Can We Have a Little Chat?

I’d been a member of the Church’s congregation at NB Christian Fellowship before the first fellowship meeting was ever commenced at our Pastor’s residence. Titles are not my bag. New members and visitors would often ask me, “Who are you? What do you do at NB Christian Fellowship?” Mainly I believe I was asked so much because you’d see me all over the place doing diverse duties. I was sort of the go to girl… the Jack of any and all trades. I was available for whatever the Lord would have of me. I’d cleaned the toilets, written software, cleaned baby spit, published bulletins; baby sat, cooked, swept and designed websites for the congregational use.  There is probably no ministry at the Fellowship that I had not been involved in and or worked in helping to get established. Yet  honestly I have no innate ability to do any of those things. None what so ever! I call this the teaching on the Five A’s of Ministry only because each subject area begins with the letter “A”.  I ask you to be patient with me as you read this blog because it is longer than what I would normally post here. This blog is actually a talk or teaching that I gave at a Church group meeting.

ADVOCATES OF TRUST – (The Sunday Morning Scenario – getting prepared to go where?)
I don’t want to change your mind about Sunday morning, but I’d like you to have a higher understanding of “Church”! The place where we meet is not the Church, WE ARE! Next Sunday remember who we are. We are not off to church, on Sunday; the Church is on the way to meet at the place of worship.  (I presented this talk that you are reading right now at Ann’s house. Yes, the Church met at Ann’s house for a group study)

Wherever we gather there MUST be sanctuary if we are truly the Church and the Body of Christ. We must provide a safe place for one another, where open honest issues can be discussed with the confidence of knowing it stays in this inner-sanctum.

Church:
The word is used in two senses: the visible and the invisible church. The visible church consists of the members on the roll books or membership logs of a local “church”; THEY go to church. The invisible church, the actual body of Christ; those who are truly saved. The true church of God is NOT a human driven organization on earth consisting of man’s understandings, rituals and buildings, The true Church is really a supernatural LIVING entity comprised of those who are saved by Jesus. They are called into it. They become members of the church (body of Christ) by faith (Acts 2:41). They are edified by the Word (Eph. 4:15-16), disciplined by God (Matt. 18:15-17), unified in Christ (Gal. 3:28), and sanctified by the Spirit (Eph. 5:26-27).

Sanctuary:  A sanctuary is a place that provides refuge, protection and shelter from danger or hardship. In the middle ages, you could seek sanctuary by going into the church. Usually, with respect for the church, your pursuers would respect the sanctity of the church. We should be a body of safety, a body dedicated for the worship of God.

ACCOUNTABILITY

  • We are each personally accountable to God.
    Romans 14:12 “So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.
  • We are accountable to each other.
    James 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

Trust is the chief prerequisite for accountability. As the Body comes together at ministry gatherings, bonds will be formed and interrelationships will be established. In this “CLIQUES” should not be formed, but Christian bonds, especially with someone that you have not gotten to know well. It will take time to learn to trust.  God’s Word lays out the guidelines:

  • Gossip and animosity is a breeding ground not only for mistrust, but for sin in the midst of the fellowship. James 1:19 “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”   
  • We are a fellowship and not the “Supreme Court” God is the Supreme Judge! We MUST accept one another while discerning the issues brought forth with love. Matthew 7:1-2 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.· 
  • It is imperative that we love and care for each other. 1 John 4:21 says, “And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.” 

We are not members of a Social Club; we are members of the body of Christ.  Accountability involves our being willing to open up and share sensitive or personal information. Trust is imperavtive! When we feel safe we lose the fear to share our deepest personal issues or thoughts without concern of betrayal. Where there is a trust bond one does not fear being rejected because of a circumstance in their life they feel the need to share.

1 Corinthians 12, says that Christians are all part of the same body – the body of Christ – and each member needs or belongs to the other.
The Word reveals the importance of strong accountability between Believers. It is important for every Believer to have at least one other person in which to confide, pray with, listen to, and encourage.
Galatians 6:1-2  “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each others’ burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
This is not excommunication. Who among us have the walk that is so perfect they we can decide how to arrange the member’s of Christ’s Body?  The Church is the body of CHRIST and not the body of elders, deacons and boards of directors. Jesus said nothing can separate us from Him.
Hebrews 10:24 “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11 “encourage one another and build each other up…”

(Personally I think excommunication is an over-stepping of the church’s bounds and authority. In fact to attempt to separate anyone from Christ is blasphemous in my point of view.  When someone is steeped in sin or wrong doing is when they need a Savior most. Jesus even warned that we are to not even keep the small children from Him. The church is the bride of Christ. Jesus said this of marriage, “So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” *Matthew 19:6* What do you think He was talking about?  I think He was speaking of the Church. Yet, I stress this is ONLY my point of view; no matter how right it is. 😉

ADEQUATE:        
    Sufficient to satisfy a requirement or meet a need

Adequacy in Christ can only come through obedience. We all have human inadequacy and do not possess all of the sufficient abilities to serve the Church.

