2 Corinthians 3:17
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
In today’s culture it seems as if most people find themselves easily aggravated and anger seems to flair without much cause. This happens while traveling the streets of our city, shopping at the local grocery, or even in our own home while watching the evening news. I am often surprised and ashamed how quickly my anger can flair for what really is a very insignificant reason.
As Christ followers we are called to live a life that is more in control of how we react in certain situations. In the book of James we read these wise instructions from God by the hand of James concerning how best to begin to remove this anger from our lives. James writes in verse 19, “be quick to hear”, yet so often our anger flairs out of a misunderstanding. We need to be cautious and listen intently to others and make a great effort to show compassion for their situation. This will cause us to lay aside our self and place others before our own needs or desires. James continues to give us instructions by writing “slow to speak”. How often have you been in a normal conversation and without warning something is said that causes that conversation to become very hostile? Let us as Christians be careful in how we use our words for they have a great power and can cause very deep wounds on the hearts of those we love and know.
James ends this portion of scripture in verse 20 by writing, “the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” Every morning we are to awake with an overwhelming desire to be more like Jesus. If we allow anger to continue to plague our hearts this becomes impossible and instead our hearts will become cold and our witness of His love for others will be dead! Instead awake with love and grace overflowing from your lives and anger will flee from you!
How Great is the Father’s Love
For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
How Great is the Father’s Love
29 Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.
God’s Purpose and Expectation for us to Serve Others
I Thessalonians 5:15
See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people.
MULTIPLY. It’s not just our theme for 2017; it’s a goal we’ve set before ourselves. What can we do as Christ-followers to multiply so that our church body here at Tates Creek can last, thrive, and continue to make disciples until Jesus comes again? It’s a daunting task. Sometimes it feels overwhelming. I’m just one person. What can I really do to multiply our church? What can I really do to affect future generations?
If this task were left up to me, it would fail. But it’s not left up to me. Some people have such a charismatic personality that they can grow a “church” all by themselves. There are some who have such an extreme work-ethic and such a laser-focus that they can build a following by sheer force of will.
I’m not one of those people. But I think that is exactly the way God wants it, because that is not how God builds a church, or how God has promised to sustain it.
Jesus said, “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18, ESV) Paul wrote, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.” (1 Corinthians 3:6, ESV)
This multiplication is only going to happen if God does it. It’s only by his grace. And that means we need to pray. Lately I’ve been praying a very specific prayer and I ask that you would begin praying it with me in your own life. The prayer is this: “God, please put people in my path who need to hear the gospel of your Son. And help me to step up and share the gospel with them when the opportunity comes.”
God is sovereign. Nothing happens in this world outside of him causing or permitting it. If that’s the case, shouldn’t we be trusting in Him more to bring about the multiplication that we believe is His will for our church?
If you’re like me and you desire to bring more people to Christ, but you just don’t know how to get started… start with prayer. Ask God to bring you people with whom you can share the gospel. Ask Him to steer every day conversations toward spiritual things. Ask Him to open up hearts (Acts 16:14) and open up doors for the gospel (Acts 14:27; Colossians 4:3). He is sovereign and He can do it. Believe in Him!
Here at Tates Creek we encourage every one of our members to be involved in 1 hour or worship, 1 hour of group study, and 1 hour of service every week. That 1 hour of group study is best done in a Sunday School class or in one of our Small Groups. Do you ever feel like you’re just not connecting at church? Do you feel like it’s hard to get plugged in? Do you feel like you don’t really know where you fit in this community of Christ-followers? Committing to a Small Group for an extended period of time is a great way to help you get past those feelings. We realize it’s hard to open your life up to people you don’t know very well. But there are many people in our church, including myself, who can witness to the fact that when you do… when you consistently involve yourself in the same small group of believers over the course of a long period of time… those people become your closest friends and they help you to grow in your relationship with the Lord. I can attest to this personally. About a year after we were married, my wife and I began searching for a church. We attended so many, but what kept us at Tates Creek long-term, more than anything else, was getting involved in a Small Group. Church went from being the place we went on Sundays to attend worship, to becoming a tight-knit community that cared for us and needed us to care for them. We felt like we were finally living the way God created us to live. “Bear one another’s burdens…” Galations 6:2 “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other…” James 5:16 “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” Romans 12:15 How can we expect to obey those commandments if we’re not deeply connected with some other members of our church? In January we began two new Small Groups. I would encourage you to visit our Small Groups page on our website to see what we have to offer. If a Sunday School class would suit you best, there are many to choose from and committing to one of those is also an excellent way to weave yourself into community with other believers here at the church. You can find those on our website as well.
~ John email@example.com