Fight For Your Family
May 22, 2016~ Jere Vincent
May Memory Verse:
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind."
- James 1:5-6
A NOTE FROM THE PASTOR:
Last Sunday we concluded our brief sermon series called “Growing in Grace” by looking at the last of three primary God-given means by which we grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus. Having spent four weeks on the place of Scripture and prayer in our lives, we turned our attention to fellowship.
I understand well that fellowship is hard work; for some it can even be painful. I also understand that it’s not always the natural bent of our hearts to give ourselves to intentionally deep relationships with others. But I also understand the importance of renewing our minds and allowing ourselves to be washed over with the truth of Scripture. For that reason, and in follow up to that sermon, I want to suggest 4 reasons that we have to enjoy God’s gift of fellowship. This is far from an exhaustive list, since we could likely come up with a dozen more reasons to pursue biblical fellowship, but this is at least a place to start. The first two are theological reasons, and the second two are more practical.
Reason #1: Fellowship puts the wisdom of God on display. What we saw in Hebrews 10 on Sunday is something that we see clearly throughout the pages of the New Testament: God’s design is for us, His people, to be in deep fellowship with one another. This is not some modern invention of man, but rather God’s idea from the beginning! So, when we live as the people of God we bring glory to God, because we magnify the beauty of His wisdom. That’s the argument of Paul in Ephesians 3 when he says, “…so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.” In other words, when an invention works the way it’s supposed to work, the inventor (not the invention itself) is glorified. When we’re living apart from the body of Christ (with the all-too-common lone-ranger mentality), or even when we reduce “fellowship” to merely showing up on a Sunday and warming a pew, we’re not displaying the wisdom of God! But when we live according to God’s good design for us He is most glorified.
Reason #2: Fellowship gives us a foretaste of the Kingdom. According to Scripture, the Kingdom of God will consist of the redeemed people of God from every tribe, language, people, and nation: one people of God (Revelation 5:9-10). In the Kingdom there will be perfect fellowship among God’s people as we all join together in unhindered corporate worship, enjoyment, and fellowship with God for all eternity (Revelation 21:3). So, every opportunity for fellowship now is but a glimpse of the greater fellowship that will be ours for all eternity. Even our weak, meager, fledgling attempts at fellowship now are preparing us and giving us a taste for what awaits us as the people of God. Why should you pursue fellowship now? Because you long for greater glimpses of the glorious future that awaits us!
Reason #3: You need others. Do you believe that? If we’re honest many of us think, or at least act like, we don’t need others. To live as if we don’t need our brothers and sisters in Christ is as foolish and errant as ignoring the laws and statistics of wearing seatbelts, concluding that “it will never happen to me.” Scripture reminds us again and again that we are hardwired to need our brothers and sisters in Christ. We all drift, and so we all need to be exhorted and encouraged and pointed again to Jesus Christ. Not a day goes by when we don’t need reminders of the gospel, of our identity in Christ, or of God’s promises to us. Not only that, but we need others to shine the light of God’s Word into the darkest corners of our hearts. We need others to build us up, spur us on, and keep us from being tossed to and fro. So many Christians are struggling through and enduring all manner of suffering and hardship, and yet so many refuse to put themselves among the people whom God uses for our good. God ordinarily uses human instruments to accomplish His purposes, so why would we refuse to pursue fellowship with those human instruments? It’s not that mere church attendance is a magic, cure-all pill for whatever ails you, nor that He rewards church attendance. But God uses real, intimate fellowship with other believers for our good. We need others!
Reason #4: Others need you. This is the other side of the coin: not only did God wire you to need others, but God wired others to need you! If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit has gifted you in unique ways to build up the body of Christ. Your gifts may not be up-front gifts of teaching or leading or the like, but in some way God has gifted you to be a blessing to others in this church family. If you are not using your gifts in the context of fellowship with other believers then this church family is lacking an integral part of God’s provision for our church. We should think less, “What benefits do I get from investing in true fellowship?” and ask instead, “In what ways can I be a blessing to my brothers and sisters?” Fellowship allows us the opportunity and blessing of being a blessing to others through the gifts that God has given us.
By God’s grace, and in order that we might grow in God’s grace, we are meant to be in fellowship together. May we all continue to pursue deep relationships with other one another for our good, but ultimately, for the glory of God!
THIS WEEK AT FAITH:
Servant's Heart Food Pantry
Prayer Group in the Prayer Room
Sunday Worship Gathering
||Official Board Meeting
|Wednesday, 7:00pm (May 25)
This Week's Sermon Text: Nehemiah 4:14 (Guest Preacher: Jere Vincent)
ALL-CHURCH WORK DAY: Saturday, May 21
On Saturday, May 21, we'll be having a work day here at the church building. There is a lot to do to keep up with an aging building and a lot of little projects that are a great opportunity for others to lend a hand. So we'd like to invite any and all to join us on Saturday, May 21, anytime between 9am and 12pm (or however long you want to stay). We'll provide donuts and coffee in the morning (first come, first served!). We've got a growing list of small projects - anything from painting to cleaning to organizing to fixing! There will be something for everyone! Please consider giving us a couple of hours to be good stewards of the building God has given us. If you're able to come, please reply to this email and let us know so we can plan accordingly.
3rd SUNDAY MISSION OFFERING: May 22
Our 3rd Sunday Mission Offering for the month of May will go to support the work of Family Builders Ministries. This locally based ministry seeks to partner with New England churches to build Christ-centered, healthy marriages and families. With us on May 22 to share about the ministry and to preach the Word of God will be Jere Vincent, the Executive Director of Family Builders. Please prayerfully consider how you might consider supporting this important work in New England.
