"Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God's people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God's Son that we will mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ … He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love." - Ephesians 4:11-13, 16 NLT
Thoughts for Today
The church of Jesus Christ is God's antidote to the Tower of Babel because its unity is based in the person of Christ, not in the organization of man … or is it?
Today's scripture describes in some detail God's plan for the church. To get all the detail, read the entire fourth chapter of Ephesians. God calls for Christ-centered unity, not man-centered. Think about your church … and churches throughout the nation. Where is the focus?
Sometimes good intentions go awry and the focus shifts from Jesus to an over-emphasis on things like attendance and giving numbers … styles of music … using the latest programs … providing cutting edge props for the message … using all the latest electronic techniques. Sometimes the ministry neglects reaching outside the church to touch the lost and hurting and focuses only on blessing … and entertaining … the congregation.
Consider this …
Consider your own church or ministry. Is it based in the person of Christ … or in the organization of man. And consider your own life. Is Jesus your first consideration in all you do? Is he the greatest influence in your life … or has the world's influence become more important.
Father, help us to stay focused on Jesus in all we do; both in the church and in our personal lives. Forgive me for drifting at times into the world's influence and neglecting yours. In Jesus' name …
These thoughts were drawn from …One Nation Under God: Toward Race Reconciliation by Donna Saunders, Ph.D. and Jean Leak, MS, RN. This study discusses barriers between people and shows how to make Christ visible through love in action. This guide also offers the way to strengthen and bond relationships. Note: This curriculum was written especially for small groups, and we encourage people to use it that way. However, it can also be used effectively as a personal study for individuals or couples.
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