12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other. John 11: 12-17
From time to time we pastors get the pleasure of torturing couples who ask us to marry them with our perquisite of pre-marital counseling. I do not know about Pastor Jenny, but I get great enjoyment from the questions that I get to ask from our workbooks. Two of my favorites are: creating sexual intimacy, just because it makes everyone extremely uncomfortable and I love to be told that it is none of my business. The second, and really my favorite is when we talk about each partner’s faith and faith perspective which I believe is “all about my business”. Recently, I was counselling a young couple, who are friends of mine, and agreed that I could share their conversations about faith with all of you. They both exclaimed that they were very spiritual but not religious, which I promptly replied, B.S., which caused both of them to fall off their chairs; these are precious times for a pastor when you can shock someone into really focusing on what you have to say. The fact is I exclaimed, you cannot really have one without the other.
When we call ourselves followers of Jesus that means we are committed to being like Christ, who was in constant spiritual relationship with those around him, also if we are to be Christ like, we need to be in constant relationship with other believers. We can be religious or spiritual without the presence of other people in our lives, but we cannot be growing disciples of Jesus Christ without the encouragement, guidance, wisdom and accountability of other disciples. Our culture however, tells us that spirituality is an individual thing between a person and God and is not to be shared, experienced, or dialogued with others. In the scriptures, the life of faith is persistently communal. Biblically speaking, solitary salvation is a contradiction in terms as a follower of Jesus Christ. We are called, as a people of faith, to be engaged with each other in worship, study, prayer and fellowship. How deep would our faith be if we were engaged in all four with other believers?
This coming fall, if you have fallen away from worship, if you have never been in a small group, fellowship or prayer circle, we would like to encourage you to take your faith to a deeper level and be in constant communion with your brothers and sisters in Christ. Give it a try and see what a tremendous difference this will make in your life.
Pastor Scott and Pastor Jenny
Prayers for all Christians around the globe.
Prayers for Bishop Rollins family and church.
Prayers for those who continue to grieve that they may find comfort.
Prayers for our students, parents, and teachers that return to school next week.
Prayers for our new youth group coordinator and the young lives she will offer the gospel to.