Thursday, May 04, 2006

A Place to Belong

So far I think this has been the best chapter. I wish every Christian I've encountered who has uttered something like, "I don't need to go to church, I can pray on my own" would read this chapter. Being a part of community, a part of the fellowship, is critical to our spiritual health. Of course the cynical side of me says, "We as a nation don't really take care of our health in any other way, why should I expect that people would want to take care of their spiritual health?"... Since I'm afraid I won't really do this subject justice I would like to simply pass along some of the quotes/lines that struck me and let Rick Warren do the sharing for today...

  • You are called to belong, not believe.
  • While your relationship to Christ is personal, God never intends it to be private.
  • To Paul, being a "member" of the church meant being a vital organ of a living body, an indispensable, interconnected part of the Body of Christ. We need to recover and practice the biblical meaning of membership.
  • If an organ is somehow severed from its body, it will shrivel and die. It cannot exist on its own, and neither can you. Disconnected and cut off from the lifeblood of a local body, your spiritual life will wither and eventually cease to exist.
  • Sadly, many Christians use the church but don't love it.
  • God expects us to give our lives for each other. (1 John 3:16)
  • You will never grow to maturity just by attending worship services and being a passive spectator. Only participation in the full life of a local church builds spiritual muscle.
  • It may seem easier to be holy when no one else is around to frustrate your preferences, but that is a false, untested holiness. Isolation breeds deceitfulness; it is easy to fool ourselves into thinking we are mature if there is no one to challenge us. Real maturity shows up in relationships.
  • The difference between being a church attender and a church member is commitment. Attenders are spectators from the sidelines; members get involved in the ministry. Attenders are consumer; members are contributors. Attenders want the benefits of a church without sharing the responsibility. They are like couples who want to live together without committing to a marriage.

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