The Church Should Be Growing

Our church should be growing.  It’s in the Bible.  Ephesians 4:16 talks about “the growth of the body,” and the body is the church.  In fact, this verse says that something “causes” the body to grow.  With that in mind, here are four questions every church member should ask and answer:

  • What is growth?
  • What causes growth?
  • Am I helping or hindering my church’s growth?
  • How can I help make my church a growing body?

During June-August on Sunday mornings at Calvary, I will be preaching from Ephesians 4:1-16 on A Growing Body.  Will you plan and resolve to join us every Lord’s Day morning you can this summer as we discover the answers to the above questions?

This Sunday we will put in the hands of everyone who comes to our 10:30 service a tool that we will use to facilitate our learning and application of the truths in this passage.  I will also share with you how you will get to interact with your church family about these truths in small group gatherings.

Pray that God will help each of us do our part in making Calvary Baptist Church a growing body of believers for the glory of God.

Image

So Where’s the “Good?”

In times of crisis, most Christians affirm intellectually that “God is good,”and “all things work together for good,” etc., etc. But in our hearts many of us ask the question, “So where’s the good?” Tomorrow morning at Calvary I will answer that question from one man’s personal experience, journaled in beautiful literary form, in simple principles you can easily own and apply to your crisis. Join us at 10:30 am!

You can now listen to the message here.

To Ron and Shelly Hamilton’s Church

If one member suffers, all the members suffer with it.  1 Corinthians 12:26a

Our dear friends Ron and Shelly Hamilton and family are suffering unspeakable grief.  Their 34 year old son Jonathan died in tragic circumstances on Mother’s Day afternoon.  This beloved family is giving testimony to the comfort that only God can give.

People’s natural responses to this news include sorrow, questions, and speculation.  The God-glorifying  response of those who are joined to Ron, Shelly, and family by union with Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13) is to suffer with them.  That is, we take their pain upon ourselves as if their tragedy had happened to us.

The extremity of grief is an opportunity for the church to be the church, to do what the body of Christ does.  The Hamiltons’ connection to the body of Christ includes not only our local church, but the greater church of Jesus Christ to which they have ministered for many years.  The Spirit Who has united us will lead individuals and local churches to take the Hamiltons’ pain upon themselves and to embrace and support them in ways that impart grace into their lives.  The present ordeal is a learning moment for us all, an occasion for Christ-followers to grow in our understanding and practice of “one anothering.”

As co-members of the body of Christ:

  • We share in the joys and the heartbreaks of life together.
  • We hold our dear ones up through unceasing prayer for superhuman strength, mega-doses of grace, and Spirit-fueled endurance.
  • We communicate our support through acts of love, providing for material needs.
  • We express words of comfort while understanding when space and privacy are needed.
  • We do not stay silent just because we don’t know what to say.  “I know words aren’t sufficient, but I want you to know I love you and am praying for you” is always appropriate.
  • We do not ask hurting people questions for which there are no answers.
  • We do not offer well-meaning platitudes for which there is no basis in Scriptural truth.
  • We are patient and understanding when grief debilitates for a season and when a tragedy leaves its mark for a lifetime.
  • We speak truth from God’s Word into the lives of those who grieve, not with a preachy tone, but to give them solid footing during a tumultuous experience.

We at Calvary Baptist of Simpsonville often recognize what a treasure we as a local church have in the Hamilton family.  We also recognize they belong to the greater body and that God has opened many ministry opportunities to them.  The door to greater ministry was opened through suffering when Ron lost his eye to cancer.  His personal testimony and encouragement to others has been “Rejoice in the Lord.”  May Ron and family receive an infusion of the grace of God now and in the days ahead to endure, trust, grow, and even, yes, rejoice in the Lord.

Pastor Dean Taylor