The Blessing of Belonging

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“One of the deepest longings of the soul is to belong – to be a part of something outside of ourselves, to be included, loved, appreciated, to know we contribute, take part in, fulfill a role, have a place. That’s why family and church are so fundamental to who we are and how God has created us. God established the family and the church as tangible, relational, loving, supportive structures to which we belong.

This desire to belong is so strong that if we don’t find belonging in God-given means, we will reach out to find belonging in other communities. That’s why gangs thrive; they thrive in environments where the family is broken or the church is inactive. Sometimes we do have access to God-given means of community, but we blindly substitute them or even unintentionally seek to replace them. So we find community at work, in sports, in social groups and clubs. There’s nothing inherently wrong with belonging to other groups unless they become our fundamental means of identity and result in the neglecting of the communities God intends to be our core – the family and the church. Those are the two God-ordained communities.

But ultimately, our greatest desire to belong goes much deeper than any of these communities. The ultimate desire of our souls for belonging is the basic desire to belong to God. Knowing that we have been reconciled to God, knowing that we belong to Christ, the Good Shepherd, grounds the soul in satisfaction and gives meaning, direction and purpose for every other community to which we belong.” Wil Owens, Teaching Pastor

Do you long to belong to Christ? What are the blessings of belonging to Him? Click on the link below to hear Pastor Wil Owens as he talks about what it looks like to belong to the Good Shepherd.

The Long Silence

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Silence can be more profound than words. It has a weight of its own. Silence, especially from a loved one, can become unbearable. It can accompany anticipation, precede disaster, or indicate rejection. Often, we don’t know what it portends.

The last words spoken between God and man before Christ’s coming are recorded in Malachi. The emotion of God seeps out in every verse, beginning with, “I have loved you.” (Malachi 1:1) Like a husband in pain, God recounts Israel’s unfaithfulness. The book almost reads like a cross-examination in court. The charges are simple and the proofs of unfaithfulness are easy to see. God’s final words are full of pathos:

4:1“For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. 2 But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall. 3 And you shall tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet, on the day when I act, says the Lord of hosts.

4 “Remember the law of my servant Moses, the statutes and rules[q] that I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel.

5 “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. 6 And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.”

And then….silence.

For 400 years. No prophecy. No songs. No warnings. No words of love. For generations.

And then something happened, something so wonderful we celebrate it to this day. God spoke again–breaking the dark, long silence of an age. Like the sun rising over the horizon and shining on a frosty earth, angels came and told us everything was about to change. The advent of our Savior had arrived. EBH

Good (Sometimes Funny) News….No-Shave November Is Here!

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If you’re one of those guys who has always wanted to try a beard on for size…now’s the time! November is being touted as “No-Shave November.” Who knew?

The organization, No-Shave November, is a web-based non-profit organization dedicated to “growing” awareness about men’s health. You might want to check out their site. You can try on your new look AND be awesome in the process!

Disclaimer: Clovis Ev Free does not necessarily endorse the wearing…or not wearing…of beards. 😉

Walking Towards Sunday: Leading Our Little Ones to Gratitude

Tree of Thanks Activity for Thanksgiving~ Project Gratitude – Tips from a Typical Mom

I have been absolutely loving all these great ideas from my fellow bloggers on how they celebrate Thanksgiving, have you?  Project Gratitude will have to come back next year, don’t you think? Today we are welcoming Jen from Mama. Papa. Bubba.  I love this idea of making a Tree of Thanks.  I love the size of… Read More »

Source: Tree of Thanks Activity for Thanksgiving~ Project Gratitude – Tips from a Typical Mom