Communion is not dependent on Confession, nor is Confession dependent upon Communion; Each is independent but at the same time they work together toward the same goal. These two mysteries are not part of the same process, instead think of them as parallel and often intertwined processes.
The thing that makes a group of Christians a community is the mutual bond we share in Jesus Christ. That is really the only explanation for our life together as the people of God. We are a community not because we share the same tastes and interests outside the church. We are a community because we have had a common experience of an uncommon grace. It is the blood of Christ shed on the cross that binds us together.
Church, God is scanning this room. His eyes are focused each of us, looking for those that who will passionately and persistently seek Him. His search never ceases – and this is so important!! Because He is always on the lookout for your prayer, He never misses one single opportunity, any time, anywhere, to demonstrate His power on behalf of any person or any people group who rely on Him rather than relying on themselves. What does He see in you??
Let me ask this on a larger scale: Does God find here a church that longs for Him and cries out to Him, so that He moves to powerfully support us in His working? We’ve seen in these past two weeks that His power will explode on behalf of a church like that!
In almost every quarter of the globe, Christianity is advancing…except for four primary areas: North America, Japan, Australia, and Western Europe. Guess what one of the common denominators is everywhere Christianity marches forward? Christians spend time in prayer together. Track what God is doing in Korea, in China, in India, in South America, and you will find behind the scenes prayer meetings.
Jesus invites Matthew first and foremost into a relationship with him. The relationship was not the by-product of them doing ministry together, the relationship was the assignment, just like Patrick spent his time in prayer and reflection while working as a common slave. The ministry is what comes from the spending time together with God. The Christian life is not about doing stuff for God but being with God. It’s remarkable how Matthew got up immediately with no questions asked. Jesus’ invitation was a bit vague. He just said, “Follow me.” Some real similarities to St. Patrick. Here’s the thing…all Jesus asked of Matthew was to get up. It was all about movement! He had to get up from the table and move!
Something worth spending time considering is this: Why has this fellowship been found in the church while remaining unachieved through the world’s culture and wisdom? The community – the peace, love, joy, and unity – we long for with the world does not need to be created. It already exists! It exists in God. It exists in the fellowship of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – the Holy Trinity. That is why this community is divine. It is from God and experienced by God.
Understand fear for what it is, a distraction fuelled by the adversary; take your mind off of all the what if’s of rejection and insecurity; Focus your mind on the God’s promises, allow Him to strengthen you and give you peace – don’t try to understand it or define it – it transcends all understanding!
FEAR, I believe this is an experience common to all of us. Here’s something I’ve come to know as a part of my own life, and I’ve watched as a part of others’ lives. We undergo spiritual growth and gain maturity in our devotion and triumphs in our faith. We believe we are living out of our God picture, our life purpose. But then the world throws resistance or disruption at us, or we experience a spiritual plateau, and suddenly we’re paralyzed. The forward movement of our spiritual journey is halted most often because we let worry, fear and anxiety take hold.
Rejection is a looming threat in everyone’s life; with every attempt at something new or difficult, there is always the possibility that one will be rejected. In fact, for many, the fear of rejection is a kind of extreme stress felt in response to a number of factors in a person’s environment.
Rejection – rejection is always rated as one of the top fears that people dread.
As Jesus followers, we can trust that He will answer our prayers…. and because of that, most anxiety is needless. Do you believe that? The truth is that as anxiety or worry dances around inside our minds, God is blocked from doing His best work.
CBOQ Assembly 2023 took place in person, and it was a wonderful experience to be together once again. From the beginning of the Assembly, there was a real sense of community as everyone gathered for a common purpose.
So what is that purpose – in fact some of you might be asking, what is this Assembly thing we’ve been talking about??? Well, once a year all of the churches in CBOQ gather together to:
Praise God – so lots of worship together – that’s very special!To hear from relevant speakers about faith and practice in an ever-changing world – you’ll hear some of that over the next few minutes here; And of course to do some business as it’s our denominations annual general meeting. That’s one of the reasons we as a church send delegates to the assembly. This year, our theme was ABC – “Associating, Belonging, Called.”
As I look around me, I see so many fathers and people doing the same thing – searching for blessings and the contentment we talked about last week all over the place only to find out that happiness can’t be found there. The writer of Psalm 1 wanted to help us find the life that God has in store. He wrote that if we want the life God has planned for us, we must be careful to search where it can be found. He points out three mindsets and ways of living that will lead us away from blessing.