The Difference Between Ordinary And Extraordinary Is God

“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.” – Ephesians 3:20-21. 

All throughout Scripture we see that God is about doing improbable things through improbable people. The most reluctant of these people was Moses. Fearing for his life after a misguided attempt at vigilante justice, he had retreated to Midian for some easy living in a remote country. It wasn’t long before God disrupted his life by calling him to leave his life of comfort to save his people from the hands of Pharaoh. It’s here, in his first conversation with God, that we see Moses give five back-to-back-to-back-to-back excuses for why he could not do what God wanted.

While we may tell ourselves that we would never have the audacity to reject God to His face, the truth is that we probably do this more than we think. We all make excuses. Excuses are often the natural reaction to God pushing us through the Scriptures to live lives that glorify Him. Sometimes we may feel what God is asking us to do is overwhelming, if not impossible. Moses probably felt that way so we can learn from his experience. The excuses Moses made probably mirror excuses we can give ourselves when we are resisting or balking at God’s will and direction for our lives. 

God clearly worked through the lives of people like Moses. It is easy to assume that the people God uses, while not perfect, must be smarter, more holy, greater and better than me.  Can I really expect God to ever do something like that through me? The answer is yes.

When we really begin to look honestly at some of the people in the Bible, such as Moses, and take them down off the stained-glass windows, it becomes obvious that God did extraordinary things through ordinary, regular people. And He still does today. So what about those of us who want to make an eternal impact in the lives of others but wonder whether we are smart enough, have enough knowledge, have the right words, and the right approach. The issue isn’t that God’s power isn’t available to us or we aren’t smart enough or good enough. The answer to those questions is summed up in 2 Chronicles 16:9: “The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him….”  God is looking to use ordinary people who are completely committed to Him.    

A strong relationship with God is one that gives us the courage to do what we would never do on our own. Whether it’s talking to a friend about that elephant in the room you’ve been avoiding, or making a big life decision that puts you in unfamiliar territory, it’s important to remember that God is actively playing a part in your life to ensure your long-term success and happiness. Believing this will allow you to take risks and do things you wouldn’t have imagined possible on your own. God can overcome any weakness or flaws we may have.

So which excuse(s) have you been making to God? Take some time to write out what you have been resisting, and make the decision to do what God is asking you to do. 

Discussion Questions:

  1. What is the number one thing you need to be used by God?
  2. What responsibility do we have to be available for God to work through us?
  3. What can you do this week to be more available to God to be used for His purposes?

Could I Be Excused?

But Moses pleaded with the Lord, “O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.” – Exodus 4:10.

The dictionary definition of “excuse” is “to make allowance for a short-coming; to overlook; to serve as justification for; to vindicate.” Moses asked to be excused five times. Let’s take a closer look at the excuses that Moses used. The first excuse was “But God, I couldn’t possibly do what you are asking of me. I have no experience in the negotiation business.”But Moses protested to God, “Who am I to appear before Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11) God simply tells Moses that He will go with him. “I will be with you. And this is your sign that I am the one who has sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God at this very mountain.” (Exodus 3:12) 

The second excuse is “ ok, but they are not going to be happy about all this so who should I say sent me?” “…they will ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what should I tell them?” (Exodus 3:13)  God basically says don’t worry Moses, they know who I AM. “God replied to Moses, “I am who i am. Say this to the people of Israel: I am has sent me to you.” God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: Yahweh, the God of your ancestors—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you. This is my eternal name, my name to remember for all generations.”

Excuse number 3 is  “Ummm, what if they don’t believe me?” Exodus 4:1: “But Moses protested again, “What if they won’t believe me or listen to me?” God tells Moses, ”Don’t worry about that, I’ve got it covered. They love signs. I’ll give them signs.” (Exodus 4:2-9)

Excuse 4 for Moses was “But L-Lord, I st-st-stutter. And it’s worse when I’m n-n-nervous. Who’s going to l-l-listen to me?” (Exodus 4:10 above) I wonder if God at this point after the burning bush, turning the rod into a serpent and covering Moses’ hand with disease is saying “seriously!” The Bible gives God’s response in Exodus 4:11-12: …“Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.”

