First Baptist Church
Saturday, May 30, 2015
There's a place for you
A Letter From Our Pastor
May is here! School is almost out. I hear the teachers and students cheering, while parents are checking their calendars to see if it is really summer again already. Summertime means amazing opportunities for our children and youth. VBS and Falls Creek will both be early this year, while Children’s Camp is later in July. Sandwiched between are missions to Spain and Zimbabwe. Be in prayer for all of these opportunities and be expecting God to work in a mighty way.
I wanted to share with you a passage from our Sunday School quarterly this past month. It deals with church membership and the need for fellowship within the Body of Christ.
Among the many blessings of being part of a local church, an important element is fellowship. Humanity was made to live in community because we are all made in the image of God. In this we need to reflect His relational nature—He is the triune God, after all.
I want to underscore this point because people are often drawn to a church on account of the pastor’s preaching ability, the vast array of programs for the whole family, or the clean facilities, but if enough time passes without meaningful relationships being developed, they are likely to leave the church. And for clarification, fellowship is not simply small talk on Sunday morning; it is sharing our lives with one another—knowing and being known so that we can “rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep” (Rom. 12:15)
Genuine fellowship has the power to transcend the bold divisions within our society along the lines of race, socio-economic status, and lifestyle, but the prerequisite to such fellowship is being indwell by the Holy Spirit (i.e., being a Christian). The Spirit grants fellowship between believers by highlighting our unity in Christ. Although many Christians offer a hardy amen to the previous sentence, we often act as if it’s not true. For example, when we are thrust into a situation with believers whom we don’t know with whom, on the surface, we have nothing in common, we will try to find common ground on circumstances such as a similar hometown, a favorite sports team, or a shared favorite restaurant. In these situations, however, we ought run hard to the cross of Christ, where we all find ourselves, and then perhaps move out to enjoy a secondary commonality without diminishing the primary one.
Much like any relationship that involves mutual sacrifice one for another, if biblical fellowship is to happen, it will require mutual commitment. This commitment is called local church membership. Church membership is all about a church taking specific responsibility for you, and for your church. Commitment changes everything. Unfortunately, our consumer-driven culture deceives us into thinking that the church is obligated to take care of us without there being any commitment on our part for the church.
From the church’s vantage point, the body needs to know to include you when exercising the “one anothers” of the New Testament (Mark 9:50; John 13:34; Rom. 12:10; 15:5, 7; 1 Cor. 16:20; Gal. 5:13; Eph. 4:32; 5:19, 21; Col. 3:16; 1 Thess. 5:11, 15; Heb. 10:24; Jas. 5:16; 1 Pet. 4:9; 5:55). But for the uncommitted individual, the old adage is true—nobody ever washes a rental car. Therefore, “live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight…If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceable with all” (Rom. 12:16, 18). — Taken from The Gospel Project — Spring 2015 session eight.
Fellowship is the key to church unity. We as Pawhuska FBC must strive to grow in fellowship with one another as we seek God’s direction together. I am excited about what God has in store for us here at Pawhuska First Baptist in 2015 and beyond. God has brought us all here together at this time for a mighty work. Be in constant prayer for discernment for understanding of what this work is. “Greater things are yet to be done in this city…” Be constant in prayer. Be actively seeking the welfare of Pawhuska (Jeremiah 29:4-9). In our mission and ministry at Pawhuska FBC, we must truly put Pawhuska First! It is in our name. It is our mission.
In Service for Him,
Bro. Jeff Laughlin
Monday-Thursday ~ 8:00-4:30