If your Church isn’t family…you’re doing it wrong!

My church is my family.
I love my little country church, because I know they are there for me.
This summer for me has been a perfect example of the cohesiveness that should be found in a family and most assuredly should be found in a church, due to the way that my church- my family-has watched over me, prayed over me, helped and encouraged me. I was given summer jobs when I most needed it by my small church. A church of less than 50 people have kept me working for the first half of my 3 month summer break. This is the way a family works. This is the way the Church should work. Caring for one another in everything.
God created this wonderful entity that is the Church when Christ told Peter, “on this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of Hell will not overcome it. (Matthew 16:18)”
Throughout the writing of Paul in particular, but all of the New Testament, we find examples of what the Church should be.
* It should be a united body- 1 Corinthians 12:12-26
*That does not show favoritism- Galatians 3:28
* We are to love one other because God first loved us (this means the unbeliever and the most annoying person that you can think about)- Leviticus 19:18, Deuteronomy 7:9,  1 Chronicles 16:34, Psalm 5:11, Micah 6:8, Matthew 22:36-40, Luke 6:31-36, John 3:1, 16,14:21-25,15: 9-13, Romans 5:8, 1 Corinthians 13, 16:14, Galatians 5:13-14, 5:22-23
* We should show gratitude to Christ and love to each other- Colossians 3:14-16
* We are raised together to be a Holy Temple to God- Ephesians 2:19-22
* We are to bear one another’s burdens- Galatians 6:2
* We are not to be ashamed of God’s Word- 2 Timothy 2:15
* We are to be devoted to fellowship, prayer, and the teachings of the Bible- Acts 2:42
* We should be known as followers of Christ by our love for one another- John 13:35
* We are to live sensibly, righteously, and godly in our present age- Titus 2:11-12 
*  We are to become more like Christ as we mature spiritually with the help of our Church body– Ephesians 4:11-16
* We are to guard the proper teachings of the Church by allowing only faithful and trustworthy teachers- 2 Timothy 2:1-2
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 We are to beware of many false teachers –Matthew 7:15-20, Matthew 24:11
        *  They will introduce false teachings and deny the Sovereign Lord- 2 Peter 2:1
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 We are to be careful of the obstacles such false teachers place before us to cause      disunity- Romans 16:17
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People will find their own teachers because they can’t endure sound teachings from the Scripture- 2 Timothy 4:3
* We-  every believer- are to test the teachings and the spirits to make sure they are from God, because there are so many false teachers in this world- 1 John 4:1
* Our Church should be presented as pure, holy, and sinless to the husband and head- Jesus Christ.- Corinthians 11:1-15
*This means not allowing politics, fads, controversy, or conspiracy theories to cause us to change the Gospel by adding or removing any part of the Scripture- Proverbs 30:5-6, Revelations 22:18-19, Deuteronomy 4:2
This is just a little bit of what the Church is suppose to look like.
God’s plans are for His Church is to change the world. We are to change it by loving it. Not bashing it over the head by saying how wrong they are about everything, but by gently, reverently, lovingly, showing them the truth.
We aren’t to take stands against people like the Westboro Baptist Church does- where we show intolerance and hatred, because Christ DID NOT do that! He died for those the WBC says God hates! No. Jesus Christ died to save the sinner. He died a horrible death for the WBC just as much as He died for the homosexual, the adulterer, the abortionist,  the thief, the liar, the murderer, the gossip, the child molester, the rapist, the soldier, the teacher, the president, the priest, and so many more.
Jesus Christ died for each of us. Because He LOVED us. You, me, we are the same. No matter your background, no matter your future, you were considered worthy enough to save. Because our God loved us! John 3:16, Hebrews 9:26-28
God doesn’t hate a person. He hates the thing that keeps us away from us- our sin! He hates anything that would keep us away from Him, anything that makes us unrighteous and ungodly. If He hated us, as in the person, there would have been no reason to die for us! But, He wanted to rebuild our relationships with Him, so God did the ultimate thing. He sent His one and only Son to die a horrible death on a human-made torture device so that we might be saved. Saved so we can enter into our fixed relationship with the One and Only God. 1 Peter 3:18, Ephesians 3:12, Colossians 1:22, Hebrews 9:14, 
As a Christian who follows a loving God, I wish to extend my deepest apologies and sorrow to those who have been hurt in any way by those who proclaim to be Christian. I am so sorry that the Church which should be a loving family, who should love all who are considered God’s children – which is EVERY HUMAN ON THIS PLANET!- has caused harm in the name of that God.
We are broken humans. We wish to take the throne from the Sovereign Lord because we believe we can rule better than He. Wake up everyone! We’re in this mess in the first place because we listened to the Serpent in the Garden when he said, “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil (Genesis 3:4).” We believed the guy who is known as the Prince of Lies! Satan was thrown out of Heaven because he thought he was better than GOD! (Isaiah 14:12-17)  We are once again allowing the Prince of Lies to turn our heads from the teachings of the Gospel. We are allowing him to twist what we learn, so that we won’t even open the Bible anymore to learn for ourselves what is truth.
This is where you need a firm foundation. To find a church that will guide you on the right path. A church that allows and encourages you to open your Bible and read it for yourself. Every person who seeks the True God, needs to know the Scripture for themselves. So that we are not swayed by good sounding rhetoric. So that things that sound like Scripture are proven either false or truth. Because the Devil is in the details. He likes to use just enough truth to make it sound right, when in actuality you are signing the dotted line with your soul– and all those who follow you.
When your church is family, you will fight hard to keep each member’s eyes on God. You will put your blood, your sweat, your tears into making sure that person is growing and loving God. You will work to protect them from false teachings. You will stop their meandering covetous eyes and ears from following a false teachers.
If your church is family- you will listen to their guiding. You will trust their love. You will seek their prayers. You will encourage them as much as they encourage you.
The church is not meant to harm another in the name of God, but to love them with a deep an abiding love as God loves us. We are meant to love God so much that our very natures change and that love overflows to others. We are meant to love God so much that others will wish to meet the God that changed us.
Is your church family?

