Tag: serve

The Beautiful Body of Christ

I’ve recently taken up teaching piano lessons, and between that and being a vocal coach, I am continually amazed at what our bodies can do.  For example, when we rotate our arm as though we are opening a door handle, the internal movement of our bones is not one solid unit that just turns but actually two separate bones that follow around the circular shape of the rotation (if you put your hand on your opposite wrist and then rotate, you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about).  The position of our tongue creates different vowel shapes.  We can actually teach ourselves to wiggle each toe individually! I don’t know why one would want to, but all this to say, the way God designed our bodies is incredible.

And this picture of a body, with all its different functions, is an analogy that Paul uses in 1 Corinthians 12 to describe the way that the church functions and serves one another. Throughout this letter, Paul is addressing a lack of unity among the believers in Corinth on various topics, not the least of which was the structure and daily function of the church. Reminding them that salvation comes from Christ and Christ alone, he addresses in chapter 11 that Christ is the head of the body, not a church leader.  And as he goes on to how that plays out then for the rest of the church, he states:

1 Corinthians 12:12-14 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 

So first, we see that we serve because Christ has called us to serve. The local church is not a place where people come to “get” something in exchange for goods or services. No, the local church is a people who gather frequently and serve one another. We are connected through the commonality of the mission Jesus has given us to go and make disciples, and the presence of God’s Spirit in us is what binds us together. When we look around and see all different backgrounds, interests, life stories, preferences, it’s a picture of the unique nature of a local body of believers. And each person is designed by God for something special. Paul continues-

1 Corinthians 12:15-21 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body.  And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 

We serve because we are all uniquely made by God for different functions. If we were a church full of people who just love greeting people, it’s a great sentiment, but no one would ever make it into the front door. If we were a church full of people who love caring for babies, the nursery would not be able to contain the bodies of all of us, let alone the love! We are each given different inner desires and gifts, different life experiences and positions, and we each have a role to play in the daily function of the church.  Whether it’s teaching in KidLife or cleaning the bathroom, every part of the local church function has great value in God’s eyes.

1 Corinthians 12:22-27  On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it,  that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 

We serve out of a heart captivated by the love of Christ. Paul goes on in chapter 13 to tell us that these gifts of service are meaningless without love. And so regardless of how we might feel about our gifts and abilities, God has a place for everyone in His church to provide a vital function in the encouragement and edification of the local gathering. The people of Grace Life are not an accidental or random collection of individuals, but a beautiful body of believers called to serve one another in love as we live out what God has called us to. 

If you’ve been wondering where you fit in, talk to Pastor Matt or myself about the areas that the Spirit is pressing into your heart as you seek to build and be built up in the body of Grace Life Church. You can also sign up to join any of our serve teams here.

Love in Christ,
Pastor Ben

How you can get Involved in the Preparation of our New Space

Dear Grace Life, 

The last month has been good for my soul. Not because we signed the lease to our own space, but because we have seen God’s faithful leading in our church made visible to us. Let me explain.

Last year, we believed the Holy Spirit was leading us to study the book of Exodus in our LifeGroups. I know this study was impactful for many of you and if you didn’t get to participate, check out the resources here

The evening before I saw our new space, we studied Exodus 33 in LifeGroup. Moses tells God, “Show me your ways. If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here” (Ex. 33:14-16). I found myself praying that exact prayer as we walked through the new space and for a few more days. If God wasn’t going with us, I didn’t want to go. And now it is clear He is leading us into an exciting new chapter for our church. He was directing us to study Exodus for this exact time in the history of our church.

However, this next chapter is not the end. The Lord is leading us to continue making disciples. Our mission does not change even though our space does. We have not reached the end goal. Let’s continue going where God has called us to go.

I want to invite you to participate in this next chapter of our church and to be a part of the work of creating a space to continue making disciples. Here’s three ways you can get involved:

 

PRAY

And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” And he said to him, “If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here. Exodus 33:14–15

Like Moses, we pray for the Lord to continue going before us. Not just into a new building, but into corners of our community that need to hear the gospel. Pray that we will see a gospel awakening in Clay County.

SPECIFIC PRAYER: Pray that we will celebrate with baptisms on our Grand Opening Sunday.

