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April 21, 2017

The Joy of Belonging

The Joy of Belonging blog title graphic of a group of friends at a campfire and the open sky

“… you belong in God’s household with every other Christian.” Ephesians 2:19d (LB) 

Restoration is the goal of redemption. The Psalmist says,

“He (God) restores my soul!” Psalm 23:3

What sin has broken, grace restores. The process begins when we humbly admit our need for God and others. While we may be apt to admit our need for God, sometimes we are reluctant to admit our need for others in the process. Fear of embarrassment or shame often create barriers to finding the help and support we need. Help is available. That’s why God created us to live in a community of faith called the church, the family of God. Jesus sent out His disciples in groups of two. And, He promised to be in our midst when two or three are gathered in His name. In Ephesians, the Bible spells out the significance of doing life in community with other Christ followers and the value of the local church when it says, 

Now you are no longer strangers to God and foreigners to heaven, but you are members of God’s very own family, citizens of God’s country, and you belong in God’s household with every other Christian.  What a foundation you stand on now: the apostles and the prophets; and the cornerstone of the building is Jesus Christ Himself! We who believe are carefully joined together with Christ as parts of a beautiful, constantly growing temple for God.  And you also are joined with Him and with each other by the Spirit and are part of this dwelling place of God.” Eph. 2:19-22 LB

The church was designed to be a community of faith. When we connect with one another in a local church, we find encouragement, strength, hope and recovery. When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, it was to those standing beside him that Jesus said,

“Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” John 11:44c

When Lazarus came back from the dead, he was bound in the grave clothes of a dead man. He couldn’t take them off without some help. Imagine being alive but still bound by old grave clothes! Imagine how thankful he must have been to be free of them!

When we come alive in Christ from being spiritually dead, there are grave clothes that need to be removed. Those grave clothes may be old hurts, habits and hang-ups, and God uses those around us in our community of faith to help. Then, we can help others in the same way. It’s why I love the local church! It’s where you belong. If you are not part of a local church, I encourage you to check out our next Membership Class on Sunday, April 30th! You can register now to join us for lunch at any campus this day!