Daily Devotions

Faith Beyond a Building

main image

“So deeply do we care for you that we are determined to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you have become very dear to us.” (1Thessalonians 2:8)

 

We are so darn busy. We work fifteen percent more hours per week now than we did in the 1960’s. This leaves us little time for anything else. The challenges that face us are so all encompassing that we have little time left for concerns for others, let alone time to honor God. Yet, here is God calling us to not only attend weekly worship, but pray, participate in mission activities, and what’s more, actually find time to develop honest-to-goodness relationships. Really? Has the Apostle Paul looked at my calendar recently?

 

A friend of mine recently told me he was tired of excuses. We make our choices and we should just stand by them. I agree with him wholeheartedly! God isn’t expecting us to be in church twenty-four/seven. God does expect we attempt to bring God to our every activity, twenty-four/seven. Our congregation has a lot of activities. It is almost overwhelming the amount of opportunities we provide every week. However, we do not require every church member to be at every activity, every week. Weekly church attendance is an expectation, but we understand that you have other responsibilities and commitments.

 

I’ve witnessed some churches where they attempt to make their church, and its activities, one’s whole life. Every available hour is expected to be lived with God, and that occurs primarily at their particular church. Westminster does not affirm this theological understanding. I believe our church is a place where we nurture, support, and prepare individuals for a life of faith, in the world. Westminster prepares you to take God home to your family, into your work place, and all your activities. We believe that our church family is called to make a difference in the larger community. This means you might not always have time for every church activity, but you are taking Westminster into the community by the work you are doing in God’s holy name.

 

Today, re-evaluate how you are choosing to use your time. Focus on what is truly important. Sunday morning worship should be non-negotiable. If you cannot attend regularly because of a work commitment, then you need to make another time during the week available for church participation. Regular prayer is not negotiable. Then, focus on what your family requires to be healthy. Reflect on what your job requires. Is your job performance solid and healthy, or are you overworking, without benefit to family, yourself or your faith? If that is the case, change may be necessary.

 

Finally, consider how you can bring your own unique way of bringing faith into your other responsibilities. I knew a parent who went to her child’s soccer practices. She would quietly pray for each of the children, parents, and coaches. She said it was amazing the times she would pray for someone and they would find their way to her and a relationship would start. She would hear about the person’s concerns, joys, and needs. She knew God was working in and through her. God can do that for you as well. Reach out to others and reach up to God. Life will have even greater meaning and fulfillment when we intentionally choose a life with God, rather than just existing from one commitment to another.

Greater Reach

main image

“Tychicus will tell you all the news about me; he is a beloved brother, a faithful minister, and a fellow servant in the Lord.” (Colossians 4:7)

 

The Apostle Paul was a Roman citizen, raised with the benefit of fine schools, was respected in the Jewish community, and called in a powerful way by God. Yet, even Paul needed others to fulfill his divine call.

 

Tychicus was a follower from one of the Asiatic Churches. He was with Paul on his journey from Macedonia to Jerusalem. He was mentioned in Paul’s stay in Rome, as well. Throughout Paul’s missionary journeys, he nurtured a number of younger leaders to increase his evangelistic reach. Perhaps he knew, like Jesus and Stephen before him, that his days are numbered. Either way, Paul knew that the faith would only be transformed through the efforts of many faithful and courageous leaders.

 

In a church, a minister alone is incapable of making a difference. The congregation’s divine  productivity is commensurate with the number of individuals affirming and living out their God given call. Too often, lay people act as if living the Christian faith is for the church professional. You are a huge part of the growth of the Christian faith in your community. Just like one good teacher can make a lifelong difference in the lives of her/his students, so too can each church person make a lifelong difference in the lives of others.

 

A church school teacher can make the same difference in a child’s life as a public school teacher. A deacon visiting a shut-in can bring a sense of comfort and even joy to someone’s last years. The deacon’s commitment can even inspire the rest of the shut-in’s family, and renew their faith. I’ve shared in previous devotionals the impact two older church choir friends had on my life. Like Tychicus, you are capable of great things, done in God’s name. You just have to act.

 

Today, think about the difference you are making in your church, your school, your work, your community, even your own family. Are you Christ’s example with those you meet? Are people better, having you in their lives? What can you do to represent Christ to those around you? Your answer may be to volunteer to teach at church, be a church visitor, or get involved in a community organization with a mission you feel God wants to bless through you. Trust God to use you to make a lasting difference. The same Spirit that blessed Tychicus is the same Spirit that can guide and mold you and me. Let’s get started.

12...6789101112131415 ... 194195