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How Different?

ode_to_moonlight_by_dvl

How different are we from our main societies;
Cultural expectations,
Accepted norms?

How different is light from darkness?

“Thus your light will shine before the children of men that they may see your good works, and may glorify your Father who is in Heaven.”
Matthew 5:16 (Aramaic Bible in Plain English)

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DIFFERENT

One day, many years ago, I died.
Jesus came into my heart and I was born again.  My life is now hidden in Him.
My old self was removed; I was given new clothes:  Compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, love; a garment of praise, beauty for ashes, a crown of joy.
Now, as a daughter of the Most High, a member of Christ’s Body, I live a life that is different from the world.  Instead of holding grudges or getting revenge, I forgive.  Peace rules my heart; anger, worry, bitterness and malice have no place there.  Society’s values no longer govern my thinking and choices; God’s commandments are my foundation.
I, along with all of my brothers and sisters in Christ, am different; set apart to be and live like Jesus, in the power of the Holy Spirit.
This is the way of Your people, oh God, by Your grace.  Amen.

 

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Based on verses in Colossians 3:
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.
You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly
as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

WHAT IS THE CHURCH ANYWAY?

“The Church is made up of groups of people who share common beliefs; who get together for social contact and to support each other.” common statement

“So, what is the role of the church in society? For each member of the church to live a life worthy of the call in order to reach their own first, and in turn impact the world around them. Only then can our families be saved, our communities put back together, our nations healed, and our world impacted by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Society begins in the homes of each individual member of the Church. It is interesting that Luke’s summary of the great commission
call to preach the gospel to all nations, however, it also commands to begin in Jerusalem first. In other words, the commission begins at home.”
Dr SamGalloza
http://www.theologyexchange.com

“I believe the church has at least three roles to play in North American society. They are:
1. Witness to God’s love and power.
2. Call society to peace, justice and compassion.
3. Work toward the welfare of all members of society.” Duane Ruth-Heffelbower
http://www.peace.fresno.edu/docs/speech.html‎

“When speaking of the church, theologians often use terms such as the visible and local church as opposed to the invisible and universal church. The visible and local church is, of course, the physical churches that we see around us and around the world, as well as the members of those churches. The invisible and universal church, however, refers to all believers everywhere and is one church, united in Christ, not many physical churches. Everyone in the universal church is a true believer, but such is not necessarily the case with visible and local churches.
Why is it relevant to understand some basic differences between the visible and universal church? One key reason is so that we do not confuse what we sometimes see fallible churches doing with the reality of the universal church. Not only do visible and local churches often host nonbelievers, but also the believers themselves are imperfect, resulting in challenges and tensions in every visible church.
What Does the Church Do?
The church is not a building, but a body of believers with a specific nature and purpose. These biblical roles or ministries of the church are foundational to it. What are these roles? They are many, but key to any church are foundations in worship, edification and evangelism.
Worship is God-centered and Christ-centered. It is not about entertaining Christians with flashy displays or presentations, but about expressing our love by worshiping our Creator. We are to praise and glorify God in worship. As such, every Christian needs to be part of regular fellowship and worship.
Edification is also a role of the church. It involves edifying believers, but also nurturing, building up or helping believers to mature in Christ. To this end, churches are tasked with a variety of ministries such as Bible study, continuing education in related areas, praying for one another, acts of genuine hospitality and more.
Evangelism is also a key role of the church. This means reaching out to a lost world with the Good News about Jesus. Since people often have questions or doubts about Christ and Christianity, knowing the truth and being able to defend it (apologetics) is also part of the role of the church. But beyond evangelism in the sense of reaching out with the gospel, the church must also express compassion and mercy tangibly by helping others. In following Christ’s example to love others, the church, too, must seek to make a real difference in the world while not neglecting to share the message of Christ.” Focus on the Family
http://www.focusonthefamily.com

“People who have been set apart and called out from the world.”
http://www.bible.ca/ntx-what-is-the-church.htm‎

“As the church, we are to demonstrate God’s power through miracles.
Jesus demonstrated the Father’s heart. It is now our job to do that.” Bill Johnson,
“When Heaven Invades Earth,” pp 109

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I have heard a number of prophetic words that the church as we know it will change; that we will find each other by the leading of the Holy Spirit, instead of going to buildings with signs and pre-determined service times. We are the light in a darkening world.

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I say the Church is the company of all who have given their lives to Jesus, from earliest history to the end of time, in all parts of the world. We are “glory carriers:” We bring God’s presence into every place and situation. Offering people the opportunity to experience Jesus firsthand is our most effective work.

What do you say the Church is? What is our place and role in the world?

Where Do We Draw the Line?

This was sent to me:
Hannah, you wrote about Christian community. What it is. How breaking bread was more than just sharing bread, it was a core value of a community of people. This was “church”. You asked folks about their own interpretation of Christian community and Church. Your question is timely in view of one of the cases the US Supreme Court is hearing. In this case, a corporation named Hobby Lobby does not want to provide birth control coverage in the insurance policies of employees because the owners have personal religious beliefs against certain types of birth control.
This is bringing up all sorts of questions. Can a corporation impinge on the rights of their employees based off of “personal beliefs”? Are Corporations “ people” who have beliefs? If Corporations are people and can have religious beliefs than would you include them in your definition of Christian community and “Church”. That would imply that when you break bread; companies such as Walmart, Hobby Lobby, General Electric, Halliburton, etc. could break bread with you as well. I guess that if Walmart were part of the community they could bring the bread. Maybe a nice red wine as well.
I don’t know about you but to think of a Corporation being ruled as a “people” with the right to put their religious beliefs on employees is scary stuff. God knows (and I mean God knows) how the Corporations have already dis-assembled our Democracy. What would they do to Christianity?
Something to think about.
Martha