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Day Seventeen - A Place To Belong
November 29, 2003
God does not just call us to believe; He also calls us to belong to His family. The Bible shows that from the beginning of creation “it was not good for man to be alone.” We were formed to be part of a body of believers. The Bible speaks of a human body and shows that each part of the body is dependent on the others (though it gives no mention of the tonsils or appendix!). So in the Christian family each member plays a critical role and needs to depend on the others.
Warren provides several reasons I need to be part of a church family:
- A church family identifies me as a genuine believer. I prove my faith by showing love to other members of God’s family. This can only be done within the fellowship of a church.
- A church family moves me out of self-centered isolation. Relationships with other Christians will teach me how to love unconditionally. It will fulfill the Biblical model of being committed to and dependent upon other believers.
- A church family helps me develop spiritual muscle. Being part of a church family will help me grow to maturity in my faith.
- The body of Christ needs me. Every Christian has a unique gift or ministry. It is wrong to deny these God-given gifts to the church.
- I will share Christ’s mission in the world. The church is God’s instrument on earth to fulfill His work. By being part of a church I can share in that mission.
- A church family will help keep me from backsliding. As part of a church family I will have other Christians to keep me accountable and to ensure that I do not backslide. This is the responsibility of all believers.
After a plug for The Purpose Driven Church Warren shows the importance of not just being an attender of church, but of being a member – one who contributes to the church and to the mission of the church. By becoming a Christian I am committing myself to Christ and by becoming a member of a church I am committing myself to a group of believers.
I found today’s chapter inspiring and enlightening. It is probably the highlight of the book for me thus far.
Warren quotes the Bible twenty eight times using seven translations and paraphrases. Generally speaking he uses the Bible within its proper context. The bulk of the verses are quoted in a reasonable translation.
Point to Ponder
Today’s point to ponder is “I am called to belong, not just believe.” I had a discussion about this with a friend just a few weeks ago. He professes Christ but does not feel the need to attend church. He tells how he has felt betrayed by church before and feels that he does not need a church in his life. I tried to explain to him that church isn’t all about receiving, but that it is also about giving. It is easy to say that there is nothing he can gain from church, but it is downright selfish to say that there is nothing he can contribute to a church.
I am thankful to be part of a church that believes in maximizing every member’s contribution to the church. My church believes that each and every person has a unique gift that can be used to benefit the church. The pastors do their best to determine how each person is gifted and then ensure that people are using their gifts in a ministry that can use those specific talents.
Tomorrow’s topic is Experiencing Life Together