The last excuse is found in Exodus 4:13. Moses begs God to send someone else. “Lord, please! Send anyone else.”  God had been patient with Moses up until this point. But when Moses asked Him to send someone else, God became angry. Look at verse 14.Then the Lord’s anger burned against Moses…”  and he said, ““All right,” he said. “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he speaks well….” And then in verse 15 God says, “Talk to him, and put the words in his mouth. I will be with both of you as you speak, and I will instruct you both in what to do.

Exit Moses, tail between legs. Have you ever been there? I have. It’s useless to argue with God. But we do it anyway. 

Discussion Questions:

  1. Which times in your life do you find yourself making excuses?
  2. Have you ever sensed God calling you to a task and found an excuse not to respond?
  3. Which of Moses’ five excuses can you relate to most?

The Archetypal Hero

“But Moses protested to God, “Who am I to appear before Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?” –  Exodus 3:11. 

A prominent website surveyed people to find out who were the 5 greatest super heroes of all time. Number 5 was the Incredible Hulk, Wolverine was 4, Spiderman was 3, Batman 2 and Superman was number 1. If you made a list of the top five most influential, significant Biblical heroes, the list may look something like this: number 5 is Abraham, leaving his home and going on an epic journey following the call of God. Moses, standing up to Pharaoh and bringing the people out of Egypt is 4, David is 3, Paul is 2 and the only man to predict His death and rise from the grave on the third day has to be number 1, Jesus.  Moses was the most unlikeliest hero.

Moses was a fugitive wanted for murder, hiding out on a mountaintop with some sheep when God appeared on the scene and told him to return to Egypt and deliver his people out of slavery. It is fair to say that Moses didn’t exactly jump at the chance to confront Pharaoh and lead a million or so cranky Israelites out of Egypt into the desert. He made all sorts of excuses about his lack of courage and eloquence, and finally flat-out said, “Lord, please! Send anyone else.”(Exodus 4:13)  But God did not say, “You’re right; I don’t think you’re cut out for this job. I need a strong leader who won’t shake when he asks Pharaoh to let his slave labor go scot-free. I need someone without a shaky past. Someone who has a lot of experience in high stakes diplomacy. Clearly you are not that man.”

No, God knew what He was doing when He chose Moses as His spokesman. It wasn’t a mistake or a poor decision. It’s not like picking a stock and hope the company produces good numbers so you earn a return. This is God we are talking about. God knew Moses wasn’t perfect and that he was prone to fear. He knew Pharaoh would put up a fight and refuse to listen. But God enabled Moses to accomplish this seemingly impossible task, in spite of his human weaknesses, because God is greater than his fears, and stronger than his weaknesses.

God is still greater than our fears and stronger than our weaknesses. So often we want to give up when we have reached the end of our own abilities and endurance. When we do reach the end of our own abilities and endurance we enter that space in which only God can work. In that space is where God helps ordinary people do something that was impossible for them alone. That is the space where heroes are made.   

Discussion Questions:

  1. What is your definition of a hero?
  2. Have you been challenged by God to do something that would take you out of your comfort zone? If so, do you look for strength from within, or from God?
  3. Pray this week to be used by God for His purposes.

Set An Example

“ …do not fall into the trap of following their customs and worshiping their gods. Do not inquire about their gods, saying, ‘How do these nations worship their gods? I want to follow their example.” – Deuteronomy 12:30

Albert Einstein once said, “setting an example is not the only means of influencing others; it is the only means.”  We all have role models in our lives. People who make an imprint and are examples we can follow. It is a very real possibility that in some season of life that others are examples for us and at the same time we are examples for others. It is easy to believe we can’t make a difference when we are overwhelmed by what seems a constant campaign against the church and our beliefs by the media and modern culture. It can seem difficult to live out our faith. It would seem prudent to give up or remain silent, but that is not an option for us. God calls us to be an example. 

