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A Wisdom Retreat - January 24

Living Dependently

Romans 12:5

So we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

Unity is not achieved by everyone thinking alike, having the same preference in music, or reading from the same translation of the Bible. Neither is it based on personality, appearance, or social standing. Our unity is built upon the Church's body of truth—the Scriptures. And the Scriptures tell us that we are not to live independently of one another, but dependently, as members of a body.  Paul emphasized this point when he said,

As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love (Eph. 4:14-16).

The question of whether or not someone else is performing his part in the body isn't yours to answer. The key question for you is, "Am I doing my part in building up the body in love?" When every part of the body does its job, the body is not disabled, but coordinated. This is true for the physical body, and is also true for the body of Christ, known as the Church.

If you don't have the use of an arm or leg, you may be in the category known as "Disabled" (or handicapped, in years gone by). In the same way, when a member of the Church cannot, or will not, function as he should, the church becomes disabled and handicapped in ministry. Those who join local churches but refuse to serve in them actually help to create a disabled body.

On the other hand, when members make the commitment to roll up their sleeves and humbly serve one another, the local church becomes more coordinated and more effective.

The truth is, we need each other. Just as eyes can't provide hearing and ears can't provide sight, you and I provide for the rest of the body the gifts which others lack. The Church is in need of what you as an individual bring to it, and there are no excuses for "sitting it out."

One pastor expressed it this way: "You cannot claim to love Jesus Christ and ignore His bride." God is serious about His Church because He purchased her with His precious blood.

If you are not involved in a local church—not using your gifts for the good of the whole body—then you've forgotten how vitally important you are to a healthy, coordinated Body or . . . you've grown complacent and lazy.

If you're faithfully serving the local body where God has placed you, then you're already experiencing the joys of providing "hearing" or "seeing" or "walking" capabilities for your church, and someone is dependent upon you.

All I have to say to you is . . . "Keep it up!"

Prayer Point: If you are uncertain as to how you can most effectively serve your local church, pray that God will reveal to you your strengths and weaknesses, as well as your giftedness. Then pray that He will give you a greater appreciation for the Church, knowing that it is the greatest way in which He is working in the world today.

Extra Refreshment: 1 Corinthians 12.


The Advent Event

December is one of the busiest months of the year. As Christians, we approach the Christmas season with the intention of focusing on the incarnation and making it a significant time. But it's so easy to get caught up in the busyness of the season—the parties, the decorations, the presents and the special events at church. Before we know it, the month of December has flown by, and we wonder where the time went.

One of the most significant things a family can do in December is to be intentional about finding time every day to think about the true meaning of Christmas. The Advent Event is an easy, fun and enriching family project to help focus attention on the birth of Jesus while discovering the big picture of God's plan throughout the entire Bible.

Each day in December, the family sets aside a few minutes together for this activity. There is a simple coloring craft, a story from God's Word and a motion to learn that helps children remember the timeline of Scripture. Most importantly, this resources provides a special family time that Moms and Dads can use to reconnect their families to the spiritual significance of Christmas; the birth of Jesus, our Savior.

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