has your week been? I am sure there have been some trials, but I trust there have been some blessings as well which brought you joy. But did you make sure that even in your trials this week “you considered it all joy?” I hope so.

In preparation for our gathering:
  • Take count of your week and identify the blessings that you can share with the body.
  • During our Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Song time, feel free to share a Psalm. If you have some other scripture or reading that you would like to share with the body, please share it during our open sharing time.
  • Bring your prayers and your prayer requests. One of the most special times for us as a body is when another has a prayer request and we can not only lay our hands on them, but also our hearts and prayers.
  • Brothers, if you have a short teaching or want to share what God has taught you in His Word, please do so…prayerfully.
  • Bring an ear to hear His Word and pray that He is always revealed in the teaching of His Word.
  • Pray that your heart is right to worship and worthy to partake of the Lord’s Supper. And seek His forgiveness and the forgiveness of others you may have sinned against if necessary.
  • If possible, bring some food to share for our meal together.

Our teaching time will focus on Matthew 26:26-30 and the blood of Christ and what it has done for us. Of the blood, Clement of Rome (c. 96 AD) said “Let us look steadfastly to the blood of Christ, and see how precious that blood is to God, which, having been shed for our salvation, has set the grace of repentance before the whole world.”

Lastly, “You Are Ministers.”

In his book, You Are Ministers, John Neal discussing the covenantal relationship that a body has with one another states: “These are the mutually constructive covenantal relationships we are called by God to have with one another, building one another up in love—and which we have been discussing up to this point in the book. These are the in-the-trenches, rubber-meets-the-road, in-the-middle-of-life relationships where we are transparent, sharing real hurts, real needs, real struggles, real victories—where we enter into the messy details of one another’s lives, holding out the Word of life, the gospel of Christ, to apply it as the only remedy that can truly meet our deep-soul needs. Here, we are fed on the Bread of Life, and we drink from the Wellspring of Living Water—Jesus Christ.”

Anybody can show up once a week, smile, sing, pray, stare at the back of someone’s head for an hour and a half and put an offering in the basket. The challenge is, when they leave, they are no closer to God and certainly not closer to their brothers and sisters in Christ. This type of Christianity and church going takes little effort and pain, but in the end leads to suffering alone and joy alone. They may be a member of a church, but they are not “members of one another” and that means they are not a real Body of Christ. That’s scary! May it not be so with the Church of Charlottesville.

In Christ,

Chris