Sunday, May 15, 2005

In love with God's people

Today is "Pentecost Sunday" - the day the church remembers the day that God poured out the Holy Spirit on his people and the church was born! Read about that day! (Acts 2, ESV)

In 2004 I read several books about church. Charlie Peacock wrote about the story of God-people-and-place in New Way to be Human. Michael Griffiths wrote, 30 years ago, about the church as Cinderella with Amnesia. Finally, I read Joshua Harris' Stop Dating the Church. In an age of individualism God's plans are much more corporate! Yes, he calls each person to turn from sin and trust in Christ - but the result is the formaton of what I dubbed God's Global Eden Project - God's people, in God's presence from all over God's planet.

We've now been at Arborfield Church for six months and I'm happy to confess that I have fallen "in love with the people of God!", just as Harris challenged me to. It's a real joy to be part of a family of people who delight in the good news that is Jesus!

Yesterday Tom texted me a quote from Bill Hybels yesterday:
"There is nothing like the local church when it's working right. Its beauty is indescribable. Its power is breathtaking. Its potential is unlimited. It comforts the grieving and heals the broken in the context of community... No other organisation is like the church. Nothing even comes close" (p23, Courageous Leadership)
The church is beautiful because it points to Christ. It often looks hypocritical and weak because it is full of sinners - but there we find the beauty of it. Christ calls sinners to himself, into a community located in him - and through the church reaches the world. The people of the church may not always look amazing. But see how brightly the saviour at the heart of the community will shines as Christ is proclaimed! Our strength and our power and our