“Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays”? Today, Christmas is far removed from anything it was originally intended for, replaced with alternative stories and meanings. But why do we celebrate Christmas, and what are the implications for a people that God has revealed Himself to? Christmas declares the Kingdom of God is here.
On this week’s podcast, we’re considering how we as followers of Jesus can live on mission for the Kingdom over Thanksgiving and the holiday season. Regardless of your plans this weekend, are you more focused on sharing presents or the presence of God with others?
In the final message of our series on Defining Community, we examine the outcome of biblical community life: Growth! Healthy growth comes out of healthy community life that actively lives on mission in the world. We’ll also examine the common “threats to community” that undermine that mission and its solution: devoting our lives to Jesus Christ and bringing glory to God in all things.
A New Testament church is a community of devoted followers of Jesus who pray – together! Not only is prayer a common practice for common life, but it’s also a means of powerful transformation and restoration. The Kingdom of God is made real and breaks into darkness when the community of the faithful come together and prays over hardships, illness, and sin. A community of prayer is not a community with good sentiments, but a community with real power.
The early church loved to eat together! But their feasts were more than after-service potlucks for the purpose of socializing. For them, table fellowship was a tangible expression of the gospel and the presence of Christ among them, rooted in the historical roots of God’s redemptive plan for all people. This week, we’re examining the practice of “breaking bread” together and why – in its purest form – is the central, unifying participatory act of creating and cultivating authentic fellowship and worship in a discipleship community.
This week, we continue a closer look at the New Testament church and what it means to be a community devoted “to the fellowship” (Acts 2:42). What is biblical fellowship and what are the theological implications for sharing life with others? And more importantly, how does the gospel intersect with our understanding of this new life together in community as a means of restoring life with God and others?
Questions for Discussion:
How might your “common life” with God have implications on your “common life” with other believers?
What are the common barriers to participating in the fellowship with the body of Christ?
How can we as a church community become a model fellowship for others?
As a next stop on our journey in defining biblical community, we’re closely examining the New Testament church. This week, we take a closer look at the first church in Acts 2 and what it means to be a community “devoted to the apostles’ teaching” and how we are continuing the practice at Restoration Church.
Gospel movements are sustained by everyday leaders. Our pastors, teachers, seminary professors all have an important place in teaching, equipping, and building up believers to participate in God’s redemptive plan for the world. But it’s the everyday leader – the peacemaker – who builds bridges and opens up opportunities for God to reveal Himself to others. Therefore, every believer is an everyday leader in gospel-movements. The following is a message given to the Village Church of Barrington (Barrington, IL) on October 13, 2019 by Pastor Matt.
The church as a community is designed to be a reflection of God’s most treasured creation and possession – humanity. From every tribe, language, people, and nation, the church glorifies God when it reflects the diversity of humanity. It’s the promise of the eternal Kingdom and the present reality we seek to create in Christ Jesus as adopted children of God who belong in His community – the church.
Community, like family, shapes our sense of belonging and identity. The story of God’s restorative work is through community that behaves as a tight-knit family: as the true family of God. So how do we learn to be an earthly family that inspires and shapes one another to find our belonging and identity in God’s eternal family? That’s the focus of this week’s podcast and part of our series, “Defining Community: Restoring Life with God and Others”.