1 Better Together
2 Reaching out Together
3 Fellowship Together
4 Growing Together -
5 Serving Together -
6 Worshipping Together
7 Final Celebration followed by lunch
On April 19th "40 Days" was launched at Selsdon Baptist. After a brief introduction by Mike Elcome, we watched part of Rick Warren's launch DVD.
Rick answered the question "What on earth are we here for?" with" Together we are the body of Christ". He emphasised that 'community' is the outworking of Love in the church. We need community because
We have better fellowship together
We worship better together
We Grow better together
We reach out better together
We serve better together
As he closed he emphasised that Jesus always sided with the underdog, and God expects us to do the same.
He suggested that we should not be a church where the hands and feet of the body have been amputated and only the mouth remains -
Mike reminded us that on every page the Bible talks about community. We need each other to e Christians. We need love in God's family. Life is about learning to love. We are better together:
1. So we can journey together with each other
2. So we can work with one another
3. So that we can watch out for each other
4. So that we can share with each other
Mike summed it by "Love helps us do better together".
We were also treated to a puppet show -
Mike introduced this week's theme. We can reach out and share God's love so much better if we do it together. As Philippians 1:27 says, we should be standing side by side for the faith.. In what ways should we do this:
1. We should support each other in prayer. Prayer is a catalyst that changes people. We can pray for anyone, inside the church or out, family, friends colleagues.
2. We should support each other in fellowship. We should make friends with people because God loves them. We must not be isolated in church, cut off from the world. We may be the closest our friends ever get to Jesus. We need to be salt and light for the world.
3. We support each other in love. People sometimes think Christians are judgemental and know us by what we're against. We need to be known by the way we love each other.
4. We should support each other in telling. Giving your testimony is just 'retelling your story'. We are witnesses, not barristers, policemen, judges -
Our motto for the week should be "God Use Me"
If you want to see the second puppet show, click here
Mike told us that we need strong fellowship so that we can reach out to the community together. In a church we have connections with each other, and we need to focus on our relationships. There were four things that undermined fellowship, and four actions to take to overcome them:
1. Avoid Self Centeredness. We think of ourselves first. We have to work against our western culture of 'me first'. Selfishness destroys relationships and causes trouble. We must learn Unselfishness -
2. Avoid Pride. Takes the form of criticism, stubbornness, shallowness, having the last word. We must learn Humility, we must take advice, we must live in harmony.
3. Insecurity. We fear human opinion, we worry what others think. We fear being rejected. We must learn Confidence -
4. Unforgiveness. Where we are hurt by others mistakes and attacks, we often hold a grudge and carry resentment. It's not easy, but, We must learn Forgiveness. Don't pretend it didn't happen, but take the attitude, "It did hurt, but it's in the past". Let God help us with forgiveness
As Romans 12:5b says -
We also had instalment number 3 of the Alex and Sally puppet show -
Mike told us we can only bear fruit in fellowship with other Christians. He used the example of the pear tree, which needs other pear trees or the fruit will not be pollinated. The bible says we should " encourage each other and build each other up". There are four ways to do this
1. By acceptance and affirmation. Don't be negative, choose to lift people up. Put some effort into saying positive things to people.
2. By time and appreciation. Put time into growth for others, Avoid things that compete for our time -
3. By Prayer and Faith. Paul says "Epaphras always prays fervently." We should make a point of praying for our friends.
4. By new beginnings. God wants us to start again. God never gives up on us. He will give us a 2nd, 3rd, 50th, 100th chance. He will use others to inspire you.
Mike ended with the analogy of the redwood tree, the largest trees on the planet. They need to grow together, because their roots are intertwined to give the strength to hold up the enormous tree. In the same way, as Christians, together our faith grows strong.
We also had instalment number 4 of the Alex and Sally puppet show -
Diane Watts told us that worship expresses our relationship with God, and looked at several aspects of this.
1 Worship is all about God's story. We are retelling God's story, and is part of our encounter with God, where we become part of his story. In worship we tell each other the story of God in our lives.
2. Worship is responding to God. Just as football fans respond when their team has won an important match, so we respond to the things God has done for us.
3. Worship is Listening to God. Sometimes we need to be quiet and listen. We need to listen to God's Word, to listen in prayer, and listen to each other.
4 Worship is what we do. This may be through singing, prayer, or action
We all shared together what we had gained from 40 Days of Community. Brian Reeves shared the blessings of prayer walking around the neighbourhood. Thomas Amokwandoh shared how prayers requested on our prayer tree had been answered in the reconciliation of his cousins after 10 years of discord. Jane White from our Greenvale congregation shared their vision to hold a "Live Better for Less Community Day" on the Greenvale field. Our Sunday Club children presented us with a 'thank you' card!
All in all we have been energised to continue the service to the community we are already doing, and to look for new opportunities for mission and ministry.