May 23rd 2009

The Church To Be

“And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.”
II Corinthians 8:1-2 (NIV)

What is the mission of your local congregation?

Of course we meet for all kinds of reasons.  It is important to attend church.  It keeps a life-giving link alive.  We need each other.  We need to be sustained spiritually by coming to hear the Word of God.  We need to lift up our hearts to God in praise and song.

But church is not all about our own needs.  In the passage above Paul is discussing the Macedonian church that on the surface did not appear to have much going for it.  They had many trials and were extremely poor.  Yet he notes one essential ingredient that I think all our congregations need.  He talks of “their overflowing joy”.  Isn’t that a beautiful phrase?

Surely part of the mission of any church is that our joy overflows?  All congregations should overflow with joy so that all around them people are affected positively.

This joy begins with you and me. How our personal life is like a cup that overflows.  As it says in Psalms 23: 5-6: “My cup runs over.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me…”

Do goodness and mercy follow you?  Is your congregation known for its “overflowing joy”?  If not, do something about it.  Get involved.  Make your congregation different so that people will want to know “about the grace that God has given” to your local church.

Father, help me to rejoice every day with the joy of your salvation, and help my local congregation to have joy overflowing so that others may be touched by the grace of God you have given to us.

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