Pastor’s Corner | How do I love the church?

I awoke last night, from a sound sleep, asking myself a question, “How do I love the church?” Is it that I only love it when everything is going smoothly in the way that I desire? Is it that I require people to believe my way is always the best for all? Do I love the church more when people seem to be listening to my views and decisions are in a direction I prefer? What do I think of the church when it works or decides things in a way that I find unacceptable…does it impact my love and forgiveness? If I am a follower of Jesus, what was His model for loving the church? Did He only love those who agreed with His decisions and did things His way? Hmm?

Ephesians 5:25 challenges my behavior; “Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.” The church was, is, and will always be an imperfect and sinful body of believers…and Jesus knew this as He continued to support it, even to a cross! If any of us are waiting for a perfect group of Christians to gather in the name of Christ before we will sacrifice our time, our money, our personal ambitions, and our service then we have a long wait! Denied by Peter, betrayed by Judas, repeatedly questioned, and condemned by religious leadership, Jesus knew what it was to see sinful men.

Yet, he loved the church. How do I love the church? “Unconditional Love” is my goal but it won’t be easy! How will you love the church?

Pastor’s Corner | Leadership Need: Smart or Spiritual?

We live in a busy, focused, and production-oriented world. To be a “workaholic” is often viewed as a good thing for it means we aren’t wasting time or neglecting our opportunities to be useful for His Kingdom. Indeed, even Christian leadership finds itself seeking to make certain that strategic planning includes goals and action plans so that programs, committees, and ministries are impactful for God’s service! For some of us who have these habits, we are tempted to review what Jesus accomplished in just 3 years of his life and then become a bit depressed to see what we have done so far with our own lives.

Yet, if we are honest with ourselves and with God, we must admit that Christ’s greatest impact on others was not because He had a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-bound) plan or strategy but because He knew who He was and allowed His Spiritual identity to guide His interaction with people. Sensitivity to the needs of others around us, just as was true with Jesus, is something we need to incorporate into our being and life’s purpose. You have been selected and called to be a spiritual being not tied to the values of this world! To do anything less is to ignore the true purpose behind why God called us out to become His family’s member.