Jesus, the Great Connector
What an honor it is to write this month’s article with the timing of the launch of our new Community Groups.
They are designed to bring people together for strengthening relationships, connections, and belonging. Engagement is the key to Christian community. With this shift, the intent is to connect people of all ages throughout Rancho Baptist Church with participation in these new groups. It will be time spent together beyond Sunday services to pray, fellowship, worship, break bread, grow and connect.
An examination of Matthew 9:35–38 shows us that Jesus connected physically “Jesus went about all the cities and villages” (Matt.9:35), connected visually “He saw the multitudes” (Matt. 9:36), connected emotionally “He was moved with compassion” (Matt. 9:36), connected spiritually He was “teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom” (Matt. 9:35). When you follow Jesus through the gospels, you realize how much He valued people. Jesus said that we, His followers, are to be salt and light in this world (Matt.5:13–16). We are to make things better and brighter for others by showing Christian love to them.
We all need that don’t we?
God wants every Christian to make a Kingdom sized difference in the world around us. Our Church was not meant to merely survive, RBC is meant to thrive! The Church (us) is God’s plan to transform the world. And as Peter reminded us, “His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 1:3). Those words apply to individuals, but Peter was writing to “churches” when he penned them. We have everything we need to be what God has called us to be, loving Christians. Using the power of His Word, it’s what we believe God will bring to pass. But do we fully believe it?
Maybe the heart of the problem is the problem of the heart. “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10). To be truly effective, we need to ‘lean toward the LORD’ (LTTL a palindrome) allowing Him to accomplish this type of Christian love in us through community. God can help us all reach out to one another with transparency, accountability, vulnerability, honesty and compassion. He can get us through change too. Look at Paul, this man faced all kinds of opposition and change, including the kinds that would have defeated most people. But Paul told the Philippians that he had learned the secret of contentment in any circumstance. He had been ridiculed, tortured, beaten, and left for dead, but he faithfully continued joyfully serving his LORD.
Like Paul, we should trust in the LORD, pray and embrace Him. To help us, here are five areas describing what the Church of Jesus Christ (again us) should be about today.
- Worship/Prayer -We were created to give God praise and to have a personal relationship with Him through prayer (Psalm 72:15).
- Learning -We were designed to become like Christ by seeking Him daily in His Word (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
- Fellowship -We were formed to be part of God's family (Acts 2:44-45).
- Service -We were shaped to have a ministry within the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:4-7).
- Mission -We are commanded to share God's love and gospel (Matthew 28:19-20).
Together in these five areas let’s minister to one another in this community with compassion. After all, God’s compassion is why you and I are Christians in the first place (Ephesians 2:8-9). There is nothing we did to deserve this. It was all Him. Nothing can ever separate us from the love of God. No feelings, no thoughts, no attitudes, no sins, no mistakes can separate us. We cannot escape His love. He is ever reaching for us. What a comfort. Thank you, Jesus!
Ambassador to the KING,
Steve Norris | RBC Lay Elder