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Pastors Column

The Church
Greetings fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Would you like to know how to walk with God and to know how to hear Him speaking? Wouldn’t it be great to be able to identify things only God can do? The most important aspect of this is your relationship with God and how that will lead you to understand what a church is and how it is to function.
What if our churches walked so closely with God that the surrounding community and world came to know Him by our witness? If we allow God’s presence and activity to be expressed through us, a watching world will be drawn to Him. For a church to be that kind of congregation we must understand who we are in relation to God and one another.
A church is a creation of Christ. He builds His church (Matt. 16:18) using Spirit-directed pastors and leaders (Eph. 4:11-16). God also arranges the members in the church according to His will (1 Cor. 12:18). Every member has been placed in the church according to God’s plan to accomplish His purpose for that place and time.
A church is a living body of Christ with many members (1Cor. 12:27). The church is not a building or organization. It is a group of people built into a living body.
A church is uniquely related to Christ as Head of the body (Eph. 1:22; 4:15-16). All matters in a church are to come under His lordship.
Members of a church are uniquely related to every other member of the church (1 Cor. 12; Eph 4:11-16). All members are interdependent and need one another.
A church is on mission with Christ in our world to carry out the Father’s redemptive purposes (Matt. 28:18-20; 2 Cor. 5:17-20). “We are God’s fellow workers.” (1 Cor. 3:9)
Churches should spend more time seeking who God wants them to be. Being the kind of people who please God is far more important than doing something for Him. Again, I ask the question, “What if our churches walked so closely with God that the surrounding community and world came to know Him by our witness?” What would that look like? It is as simple as this:
God wants His people to be pure and holy. “So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy” (1 Peter 1:14-16).
God wants His people to display unity. “I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me. I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me” (John 17:21, 23).
God wants His people to love one another. “This is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another. Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. And this is his commandment: We must believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as he commanded us” (1 John 3:11,18, 23).
May all our churches walk closely with God, so our communities and world come to know and please God through Jesus Christ.
Pastor Todd Hartsock
United Methodist Church, Swea City and Titonka

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