1 Peter 2:21 says, “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.”  John 13:15 says,  “I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.”   As Christ set an example for us, so too should we set an example for the people around us. Even when culture and society reject our theological and moral beliefs.  And there will be people that look down on what we believe. The reality is that Christianity and culture are often two opposing forces of influence. But that does not mean that we should stop trying to be an example of God’s love to all we meet.

Be a light for Christ to others. One of the most profound ways to influence others is to radiate joy and let people see Christ at work in us. Our personal example can be the catalyst that helps lead someone from skeptic to believer. “Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, ” (Philippians 2:14–15)

God’s love and grace is more powerful when it’s exhibited. Society must see the difference Jesus makes in people’s lives with their own eyes. Our hope is that the watching world will see these differences, and find them attractive, that they “may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16 ESV) 

It’s hard to exaggerate the power for good what an individual Christian or Christian family can exert in their circle of friends, neighborhood and town. Their friends can see love and a humble, giving nature. They can see a husband and wife loving and honoring one another, devoted and faithful to one another, and finding fulfillment in one another. They will see individuals not looking inward, but turned outward. One Christian can demonstrate different values, different standards, different joys, and different goals. One Christian can make a real difference. 

Discussion Questions:

  1. What do you find most difficult about being an example?
  2. Do you think it is possible to be an example even when it doesn’t appear that people view you that way?
  3. What can we do this week to be a more Godly example?

The Gospel Truth

“Hold on to the pattern of wholesome teaching you learned from me—a pattern shaped by the faith and love that you have in Christ Jesus. Through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us, carefully guard the precious truth that has been entrusted to you.” – 2 Timothy 1:13-14. 

God has a purpose for each of us individually and as a church, and the only way that we can fulfill that purpose is if we hold onto the truth. But the truth is not easy to hold onto, especially when the culture around us is trying its hardest to make us bend or conform to its norms. Our culture is becoming increasingly hostile toward committed Christians, which means it is becoming more and more costly to follow Christ. How do we serve God in this environment? Do we retreat? Do we go into hiding? No, we hold onto the truth as Paul tells Timothy in the above passage.

Not long before his death, Paul wrote this moving letter to Timothy, who was like a son to him. Paul’s words had powerful meaning for Timothy—and us. Paul calls on Timothy to hold tightly to the pattern of truth that he taught him. Do not compromise it, change it, soften the message or dilute it. It has been said that everything changes over time.  So Paul exhorts Timothy to watch his doctrine and make sure that it will not erode through adversity, in trials and tribulations and when culture seeks to change you. Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 4:16, “Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you.”

We all long to be fully devoted to God, but it is amazing how fast and how far culture can seep into our life when we are not paying attention. In weak moments, I can spend money on myself that I’ve saved to give away. I’ve sat halfway through a sitcom before realizing I’m laughing at things I should not be laughing at. There are things that have morphed into obsessions. Or I have invested time in everything but in my relationship with God. It can happen quickly when we neglect to pay attention and we do not have the ability to block or stop it before it happens. And sometimes, maybe slowly at first, it can trump my devotion to God.

In Future Shock, Alvin Toffler wrote that when people go through times of rapid change, they need what he calls “islands of stability.” Those are things that do not change in your life—sources of security, safe harbors and anchors for the inevitable storms. The believers one true source of stability is the one thing much of culture has tried to marginalize—God.

No matter how tumultuous or volatile this world, society and culture gets, we can count on God to be our anchor and refuge. Malachi 3:6 assures us, “I am the Lord, and I do not change…” We’re reminded again in Hebrews 13:8 that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” In Isaiah 40:8 God says, “The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever.” Biblical truths have stood the test of time. The Bible has never been disproved and never goes out of date. God’s truths are as applicable to our society today and continues to be an “island of stability” for us in a changing world.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Think about a time you were forced to choose between God’s way and culture’s way? What did you choose? Why?
  2.  In what way does His truth help us deal with culture?
  3. What can we do this week to make God’s truth an island of stability? 

A Heavenly Defense

“My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous.” – 1 John 2:1.