 

GIVE

Moses said to all the congregation of the people of Israel, “This is the thing that the LORD has commanded. Take from among you a contribution to the LORD. Whoever is of a generous heart, let him bring the LORD’s contribution: gold, silver, and bronze; Exodus 35:4-5

Like the people of Israel, we should contribute to the new space and do so with a generous heart. No gift is too small (and no gift is too big!); and giving generously allows us to turn this space into a beautiful display of the gospel.

SPECIFIC CONTRIBUTION GOAL: We have a goal to raise $10,000 as a church. It is right for us to contribute as much as we can and trust that the Lord will faithfully provide the remainder through financial partnerships. We would like to raise these funds by the end of June. You can give to the Future Grace Fund in person, online, or through the app. We are already 30% of the way there!

 

SERVE

Then Moses said to the people of Israel, “See, the LORD has called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, with intelligence, with knowledge, and with all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold and silver and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, for work in every skilled craft. Exodus 35:30–33

Like Bezalel, God has given each of us unique gifts to serve the church. We will have opportunities to prepare for the new space in the coming weeks. If you would like to paint, clean, or help us demo/remodel, please let us know by going here and selecting “other”. Tell us how you can serve in the comment section.

SPECIFIC SERVICE PROJECT: Leading up to Grand Opening Sunday, we will be prayer walking and passing out info about our church to the two closest neighborhoods. Participate in these events and pray for Gospel conversations!

While we transition from being portable into a permanent location, I ask that you be patient with us during the weeks leading up to Grand Opening Sunday. When we have a confirmed opening date, we will let you know! Until then, let’s continue to gather together on Sunday mornings at the Shrine club, let’s continue staying in prayer and in the Scriptures, and let’s continue to fight for unity as we make disciples for God’s glory.

 

By His Grace,

Pastor Matt

 

The Amish and Portable Church

Last month, my family and I headed to Ohio for a two week vacation. While we were up there, we decided to take the kids to tour an Amish Farm. If you don’t know about the Amish community, they strictly adhere to a form of worldly separation that that strongly encourages a simple life. They wear simple clothing, avoid electricity, use horse and carriage, and for the most part, they are self sufficient.

On this tour, we looked inside an Amish home, filled with furniture made with their own hands. We walked through a barn that had goats, horses, and plenty of cats. We peaked inside an Amish classroom and even went on an Amish buggy ride. Even more intriguing then what I just mentioned, was this wagon:

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This wagon doesn’t look like much, but it is an important aspect within the Amish community. This wagon holds their church equipment. Amish communities are committed to keeping things simple, so they don’t build church buildings. Rather, they travel every other week to a different home and set up their equipment in the front porch. This begs the question: were the Amish the first to see the benefits of portable church?

When I saw this wagon, I couldn’t help but think about the men and women who come every week and help set up our equipment at Grace Life. They take time out of their busy schedules to make sure the chairs, drapes, lights, and everything else are ready to go for Sunday morning. It’s not simple; it’s hard work.

This weekend is our first full weekend of set up and tear down. After two months of rest, these incredible volunteers will continue serving Jesus while mostly going unrecognized. I can’t begin to say how much I appreciate them. I want to give you three ways how you can honor these men and women.

1. Pray for them

Pray for their rest and encouragement. You may not know them by name or know who is on the setup/tear down team, but pray for them. Pray that they will stay rested as they come from work on Fridays and stay late on Sundays. Pray for them to stay encouraged in who Jesus is. Pray that they remember why they are doing what they do.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. – Galatians 6:18

2. Thank them

There is no greater encouragement then to simply thank someone for serving. It shows that they are recognized and appreciated. The next time you see someone tearing down, stop and thank them for serving Jesus and our church in this capacity.

“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.” – Philippians 1:3–5

3. Join them

Finally, join them. If you asked any one of our setup/tear down team members, they’ll tell you about how much they enjoy it. Ultimately, the joy comes in knowing that we serve a King and we are bringing all glory to him. We serve to bring glory to God. So consider joining the setup team (Friday nights from 6:30 to 8:00) or the tear down team (right after Sunday morning gathering). It’s an incredible team to be a part of. Click here to take your Next Step and select “join a serve team”.

…whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. – 1 Peter 4:11

Thank you to the Grace Life Setup and Tear Down team. You guys are awesome!

By His Grace,

Pastor Matt

Making Jesus-Centered Disciples For God's Glory


Sunday 10am | 3180 County Rd 220 Suite 1 Middleburg, FL 32068

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