PRAYER GATHERINGS: 2nd and 4th Wednesdays, Sunday AM
Please consider joining us as we gather together in prayer for the life of our church. These times begin by a brief devotional from the Word, followed by a time of praying for the needs of our church family. These gatherings happen on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of the month, along with every Sunday morning at 9:30am (with prayer primarily focused on the worship service). It is a great joy to gather as God's people and unite our hearts in prayer - join us!
MEN'S GATHERING: 1st Wednesday of the Month
In April we began a new gathering for the men of Faith Church - an opportunity to gather for time together in conversation, in the Word, and in prayer. Please take a moment to read about this new opportunity here, which describes it in much more detail. All men are invited to join us on the first Wednesday of June (June 1) as we ground ourselves in the Word and commit ourselves to growing in godliness. We'll be continuing in our look at the life of David.
MEN'S BREAKFAST: June 4
Calling all men! Join us on Saturday, June 4, for good food and great fellowship! We'll gather here at the church building for a filling breakfast and a chance to catch up with one another. In a couple weeks there will be a sign-up in the back of the sanctuary to let us know if you're coming.
OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD COLLECTION:
Did you know that at our Annual Operation Christmas Child Carnival Night we pack nearly 60 shoeboxes for needy children? To prepare, we need your help. Each month through November, we will collect items to be packed in shoeboxes on Carnival Night. In May, we are asking you to bring in a small flashlight. If everybody participates, we should have one flashlight for every shoebox! There is a box in the back of the sanctuary for you to drop-off your items of OCC!
COMMUNITY GROUP GATHERING:
Our next Community Group Gathering will be Sunday, May 29 at 5:00pm. After that, the next gatherings over the summer will be on a Sunday, July 17 and Sunday, August 21. T
his is open to anyone interested in pursuing biblical fellowship together. This group will continue to gather at least twice each month for planned gatherings, on the first Friday of the month and the third Sunday of the month. If you would like to know more about Community Groups, please speak to Pastor Andy (you can also read a brief overview here
YOUTH SUNDAY & PICNIC: June 5
Sunday, June 5, is our annual Youth Sunday - an opportunity for us to both honor our children and youth and to include them in leading our worship service. Following the service we'll have our annual picnic - so please join us! Hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, and drinks will be provided. We would love to have several people bring some kind of a salad/side dish to share (please reply to this email if you'll be bringing something.) Don't forget - if your last name begins with A-J you have been charged with the responsibility of bringing a dessert to share. One last note about Youth Sunday: feel free to dress down!
Have you made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ? Have you subsequently followed the Lord Jesus in the waters of baptism? If you are a believer in Jesus Christ and you have never been baptized since becoming a believer then you need to know that we are planning a baptism for September. In preparation for that we'll be offering a baptism class after a Sunday worship service in August (date TBA). The class is required for anyone who wants to get baptized in September, but it is also open to anyone - even if you're not yet sure about baptism. If you have any questions please speak to Pastor Andy.
PRACTICAL WAYS YOU CAN SERVE:
Over the past few weeks in our Weekly Update notes we've been highlighting a total of 15 practical ways you can serve - 10 ways in our church and 5 ways to serve in our community. If you missed any of those notes, you can read up on them here
. Our goal in providing these suggestions is to connect willing hearts to current needs. If you have any questions about ways you can use your gifts to build up the body of Christ, please do not hesitate to contact us!
FINANCIAL UPDATE FROM THE FINANCE COMMITTEE:
The following is a financial update from the Finance Committee that highlights our collections to date and compares them to the amount needed in order to fulfill our 2016 budget. As you can see below, our collections are well below our budgeted need, which would lead to a significant shortfall at the end of the year.
| Budgeted Collections as of May 8
||Actual Collections as of May 8
Please join us in praying for God to continue to provide for the ministry of Faith Church. If you have additional questions about the budget or collections, please speak to Carolyn Smith. Thank you for your faithfulness and support of Faith Church. "Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." (2 Corinthians 9:7)
PARSONAGE RELOCATION FUND:
At our Annual Meeting in January, the membership authorized the future purchase of a home in Melrose to replace our existing parsonage in Lynn. More details about this process that were distributed at a previous meeting are available here
. This authorization does not mean that a purchase is imminent, but simply that we are prepared if an opportunity arises. We are continuing to ask people to join us in praying for this particular need, and more information about that can be found here
. We also want to make people aware of our Parsonage Relocation Fund
, the goal of which is to offset the cost of purchasing a home in Melrose. A recent update about this fund and our progress in pursuing a home in Melrose was emailed to the congregation. If you'd like more information, please speak to Pastor Andy.
Our Moms Together ministry continues with two monthly opportunities for gathering. The first opportunity is a daytime playdate for moms and their children that will meet on the second Tuesday of the month at the church, which is open to any moms who can make it, so feel free to invite a friend! The second opportunity is meant to include moms who aren't available during the day and to be a "moms night out." These will be monthly gatherings on either a Friday or Saturday to do something fun together. Mark your calendars for these new opportunities to gather for encouragement and fellowship. If you have any questions please speak to Carrie Rice. Stay tuned for the summer schedule!
SAVE THE DATE
Spring Work Day: May 21
Missions Collection for Family Builders: May 22
Men's Breakfast: June 4
Youth Sunday: June 5
Sports & Music Camp: June 26-July 2
Baptism Service: September 18
Interested in a copy of the message from Sunday? Email the church office at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will see that you get a copy. Past sermons are available at www.faithchurchac.org/sermons.
Fight For Your Family
May 22, 2016~ Jere Vincent