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John 13:34–35 NIV
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
How was the early church observed by the watching world?
Tertullian (Apolog. xxxix.) observes:
“It is our care for the helpless, our practice of loving kindness, that brands us in the eyes of many of our opponents. ‘Only look,' they say, ‘look how they love one another!' (they themselves being given to mutual hatred). ‘Look how they are prepared to die for one another!'251 (they themselves being readier to kill each other).” Thus had this saying became a fact: “Hereby shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”
Lucian (A.D. 120-200), a prominent unbelieving writer observed Christians
“It is incredible to see the fervor with which the people of that religion help each other in their wants. They spare nothing.Their first Legislator [Jesus] has put it into their heads that they are brethren”
Aristides of Athens (2nd century AD) on the conduct of Christians
“....they love one another, and from widows they do not turn away their esteem; and they deliver the orphan from him who treats him harshly. And he, who has, gives to him who has not, without boasting. And when they see a stranger, they take him in to their homes and rejoice over him as a very brother; for they do not call them brethren after the flesh, but brethren after the spirit and in God.”

This is not a membership to the Y

We used to be members of the Y… I loved it, it was a great place to play racquetball, swim, do some cardio, but as long as I sent my check they really didn’t care if I showed up, if I lost any weight or if I connected with the community… You see, at “the Y” my membership was a means for them to complete their mission. Here I am the mission.... 1 Tim 2:3-4 states that God desires all men to be saved… Salvation is the mission of the church. Paul goes on to give instruction to Timothy as to the testimony of the church in order to be a faithful witness of our Lord. Speaking of witness...

I Need Help

I need your help, I actually started running (again) a few weeks ago… Running used to be something I really enjoyed. In the 90’s I remember running half marathons and even a triathlon with Brad Bynum... I still remember that triathlon… I was on the last mile.... sucking wind at the side of the road, I had actually convinced myself that I was OK with stopping… I could still say I ran a triathlon (just not that I had finished one), but Brad came back for me… and ran that last mile with me, encouraging me spurring me on… After all was said and done I had actually ran mile 13 faster than mile 1, but I would have never been able to do it without Brad.
A few years ago I would run 7 miles a day and 15 miles on Mondays, but after several different situations I stopped running, I actually stopped enjoying running and I’m now fat and out of shape....
So I need your help…
I’m asking you to ask me how I’m doing.... I need you if I’m going to be successful. I need to make some serious changes in my eating and my activity. I want to be clear, I may not always enjoy your input, but I need it. Please don’t leave me alone in this… It’s important to me, it’s important to Wendy, it’s important to my kids and to the future generations of Ellises… How many of you will commit to helping me?
I reality we are all running… we are running the Christian race and some are doing great, but others are more like I was on the last mile of that triathlon… Others are more like I am now… I know what to do, but its been so long since I’ve done it that it almost seems impossible. Be all need a Brad in our life, someone who will not let you give up and will challenge you to do more when you feel like doing less...
We all need help!
Hebrews 10:24–25 NIV
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
How many of us will commit to helping one another? Who will you spur on to love and good deeds? We are all running the Christian race and more than a few need some encouragement. Don’t give up!!! Let someone know that you need help… that you need them!
1 Corinthians 12:14–27 NIV
Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
A couple of weeks ago we talked about communion, the idea is that we are actually members of each other… We are not separate entities hurling through life next to each other, we are deeply connected through God’s Holy Spirit that dwells in each of us as baptized disciples of Christ. Each member is necessary for the Church to function properly. Over the past 100 years or so the Christian church has shifted from the idea of doing to the idea of experiencing. I’m no longer an owner, but rather a consumer… As Christ’s body we must fight against this temptation.... The church is a co-op! My best church experiences have been in my worst church services....

Humility is Key

Romans 12:3–5 NIV
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.

Live a Life that is Worthy

Ephesians 4 NIV
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he took many captives and gave gifts to his people.” (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed. That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
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