Last week I posted a story about “live-streaming” 9:00 worship at our church. There was a large response, and a lot of enthusiasm. Rebekah’s opening message on The fruit of the Spirit touched a lot of people on a deep level, including hundreds who were unable to attend WFPC that day. So, of course, nobody did the live stream the next Sunday!
However, the audio version is very clear and already available. Rebekah’s second message in the series, Fruit of the Spirit – Joy and Peace, was just posted, and it communicates beautifully. If you missed the first, on love, you can listen to both:
So What’s My Point?
First, this was a communion service. Our church practices “open communion,” where all are welcome at the table. This mirrors the invitational and non-exclusive thrust of the Gospel of Love. As a church we feel challenged not just to welcome without judgment, but to live an invitational witness to love in every place and circumstance,
Then, I’m encouraging readers to listen to these messages for the exact same reason Rebekah is preaching them. We live in a world that is crying out for help, but is – at the same time – deeply confused about the message of the Christian faith.
This twenty-first century is in turmoil, both internationally and domestically; so our opportunity, as followers of the Way – our responsibility, is to live an authentic witness to the saving grace of Jesus.
The pain, the angst, the confusion, and the dysfunction; the general “lostness” of people addicted to possessions, pleasure, and power; the disillusion of finding that satisfaction and joy are always out of reach – all this demand a response from people of faith.
“We definitely need to respond,” Rebekah said; “not cynically, but spiritually… if in fact this is the world in which we strive to have abundant lives in Christ. Where is the evidence?… where is the fruit of the Spirit?… Where and how is the transformational power of Christ being made manifest through us?”
And that is the crux of the challenge. So many of us respond cynically instead of spiritually. If being disciples of Jesus sets up a transformational dynamic, then where is the evidence!
Being the church is about transformation:
This conversation carried over into the monthly men’s leadership phone conversation I’m a part of, Tuesday evening. “How does our faith in Christ translate into real change in the people and the systems we live with and in?” Jack asked us.
Jesus did not invite us to build faith communities designed to keep us comfortable, smug, and protected from the world around us. Jesus invited us to “be the church!”
Being the church is all about transforming the world by living in the world as redeemed, forgiven, motivated, passionate, equipped-by-Jesus, agents of change.
You’ve gotta love the way this is parsed in the letter to the Colossians. I’ll leave you with this today: “If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the universe, why do you live as if you still belonged to the world?” – Colossians 2:20
(Don’t miss either of the messages – click here. Then come to church next Sunday to enjoy the next one in person….)
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there's always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor's degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men's Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.