Self-defense is big business. This year, more than six million American children will participate in martial arts—the art of self-defense. At the same time, millions of Christians need self-defense classes as well.  It seems as if Christianity is under attack from all sides, so we need to be trained to defend our faith and defend ourselves from outside influences that interfere, distract or hinder our spiritual growth. And culture can be one of those influences. 

Culture is a part of our lives. Since we are all social creatures, we are wired to want other people to like us and to belong. We have to be careful because culture has shifted to the point where right and wrong are no longer measured by Biblical standards but by popular opinion. As a result, Christians everywhere are asking the same question: How are we supposed to respond to our culture and live under God at the same time?  Or in other words, what would it take to live under God and not waver. What is the defense against being drawn into our culture and having a hard time coming back?  

The devil’s devices are not pitchforks, flames, and a pointy tail. Instead, they are things that have great appeal, like what culture offers. And what culture offers is often at odds with God’s standards. Satan tries to deconstruct the need to live under God by painting the picture of deception beautifully with immediate gratification. His whole intent is for you to stop trusting in Jesus and live a life of doing what you want when you want to do it. 

We need self-defense. Self-defense, or predetermined resolutions that keep us from going into the danger area. These predetermined resolutions, or strategic action steps, are designed to stop you before you get into a danger. They are designed to keep you from going any further or getting in any deeper. Proverbs 22:3 says, “A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.” It is very much like getting preventive maintenance on your car. Preventing a breakdown is much easier and usually cheaper than getting the car fixed when it breaks down. So, what is the best defense to avoid being influenced by culture?

We need predetermined resolutions in areas such as our time, money, self-worth, entertainment, words, and addictions to name a few.  In those areas we need defensive rules or resolutions that are from our heart and intricately connected to God.  Remember that God loves us, forgives us, and wants the best for us. The predetermined resolutions that will keep you from getting to a place of sin. They are intentional boundaries you make that will keep you focused on God.  They are intricately connected to your conscience so that when you break them, you feel it. For example: surround yourself with people who keep telling you the truth. Learn and embrace the discipline that God outlines in the Bible. Trust the Holy Spirit and focus on the truth of God instead of listening to and believing the lies of the evil one.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Is culture one of the common tactics that the enemy uses to hinder the work of God? Why or why not?
  2. How can you recognize when culture is seeping into your life and defend yourself?
  3. What can we do this week to be influencers of culture rather than be influenced by culture.

Draw A Line In The Sand

Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” – John 8:10-11.

The religious leaders in biblical times were anything if not persistent. They were always looking of an excuse or reason to get rid of Jesus, or at least to silence Him. They had tried numerous times to trap him with topics like paying taxes to Caesar, divorce and marriage. The motive of the religious leaders is obvious in John 8:6: “They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.” They were interested in maintaining the status quo and keeping their lofty positions. 

This time they thought they had a slam dunk; a woman caught in adultery. John 8:3-4 says, “They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women.”  They were referring to Deuteronomy 22:22: “If a man is discovered committing adultery, both he and the woman must die. In this way, you will purge Israel of such evil.” (see also Leviticus 20:10) While they had not been successful trapping Jesus to date, the religious leaders believed this time would be different. Jesus would have to draw a line in the sand. The Law permitted stoning. It even demanded it. They brought the evidence – the woman – in front of Jesus.  They believed they had Jesus right where they wanted Him.

I imagine the woman was crying or sobbing or both. She probably was resigned to the fact that this was not going to end well for her. The religious leaders made their case that scripture states that she should die. They wanted Jesus to draw a clear line – a boundary – between ‘‘us’’ and “them.” Between the sacred and the common. The good and the bad. They wanted Jesus to move into their culture.  Maybe if  they trapped Him in a no-win situation, the crowds would stop following Him. But Jesus wrote in the dirt with His finger, stood and said, whichever one of you has no sin, throw the first stone.  Let her have it. Jesus returns to writing in the sand. The religious leaders and all the spectators leave. Verse 10-11 says: “Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

