How Relational Is Your Church?

Key Questions for Thom Rainer:

– Why don’t pastors realize how unwelcoming their churches are?
– What are some of the most common reasons why guests don’t return to a church?
– What do guests like to see when they visit a church?
– Can a church be too friendly?

https://churchleaders.com/podcast/325070-thom-rainer-how-relational-is-your-church.html

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True Love Must Be Reciprocated

By: Brian G. Chilton

Recently, I was talking to a friend of mine who was infatuated with a person who did not necessarily share the same sentiments. In fact, it was not certain what the other person really desired in their relationship. I will not mention anything more about this situation out of respect to those involved. This situation has cause me to do a lot of thinking about love, what it is, and what it entails. It seems to me that for true love to be genuine it must be reciprocated. That is, it must be accepted by both individuals in the relationship. We can learn a lot about love from God’s triune relationship.

I. Love is reciprocated in the Triune relationship.

When attempting to explain the triune nature of God, Norman Geisler uses the example of the genuine spirit of love to explain this difficult theological concept. Geisler’s illustration is not original to him, rather he took it from Augustine of Hippo. The following is Geisler’s depiction of love in the triune relationship of God:

“Augustine suggested an illustration of how God is both three and one at the same time. The Bible informs us that “God is love” (1 John 4:16). Love involves a lover, a beloved, and a spirit of love between lover and loved. The Father might be likened to the Lover; the Son to the One loved, and the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of love. Yet love does not exist unless these three are united as one. This illustration has the advantage of being personal, since it involves love, a characteristic that flows only from persons.”[1]

Seeing that God is love (1 Jn. 4:16), the relationship between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is a demonstration of perfect love in its purest form. Love is not force. Love is accepted and flows from person to person. There is a lover—one initiating the love, a beloved—the one receiving the love from the lover, and the spirit of love—a mutual received love between both parties. In the case of the triune relationship, this love is mutually given and received by all three members of the Godhead. We can learn a lot about love from God.

II. Love is reciprocated in human relationships.

Read more: https://bellatorchristi.com/2018/04/30/true-love-must-be-reciprocated/

3 Steps To Show Someone You Love Them

https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/133664315/posts/818

Love Is Hard

Image result for jesus healing leper

The two great commandments, we were reminded every week in church, are to love God and to love your neighbor as yourself. God we cannot see, and our neighbor is a pain in the butt.

Only God knows how hard it is for us to keep those commandments. And don’t even try to count the times we fail.

So we pray–to God whom we cannot see, for the power to love persons whom we don’t really want to love. It’s easier, even, to ask God to love them and to bless them, than it is to ask for the grace that would enable us to do that.

It’s a good thing He understands us so well.

That’s why He sent us His Son to be our savior. He knew we couldn’t do it on our own. By works of the flesh no one shall be saved.

Jesus Christ, who did all those things that we are not able to do–He is our righteousness and our salvation.

And our sanctification, too (I Corinthians 1:30). So that, in time, we can at least do better.

Comment at: https://leeduigon.com/2018/04/15/love-is-hard/

All I Need to Know

“Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.”1

Continue reading: http://www.actsweb.org/daily.php?id=984

Communication: Key to Effective Relationships Part I

“Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.”1

“Hey, Dad, what do you think of that?” asked one of my sons on one occasion when I was driving him to school.

“What do I think of what?” I asked as I had no idea what he was talking about.

“That ad on the radio,” he replied rather surprised.

The radio was at a reasonable volume but I didn’t hear a word the advertiser said. Why? It’s because we all have what communicators call a mental filter system. In other words we have a tendency to hear only what we want to hear and filter (or block) out everything else. This is called “selective attention.”

Read the blog: http://www.actsweb.org/daily.php?id=805

10 Benefits Of Church Small Groups

If you’ve never been part of a church small group, or have been part of a group that was unhelpful, it might be difficult to appreciate their draw. Indeed, the case for small groups is often overstated, as in, “small groups are really where church happens.” To equate small groups with church is to miss Scripture’s emphasis on elder-led (1 Tim. 1:5) Word and sacrament (Rom. 10:14; 1 Cor. 11:17–34), and corporate worship practiced by a distinct congregation (Heb. 10:25).

Orlando Saer puts it well: “The basic ‘unit’ of the church is the church itself, not some subdivision of it.” Small groups are not the essence of the church.

But without something like a small group ministry, it can be difficult for Christians to reflect the biblical pattern of communal life. Again, Saer is helpful: “Small groups can be a very helpful means of achieving ends which certainly are demanded by the Bible of Christian churches.” The Bible does not demand “house churches.” But there is an undeniable beauty in church members meeting publicly as well as in homes (Acts 20:20; Rom. 16:5). Christ’s followers break bread together as a united family in the Eucharist and as smaller groups around tables where common life happens (Acts 2:46–47).

There are many reasons why small group fellowship meetings have been an important part of Christian experience throughout the ages.

1. Discipleship

Small groups provide opportunities for believers to learn from each other as they apply the gospel within the intimacy of relationships (Titus 2:1–8). “Who is Jesus?” (cf. Matt. 16:15) is critical to hear from the pulpit. But we also need friends to help us wrestle through that question face to face. We need people who are willing to get to know us so they can help us walk with Christ more faithfully (Acts 18:24–26).

More at: https://corechristianity.com/resource-library/articles/10-benefits-of-church-small-groups