I wanted to link to this, but I couldn't figure out how. This was sent to me from one of the elders here at FBC. It's from the "1 Minute for Men" daily devotional that LifeWay does. Couldn't find a link from the email, so I thought I'd just reproduce it here. A good, short exhortation to church membership. Very helpful.
Paul - Love for the Church
Selections from 1 Thessalonaians 2
We cared so much for you that we were pleased to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us. For you remember our labor and hardship, brothers. Working night and day so that we would not burden any of you, we preached God's gospel to you.... As you know, like a father with his own children, we encouraged, comforted, and implored each one of you to walk worthy of God, who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.... For who is our hope, or joy, or crown of boasting in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming? Is it not you? For you are our glory and joy!
Paul poured his life into the church. His relationship with the many churches he started and sustained was like a father for his children - or, as he said, like a mother: "Again I am in the pains of childbirth for you until Christ is formed in you." There's a lot of love in this passage. The thought of a serious believer existing outside the blessings and boundaries of the church is a lie in the language of Christian living. God's people are grown to live in relationship, feeding off their gospel fellowship, partaking of the sacred reminders of the Christian mystery, lifting each other up in believing prayer, and holding each other accountable as witnesses for Christ. Love your church. Serve your church. Minister to the needy. Invest yourself in its mission, and find your role in helping bring it to pass.
Look At It This Way ...
The church is the body of believers, not the building where the believers assemble. It is the group with whom we marry our children, bury our dead, receive comfort in crisis, accept meals in sickness, partake of the Lord's Supper, learn about the character of God, become trained in doctrine, commune with Christ, fellowship with other believers, become discipled in the way we should walk, develop a personal ministry, honor God with our tithes and offerings, bring unsaved friends, hear the preaching of God's Word, express our spiritual gifts, raise our children in spiritual instruction, and take vows for which we are accountable.
Have you ever really considered the depth of the role your church plays in your life and the life of your family? A great need today is that Christians revalue the church - that they recognize the importance of membership in a vital body of believers. Supporting a local church through membership - not merely attendance - represents the most significant of the public spiritual disciplines. If we truly love Christ, we will want to be around his people. - Patrick Morley
A Final Thought:
If you're not actively involved in a church, it's time you followed God's call to the one where He wants you. Take it from those who are already there. You'll love it.
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