The religious leaders hated Jesus for his inclusion and tolerance and for hanging out with sinners and tax collectors. Jesus upset many of the Jewish leaders because he extended fellowship and mercy beyond their constricted boundaries and outside their culture. It is a lesson for us and we should always remember that we deserve condemnation, but God gave us mercy. I deserve to be counted out, but He gave me another chance. I deserve death but He gave me life. God feels the same way about all the people that make up the culture around us. Clearly we should not be distancing ourselves from today’s “sinners and tax collectors.” More importantly, cultural separation ignores the task we’ve been given to carry the love of God forward to those who might need it most. The challenge is to draw a line in the sand when culture draws us away from God. 

Discussion Questions:

  1. When do we need to draw a line in the sand when we are faced with temptations of culture?
  2. Are you holding a stone to throw at a certain person or group? When you catch people in their brokenness in our culture, do you look more like Jesus or the religious leaders?
  3. Read Romans 8:1 as a group. How would truly believing this transform our daily life?.

Stand For Something Rather Than Stand Against Something

“If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” – John 15:19. 

Peter Marshall said that ”If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.” Sometimes, however, we spend more time and energy on what we are against, rather than what we are for. One of those areas is the culture we live and work in that is becoming less and less “Christian.”

Should Christians be counter cultural? It is easy to define yourself by what you are against, or what you see as having negative influence in your life. It’s figuring out what you are for that presents a real challenge. Northstar Church is an example. When we started Northstar, we wanted a different approach to church. We didn’t define who we would be by other churches. We did not focus on what other churches were or were not. Rather we invested our energy and passion on the church we wanted to be.  So instead of reacting to something or standing against something, we learned how to live for something. That something is Jesus Christ. And that includes interacting with the culture of today as Jesus did in His time.

In the 24 hours surrounding Jesus’ execution, Judas, one of His disciples, betrayed Him, Peter denied even knowing Him. The religious elite were determined to find a reason to kill Him. The Romans carried out the execution and those who passed by mocked Him. But in that moment, Jesus showed humanity what it means to be for something.  

We spend so much time trying to avoid culture and its influences. But what if instead of avoiding culture we focused on drawing closer to Jesus? I am not advocating that we let culture impact our walk with God. Obviously, we shouldn’t advocate or approve of anything that impacts our relationship with God. What I am saying is that our best defense or stance of against culture or sin in general is not to focus on what we’re against, but what we are for. It is simply keeping the first things first. Jesus, and nothing else, must be our “main thing” at all times. Our main emphasis must always be on the person and work of Christ. Even Paul the Apostle decided to know nothing except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” (1 Corinthians 2:2). The closer we draw to Jesus, the more we begin to be molded into His likeness and the less culture will impact our relationship with Him. 

  Discussion Questions:

  1. When and how should Christians react to popular cultural notions that contradict Scripture?  
  2. Luke 15:1-2 says plainly that “sinners” made a habit of hanging around Jesus. Jesus was unapologetically a true friend to the least and the lost, to all who were alien to the religious communities of His day. He seemed to prefer parting ways with religious folks if that was necessary in order to get close to sinners. The one who “welcomed sinners and ate with them” now insists that His followers assume the same posture. How does that change our view of culture? 
  3. What can we do this week to be more for Jesus?

Praying With Paul

“We pray to God that you will not do what is wrong by refusing our correction. I hope we won’t need to demonstrate our authority when we arrive. Do the right thing before we come—even if that makes it look like we have failed to demonstrate our authority. For we cannot oppose the truth, but must always stand for the truth. We are glad to seem weak if it helps show that you are actually strong. We pray that you will become mature.” – 2 Corinthians 13:7–9.

If I asked you to list the attributes of Paul, would prayer be one of them? Probably not. When we reflect on this remarkable man we would probably list things such as: an apostle, church builder, missionary, pastor, preacher, and teacher. We would point out his character strengths of persistence, patience, his courage, his humbleness, and his uncompromising and unyielding commitment to the gospel and cause of Jesus Christ. But how about being representative of a great man of prayer — would you put Paul on that list? Would Paul be top of the mind when it comes to prayer? 

