How profound is your connection to the Church universal, and for that matter, to your local Christian fellowship?
Is it because we don’t really take the time to appreciate that we are redeemed as a people, to be a people for Christ? When we identify strongly with our brothers and sisters in faith and see ourselves, above all, as part of a bigger whole, we gain unique comfort and perspective which will serve us and others well in this earthly life.
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 1 Peter 2:9
“This reorienting our minds from ‘individual first, common next’ to ‘common first, individual next’ is difficult and not readily grasped, but is highly beneficial to the church and to the individual as well, because it undermines self-centeredness, criticism, division, and pride. It underscores humility, service, and love toward one another….In Chapter Two, “The Day with Others”, Bonhoeffer provides a model for how we can spend the day in Christian fellowship with one another in the Lord. He walks through a full day; morning, noon, and evening, exhorting and offering practical helps, and sometimes personal preferences, pointing to how common-life (fellowship) revolves around common worship. Common worship, both family and corporate, is the staple for “life-together” fellowship.
Wil Owens, Teaching Pastor
Continue reading with us as we move into Chapter 3 of “Life Together” by Dietrich Bonhoeffer! Join or local discussion group if you live nearby!
“Let us be just as honest with God. When we plead with God, let us lay our hearts before him. Honestly describe our condition. State our case. Whether real or perceived…”
David, in his Psalms, shows us how to be real with God…and ourselves. Are you wrestling with personal failure? Or tremendous fear? Or grief? God is big enough to handle our deepest questions and darkest fears. Join Pastor Wil Owens as he shows us how King David, a man after God’s own heart, pleads with God and finds strength and peace.
“Dear believer, listen and listen well, when you are sure that heaven is silent and heaven is shut that God is nowhere near and is not listening, you can be even more sure that the very opposite is true. Feelings and perceptions often place God in a far, foggy, distant land, but by faith we can be assured that we rest in His loving arms.”
Thankfulness. Dietrich Bonhoeffer brilliantly lays out the foundation of our fellowship with Christ. In the first section of his book, “Life Together”, he discusses the way we can live together and love together, flaws and all.
We thank God for giving us brethren who live by his call, by his forgiveness, and his promise. We do not complain of what God does not give us; we rather thank God for what he does give us daily. And is not what has been given us enough: brothers, who will go on living with us through sin and need under the blessing of his grace? Is the divine gift of Christian fellowship anything less than this, any day, even the most difficult and distressing day? Even when sin and misunderstanding burden the communal life, is not the sinning brother still a brother, with whom I, too, stand under the Word of Christ? Will not his sin be a constant occasion for me to give thanks that both of us may live in the forgiving love of God in Jesus Christ? Thus the very hour of disillusionment with my brother becomes incomparably salutary, because it so thoroughly teaches me that neither of us can ever live by our own words and deeds, but only by that one Word and Deed which really binds us together—the forgiveness of sins in Jesus Christ. When the morning mists of dreams vanish, then dawns the bright day of Christian fellowship….
If we do not give thanks daily for the Christian fellowship in which we have been placed, even where there is no great experience, no discoverable riches, but much weakness, small faith, and difficulty; if, on the contrary, we only keep complaining to God that everything is so paltry and petty, so far from what we expected, then we hinder God from letting our fellowship grow according to the measure and riches which are there for us all in Jesus Christ.
Bonhoeffer, Dietrich (2012-06-20). Life Together (Kindle Locations 196-199). Hymns Ancient and Modern Ltd. Kindle Edition.
Our book club moves on to Chapter 2 this week. Please read along! If you’re near the Clovis area, please join us as we meet on Wednesday nights 6:30-8:00 p.m. We would LOVE to see you there!!! Visit clovisevfree.org for location details.
This past weekend I met a couple who were married on the Fourth of July and baptized on the fifth. They had been cohabiting for many years and had several children together. They had never known anyone who was part of a church. But when their lives didn’t turn out the way that they hoped, they were willing to try anything, including a local church. There they ran into an old gospel, and new life. As I watched them plunged into the waters of baptism—and as I heard their three year-old son yell from his pew “Wow!”—I thought about how their story may well be the story of the coming generations.
The Sexual Revolution certainly seems triumphant. After a generation of no-fault divorce, cohabitation, ubiquitous pornography, and the cultural unhinging of sex from marriage and marriage from childbearing, we now see the courts and the culture decoupling…
A whole lot. People get mad. Accusations fly. Those one rely upon turn squeamish. But light shines. A body is healed. A heart becomes courageous. And a Savior comes to comfort.
Are you suffering? Are people blaming you for it? Is your family turning their back on you? Do you feel ostracized by those who should be supporting you? Have you felt Christ’s comfort yet?
If you are seeking answers, take the time to listen as Pastor Wil Owens unpacks Christ’s most exceptional miracle and helps us “see” what we can expect to experience when we meet Christ and accept His healing touch. So grab a Bible if you have one and enjoy this special two-part series on John chapter 9.
No matter how formidable, convincing, emotional, or heated the arguments of man may be, let us remain steadfast in the truth of God’s Word. What matters most in this life is not what others may think about us or do to us or declare about us, what matters most in this life is what God declares about us, what God has done for us, and what God has to say to us. –Teaching Pastor Wil Owens