Someone once said, "You won't do ministry that matters until you define what matters."
The following are my Bible study notes based on my pastor's sermon. Our pastor speaks about our unity as a church family. He outlines some of our church themes from recent years, comparing us as a team who wears common colors.
The scripture passage is Romans 15:1-6.
Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification. For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me.” For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. - Romans 15:1-6
You are invited to watch and listen to the entire sermon here. My notes follow the video.
Some of our common themes as a church family include:
Joy of Authentic Community
Gather in Worship
The Blessing of Generous Living
The Expectation of Ministry Excellence
Living Out God's Truth
World ChangerPain helps us refocus and even repurpose our lives. Concerning our church family in the recent 8 days after unexpectedly losing one of our associate pastors, our pastor teaches:
Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world. - C.S. Lewis
1. Our focus has been redirected to Christ.
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. - John 11:25Pain causes us to focus on what is important. What would you do if you knew you only had 24 hours to live?
In Romans 15:3, we learn what Jesus did.
For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me.” - Romans 15:3In his last day, Jesus was praying, encouraging, and discipling. He never made it about Himself.
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.- Philippians 2:5-8In Romans 15:3 (above), Paul focused back on the power of God's Word. Don't remove the Old Testament from your "spiritual diet."
When you are grieving, focus on Psalms and Lamentations. God is always faithful and we have no greater help than God's Word.
Christ-likeness comes through suffering.
How many times have we asked God for Christ-likeness, then beg Him to take away the things that make us like Christ? - Randy Alcorn2. Our focus has been removed from ourselves.
In suffering, nitty gritty pettiness often goes away as a suffering group leans to lean on each other in their common suffering.
When we are wrapped up in ourselves, we won't focus on the needs of others.
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. - Philippians 2:3-4I am obligated to others.
I am to be an everyday edifier.
I am to lighten loads, not pile on unnecessary stuff.
Before speaking, we should ask ourselves these questions:
Is it kind?
Is it necessary?
Is it true?
3. Our focus is re-energized around our mission - like an entire symphony of musical instruments, not just many of the same instrument.
God is most glorified when we are unified.
When there is brokenness, there is openness and walls come down.