Monday, August 3, 2015

Growing Spiritually in Church and Community

Scott, Stephanie, Mitch and Michael from Berean Christian Church get all wet at the School Supply Giveaway in Murphysboro.
Just part of the fun is getting hosed down by the firemen! 
By Russ Ward
There are times in our lives when we feel like we are walking through mud in our faith. Things seem sluggish and spiritless, where going through the motions is more descriptive than excited about church and our faith. But, I am seeing a turn around. It started a couple of weeks ago when I leveled with the elders at Berean and told them that I was getting tired, almost exhausted by the effort and not seeing any results. Then in the same meeting I found out it was my turn to fill the pulpit for Troy while his family was on vacation.

The sermon was to be on growth, continuing with our series Life on Mission. One of the elders, sensing my depleted state offered to take my turn, but I knew that would not be fair. I appreciated the offer, however it was simply my turn. The one thing that preaching does is it forces you to look deep into scripture, deep into yourself, pray more often and truly seek Him. It was also a chance for me, through His Spirit, to get some of my exhaustion off my chest in a loving setting, where there would be no judgement before my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. My sermon was honest, straight forward and directed by God at the right target...me.

I have heard many kind words about my preaching since the sermon and I truly hope that it had an impact, however the real impact was that it forced me to redirect my efforts and find new energy to grow. Quite often when we hear about growth in a sermon or book, we picture it is the other guy that needs it. "I'm quite comfortable here, thank you." is the thought that we often have knocking around in our head. But, through my study I became aware that it was me that needed to grow up and complete the work laid out before me.

The result is that I got out of my spiritual funk and attended the Elder Outreach Dinner. Together our church sat eating, answering questions about our lives and growing together in true fellowship. We learned about one another and found ways we could pray and carry each other's burdens. It felt like church was intended to be all those years ago in the first century. I was lifted by the experience.

The annual school supply giveaway is this saturday at Longfellow Park. Berean Christian Church and Servants for Christ are the hosts every year.
And we have another opportunity coming up. Not to reach inward to our church family, but to reach out to our community. This Saturday we have the annual School Supply Giveaway at Longfellow Park starting at 10:00 AM. I would encourage everyone to come out and participate in the event. We have face painting and give out snow cones, but just as important it is a time to be a part of the community and helping those in need. Through this effort I know I will continue to grow and I hope you take advantage of the opportunity to grow too.  

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