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Pastor's Column

Let's be the church

  Just recently, I saw some research that suggests that the number one complaint against Christians is that we are prone to saying one thing and doing something completely different.  This criticism of the church isn’t anything new, and it certainly comes as no surprise.  The apostle John once told his church, 𠇍on’t be surprised, dear brothers and sisters, if the world hates you” (1 John 3:13, NLT). 

  So, how do we respond to these claims of hypocrisy made toward Christians?  I think the natural reaction would be to get defensive.  However, what if instead of reacting out of impulse, we simply took a moment for some introspection? 

  I’ll be honest, it’s easy for me to talk about loving my neighbor, but how often do I actually demonstrate that love in practical ways?  I have to admit, it’s not often enough.  And as Christians, we frequently face the natural temptation of retreating from the world, gathering together in our “holy huddles”, and discussing the need for loving others as if it’s some sort of theoretical concept.  So perhaps it’s time for us to break from the huddle and actually do something tangible! 

  The apostle John challenged his church in this same way, saying, "Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions” (1 John 3:18, NLT).  You see, if we want to impact the world around us for Christ, we can’t be content to just give them lip service.  As Christians, it’s vitally important that we commit ourselves to demonstrating the love of Christ to the world in more practical ways.  After all, loving others is the fruit of genuine faith (1 John 3:14).

  So, if you are a Christian, perhaps you need to ask yourself these questions: How can I love my neighbor in a more practical way this week?  How can I serve others around me and reflect Jesus more clearly?  How can I tangibly show God’s love toward others at work, school, or in the community?

  Brothers and sisters in Christ, let’s not be satisfied with merely going to church, but instead let’s be the church and follow the example of our Savior.  For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28, NLT).

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