It is more likely we would gravitate to people like Moses interceding on Mount Sinai for the children of Israel. Or we may think of David with his psalms or Elijah who stood alone before an altar drenched with water at Mount Carmel. How about Daniel who opened his window toward Jerusalem and prayed every day even though he lived in a hostile land. The Lord Jesus was the Man of prayer, so much so that one of His disciples asked Him, “Lord, teach us to pray,” (Luke 11:1). But what about Paul? With all of his other qualities, we seldom think of Paul as a man of prayer, yet this is the field in which he excelled.

While preparing for the Prayer Matters series, I spent some time with some of the letters and prayers for those to whom Paul wrote. It was convicting and uplifting at the same time. I think every person who is a follower of Jesus would benefit if they spent the time to study and reflect on the prayers of Paul. 

Most of us limit our prayer requests and praises to those things associated with day-to-day life for ourselves and others we know. That is not a bad thing and the importance of offering such requests and praises should never be minimized. But the prayers that we find in the writing of Paul demonstrate an understanding and depth of faith that we all should aspire to possess. He prayed for specific areas in which he desired the people reading his letters to grow and draw closer to God. 

We should all desire the kind of life to which Paul referred in these prayers for both ourselves and others. We should seek to follow Paul’s example as we grow in our own faith and prayer. I still have a great deal to learn, but I have realized the exceptional value of enhancing my own prayers with Paul’s teaching and example. 

 Discussion Questions:

  1. What is one way that you are encouraged or challenged by Paul’s prayer examples we discussed in this series? 
  2. Consider your current prayer habits. Do you have a plan for regular, intentional prayer?
  3. Whom do you regularly ask to pray for you? What sort of prayer requests do you share?
  4. Do you have a current plan to regularly and intentionally pray? Do you have a particular system for praying for the specific needs of other people that you have found to be helpful?
  5. What is one way you are hoping to grow in prayer as a result of this study?

We Need Each Other

“Show them great respect and wholehearted love because of their work. And live peacefully with each other.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:13.

The moment you become a Christian, many wonderful and amazing things occur.  You are united forever with Christ, you are declared righteous before God, you are placed into God’s family as an adopted child, and God begins a work in you of setting you apart from sin to Himself. What about your relation to other Christians though? Do you need them? Do they need you? If you are a Christian, you do need other believers. God expects believers to grow in their faith and to do so by growing together in God’s Word. The growth and protection Christians need to experience occurs as believers assemble together as a local church. Christians and Christian families need each other to grow in their Christian faith. “All of you together are Christ’s body, and each one of you  is a separate and necessary part of it.” (1 Corinthians 12:27) If it is just Jesus and you, you will never grow into the person God wants you to be. Christians and Christian families need each other to grow in their Christian faith

1 Corinthians 12:24-26 says, “…while the more honorable parts do not require this special care. So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.” Paul argues that every member of the body is necessary. There are no exceptions. Those body parts that are deemed weaker, less honorable, or less visible, are all critically important.

Christians need the support of other believers if they are to grow in their faith. Recipients of the letter to the Hebrews were encouraged to ‘think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works, to “encourage one another.”’ (Hebrews 10.24-25). Encouragement and support is best provided through a variety of people.

When I was much younger, I loved the story of the Lone Ranger. What is there not to love?  The Lone Ranger was a resourceful, smart, and courageous person, but in every episode he needed the help of townspeople, a posse, and certainly Tonto. While the Lone Ranger had to strategically and carefully enlist the help of others, God has provided for every possible need we could have on this earth through His Word and His people, the church. If you are going to take on the bad guys, you will need other believer’s help and they will need your help.  That is because God built us, not only to need Him, but to need each other.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Do you ever wonder if you really need to go to church or spend time with other believers? What are the consequences for you trying to live for God on your own? What are the consequences for the body when you make that choice?
  2. What are some ways in which the church operates like a body?
  3. How often do you consciously think about how well you understand the fact that, you are part of the body of Christ?  What about your role in the body?