Ruth the widowed daughter in law of the widow Naomi was from Moab. She desired to continue to stay with Naomi rather than to return to her people. Ruth felt inadequate and unequal to the other workers in the fields. She questioned her own competence and capabilities; but she was obedient and did all that was asked of her and God provided all else. Ruth is the Great -grandmother of King David. Although she made many sacrifices, God rewarded her obedience. Throughout the book you will see that Ruth always did exactly as it was asked of her. God does not grade us on our performance; we are blessed through our obedience. (She was adequate for God’s purpose)

Moses was not only unable to speak with eloquence, he was not great orator. He even stuttered and stammered. He was not an adequate speaker. As the mouthpiece of God, Pharaoh was defeated and God’s people were set free. (He was adequate to be used by God)

Esther was an orphan being raised by her Uncle Mordecai. She was called to be the Queen… there was nothing regarding her that made her capable of Ruling as Queen. She was not adequate enough to come before the King and yet God equipped her to save her people by going in faith and obedience to approach the King. (She was adequate to be equipped by God)

At 91 years old Sarah was called to birth a nation. She no longer had a menstrual cycle… but in her weakness God’s Omnipotence brought forth a nation. She was not physically adequate for the task. But God was capable She was adequate to be used by God.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

ABILITY
Some of us feel that we have no talents gifting or abilities to serve.
God equips us to serve.

James 1:17: Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
Ephesians 3:16, 20, 21 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, -Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Philippians 4:13 I can do everything through Christ Who gives me strength.

That being said proves that no one who is in Christ is inadequate or lacks the ability to serve the Church. (Who is the Church?)  If you have the desire God will empower you.

AVAILABILITY
    ready for use; of use or service
    at hand; accessible
I Love the words of this song by Ron Kenoly –“If You can use anything Lord… You can use me” Being used in Ministry by God is not a matter of if He can use you. God can use anything. The question is are you accessible, are you willing. Are you available? 

God does not look at your degrees or how many scriptures you know by heart. He’s not looking for the greatest orator. Even if you don’t feel quite ready, if you make yourself accessible and available to Him that will be all that He requires to use you to further His kingdom. He’s not looking for people who can prophesy of what’s coming tomorrow, He’s not looking for those who speak in tongues or interpret tongues and He is not looking for great teachers. Besides, those Christians only have these abilities because it is a gift from the Lord. God wants and is looking for someone… just like you! He wants to use each of you, wherever you are on the scale of life. Christianity is not a spectator sport, God has all of the gifts and tools that you need to get the job done, all that is required of you is to be available.

You may not feel adequate. You may not feel you have the ability. But if you are available God will empower you with an ability that is more than adequate to serve Him through the body of Christ.

Joyce Meyers:
Many people feel that God can’t use them because they are not perfect-but this is a lie. God (the Potter) uses cracked pots (that’s us) to do His work. As Christians, we are containers that God wants to fill with His goodness and light. Then we are to carry that goodness and light to a dark world, sharing it with people everywhere we go. Don’t be afraid of your flaws; acknowledge them and allow God to use you anyway. Quit worrying about what you’re not and give God what you are.

David was a scrawny shepherd boy who took down a giant and he became the greatest king of Israel because he made himself available. 
Mary was an ordinary teenaged Jewish girl, but when called upon she let the Lord know she was available to be his servant and handmaiden; she became the mother of our Lord Jesus. 
Whenever the Lord called Abraham, his response was, “Here I am”. He let God know he was available. Today he is called the father of faith, the father of a nation and at 100 years of age he became the father of Isaac who was the father of Jacob; ISRAEL.

Throughout the Scriptures we find people who would be otherwise non-descript and ordinary, except when they made themselves available for God’s service; they became known as extraordinary and exceptional.

Ephesians 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord
(not in yourself) and in his mighty power (not of your own strength).

When the enemy sets your mind to doubt your ability to be adequately used by the Lord remember that you are equipped to serve, because it is God who has equipped you to become extraordinarily exceptional!

…in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. ~ Romans 8:37

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