2 Timothy 4:5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
 

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>Diving in when you don’t know how to swim

>          Life is very interesting. You don’t know what the next few days are going to bring, you don’t know where you will be emotionally in the next few hours much less in the next 10 years, and you never know when your last breath will be.
People for years have been trying to predict what is happening in the years to come; false prophets, fortune tellers, and charlatans who insist they have the ability to speak to those who have gone on before us. Just as often we are trying to halt the progression of time by anti-aging formulas, eternal youth fountains, and plastic surgery. And people still keep coming back to the same falsehoods because they insist that they work, and once in a blue moon, a prophecy comes true; the aging process seems to be halted. But, my belief is that if you shoot enough bullets eventually you are going to hit something vital.
Life is meant to be experienced. We aren’t suppose to spend all our time trying to halt it’s progression but rather we are suppose to dive into the beauty and the chaotic-ness of it. There is only one Being who truly knows what our life will bring. Each person on the face of the earth has one specific goal in their life. To worship God.
God gave us an instruction manual that resides in the form of the Holy Bible. In it are examples of how to live and how definitely not to live. We are told to seek after God’s own heart much like King David did– but when we look at David, we see not a holy man but rather through his attempts to become righteous- a sinner who is secure in the knowledge that his God loves him.
We are told to be willing to follow God much like Moses did. But once again when we look clearly at Moses (taking off the blinders of third grade Sunday School where we painted him as a hero) we see a man who argued and railed against God and broke the holy tablets of the Ten Commandments in a fit of rage. But above all Moses followed God and spoke His Words to the people of Israel.
We are told to mimic the lives of the Apostles; men who wrote much of the New Testament, where we learn of the miracles of Christ and of His sacrifice. But the Apostles were no better than the worse of today’s sinners. Rather we see men who continually humbled themselves and begged for forgiveness; Peter- who denied Christ three times, then went on in his ministry to attempt to turn his back on the Gentiles- giving into the peer pressure of the Jewish believers. Paul- a man who martyred numerous Christians before Christ visited him personally and turned his life around; Paul was known for his anger.
No matter how we read these ‘heroes’ of the Scriptures we must always be aware that they were normal people who were busy living their lives when God reached out and made them aware of a bigger plan.
Life is a river and no one truly knows how to swim. It’s an experience where we learn as we go, and sometimes God makes us reevaluate our knowledge.
God calls us to dive into that rushing river of life even though we don’t know how to swim and live it for HIM- not us. It’s a scary thing, but it’s worth it.
Scripture to ponder in context:
“For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper, not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. ” Jeremiah 29:11