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July 31, 2020

The Power of Encouragement

“… build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit. …” Jude 1:20 (NLT)

Throughout this unusual time of social separation, one of the biggest changes I’ve experienced has been a new understanding of the church. When you begin to understand that the church is not a place you go to but a people you belong to, you will come to see the church in a whole new way. For many, the church is a building or a religious organization. The truth is that the church is not about religion, at least not in the way people think of religion. It’s not about cathedrals with empty rituals or routine practices and observances. It’s not even about teaching, preaching, or communicating messages with words about the gospel. The church is much more than words; the church is the gospel lived out in community. That’s why the church is not empty, even though we may be prohibited from meeting together in person. The church is really deployed. She is active in serving and sharing the gospel through acts of kindness and love wherever Christ followers may be. As we each have our own life message that’s intertwined with the life message of Jesus Christ, the church becomes a community of people who live out the gospel – not just in the church buildings where they meet but in the larger community and around the world.

To effectively live out the gospel in our world, we are told to build each other up in the faith. That’s the point of biblical fellowship, and that’s why I love life groups so much. Living the message of the gospel in a fallen and broken world isn’t easy. We need one another. Faith is not just a matter of believing, but it’s a matter of belonging as well.

How do we build each other up in the faith? One way is through prayer. In Jude 1:20, we are told to pray in the power of the Holy Spirit. As we pray for one another, the Holy Spirit emboldens us to be the message in our world. Are you actively building up others in the faith? Who are you praying for in your community of faith? If we are going to take our faith beyond words to a life of action, it must begin in the church. Don’t wait on someone else to do it. Look for those in your community of faith that you can begin encouraging. In John 13:35, Jesus said, “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are My disciples.”

If you are not connected with such a loving community of faith, I want to personally invite you to join us this Sunday online at 1pm at live.wc.org for our membership class. You can register now and discover all the benefits of connecting with other Christ followers in the Woodlands Church family. We will email you all the materials you’ll need for the class.  I look forward to connecting with you online this Sunday at 1pm.